Greetings from the Hoodwood, where the locals (including your humble scribe) are going through some serious basketball withdrawal.
This happens every year, I’ve gotten to the point where I wont even watch the end of CBS’ final broadcast “One Shining Moment” is like the signature of the years basketball’s broadcast, a fitting coda to March Madness. But I cant watch it, its too depressing. Don’t get me wrong. I love that its spring time and my hopes spring anew for the Twins to win their first World Series in 20 years, but there is always a wistful sadness when the college game is wrapped for the year. As much as I love college football, Im almost glad when the bowl season wraps up. I was starting to get nauseous after watching 7-6 East Montana State take on 8-4 Whoisit U in the Tidy Bowl, the umpteenth meaningless bowl game saving another coach’s job. It’s almost mind numbing. After last nights championship game, you know that’s it. No more college basketball till November. I know, the pro game is heating up in its drive to the playoffs, but wake me when elimination games are being played in that regard.
I regards to last nights game, there was only one word for it: brutal. I was expecting defensive prowess to be catchphrase, but yikes. Butler shot an abysmal 18.9 percent...a record for futility not seen since Harry S Truman occupied the White House. Watching the second half was painful, especially watching the Bulldogs miss so many point blank shots at one stretch they went 1 for 22. Im no hoopster by any means but I can play better than that. You cant call it stage fright, and though UConn's length did bother Butler at times. I've never seen so many shots go down in the cylinder and come out. But give UConn all the props, especially to Jeremy Lamb and Alex Oriacki who stepped up in support of the incomprable Kemba Walker playing his final collegiate game. You can already see the bad pro teams already jockeying to land the pick that will send them college's biggest name player. But I can already hear the snickers of Billy Packer and his ilk who pooh-poo the so-called mid majors, jeering Butler's bad performance and saying that playing a big time team on a big time stage caught up with them. I seriously doubt that any of the so-called big boys would dare schedule Butler unless it was on their place or a neutral court. Look for the young gun coaches like Brad Stevens and VCU's Shaka Smart to be fixtures deep into March for years to come.
While Im on my college basketball soapbox, lets talk about how the networks have ruined the championship. No not with the coverage. Jim Nantz has few peers in calling the game and the commentary by Clark Kellogg are always pointed and strong. I also liked Steve Kerr's perspective.And Im not talking about the groundbreaking 4 network coverage that had my remote smoking. Lets talk about a 9:28 tip time. Why punish the bedrock of college hoops fans in the east to placate the handful of west coast viewers. I know CBS wants to dominate the time slot for the entire primetime but couldn't you start the game at 8:10p EDT? It would make those like your humble scribe who has a 4:30a wakeup call much happier.
Lefty: No Masters Rival to be seen?
Has anyone really noticed that the Masters is set to tee off this weekend? Me personally, Im not a real big gold maven. I was like a lot of people that would only watch when Tiger Woods was in contention, but now that he has apparently come back to earth and has proven to be mortal than a lot of people thought he would ever appear, the Masters has lost some recent appeal. Personally, I think the golfer that should be the most pissed off is Phil Mickelson. Lefty has finally got his mind and his game right and has been playing the best golf of anyone in recent memory. He would have made a great foil for Tiger…circa 2001-2004; Unfortunately with Woods looking like any regular bum on the course, defending Masters champ Mickleson has no real peer and may not get the real test at the peak of his game. So sad
Rodman: A Hall of Famer?
The basketball hall of fame named its 2011 class on Monday, and while the selections of Chris Mullin, Teresa Edwards and Arvydis Sabonis were very legit (Sabonis was selected for his great play with the Russian national team, not for his largely forgettable Portland years) Artis Gilmore, Reese “Goose” Tatum Satch Sanders and Tex Winter were long, long overdue. The selection of Dennis Rodman puzzled me. Make no mistake, I was a Rodman fan. He was a beast on the boards even after he weirded out in his Chicago years but I don’t think he is hall of fame material. He did average 13.1 rebounds a year playing for 5 teams, but was he a game changer? I think the hall of fame got this one wrong, but I don’t have a say in it. All of the newest inductees deserve congrats for their selection to basketball immortality.
Phat Dap/Head Slap
To a ten year old, with a lot of bank and a lot of heart. Cliff Forrest bought the Super Bowl Ring belonging to William “The Refrigerator” Perry at a sales memorbila shop. Then contacted the burly former Bears defensive tackle to give him the ring back. Perry, who is battling Guillain-Barre syndrome had sold the ring years ago to help fund his medical treatment. Forrest who paid for the ring from his college savings said that he wanted no reward, but a grateful Perry gave Forrest some autographed Bears memoribila. Dap to a kid who never saw Perry play but could appreciate the sentimental value of a Super Bowl ring.
To the idiot coaches that are going on record for supporting an expansion of the NCAA tourney to 96 teams. I wasn’t too much in favor of expanding the tourney to 68, but grudgingly accepted the expansion. But with VCU’s stunning run to the national semis, there are some coaches like Jay Wright of Villanova, who have went on record for saying that expansion of the tourney is a good thing. The weak-ass argument that college football sends better than 50% of its teams to bowl games that the basketball sends less than a quarter should be rectified. I disagree, let making the tourney still mean something and not just a .500 record. Wright knows a fade like his Wildcats have made in the last two seasons won’t do him any favors. 68 is fine, lets leave well enough alone.
Well Im going to head into detox, since my college basketball fix has ended and im already getting the munchies and twitching nervously. But rest assured, I'll be give you the view from the hoodwood next week
Until Next Post Fellow Sports Fans!