Posted By:Brett Haynes - Greenville, SC Tags:
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If you have now had an overdose of college basketball, well, I cannot really say that I blame you. Between the winding down of the regular season a month ago, conference tournaments, Selection Sunday, and finally this past three weekends of NCAA March Madness, well, that is a heck of a lot of college hoops! We now - thankfully - get a five-day break from the action before the Final Four. But first, before you go, you need to read this: my thoughts on the NCAA tournament thus far.
Seeding. Ok, I discussed this in an article (albiet a short one) a couple weeks back. This tournament has gone to the birds as far as seeding goes. In the first round, I believe there were 14 "upsets." And I suppose I am categorizing an upset as a lower seed defeating a higher seed. And in the Final four, we have two five seeds heading to Indianapolis. So with that said, I say the NCAA shakes up its way of rewarding the top teams. I am not sure how you do this, I just feel it needs to be done. Maybe a bye could be given to the one and two seeds in each region somehow. Don't get me wrong at all, I love seeing Butler and Michigan State - as fives - make the Final Four. I'm just saying the NCAA missed badly on those two (and many others) as far as strength when rating the squads. There are so many good teams this is nearly an impossible task...Just needs some thought, I think.
Oddly Enough. Tennessee became the team that I enjoyed following in this year's tournament. I also like the Mountaineers, but something about Tennessee made me watch their games closely (especially the last two games). As an ACC fan, it is odd to think that I would be pulling for UT, and really kinda hoping Duke would get beat. But the truth is that I have enjoyed watching the Vols much more than the Devils. I liked to watch Wayne Chism pop the three. I liked to watch big Brian Williams inside dunking and rebounding. I liked to watch JP Prince (cousin of Tayshawn) make big plays. Bobby Maze could play, Melvin Goins could play. They were a fun bunch to watch, and I sort of got this feeling that Tennessee was going to make its first appearance in the Final Four in program history. The only thing that bugged me about UT was Steven Pearl off of the bench. I am 99 percent sure he is Coach Bruce Pearl's son, and he is God-awful. He came into the game against Michigan State and (not kidding) fell down twice and committed two fouls in about a minute and 45 seconds. Disappointing that Pearl didn't have a better 7th man, but hey, so it is....As for Duke, I am in a tight spot as far as who to go for Saturday. I have a West Virginia background on my mom's side, and my grandfather was a huge West Virginia fan. I myself have always liked their uniforms, and how they have a lot of school pride. But at the same time, I am an ACC fan, and Duke gives the league a shot at back to back crowns, which solidifies the ACC as still being the premier hoops conference (hey, we get bashed in football at times, I'll speak now when I can!). The real problem exists in the fact that I just really do not like Duke a whole heck of a lot. Besides Coach K ratting around on the bench and never giving the officials a break, all of the players seem like robots in his system with little charisma. Brian Zoubek is a weirdo to watch handle the ball, and Jon Scheyer resembles an alien. Just don't like 'em that much, but will give them credit in that they can play ball. This game against West Virginia is going to be one for the ages - I can feel it.
What You don't see. Sometimes we get so caught up in what we see, that we forget what we don't see. Many big-time programs were left out of this year's NCAA field of 65, and here is a quick look at what's up with those squads.
North Carolina. Yes, everyone from here to Angola knows that UNC lost nearly its whole team from a year ago. The Heels are almost as common to the Dance as the dogwood trees blooming each spring. Currently they are in the NIT tournament and have a NIT Final Four matchup with Rhode Island in Madison Square Garden Tuesday night.
UCLA. While Kentucky and UNC and Duke fight it out over who is the "Big Blue" of college basketball, the answer actually still lies out West in the form of the Bruins - proud owners of 11 national titles (UK 7, UNC 5, Duke 3). Their last national title was in 1995, but they have flirted with glory a ton lately as they reached the Final Four in 2006, 2007 and 2008. They did not participate in the NIT in 2010.
Arizona. The Wildcats have been to the NCAA tournament EVERY SINGLE YEAR from 1985-2009, but you didn't see them there this year. After Lute Olson's retirement for health reasons, the Wildcats have gotten shaky. They barely went dancing in 2009, and missed the Dance for the first time in 25 years this year. They did not participate in the NIT, either, in 2010.
Oklahoma. The Sooners aren't known as a basketball powerhouse, but they haven't had a bad history, either! They have 27 NCAA appearances, and have reached the Final Four four times, the last coming in 2002. They made the NCAAs in 2008 and 2009, but were missing this year. They also did not participate in the NIT in 2010.
Michigan. The Wolverines won it all in 1989, have been to six Final Fours, and went to the Dance 12 out of 14 years from 1985-1998. They had a hiatus from the tourney 1998-2009, but made an apperance, as mentioned, last year. They did not participate in the NIT in 2010.
Fans25.com Tournament Challenge. Thanks to everyone for playing, but I think now only three players have a shot to win. It all comes down to who can claim the national title game - worth ten points. Pilot1003, Woody26 and CoachBB are the three remaining players. Good luck, and we will just have to wait and see what goes down in the Final Four.
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