Tag Archives: NCAA

One & Dumped: Championship Edition

NCAA BannerCall me an old fogey, but I’m delighted that Kentucky’s five much-hyped, “one-and-done” freshmen were defeated 60-54 in the NCAA Tournament Championship game by the University of Connecticut Huskies. And I’m especially thrilled that UConn led from start to finish.

This wasn’t a battle of David vs. Goliath – and there was no Cinderella team. Both teams had recent championship experience. UConn won an NCAA crown in 2011 and Kentucky won in 2012. Coach John Calipari’s Kentucky 2012 title-winning squad started 3 freshman and 2 sophomores.

Kevin Ollie, John CalipariBut it was still an unlikely matchup. Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats were an 8-seed and Kevin Ollie’s UConn Huskies were a 7-seed. It was the first time a #7 team and a #8 team faced off for the championship: the lowest combined seed in NCAA history.

Connecticut was the first 7-seed to reach the title game – but that’s not what made it such a compelling game for me – and for millions of college sports fans across the nation.

8-seeds like Kentucky have made it to the NCAA title game before: the last to do so was Butler in 2011. But, ironically, Butler lost to UConn. Before that, the Huskies beat Kentucky in the Final Four. That this year’s Connecticut team returned two veterans — now seniors — from that 2011 championship team proved the difference in the 2014 NCCA Final.

e3c7a58730fc398a7e6e76fdce54fd85_crop_northUConn head coach Kevin Ollie faced John Calipari’s “one-and-done” starting freshmen five with a balanced and experienced squad of true student-athletes: Phillip Nolan (Sophomore), DeAndre Daniels (Junior), Shabazz Napier (Senior), Niels Giffey (Senior) and Ryan Boatright (Junior).

In fact, last year Napier chose to return to UConn for his senior year because he wanted to get his degree and return to the NCAA Tournament with his teammates.

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 10.20.18 PMAll that the unfazed, well-prepared senior Napier did in tonight’s pressure-filled game was score a game high 22 points with 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. (NBA general managers, are you paying attention?) To get to the title game, the cold-blooded, been-there, done-that Napier helped his team beat #1 Florida by scoring 26 points, including a last-second jump shot that clinched the game by a single point.

There’s a reason that no college team has ever won a national title while starting five freshmen. Michigan’s legendary Fab Five couldn’t do it in 1992 – and neither could Calipari’s Kentucky mercenaries this year.

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 10.21.41 PMThere were no McDonald’s All-Americans on UConn’s championship roster. On the other hand, Kentucky had seven McDonald’s All-Americans — six of whom were freshmen – on the losing team.

I’m going to go to Fatburger (not McDonald’s) tomorrow.

dm_140408_ncb_uconnI’ll order a bacon double cheeseburger with ketchup only – and while I’m wolfing it down, I’ll re-read the box score from tonight’s NCAA Championship Game.

And I’ll savor the satisfying flavor of experience over immaturity, impertinence and insouciance.

Go, Huksies!


Filed under History, Sports, Truth

The Two-Minute Brain Cleanse

Most of us have a lot of important and pressing matters on our minds these days: family, work, politics, war, the economy, our NCAA tournament brackets, etc.

We wonder whether we’ll have enough money when we retire, or whether we chose the right career, if President Obama will really get Congress to pass the freaking Health Care Reform bill this week, or if that 14th seed we picked to upset the 3rd seed in the first round of NCAA March Madness will turn out to be a stroke of basketball genius — or a foolhardy choice that dooms us in our office pool.

We live in a complex world with lots of complex problems — and we all struggle with our facility to comprehend the full scope of the dilemmas we are facing, let alone our ability to solve them.

Global climate change, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the recession, and other grave concerns crowd our thoughts and tax our limited resources of wisdom and sanity.

And then, there’s the daily, mind-numbing effort it takes just to get the television remote to work properly.

It’s no wonder our heads get clogged with nagging confusion, frustration and concern.

Every now and then, a bit of mindless fun is just what the doctor ordered to clear the mind. Consider the following video a two-minute cleanse for your constipated brain.

There you go. Feel any better?

Thanks to my good friend Bob P. for providing me with this bit of momentary mental relief.


Filed under Random Commentary