Just ask Kentucky. Given a second chance to punch its Final Four ticket after a gutsy 3-pointer by Patrick Sparks at the end of regulation, Kentucky failed miserably when it had a chance to win the game at the end of the first overtime.
The game was tied 81-81 when the Cats took the ball out of bounds with 25.5 seconds to play. Coach Tubby Smith had called a simple play in the huddle. He wanted freshman point guard Rajon Rondo to let the clock run down and then penetrate inside to either shoot or draw a foul.
So what if Michigan State had to anticipate that coming? Rondo is so quick that Smith figured if his team spaced the court properly, then Rondo could still get inside.
But something went wrong. Very wrong. When Rondo couldn't get free, he gave the ball to Kelenna Azubuike.
"I was supposed to go one-on-one," Rondo said. "But we didn't spread the offense out enough. I couldn't get free."
Azubuike got the ball going to his right. He kept going and going. Before he could stop and get off a shot, time expired and Michigan State had the new life it needed.
"I guess Rajon couldn't take his guy. He gave me the ball. I was trying to create some space. I should have just gone up and shot it. I didn't and that's my fault," Azubuike said.
The Wildcats left the court stunned. If they had shot and missed, it would not have been near as hard mentally as not even getting a shot off. The Spartans scored the first five points of the second overtime and a shaken Azubuike fouled off for the first time this year preventing a Michigan State basket off the opening tip.
"We just did not execute at the end of overtime," Patrick Sparks said. "We didn't get what we needed or wanted. It was a big chance to win the game that we let get away. We had our chances. We really did. That's what makes you feel so bad. It's not like we could not have won the game."
One play that could have resulted in one made shot or a foul. Kentucky was that close to the Final Four and let it slip away by dribbling the ball for 25 seconds rather than taking a shot. Somehow I don't think UK fans will forget that for a long, long time.