1 seed Gonzaga readies to turn back Northwestern's Cinderella bid

As Northwestern walked the ball up the court, Fisher-Davis tried to press him like many teams do. Unfortunately, it also was not much of a shock that his flaws were the Commodores' undoing.

For the fans in attendance, the season has already been a success and will be regardless of whether Northwestern is able to get a win over a tough Vanderbilt team Thursday. This season, the Wildcats recorded their first winning record in conference play in 49 years and second in 68 years. Northwestern might have found a way to win anyway, as they still had time for a shot, but the Fisher-Davis foul took the pressure off the Wildcats and put it on the Commodores. Only a team that trailed would want to do that. "I don't know why". The selection, win and expected loss to No. 1 seed Gonzaga on Saturday have received around the clock coverage from sports news outlets this week (though we should acknowledge that many of those sports news outlets are heavily staffed with Medill alums), and one would think that could only mean good things for recruitment. The obvious foul gave Northwestern the decisive free throws and go-ahead points to win.

But for Fisher-Davis and the Commodores, March 16, 2017 will go down as a day which will live in infamy. He is not an exuberant sort by nature, yet his internal struggle was obvious to anyone who watched Vanderbilt with any regularity.

He led his team in points with 22, keeping Vanderbilt in a game that was dominated by Northwestern, but it's his final misstep that will be remembered. One of the keys and difference-makers in the Big Dance has always been free throw shooting.

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And though Fisher-Davis scored 14 of his 22 points in the second half to help ninth-seeded Vandy (19-16) rally from 15 points down, his mistake was the main takeaway from this game - maybe not as bad as Chris Webber calling a timeout that MI didn't have or Georgetown's Fred Brown throwing the pass to James Worthy of North Carolina in the final, but certainly not one for the "One Shining Moment" video, either. This will tell us the impact of the play in question to show whether or not Fisher-Davis is really the person in the wrong here. With Northwestern in the double bonus, it was unlikely he thought they had a foul to give. Unfortunately, he forgot the time and score - a simple situation spectators often forget players can lose track of - and that mistake directly impacted the game. He also is the guy who remained productive in the last month after he was pulled from the starting lineup. Daum, the second-leading scorer in the nation, managed 17 points on 7 for 16 shooting from the floor. McIntosh played his best in the biggest game of his life.

Additionally, were it not for Fisher-Davis, Vanderbilt may not have had a lead to relinquish in the first place. "When he was recruiting the kids, he said, 'I've got nothing to offer you but a dream and a hope.' And they signed up for it.' And that ticket came home".

"Sure", I replied, mustering nervous enthusiasm.

"He's the type of person (who's going to) feel some blame", forward Luke Kornet said. He, too, was overcome with emotion in the game's closing moments.

  • Tabitha Byrd