by Rob Joyce
In one of the more highly-anticipated second round matchups in the NCAA Tournament, second-seeded Kentucky faced the 10-seed Wichita State. It was a rematch from the 2014 Tournament, when the Wildcats upended the top-seed and undefeated Shockers in the Round of 32. Sunday’s matchup had an added bit of drama when Wichita State’s Darral Willis said the blue-blood Kentucky was “nothing special”.
While they need three more wins to prove their “specialness” UK is at least better than the Shockers, as proven by a 65-62 victory to advance to the Sweet 16. Willis scored just two points in eight minutes off the bench as his team’s season came to an end.
Despite nearly pulling off the upset, Willis joins this list of players who couldn’t quite back up their words:
In midst of rolling to a perfect regular season in 2007 the Patriots were 13-0 before a game with the Steelers at home in early December. Pittsburgh’s second-year defensive back Anthony Smith was so confident that they’d hand New England their first loss that he said “I can guarantee a win”. Smith backed up his words by subsequently being burned for two touchdowns as the Pats rolled 34-13.
When LeBron James infamously bolted Cleveland for Miami in the summer of 2010, the Cavs’ owner went on the offensive. Posting an open letter to the team’s website, Gilbert referred to James as “our former hero” who left in a “cowardly betrayal”. He also guaranteed that the Cavs would win a championship before James and the Heat.
Obviously that didn’t happen, as Miami went back-to-back and made it to four straight Finals, while Cleveland toiled in the depths of the lottery. All would be forgiven, however, upon LeBron’s return to the homeland, where he gave Cleveland the championship last season it’s long been awaiting.
Now a key contributor on West Virginia’s Sweet 16 bunch in 2017, Miles was a freshman in 2015 when the Mountaineers met undefeated Kentucky in the 2015 regional semis. As the Wildcats were chasing history at 36-0 entering the game, Miles said the day before the game that after playing WVU “they’re gonna be 36-1”.
Certainly not egregious by any stretch, but Kentucky took notice and ran with it, to the tune of a 78-39 massacre to advance to the Elite 8. Afterwards multiple UK players pointed out the trash talk as added motivation to ensure they would win in grand style. And that, they certainly did.
The 2004 NFC Wild Card game between the Packers and Seahawks went to overtime. Seattle successfully won the toss, but instead of merely saying they would receive the kickoff, quarterback Matt Hasselbeck shouted “We want the ball and we’re gonna score.” And technically Hasselbeck did throw the game-ending pass – to the other team, as Al Harris’ pick-six took Green Bay into the Divisional Round.
The director and most popular Knicks fan has been front and center at nearly every game at the Garden for over two decades. The outspoken Lee put his foot in his mouth, though, when he got in a war of words with the Pacers’ Reggie Miller. In Game 1 in the 1994 Eastern Conference semifinals, with the Pacers down six with less than 19 seconds left, the Hall of Famer had his seminal moment, scoring eight points in nine seconds to take the lead. He capped it by looking directly at Lee while making the choking gesture as the Pacers took the series opener.