As I have mentioned here many times, I was fortunate enough to be a student in attendance for the 2011 meeting of the Indiana Hoosiers and the Kentucky Wildcats. Somehow, despite many replay viewings of the ESPY award winning Wat Shot, I have never taken the time to sit down and actually watch the full ESPN broadcast of the game. It's time to change that. Since this could take a while, let's do it running diary style (lovingly stolen from ESPN's Bill Simmons), complete with notes on what I remember from seeing the game live and in person.
Pregame thoughts: I know there were points later in the season where they said Assembly Hall got louder, but I cannot recall a louder, more emotionally charged atmosphere in any IU game I've attended. At least 15 minutes before tipoff, there was a fairly loud, sustained "F*ck Kentucky" chant that resulted in the first of what I'm pretty sure were many admonishments from Chuck Crabb over the PA. My other distinct memory from the pregame was an unplanned singalong by the student section (and possibly others in attendance, I couldn't be sure from the balcony) with Tim Noble on the national anthem. There has never yet been video of this on YouTube that I've found, and it's the one thing from this game that really need to be there that isn't already.
As we go through ESPN's intro to the game, they show an IU student in Kentucky gear in the IU student section getting hassled a bit. Though I never got his name, I know he was a Kelley student, because I had at least one class with him.
20:00: Oh yeah, the IU Gorilla was still a big deal in 2011. Does someone still dress up like that for games?
18:15: I forgot how little scoring there was early. 3-2 Kentucky, but IU's had some poor luck with the rim so far. Two other thoughts: first look at Coach Cal (BOO!), and first mention by Dickie V that IU hasn't been getting Cody the ball as much as he thought they should. In a related note, I am not a fan of Dick Vitale commentary.
17:56: "I flat out can't hear ya." Two guesses who drops that gem.
17:38: Second mention that Zeller isn't getting touches. Not even two and a half minutes in yet.
17:19: I forgot this was the year that Cody had the inexplicable wrap on his left arm. Did we ever find out what that was for? I remember people mentioning either an arm injury or a tattoo, and neither made sense to me.
Also, Doron Lamb missed the first of two free throws. Seems like this was a common thing for him.
16:56: Wait, TV Teddy was a ref for this game? How in the world did we overcome that?
16:40: Remember when people thought Marquis Teague was good? Yeah, me neither. (He just missed a wide open layup.)
16:22: Somehow, that inbounds play wasn't called back, despite Verdell never fully crossing the end line. OK then.
16:17: Cody "Ga"Zeller just outran the entire Kentucky team down the floor. This is a thing that happened.
15:52: Why Indiana fans don't get enough respect from the rest of the world: People tried camping out for this game on Tuesday (it was played on Saturday), but the administration didn't want students out in the cold that long. Eat your heart out, Krzyzewskiville!
15:11: Coming out of commercial, the announcers are discussing the IU-UK rivalry, and Vitale mentions his hope that the rivalry keeps going. Yeah, about that. Also, this is your occasional reminder that Tubby Smith won an NCAA title at Kentucky. That happened, people.
14:46: There was a time that people thought Will Sheehey was the better half of Sheeladipo. Great 6th man, sure, but let's not forget who is playing in the NBA and who isn't.
14:25: Resisting...urge...to make fun of sponsor on sideline advertising (Kumho Tires).
14:14: Third mention that Cody isn't getting the ball enough.
13:30: Lamb is confused as to how he got called for the offensive foul. You mean, other than the part where you ran over Jordy AND led with your elbow into his chest, Doron?
13:11: Watford misses a 3. He would only do that one more time in this game.
12:32: This was (maybe) the first game of a (possible) triple-header? Wonder how badly the other two games failed to live up to the hype and drama of this one. Also, TOM PRITCHARD SIGHTING!
11:33: Vitale mentions that both Calipari and Crean have beaten a #1 ranked Kentucky team in the past. Calpari in 1995, Crean in 2003. Interesting that both of those came 8 years apart, hm? Quick math problem: what's 2011-2003?
9:22: The official closest to the play gets knocked over, and when a Kentucky player (Terrence Jones) glares at him when the ball goes to Indiana, the official glares right back at him, because Jones knocked him over. SERVES YOU RIGHT, SON!
9:06: Watford has his second 3 attempt blocked. So he started 0-2 from 3, and closed at a 4-4 clip? That's pretty awesome, actually.
8:50: Someone has a Zeller for President sign. We can't be sure of much, but the odds that said person is a Poly Sci major are probably low.
8:11: Vitale is showing off his 3 point shooting form while talking about Jordan Hulls. Their shots... aren't as different as you would hope.
8:03: Cody draws the second foul on Anthony Davis, sending him to the bench. I remember this being a big deal in hindsight.
6:44: Indiana is 5-18 from the field right now (0-fer from 3), and only trails by 3 with Oladipo on the free throw line. Yeah, I can't explain it either. (Well, we haven't missed a free throw yet (9 for 9 after Oladipo makes 2), so that probably helps, but still.)
6:25: Vitale mentions Mo Creek going off for 31 against Kentucky in 2009 as Creek is in the familiar grey sweats on Indiana's sideline. Pour one out for the career Mo could have had, but didn't.
6:06: Fourth mention that Cody isn't getting enough touches. We get it, Dick, we get it.
Oh hey, an ad for the Heisman announcement that night. Remember when Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Trent Richardson, Tyrann Mathieu and Montee Ball could be mentioned in the same sentence as a fair competition? 2011, you so crazy.
6:01: First missed free throw for IU. The culprit: Daniel Moore. Pull his scholarshi....oh. (Wait, wasn't he actually on scholarship this year? PULL IT!)
5:20: Dan Shulman wonders if Cody will get a touch, 3 seconds after he had the ball and passed it off.
4:37: First made 3 for Indiana. It's Watford. The Hall goes nuts.
4:10: After getting called for a foul, Dickie V notes that "Pritchard gives them some size on the interior." That is followed by a full second of silence from the announcers. Speaking volumes, that.
3:41: I don't know why ESPN was using what would later become the title theme for "Two Broke Girls" as their going to commercial music this game, but they were.
Coming back from commercial, the Xavier-Cincy brawl from that same day is mentioned, and I'm reminded that that was a thing that happened. Huh. Good thing we don't take rivalries that seriously, right Kentucky?
2:28: While Dickie V is screaming for IU to get the ball to Zeller, Tom Pritchard instead finds a wide open Jordan Hulls for a deep 3 that puts IU up 30-22. Worth noting: Jordy was wide open the entire possession before he got the ball; Cody was never open.
Kentucky calls timeout, Assembly Hall is rocking, and the Indiana bench is pumped up. As it should be.
1:44: Vitale is talking about the incoming class for IU, better remembered around here as "The Movement". Of the 5 names he mentioned, 2 of them are still on the roster (Yogi and Hanner). Yeesh.
0:15: Vitale still harping on IU not going to Cody enough with the Brow on the bench.
Halftime: Indiana 30, #1 Kentucky 29.
At some point during their halftime highlight package, some of the plays are set to the radio calls from each team's respective team, which means that somewhere out there, a (real) Kentucky radio call of the Wat Shot exists. This is glorious news.
20:00: ESPN puts up a graphic of the last three meetings between these teams. In 2009 and 2010, Kentucky led at the half before going on to win. In 2011, Indiana led at the half. It's almost like they knew it was gonna happen or something.
18:45: The sideline advertisement (from Kroger) says "On this floor history is made." THE SIGNS WERE THERE, PEOPLE!
18:04: A pass in to Cody is poked away to no comment from the announcers. Which means the next "Get Zeller the ball" comment is just moments away.
17:19: In a play that will look eerily familiar in about 17 minutes, Jordan Hulls comes down the floor, pulls the ball out, and finds a wide open Christian Watford for 3 from the same spot he'll hit one from later.
16:51: If you had 114 seconds of game time in your "Next Get Zeller The Ball" comment pool, congrats, you won!
15:55: Will Sheehey drains a 3, and Indiana has a 10 point lead over the #1 team in the country. I'm pretty sure this was the point during the game where, live, I felt the Hoosiers might not just upset Kentucky, but blow them out. Optimism is a great thing, y'all.
15:26: We're up to (I think) 8 mentions now. It's almost like Vitale has no faith in this team to win without heavily involving Cody Zeller.
15:16: 9 mentions, then Cody gets the ball and misses a tough jumper from about 7 feet.
14:55: Calipari's record at UK (going into this game): 38-0 at Rupp, 23-3 at a neutral site, 11-9 on the road. One of these things is not like the other things.
Also, you know those free throw analytics Kyle keeps talking about? Doron Lamb just missed another free throw. #theoryretroactivelyproven Free throw shooting at this point: UK 2-6, IU 11-14.
14:39: As the announcers discuss Indiana making a few big 3s, Jordy swishes another one with a hand in his face.
14:13: Marquis Teague scores his first points of the night. LOL.
13:24: Vic finds Cody for a dunk. It's a shame we only had those two together for 2 years.
13:00: Lamb drives and draws a foul, but Oladipo goes ahead and swats his shot attempt out past the three point line for the fun of it. It ends up in the ESPN booth, to Dan Shulman's great amusement.
Finally, Lamb doesn't miss the first free throw of a pair.
12:43: Watford hits his penultimate 3 of the evening. All three on this end of the floor came from the same side, and just about the same spot each time.
12:10: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was just killing us this game. I'm pretty sure this was a large part of why he got drafted.
12:00: Anthony Davis picks up his 4th foul on a Verdell Jones missed 3. Everything in that statement feels weird.
11:30: Some mild complaining (kvetching even) from Vitale about getting red paint on his shirt from hanging out with students.
10:23: The first "real" acknowledgement that Indiana might pull the upset from Dickie V.
9:57: Cody is getting held (no call), receives a pass, and passes it back out, and we break double digits on "Get Zeller the ball" complaints. That all happened in that order, on the same possession, within about 7 seconds time. I wish I was making this up.
9:52: Victor Oladipo finds the rim and the highlight reel with a dunk. If this game had ended as an easy IU win, that would be your main highlight.
9:25: The Oladipo chants begin.
8:58: Will Sheehey gets a great bounce to sink a 3, and the smell of Upset City reaches Vitale with IU up 10 points again.
8:35: Mention #11
7:53: Jordan Hulls hits Indiana's 7th consecutive 3. Assembly
Hulls Hall is thunderous.
6:26: They don't show it on TV (sadly), but it's time for FFFLLLAAAGGGSSS!!!
6:08: Anthony Davis is back in with 4 fouls. Mention #12
5:07: "I'm tired of yellin' about throwing the ball to Zeller." That makes two of us.
3:14: Indiana calls timeout, still in the lead, after not scoring for what feels like forever, but has probably only been about 3, maybe 4 minutes.
3:05: Watford ends the drought with a nice drive to the basket.
2:19: "Zeller has had no touches here in the second half, basically." - Noted exaggerator Dick Vitale
2:00: Kentucky finally retakes the lead, after Darius Miller runs over Victor Oladipo and doesn't get called for anything.
1:28: "He's wide open!" says Dick Vitale of Cody Zeller, with two players in blue directly behind his back.
1:03: Christian Watford hits a finger roll to put IU up 70-69.
Approx. 28 seconds: Live, I get the first feeling that we might have lost this game.
Approx. 17 seconds: Thank whatever deity you want that Anthony Davis is a terrible free throw shooter.
0:13.9: Mention 15-ish that Zeller isn't getting touches. It's almost over, I promise.
0:06.8: Oladipo loses the ball, and for the second time this game, live, I feel like we've lost.
0:05.6: Doron Lamb misses the first of two free throws, again. Crunch time, we are in you. One last mention that Cody didn't get enough touches from Vitale. Lamb makes the second, and then comes the sequence everyone is now familiar with.
0:05.0: Cody sets a screen a half court that frees Verdell for a moment. By the time he passes the ball, Cody is almost under the basket.
0:02.6-02.0: Every time I watch this dribble, I swear Verdell traveled. It never got called, though, and that's what counts.
0:01.2: Ladies and gentlemen, Dan Shulman: "Watford for the win...
0:00.0: ...YES!" Final: Indiana 73, #1 Kentucky 72
Postgame: The funniest part comes early, as whoever had their finger on the scoring button for ESPN initially erroneously gives Kentucky the 3 points, making it look like they won 75-70. The Kentucky players are slowly coming off the floor, as McCracken Court gets progressively less court-colored, and much, much more crimson colored. Also, when you watch replays of the Wat Shot, keep your eye on Jordy. He starts skipping towards Watford as the shot is in the air, then makes much bigger leaps once the shot falls. And of course, DAT CREAN FACE. One final personal note: The IU usher in the red jacket just over Dan Shulman's shoulder as he's interviewing Crean at the end? A guy I graduated high school with. True story. Caleb, if you read this, let 'em know in the comments who you are.
You know how the season went from there. You know how the team has been since then. I'm not gonna rehash all of that, as I've already passed 2500 words, so if you're still reading at this point, I thank you. I'll just leave you with this last thought.
Some moments transcend history. Even if things afterward don't go how you'd like or expect, you remember some moments for a lifetime. The Wat Shot will forever be among them, right there in my mind next to Haston vs. MSU, Miller in '98 against the Bulls, Austin Starr in the '07 Bucket game, Marlin Jackson in the 2006 AFC Championship game, and Andrew Luck against the Chiefs just last year. An instant classic.