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Northwestern beat Michigan because Tre Demps is made of literal fire, and other observations

:fire emoji:

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

1. Tre Demps is fire. He is made from fire. His hands and arms are fire, and his stomach and body and head and face and legs are fire too. When he touches things they ignite on fire. When he sends you a text his phone melts and the text you get is just 50 fire emojis. When he isn't playing basketball a local blacksmith uses him to forge iron.

Tre Demps doesn't hit every shot -- in fact, he hits well under half -- but when it's crunch time and the shot Demps is taking is particularly difficult, he hits it. We've known this for a while, but last night's shots -- each 100 percent necessary for the Wildcats to win, each perfectly pure --

Statistics say "clutch" and "the hot hand" don't exist, and I tend to believe statistics, so I printed out several theses about how "clutch" and "the hot hand" don't exist and I gave them to Tre Demps and the instant the paper touched his hand it lit on fire and burnt to ashes.

2. I watched the play Brian James drew up for Tre Demps at the end of overtime and immediately broke up with my girlfriend and petitioned the state of New York to allow me to marry that play and the only reason I couldn't is because it was so beautiful that every man and woman who saw it immediately became overcome with furious passion and my petition got lost in the clamoring. Eventually the judge ripped off his robes, grabbed the play, sprinted out of the courtroom, and hopped into a waiting speedboat, never to be seen again.

What makes the play so incredible is where it starts from. Most college hoops coaches probably have two types of late-game plays: For situations where they have the ball out-of-bounds on the baseline under their own basket, and situations where they have the ball under the other basket at the opposite end of the floor.

Northwestern's play fell into a different category: They had the ball, needing three points on the last possession of the game, on the sideline at about the top of the three-point arc. This situation arises so rarely I can't imagine Northwestern had a pre-existing play ready for it.

After the game NU players and coaches credited assistant Brian James for the play. I wonder if he's the late-game play guru or if Collins turned to him because of his NBA experience -- college teams never get the ball in that situation, but in the NBA you can advance the ball to halfcourt with a timeout, and that play comes up in almost every close game. Even then, the ball was entered so deep into the post that I'm not sure an NBA team would run it exactly.

It was just so damn gorgeous. It's fun watching Michigan drop into "lol they brought the ball inside the two-point arc haha let them have it" mode while totally failing to cover the actual action on the play. The Cats ran a double screen for Tre Demps, but Alex Olah doesn't even connect on his part of the double screen. JerShon Cobb's pass was perfectly timed and perfectly placed, and that's how Michigan let the person who is literally made out of fire get open when they should've devoted all their efforts to dousing him.

3. Foul up three. Foul up three. Always foul up three. Just foul up three. Every once in a while fouling up three fails, but these are the rare exceptions. The world is littered with occasions of not fouling up three and losing. Northwestern's win last night was one of those. (Two of those?)

4. I haven't had an opportunity to say this yet, but...

(screams at the basketball gods for letting me have faith in Northwestern basketball when time and time again they have showed me it is a bad idea)

I think Northwestern can make the NCAA Tournament next year. I do! I really, really do. I'll write about this in the summer, but... this team has proven it can compete in Big Ten play, through close losses and actual wins. It loses some pieces, but not necessarily vital ones, and gains good recruits and transfers. I genuinely can't remember a Northwestern team with as much depth as next year's will have.

Do I think Northwestern does make the NCAA Tournament next year? No, probably not. But the possibility is there. And as a Northwestern fan, that's exciting.

5. And note that I say next year, because Tre Demps and Alex Olah are very good and very important and as much faith as I have in Chris Collins' recruiting (and everything Chris Collins does because Chris Collins is great,) the last two fellas in an NU uniform recruited by Bill Carmody (UPDATE: I'm a big stupid idiot, of course Sanjay and Taphorn) are going to be crucial if it does happen.