Last night, sports fans on both sides of the aisle (Duke haters and Duke fans) tried to do what they could to tilt the game in their favor. Both groups executed the "reverse jinx," a proven karma-affecting technique in which you exhibit supreme and often over-the-top confidence that the team you do not want to win will win. Saying something like "Duke will win by 40, take that to the bank" is supposed to ensure that the opposite happens.
Beginning at halftime -- when Duke led by one point -- I received a number of text messages from Sam offering his prediction for the outcome of the game. Did he properly execute the reverse jinx or was he just unconfident that a team who shouldn't have even been in the championship game to begin with would beat a team from a school nobody had heard of before? You be the judge.
10:24 PM (Duke leading 33-32 at the half): I'm calling it now. Duke loses.
10:27 PM (same situation): If Duke was going to win, they would've dominated first half. This is like butler-cuse. We're gonna lose in the end. I hope you tell the blog I called it 1st (ed note: Yup Sam, the blog knows you were the first to predict Duke would lose. Congratulations)
10:29 PM (same situation): I've seen how this team plays and right now they're playing at 9.7%
11:18 PM (late 2nd half, after Butler cut the Duke lead to 2): Home crowd is gonna settle this, we lose
11:19 PM (same situation): I have a cigar that I know I'm not gonna smoke when we lose. This is gonna suck.
11:30 (last minute, Duke up 1 with the ball): We miss, they hit, we lose. I am a prophet. If I'm wrong, please call me out. (ed note: You've been called out) I've seen this too many times. I know exactly what happens.
11:31 (same situation, after I call him out on trying to execute a reverse jinx): This isn't a jinx. I actually think this is gonna happen. I know it is.
11:32 (Duke misses, Butler gets the ball and calls timeout): This program is a repeat. I've seen this episode already. I know the ending. We lose.
And then Gordon Hayward's jumper rims out, Zoubek intentionally misses free throw #2 (which I still don't understand) and then Hayward's half courter nearly renders "Hoosiers" obsolete. Was Sam genuine in his distrust for his beloved Dukies? Well, I guess it doesn't matter. Jinxes only factor in what's said, not what's thought. I would say that Sam did his job, but he really doesn't have one.
And with that, I'm forced to tip my hat and say congratulations to Duke...you made it through what every pundit said was by far the easiest road to the Final Four of any of the 1 seeds, beat a West Virginia team that was playing without its starting point guard and whose coach was more interested in giving his best player mouth-to-mouth than winning the game, and then came a half court shot away from losing to a team with a guy who wouldn't have to dress up to go to a NAMBLA meeting. By the way, I'm not bitter at all.