UConn won both the men’s and women’s national championships. Very impressive. I’d enjoy it more if Geno Auriemma weren’t such a smarmy ass.
Of course, with the end of college hoops, we officially hit baseball season on ESPN. Sigh. Three and a half hour snoozefest games followed by endless “highlights” of identical homeruns.
But I don’t want to think about that right now. Let’s look back to last weekend, the Final Four games first.
That Georgia Tech – Oklahoma State game was great. It was close, competitive and well-played; just a fun game to watch. Once again, Jarrett Jack controlled the game for the Yellow Jackets while BJ Elder was ineffective. While Will Bynum got the game winner, Jack was the key. Luke Schenscher was critical as well, getting yet another double-double. Remember when this guy sucked just a month ago? By the way, does anyone else think that he looks a lot like that other red-haired Aussie Nicole Kidman? Don’t get me wrong, he doesn’t look like a hot chick, but he could be her brother or cousin or something.
For the first 30 minutes, the Duke – UConn game was butt ugly. Just awful. The first half had seven more combined fouls and turnovers than made baskets. The game was poorly officiated, but that wasn’t the source of all of the ugliness. The officials didn’t repeatedly throw passes at their teammates feet like Taliek Brown did. Fortunately, the play stepped up in the last ten minutes – at least until Duke choked at the end. And there’s no other way to put it. They choked. They took at least three awful shots down the stretch – stand-still three pointers when they had been effective driving to the hoop. Where was the great point guard Chris Duhon? He should have seized control when things got tight, but he didn’t.
Coach K screwed up too. That play call when Duke was down one – where the play was evidently to have Redick drive the lane and get fouled – was atrocious. You can’t expect to get the call when a guard forces it in amongst the trees, obviously trying to draw the whistle. In the end the better team won, but Duke should have won. They lost their composure though, and when you do that against very good teams, you lose.
The finals were unfortunately a let down after the exciting Saturday games. UConn was again the better team and they played a better game. Tech is lucky they weren’t blown out.
It might have been a game if the Yellow Jackets hadn’t missed seven free throws in the first half, including all three front-ends of one-and-ones. That’s ten potential points! Assuming that a decent team hits about 70%, they should have had seven more points. Those points could have changed the complexion of the game.
The second half was largely ceremonial. In fact, I think I dozed off for a bit. I had a weird dream where Jim Nantz compared Okafor and Schenscher to Ewing and Olajuwon. Talk about your odd dreams.
With the two UConn wins, the Big East ended the tournament with the highest winning percentage. It’s also two straight championships for the Big East after going dry for nearly twenty years. It’s ironic that this resurgence has happened at the same time as the conference is going through such turmoil.
Postseason Performance by Conference:
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