Lutz's adage is one way of addressing what Joel Fish, director of the Center for Sports Psychology in Philadelphia, calls the essential question at the core of his field. "When the game's on the line, how can we go from Uh-oh, here we go again to We've got 'em right where we want 'em? College basketball produces emotion. It just does. The goal is to better manage that emotion, to deepen the belief system so we can go from Uh-oh to We've got 'em" To underscore his point, Fish likes to invoke the Chinese character chi, which can mean both crisis and opportunity.
Ganulin isn't a Chinese character. He's a New York character. Sitting in his tiny office overlooking the St. Francis gym, he wonders whether the Terriers will ever again have as good a chance to get to the NCAAs. Yet he also knows that a game of ebbs and flows sometimes produces tidal surges, forces of nature that no coach can stay, and he finds some solace in that. "What could I have done?" he says. "If I knew what I could have done, I would have done it."