Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Hope everyone had a happy Easter. The Sweet Sixteen/Elite Eight weekend fell at a terrible time, as I had guests – Brendan, Pete and Patrick – over for Break and I had to do family stuff while attempting to entertain them. Sheetz, Easter with my family, card games, bowling and wonderful basketball did the job of entertainment, but it didn’t leave me any time to write about the amazing basketball that transpired over the weekend.

Can I even attempt to recap, or better yet, should I, with so much being written about the games that set the Final Four and made a lot of people realize why college basketball is so great? Of course I should, because frankly, I live for this stuff, and you should to.

Quick Thoughts From The Friday Sweet Sixteen Games

I wonder if JJ Redick’s postseason performance is the worst by any player Dickie V named as his player of the year?

Did anyone not enjoy seeing him getting posterized on the Spartan fast break?

Does anyone look more depressed playing basketball than Paul Davis, who simply seems to be cringing out there even after he does something good?

Jake pointed out to me at dinner that he thinks the traveling call at the end of the Nova-UNC game was for the beginning of the move to the basket, not the end. First time I heard that theory, and having not really paid attention to that, I just had to give him my scholarly nod. If that was the case, the whistle came way, way too late.

Can you tell I’m really bitter about that game, despite the fact I know UNC will not win the championship?

Andrew Bogut is probably not going to be a very good NBA player. If you’re an NBA GM, and you’re taking him over Warrick, Deron Williams or Francisco Garcia, you’re absolutely insane.

Best Quote of the Entire Night, By Brendan: “Oh, Coach K, maybe you shouldn’t make so many commercials and should work on coaching your team a little bit more.”

And if you want to feel bad for Duke, just check out this column by Dickie V, which was posted by the Sports Guy earlier.

Elite Eight Stuff

Perhaps the best quartet of games to grace an Elite Eight, with four overtimes between them. Granted, some of those overtimes were the cause of some interesting coaching moves (Tubby, Lute?) and the other was more or less directly related to Louisville getting hot and West Virginia cooling off, although only slightly.

I missed the UNC/Wisconsin game, but apparently UNC couldn’t keep the Badgers out of the game and hung on by the skin of their teeth for the majority. Not really surprising, and why if it comes down to the Tar Heels versus the Illini, no matter how many lottery picks Roy Williams trots out there, I’m taking Illinois.

When they started the comeback against Arizona, it’s as if Deron Williams, Dee Brown and Luther Head knew they were going to finish it and win the game. Sure, Lute Olson didn’t help matters any by slowing the pace down and not going to Channing Frye, who was having a dominant game, but Illinois took advantage of every opportunity that they got, something you don’t always see.

Kentucky just made dumb mistakes once Patrick Spark’s miracle three got them to overtime, with Rajon Rondo throwing the ball out of bounds on the break, Randolph Morris not boxing out Davis, giving up four or five offensive rebounds up 79-75 and Kelenna Azubuike fouling within the first two seconds of the second overtime knowing he had four fouls. You’d think the most ideal time in an overtime to give up an easy basket would be right at the very beginning, when you have nearly five minutes to make up for it.

I do feel that even with the loss of Chuck Hayes (more on him later this week), this Kentucky team is going to be very good over the next couple of years. If Rondo gets a jump shot and Morris becomes the consistently dominating player he shows flashes of, they have a great inside-outside combo.

As far as the Final Four goes, I’m so very excited for Illinois-Louisville and not very hopeful that Michigan State will knock out the Tar Heels, which will set up a high-flying championship game between either the top two teams in the country all year, should it be Illinois-UNC, or the most talented team and the hottest team, if it were UNC versus Pitino’s Louisville Cardinals.

So good bye to you, Mike Gansey, and thanks for showing us just how much better than JJ Redick you really are, Salim Stoudamire. Alando Tucker, we’ll be excited to see you progress, just as I said Kentucky’s team will be very interesting over the next couple of years. But for now, the Final Four dancers are set, and this Saturday night, we’ll see whose leaving with who and whose getting heartbroken, because honestly, what dance doesn’t have a little drama and tears at the end?

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