clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Anatomy of Texas A&M's Comeback vs. Northern Iowa

New, 46 comments

A frame-by-frame breakdown of a truly miraculous 44 seconds

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

I've watched the replay fifteen times by now. Twenty, mabye.

And I still don't understand it.

Let's walk through this thing frame by frame and try to reconstruct the best comeback in NCAA Tournament history.

********************************************************

First, the opening photo. I mean... what IS that? THAT'S the start of a "we ended up winning this game" montage? That doesn't happen!

But okay... here we go. Alex Caruso let's the ball roll for a bit to get the whole thing started.

The possession stalls for a bit, and then he then pulls up for a three pointer. He misses.

Crazy miracle moment #1: If Northern Iowa gets this rebound, they win the basketball game.

Admon Gilder skies from the opposite block for a monster offensive rebound.

And the putback. We are now down by ten points.

Crazy miracle moment #2: If Northern Iowa successfully inbounds the ball, they win the basketball game.

The Northern Iowa player mishandles the pass.

We turn that turnover into a layup. The Panthers are still trying not to foul at this point, so these shots are uncontested.

We are now down by eight points.

Crazy miracle moment #3: If Northern Iowa escapes this trap, they win the basketball game.

On the ensuing inbounds pass, Northern Iowa gets trapped in the near corner.

Crazy miracle moment #4: If the ball ricochets off of Tonny Trocha and goes out of bounds OR if they choose to simply heave the ball to the opposite end of the court, Northern Iowa wins the basketball game.

Their attempt to throw the ball off Trocha to retain possession backfires, and the ball finds its way to Jones for an easy dunk.

We are now down by six points. Aggies everywhere start to cautiously hope.

Crazy miracle moment #5: If Northern Iowa successfully inbounds the ball, they win the basketball game.

Even after all the work we've done to get here, we're STILL in a very clear "all UNI has to do is not turn the ball over and they are going to Anaheim" phase of the game.

The UNI pass goes directly out of bounds.

We then run a play for Danuel House, who buries the three.

We are now down by three points. Cautious hope gives way to legitimate hope.

Goodbye, legitimate hope.

Aggies across the nation have let their guard down, and the Panthers run a great out of bounds play for a breakaway dunk.

Crazy miracle moment #6: If Caruso commits a foul here and does not stop the dunk, Northern Iowa wins the basketball game.

Caruso tries to block it, but he's too late. He was going 100%. A nick on the arm was certainly possible.

We are now trailing by five points.

Crazy miracle moment #7: If Northern Iowa does not foul Caruso, they are far more likely to win the basketball game.

On the next possession, Caruso takes the ball to the rim and gets fouled. I don't know why a UNI player was anywhere near the basket, honestly. They should have been sitting in a series of folding chairs at the three point line. At the movies, perhaps. ANYTHING except the thing they did.

But man are we glad they did it.

Caruso cans the layup and the free throw, and the Aggies are now down by two. That's critical, as it allowed the eventual game-tying shot to be an uncontested layup instead of a three.

Aggie fans have now created a new type of hope called "confusion hope," which we are simultaneously smitten by and unsure how to describe. Which is not unlike the entirety of Texas A&M, really.

But I digress. At this point, we're in a weird place.

Crazy miracle moment #8: If Northern Iowa runs a normal "not the corner" inbounds play OR if they simply heave the ball to the opposite end of the court, they are far more likely to win the basketball game.

We are no longer dealing in absolutes here, but UNI would have had a chance to put this sucker away with a good inbounds pass. Instead, they go back to their tried and true "throw it to the guy in the near corner" routine, with predictable results.

The Aggies do an excellent job of trapping without fouling and eventually force another turnover.

Crazy miracle moment #9: Northern Iowa does not challenge the absolute shit out of the incoming layup.

I understand not wanting to give someone a three point play... but you just let him walk to the bucket to tie the game? Gilder should have been sent to the floor. Hard. Instead he is allowed to coast to the rim for an easy layup, tying the game at 71.

Aggie fans have now gone through all of the emotions that have ever existed in around thirty seconds of game time.

UNI gets one final attempt at the buzzer, but it doesn't go.

We have tied the basketball game. We have closed a twelve point gap in less than forty-five seconds.

**************************************************************

It was, and shall remain, one of the greatest basketball games I have ever seen.

BTHO OU