The Academy Awards are coming up at the end of this month, and in tribute to the 85th year of the distinguished awards show, it only makes sense to somehow involve it in this article about the Kansas Jayhawks. Because like the Oscars, Kansas has also celebrated decades of applauded performances and spectacular talent.
This year, Zero Dark Thirty is a nominee for best picture, and focuses on the capture of notorious terrorist Osama Bin Laden. Jessica Chastain, nominated for best actress, plays Maya who spends a grueling two hours of our time, ten years of hers, piecing together clues as to where this mad man might be hiding. Early on she discovers a promising lead, which she follows throughout the entirety of the film despite nobody believing in her. Finally, she convinces a few people of his whereabouts and the time comes to go in for the "kill." The build-up for this moment is miraculous. The whole entire movie is about finding Bin Laden. Can you imagine the disappointment if in those final moments of the film the U.S Navy S.E.A.L's invaded this al-Qaeda fortress only to find Osama was not there?
"Oops. False lead. Sorry guys. Let's go home." and scene.
That is exactly how every KU fan felt after Saturday's loss to Oklahoma State. Anyone who saw Zero Dark Thirty knew that Osama was captured because history tells us so. Anyone who is a Jayhawk fan knows that losing at home, despite being down for the majority of the game, still means a win, because history tells us so (for specific examples please see last article). Maya had a weak lead, but believed in it nonetheless. KU had a weak lead, but fans believed in it nonetheless. The similarities are all there, but at the end of the day, Jayhawk hopefuls were treated to the anti-climactic version, rather than the Oscar nominated picture that everyone knows and loves.
With just under 8 seconds left to play in Saturday's game and Kansas down by 3, starting Point Guard Elijah Johnson takes the ball quickly down the court, sets up just outside of the arch and as the clock slowly winds down, fans hold their breath waiting for that McLemore/Mario moment to send the game into overtime. 8...7...6...5...FOOT!
Johnson dribbles the ball off of his foot, loses control, and the OSU short stack Phil Forte goes for an easy lay-up to pound in the nails of KU's coffin, because beating the 'hawks by 3 just wasn't going to be enough for the Cowboys. Marcus Smart would soon follow with an impromptu display of spectacular gymnastics, mere moments after appearing to be seriously injured. If he keeps that acting up, he may nab a spot in Zero Dark Thirty-Three (please take this moment to soak in the fact that Smart's jersey number is 33).
Then if this team couldn't become any more likeable, lead scorer Markel Brown let out this little gem in a post-game interview.
"We had to come out, punch them in the mouth and not let the crowd get into it," Brown said.
He wants to punch our fans in the mouth? That has to be the oddest thing a Big XII player has said in an interview regarding the Jayhawks since Michael Beasley said Kansas State would beat KU home, away, and in Africa. Maybe having a long history of losing at Allen Fieldhouse can cause these strange remarks. Until Saturday, the Cowboys had not claimed a victory in Jayhawk territory since Feb. 8, 1989. Furthermore, they had not beaten a top-5 team on the road since knocking off the No.2 Jayhawks in 1958.
"We haven't played good in three weeks or whatever," Jayhawks coach Bill Self, who has seen only eight losses at Allen Fieldhouse, said. "When you don't play well, you have to defend and rebound, and we didn't do that worth a crap today. We got what we deserved."
If Coach Bill Self believes Kansas got what they deserved, then so be it, fans will stand by that statement. But at the end of the day a surprise punch in the mouth never feels good. Fortunately the Jayhawks will remain in the top 5 and continue to work their way up, facing the 9-12 conference newcomer, TCU on Wednesday in Fort Worth. The Horned Frogs have lost their last eight games, making them 0-8 in conference play.
In conclusion it only seems fitting to end this article with a quote from the character Dan in Zero Dark Thirty, played by Jason Clarke:
"This is what defeat looks like, bro."