Posted on: April 4, 2011 7:02 pm

Butler & UConn Are Worthy Finalists. Get Over It

Due to insomnia, I was awake at 4am and listening to the radio.  Of course, the sports stations were talking NCAA Basketball, and one set of morons to remain nameless blasted UConn and Butler, along with the NCAA because - no joke - Butler is not a powerhouse [Really?  That's a disqualifying criterion?  Only in Fantasyland!] and UConn really doesn't deserve to be in the finals because Ohio and Kansas were so much better.  OK.  So, where are Ohio and Kansas?  Oh yeah!  They lost during the tourney.  Ohio lost to Kentucky State, and Kansas fell against VCU.  Great games.  Great performances.  Not what anyone expected.

Look anyone can lose on any given day, and those who are more motivated to win and have the Fates on their side on that day will win. Ask Roger Federer or Rafa Nadal.  Both know what it's like to be number 1 and fall.  It happens.

The NCAA tourney consists of teams who either meet the eligibility requirements or play to qualify for the last two spots.  Everybody has a pretty even shot to win each round and move on to the next one.  OK.  Some teams are just more talented than others.  However, some teams have more heart and play with more determination.  Whatever it takes, someone will win, and another goes home.  DO NOT say that VCU doesn't deserve to be in the tourney.  Their play proves you wrong.  Don't say Butler is boring.  Watch those games from this past weekend or during the Elite 8 and and Sweet 16.  Don't begrudge UConn the opportunity.  Kemba et al have shown fight, grit, will.

If Ohio and Kansas aren't there, that's their fault.  They had their chance.  Too bad they lost, but don't resent the winner his due.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 27, 2011 10:36 am

Forget the Brackets. Dig These Games!

OK.  My bracket took some hits, but I might survive depending on the final outcome.  Regardless, who cares when you have games like the ones from Thursday, Friday and especially Saturday?  Butler played a great game, and I was happy to see them win, even though I wasn't sure that they could.  And what about UConn?  I had faith in that squad, but at times I thought they would screw up BIG TIME.  Yet, they pulled through.  Happy to see both teams in the Final Four.  I just know that the games will be some of the best - not only of the season, but in quite a long time.  Woo hoo!
Category: NCAAB
Tags: Butler, UConn
Posted on: March 22, 2011 1:43 pm

Bruce Pearl: TN had no choice

Was reading the article on and today (full story here ), and given the facts, TN was left with no choice.  He may have been a heck of a coach and a nice guy, but his off-court behavior is just as important as what he could accomplish on the court.  Let's face it:  Pearl failed on a basic level.  Even if what he did was harmless, his repeated transgressions pointed to someone who either didn't care or couldn't learn.  Is that the kind of guy you want representing your school or program? Is that the kind of guy you want mentoring your kids?

To make matters worse, there was not one lapse.  There were several.  Just when TN thought they had a handle on what went down, more lapses emerged.  You can forgive someone only so many times:   He admits he does something, they review, admonish and get a hearty promise not to do it again.  Anything else to know?  No?  OK.  Move on.  New violation.  "Oh yeah!  I forgot about that."  He admits he does something, they review, admonish and get a hearty promise not to do it again.  Anything else to know?  No?  OK.  Move on.   Then another appears.  Here we go again.  We're not talking instructions for using shampoo here (lather, rinse, repeat).  We're talking repeating behaviors until getting caught as if seeing what you can get away with.  Then, when caught, apologizing and waiting a small period before doing it again.  Give us a break.

What's worse, this is not the first time.  He was getting a second chance after doing the same thing elsewhere.  I'm not saying TN will be his last job, but you have to ask yourself, "Will this be the last big program he gets?"  He might get rehired, but it won't be with a such a big program.

The worst of it?  He'll probably lapse there, too.
Posted on: March 21, 2011 5:36 pm

March Madness and Indian Wells = I'm Beat

Well, this years's NCAA tourney may be frustrating to some, but games have proven to be exciting.  If not, they're always entertaining.  What it does point out, though, is that the NCAA committee needs some help in picking some teams.  Blowouts just should not happen at this level.  The solution is NOT to expand the number of teams who qualify.  Enough's enough there.  Rather, try to remember that this is the last big tourney of the year, and treat it that way.  Not everyone is going to get in. Sorry.  That's just the way it is.  If everyone gets some kind of pass, then it's not a competition; it's an exhibition.  Pick teams according to talent and performance.  The NCAA says it does, but look at the performance of those who got a pass, and look at the quality of talent that was left on the sidelines and should have been there instead of some who were chosen.

On the other hand, the ATP gets the idea of letting the talent speak for itself.  Even when there are upsets, rarely are they beatings.  A few years ago, Nadal had to pull out due to injury.  He knew it.  He was playing poorly.  If he didn't leave, he'd risk injury or worse thrashings.  Ultimately, the players righted themselves, adjusting to things the way they had transpired, and moved on.  Tennis hurt for while, but the quality of play did not suffer.  Indian Wells this year was exciting because players were healthy (for the most part - sorry Tommy R), very fit and ready to play.  Ultimately, the top three men ended up in the semis, and the top 2 were in the final.  Evenly matched, the two players played a good match.

Note to NCAA:  Pick quality.  Commit to performance and competition.  What makes the NCAA tourney great is that the year's great teams get to challenge each other and prove their mettle.  Don't lose that in favor of inclusion.  You dilute the pool, but - worse - you take away the value of the event.
Posted on: March 20, 2011 6:27 pm

March Madness Lives Up to Its Name

iOK. Not surprised about Ohio's performance, but a few others have really impressed and surprised.  I have to admit that Richmond and Morehead State were not ones I saw moving on, and I compliment Richmond on holding on.  While I like Butler, I thought Pitt was going to take them.  Happy for both.  Duke won, and I am happy since I have them going to the Final Four.  I didn't see Carolina getting passed Washington.  I also thought Kansas State would hold on until the Final Four, too.  Such is life.  My bracket may hurt a little, but it's worth it to watch such great basketball.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 13, 2011 12:48 pm

NCAA Conference Tourneys Live Up to Hype!

OK.  Who else was up last night watching that Big East final between UConn and Louisville?  I like both teams; so, for me it was about watching quality basketball.  But I have to admit that it was hard not to root for Kemba Walker, Roscoe Smith, Coombs-McDaniel, Jeremy Lamb and Alex Oriakhi.  It's not a team of front-page headline stars.  UConn is a team of young players who were mostly dismissed at the beginning of the season.  No one thought that they would make it this far. NIT?  Sure.  NCAA Tourney.  Yeah.  Right.

What makes them stand out for me is the true teamwork and team spirit.  Walker always put the team first, and he inspired his teammates by giving them credit where due, depending on them in clutch situations, assisting as much as possible and never giving up:

"[Kemba] never quit, he never lost faith in me -- he never lost faith in any of us," said Lamb, who finished with 13 points and seven rebounds. "And that means a lot."

Other teammates echoed that message after the game.

"When you have one of the best point guards in the country, and you're a big man, and he wants to give you the ball, he's confident in you, it makes you that much better," sophomore forward Alex Oriakhi said.  (<cite class="source">Kieran Darcy, </cite> <cite class="source"></cite> ESPN, full story here ).

You can say whatever about Jim Calhoun and the issues preseason and during the season.  For the players, what mattered was being there for each other.  One person's success is everyone's success.  One player cannot win a game.  It takes 5 players working together to win a game.  You may have a star or leader, but he can't do it alone.  Kudos to UConn's players for showing how it's done.

Category: NCAAB
Tags: Big East
Posted on: March 12, 2011 5:35 pm

Looking forward to Selection Sunday!

At last, the NCAA Men's Basketball tournament selection is around the corner and the Madness will be in full swing.  I'm looking forward seeing the matchups because I have enjoyed the season so far.  Kemba Walker is peaking at the right time, and I'd like to see how Jimmer Frdette fares in the post season, too.  Happy to see that Gonzy will be back.  I just enjoy watching them.  For me, the best thing about the end of the NFL season is that it signals the beginning of the best play in the NCAA games.  My evenings are usually filled with ESPN games.  And when it's all done?  It's Baseball Season, Baby!
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: January 9, 2011 6:37 pm

College Basketball Does Not Disappoint

Watched quite a few games yesterday, and I am never disappointed.  Teams play with such fervor and pride.  It's great to see in an era where so much is determined by a dollar bill (or several millions).  It's nice to see while it's still a great game to play before it becomes a job.  Not that I begrudge players using their talents to make what they love or what they have as their greatest skill into a career.  In fact, I wish I had that kind of talent.  In the meantime, I will enjoy a good game.  In fact, I can enjoy several.  March is going to be truly Mad!
Category: NCAAB
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