Did Schembechler's ghost block Craft's final 3 in UM-OSU game?
Everyone knows about the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry.
Granted it might be best known for football – iconic coaches Bo Schembechler and Woody Hayes -- but the rivalry isn’t just about the gridiron. Ohio State wants to beat Michigan in everything … and the Wolverines want to beat the Buckeyes in everything.
On Saturday, another chapter was added to the UM-OSU history books – though Buckeye fans will do their best to forget "it" ... and Wolveriners legendary coach and AD Bo Schembechler must be smiling in heaven.
"It" being Aaron Craft’s 3-point attempt in the closing seconds of a Big Ten semfinal in Indianapolis.
With Big Ten regular-season champ Michigan leading by three, UM’s Spike Albrecht missed the second of two free throws with 6.2 seconds left. Ohio State’s Craft came up with the rebound, rushed down the floor and seemed set to take an open game-tying 3.
But this happened ...
... and Michigan won 72-69, the Wolverines’ third consecutive victory over their archrival.
"We weren't thinking about winning the Big Ten Conference championship," Michigan's Nik Stauskas told reporters after the game. "We were thinking about just beating Ohio State. This is a rivalry game."
“Aaron Craft” started trending on Twitter immediately after the shot -- with this top post of Stauskas, the Big Ten Player of the Year, enjoying a postgame meal at Craft's expense.
BREAKING: Aaron Craft has severed ties with sponsor » pic.twitter.com/CtmrQ41YPd— SportsNation (@SportsNation) March 15, 2014
Aaron Craft is an incredible defensive player, but it appears as if he just stole the ball from himself. #B1GTourney— FOX Sports Live (@FOXSportsLive) March 15, 2014
"It sucks," Craft told SI.com after the loss. "I’m more disappointed in myself than anything. Our team showed tremendous fight and resiliency, and unfortunately it had to end the way it did. You can’t change it."
Michigan’s semifinal victory, which saw the Wolverines blow a 12-point, second-half lead to trail by one with 2:55 to go, might make Michigan feel a little better after what occurred in last fall’s football game.
In that battle, the 110th between the two football teams, Michigan scored with 32 seconds left to cut the deficit to one. Coach Brady Hoke opted to go for two, looking to avoid overtime and hand the Buckeyes their first loss in 24 games.
But Ohio State safety Tyvis Powell intercepted Devin Gardner’s two-poing conversion pass and then the Buckeyes receoved the Wolverines’ onside-kickoff attempt to seal a 42-41 OSU victory.
“We felt we could win the game right there,” Gardner said after the game. “I threw an interception that cost us the win. That’s what I will remember.”
Now, Ohio State’s Craft will have to live with his final Big Ten shot attempt the rest of his life – though he’ll get a chance to redeem himself in the NCAA Tournament, but as a senior, he might never get the opportunity to beat Ohio State’s No. 1 rival again.
And just to rub a little salt in the wound ... even a UCLA cheerleader can’t miss a 3-pointer that bad.