We’ve talked a lot about how this season and this tournament deserve an asterisk, but that's a general concept because the overall season has been knocked sideways by the Covid-19 pandemic.
It’s affected everyone and since it’s hit several teams late in the season, and now VCU in the NCAA Tournament, it’s a big factor.
However, there is no asterisk next to heart and in this field, some teams have shown enormous heart. Oral Roberts was spectacular against Ohio State. North Texas would not yield to Purdue. Georgia Tech and UNC-G and Iona showed immense passion even in losses.
We’ve seen many teams play with the hearts of champions in one of the most difficult situations any of us could imagine.
Abilene Christian has to be on that list.
The Wildcats could only beat a much more talented Texas team by playing with vastly more effort. They killed Texas on the offensive boards and forced 23 turnovers and remember that Texas has three very good guards and at least one big guy who will be in the NBA sooner rather than later.
This game was all about heart and at the end, when Joe Pleasant could have been less than average from the line, which he normally is, he stepped up to the line and stayed there while the officials sorted things out and nailed a pair. One of the announcers said he looked like a 90 percent free throw shooter, which was true. Pleasant was not about to miss. Not in that situation.
Then he picked off a long inbounds pass, snuffing Texas’s final hope.
We’ve all seen many memorable tournament moments over the years but very few will ever top what Abilene Christian did to Texas on Saturday night. It’s not quite the same thing, but in some respects, at least in the history of Texas basketball, they get a special place somewhere with Texas Western, the Game of the Century and Phi Slamma Jamma. It was an unforgettable win.