Schools with squads laden with upper classmen earned upset victories over programs that rely on rented hoop mercenaries, whose only interest in college is as a one-season showcase for their talents.
When Mercer beat Duke and Stanford knocked out Kansas, maturity and team play proved superior to the ballyhooed skills of freshmen like Jabari Parker, who made only 4 of his 16 shots and was 0-3 from 3-pt range against Mercer — and Andrew Wiggins, who managed just 4 points on 1 of 6 shooting against Stanford.
In recent years, Calipari hasn’t so much recruited as reloaded, stocking up on NBA-bound prospects for short-term success. He started 5 freshmen against Wichita State.
Wichita State, led by senior Cleanthony Early’s 31 points, fell just 2 points shy of sending Kentucky home short of the Sweet-16.
Still, March Madness has already taken some of the overheated air out of the puffed-up one-and-dones. In fact, after Coach K’s Duke powerhouse – a 3 seed — got clocked in the first round by Mercer – a lowly 14 seed — USA Today is reporting that Jabari Parker is now “unsure” of the NBA draft.
But that problem may finally be getting solved in the best possible way: on the basketball court.
I’ll be rooting for UCLA – whose starting five include two seniors (Travis and David Wear), one junior (Norman Powell), two sophomores (Jordan Adams and Kyle Anderson) – and not one freshman one-and-done!
If that makes me a grumpy old man, so be it.