What Lincoln is Thinkin' - The magic runs out

by Matt Lincoln

In Houston on Saturday night, VCU players, coaches and fans, plus a selected group of media were trying to figure out what went wrong, as one of the most miraculous runs in the history of the NCAA Tournament came to an end at Reliant Stadium.

Well, some of the Rams' shots rimmed out.

And the Bulldogs flopped around and milked calls from the refs.

And the intensity was not there on the defensive glass.

But really what happened was - the team of destiny that had such a miraculous run, ran into another Cinderella team's storybook ending.

There's no logical, concrete reason for VCU's 70-62 loss to Butler in the national semifinals.  It's just that the luck, the fire, and the swag that the Rams boasted for five games was just not there on Saturday night.

Joey Rodriguez - 3 points, on 1-8 shooting.

Ed Nixon - 2 points, and sitting on the bench with cramps.

Brandon Rozzell - 2 points, zero three-pointers, and the guy who's supposed to energize the team's offense was a flatliner.

When you look at those three statlines, it's amazing VCU kept this thing to single digits.

There were two major moments in the game, that proved that it was not going to happen for VCU this night.

With under five minutes to go, VCU found itself down by 7, and in serious danger mode. Rodriguez, who was previously scoreless, bombed one of those no-no-no-YES-YES-Yes long three's to close the gap to 4.  The next time down the floor J-Rod shot another one up, and it hit every single edge of the rim, and then popped out.  It would've been a one-point game.

Then with 75 seconds left, and VCU down by four, Jamie Skeen - who played about as well as one man could play - had an easy layin, that once again, clanged off an edge and just did not go down.  That would've made it a two point game.

Certainly there are tangible reasons for fans and players to look at as to why the Rams lost to the reigning national runner-ups in the national semifinals.  But when it comes down to it, that magic that had led them to a feat five-times as amazing as the previous top story in the history of the school, had just run out.