- 01/05/2012, 12:22AM ET
williewilliejuan said 01/05, 12:22 AM
"Failure is more frequently from want of energy than want of capital"
The quote above from Daniel Webster epitomizes why Sampson's 1982 loss to Chaminade was the bigger failure. Virginia was by far the better team. They took Chaminade lightly and it resulted in the biggest upset in the history of college basketball.
Virginia was 8-0 and had beaten a G'town team featuring Ewing and a Houston team featuring Olajuwon. Chaminade was a NAIA school with about 800 students who had lost to Wayland Baptist in its most recent game.
There was no way that Sampson and the Cavaliers should have lost that day. And yet, they did. Sampson was 7'4" and was a 3 time national player of the year. And yet, he only scored 12 points against the Silverswords and got dunked on by a 5'10" guy named Tim Dunham in one of the game's signature moments.
While Ewing's Hoyas should have won the championship game against 'Nova, at least they lost to a team that had gotten hot at the right time and had earned a spot in the championship. Sampson's Cavaliers can make no such claim. This was David knocking out Goliath and stealing his lunch money. It just shouldn't happen.
Sampson's failure was bigger.
Mitch Cumstien said 01/05, 07:39 PM
The word of the day for this TD is STAGE.
Sure Virginia and Sampson were upset by an unheard of Chaminade, but this was only the 9th game in a long season. Whereas Georgetown and Ewing lost on the largest stage in all of collegiate basketball to the lowest seed (still to this day) to ever win the NCAAB championship. #1 ranked Georgetown was heavily favored going into the tourney, and a 10 point favorite over Nova for the championship. Nova an 8 seed was not even ranked in the AP top 20 at the seasons end and was the fourth best team in their own conference (Big East ??? Georgetown, St Johns, Syracuse, THEN Nova)
On top of it all, perennial All-pro Ewing was outplayed by his nova counterpart Ed Pickney. The big man in the middle who had led the Hoyas to 3 finals appearances in 4 years, who absolutely DOMINATED the NCAA for 4 years was flat outplayed by 6-9 F/C Ed Pickney!
This wasn't just an upset for Georgetown, it was downright embarrassing.
And the biggest problem, Ewing who was not only supposed to shut down his cross-court opponent (he didn't), he was supposed to lead the team to victory (he didn't).
williewilliejuan said 01/06, 12:35 AM
The fact that Ewing's Hoyas lost to 'Nova in the Nat'l Championship game makes their loss more visible; it does not make it a larger failure. Whether they were expected to be there or not, 'Nova still qualified for the Tourney and won their way into the Finals.
I realize that G'town was the prohibitive favorite and must have felt that 'Nova wasn't in their league coming into that game. It is downright embarrassing when your team loses to an underdog who you don't feel is in your league. You want to know what's even more embarrassing?
Losing to a team that literally isn't in your league
Sampson's Cavaliers didn't lose to a decent NCAA team that played above their skill level to win a Championship. They lost to an NAIA team, and not a particularly good one at that. Chaminade was 5-9 coming into their game with VA.
Ewing did get outplayed by Pinckney, but it's not like he was a slouch. He went on to play 12 seasons in the NBA after leaving 'Nova. Sampson was outplayed by Tony Randolph, who was 9 inches shorter, 80 lbs lighter and has had a career as a youth counselor since college.
It's worse to get outplayed by a youth counselor than an NBA player.
Mitch Cumstien said 01/07, 12:26 AM
It wasn't just that the Hoyas - Villanova game was more visible that makes it a larger failure, it was what the game meant.
What is a larger Failure?
Losing a game in the early part of the season to a no name team and still having the opportunity to continue towards the ultimate reward (a championship)
Losing a game to a far inferior team that not only ends your season, but also ends your LAST chance at a championship because your star player is leaving that year.
In that situation I'd much rather have the chance to still fight for the championship!
It is not uncommon for a team to "mail it in" in the early part of the season against a team, when they feel there is no way they can lose. This is likely the easiest explanation for the loss to Chaminade.
Either that, OR the fact that Virginia came into the game after flying in from Tokyo, and no doubt suffering from Jet Lag being that the game was played at 7pm HST (Midnight EST where UVA is from). Was it really so obscene that the Cavaliers would not play their best ball?
All that was likely not the last of the distractions (next arg)
williewilliejuan said 01/07, 10:46 AM
Your args are focused primarily on which of these games was the bigger upset and which game meant more. However, this TD isn't about upsets and it isn't about which game was on a larger stage. It's about failure. It is how these teams played in their respective losses that set these games apart.
Ewing's Hoyas didn't really fail in the '85 Championship. They ran into a buzzsaw. 'Nova converted an unheard-of 78.6% of their shots in the game and only missed one shot in the entire 2nd half. This shooting % still ranks as the best in NCAA Championship history.
Despite 'Nova's blistering shooting efficiency, the Hoyas still only lost by 2 points, based in large part on their own excellent 55% shooting in the game. They also only committed 11 turnovers while causing 'Nova to commit 17.
Sampson's Cavaliers were nowhere near as efficient or effective. They shot only 39% from the floor and committed 25 turnovers in the game. Despite getting many open looks, they just couldn't put the ball in the basket.
Sampson's Cavaliers failed miserably against an inferior team, which allowed Chaminade to win the game. Ewing's Hoyas just got beat by a 'Nova team that had a game for the ages.
Mitch Cumstien said 01/09, 11:58 AM
Failure also has a direct correlation to effort. The more it means to you, and the harder you try, the bigger the fail when you do not succeed!
What game do you think meant more to the players? The national Championship against a Conference Rival? or a game against a no name team when you would rather be soaking up the sun, and bikini'd babes on the beach?
Simply put, the game meant nothing for Virginia, therefor the Failure meant nothing.
Georgetown on the other hand, was playing in the most important game of the season. You bring up the point that Nova shot 78.6% on the game and this is why they won. While this is true, you must look at why that in it's self was due to a Georgetown failure as well.
Georgetown played a Field-goal % Defense, forcing their opponent to take low % shots. The 1985 season, G-town held their opposition to Under 40% for the entire season Nova entered the game shooting 43% on the season (ranking 197th in NCAA), and Georgetown FAILED to even execute the only thing they were truly known for.
Virginia lost a game that meant nothing to them, while Georgetown lost the most important game of the year. Obviously G-town had the bigger FAIL!
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