Hey Final Four! Where’s The Sexy?

Posted on April 2, 2010. Filed under: Basketball, NCAA | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Final Four Weekend Is Here!  Who’s excited?  Anyone?  Going once . . . going twice . . . I’m not buying into the hype of NCAA’s main event this year either.  Unless you are a fan of Duke, Michigan State, WVU, or Butler, you probably aren’t planning your Easter weekend around college basketball.

Why?  There’s No SEXY:  If you love defense and inside play, then you will disagree, but if you lust after the fast paced, up and down the floor, gimme an alley-oop transition game, you won’t get it here.  You’ll get gritty work on the boards and nasty loose ball battles.   Here’s a rundown of each semi-final game:

Butler Bulldogs vs Michigan State Spartans:  The supposed undercard of the two games on Saturday is a matchup between the ambitious young gun leader and the unflappable final four mastermind . . . who wins?  Butler coach, Brad Stevens, doesn’t even look old enough to shave let alone lead a team to the Final Four.  Yet in just his third year at the helm, he has.   Ranked 6th in the country in defensive efficiency, the Bulldogs are riding a 24 game win streak and have to be confident heading into their first Final Four in school history.  But there’s one question . . . 

Is being close to home an advantage?  Not always.  Distractions are aplenty and players can fall victim to the HEY, AT LEAST WE MADE IT mentality and lose focus on accomplishing what you set out the season to do.  Not just get to the Final Four, but win the National Championship.  

It’s been well documented that Tom Izzo has gotten to the Final Four at a break neck clip.  To get to college basketball’s promised land six out of twelve seasons is remarkable.  But he’s only taken home one title.  So there’s plenty of motivation for Sparty to excel in Indianapolis and at the same time, there’s none of the pressure.  The loss of Kalin Lucas has brought this squad together as a team and as long as Korie Lucious takes care of the ball, they have a shot.  

Duke Blue Devils vs West Virginia Mountaineers:  The perceived elitists take on the perceived hillbillies . . . both with historically sucessful head coaches, this is the Final Four’s main event.  Bob Huggins is quickly becoming a legend in Mountaineer country and would cement his hero status with a National Championship for his hometown. 

Coach K is already an icon and would bookend this decade with titles if his Blue Devils went all the way, giving him four total (1991, 1992, 2001).   This will be a surprisingly physical match up, with the play in the paint the deciding factor.  

Rebounding will be huge and both of these teams rank in the top ten nationally in offensive rebounding percentage.  A less than stellar shooting team in the tournament, West Virginia relies on second and third chances for a big part of their offense.  Duke has a reputation to be a finesse team, but this year they have a sneaky good, physical, defense.  Although when spread out, they can be driven on.  If the Mountaineers game plan to drive into the lane, they can get to the foul line for some easy points,.  Overall, boxing out and rebounding will win this game.  

You would think the focus on defense and rebounding would lend itself to a Big East/Big Ten tempo . . . and even though Butler and Duke can hang with the physical play, you’d be right.  That’s why I pick West Virginia and Michigan State to win close, need to get a lucky bounce here and there type games and advance to the finals.

What do you think?

P.S.  Using the term “sexy” when talking basketball reminds me of one of the funniest Will Ferrell moments EVER.  Here it is for your laughing pleasure:

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Whoa Was I . . .

Posted on April 7, 2009. Filed under: Basketball, NCAA | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

WRONG . . .  

I admit it.  When I am right I say so, so I have to fess up when I am not.  And it didn’t take long to figure it out, did it?  I knew at the opening tip when Tyler Hansbrough was not going to give up on that first possession and wrestled Michigan State’s Travis Walton for the ball.  That fire led to a jump ball between the two, which the much taller Hansbrough easily won.  I thought right there that State was in for a familiar experience against this team – domination.   

The senior who came back for one reason only, to win North Carolina’s fifth National Champinship, was focused.  WATCH OUT!  Although the man they call “Psycho T” always looks focused, doesn’t he?  Almost like his eyes are going to pop out of his head . . .

Tyler Hansbrough and Beaker . . . Seperated at Birth?

Tyler Hansbrough and Beaker . . . Seperated at Birth?

TALK ABOUT A CLINIC . . . North Carolina’s first half performance was nothing short of a statement in CAPS and looked like the best half of basketball that I have ever personally laid eyes on.  The much maligned defense – that has been anything but during the tournament – forced 13 Spartan turnovers which led to 17 points.  The Tar Heels led by three touchdowns at the half, which broke a title-game record for largest margin and with 55 points, they set another record for most first half points.

But they weren’t done yet . . .

Ty Lawson induced 8 steals – a record breaking number of thefts – with 7 in the first half, and led all scorers with 21 points.    North Carolina totaled only 7 turnovers the entire game and forced Michigan State into 21 gimmes.  Can’t beat a killer transition team by giving them fast break opportunities and extra possessions . . . Just not going to happen.  

When asked how he felt about the choice he made to come back for his senior year, Hansbrough said, “Sounds like I made a pretty good decision, nothing beats this feeling right here.” 

Congratulations to Michigan State for an inspired run in the tournament and to the North Carolina Tar Heels for fulfilling preseason expectations to take it all the way, bringing the title back to Chapel Hill for the fifth time. 

And for proving me wrong . . .

Just for fun, Hansbrough’s look-a-like has a song that might give One Shining Moment a run for its money . . .

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