NCAA Musing Part 3


From the first time I saw Syracuse play on TV early in the year I felt like they were a monster team. I have always felt like they were the best team in the nation (sometimes we get fooled by the ups & downs of a season). Anyway. Through the first two rounds (playing without their center) they did what they had to do and demolished who they played. Their 2-3 zone is stifling. They are deep. They are mature. And they are by far the best front runner in a game team in the conference (Boeheim seems to teach that killer instinct well). And they get their center back from here on out. Doesn’t mean someone on a given day couldn’t beat them. But they are very very good. Big East has 2 teams left. Both very different. West Virginia is a ‘banger’ team. Loose refs and they could shove their way into Final Four with Syracuse.


referee-costumeThis isn’t a gripe about referees (because in general I believe they do a great job). Nowhere do you have the opportunity to do referee comparison than you do during the tournament. Because there are so many games being played at exactly the same time you can watch a game where the teams are pounding the shit out of each other and its like they forgot to give out whistles before the game and then they switch to another game and some team had gone to the foul line 40 plus times (and it seems like they miss about half of them). If a coach isn’t careful and they don’t realize they are in a “non physical referee game” fast enough they can have some of their best players rack up some fouls very quickly.

Cornell, Northern Iowa, Butler, St. Mary’scornell

How awesome is it to be able to type these names after the first weekend of the tournament. (I would like to also point out how awesome it was that I typed pretty much these same names in my first college basketball post in January). How good are they really? Heck. I don’t know. But we are sure gonna find out by the end of next weekend that’s for sure. I am not sure any of them have an ice cube’s  chance in hell (especially Cornell against KY). But. All I know is I have a Cornell baseball hat and win or lose I am gonna wear it.

The Young Faces

Holy cow. When they get interviewed some of these kids are … well … kids. For the most part they are amazingly well spoken but that isn’t really the point. They are kids. And the top tier teams who have these kids on camera all the time? Their kids are calm and mature. The Cornells, Northern Iowas and Old Dominions … well … they are so excited and so happy it reminds you why everyone should love college basketball. They mumble. They smile. They say goofy things. But, damn, they love the moment. Awesome.

Game Endingsuni logo

Maybe it’s just me but I cannot remember more close game endings than this year. The end of the Michigan State – Maryland game was funny and amazing. While it certainly wasn’t the closest buzzer beater win there is a moment when a pass goes cross the top of the key where the big man has to duck so he doesn’t get smacked in the head as it goes from one guard to the other. And even if he would have caught it I am not sure he would have had enough time to get it back to someone who could make a shot. But beyond that funny moment the clutch shooting to win games has been amazing. You have to give those teams a boatload of credit because in almost every case every team found “their guy” had the ball at the right time in the right place to even give themselves a shot at the win.

The Most Interesting team Left that can Win It (to me)

Duke.  Year in and year out they play beyond their capabilities. I personally believe Krzyzewski is one of those rare special coaches who gets lots of very good players to his program and gets them to play on occasion like really great players (and their record outstrips their true abilities). C’mon. This is the coach who made Bobby Hurley, Mike Gminski, Danny Ferry and Christian Laettner high round NBA draft picks. That’s why they are my most interesting team. They shouldn’t win the entire thing. But. There’s that but.

The Team that Should Have Made the Madness

Connecticut. Women’s team. In case you haven’t paid any attention once again they are playing the role of the Harlem Globetrotters while everyone else gets to be the Generals. They would have made it out of the first weekend of the men’s tournament. I also hear they beat the Canadian hockey team in an exhibition game (hockey, not bball) before the olympics  which shows their athletic talent. oh. They celebrated with beer on the ice afterwards. Canadian beer.

Written by Bruce