Sweet 16 notes

Big East continues domination

In an otherwise unexciting tournament, one storyline has emerged: the Big East has been unstoppable.  Five of the Sweet 16 teams were Big East squads: No. 3 Villanova, No. 3 Syracuse, and a trio of No. 1 seeds: Louisville, Pitt and UConn.  Now only 12 teams remain (six of the eight games have been played, Kansas-Michigan State and UNC-Gonzaga are playing now).  The Big East will have four teams representing the conference in the Elite 8, as only Syracuse was eliminated this round.

In other news seeds 1-3 in every region advanced to the Sweet 16.  Yawn.  The only two “exciting” seeds, No. 5 Purdue (is that even exciting?) and No. 12 Arizona, were dismissed last night and tonight respectively.  If Gonzaga falls to UNC, the Elite Eight will be populated only by 1, 2 and 3 seeds.

Naismith POY finalists announced

Midway through the first half of tonight’s early games, CBS announced the four finalists for men’s college basketball’s Naismith Player of the Year.  The candidates?  Three forwards and a center: Blake Griffin (Oklahoma), Tyler Hansbrough (UNC), DeJuan Blair (Pitt) and Hasheem Thabeet (UConn).  While I don’t debate the talent of these players, there is one very noticable finalist that made me think, why is he in there?

Though undoubtedly a gifted player, I disagree with Tyler Hansbrough place among those considered for this year’s award.  Though he picked up just about every player of the year award offered last year, I don’t think that warrants his inclusion among this year’s finalists.  In my opinion, he’s not even the best player at North Carolina this year (his teammate Ty Lawson picked up ACC Player of the Year honors).  Was Hansbrough the ACC POY runner-up?  No, actually Florida State’s Toney Douglas was.

I’m not arguing that Hansbrough isn’t among the 10 top college players in the country.  I just don’t think he’s #1, this year.

As a Texas alum it pains me to say this, but I think the Naismith Award should go to Blake Griffin.  Averaging 21.9 points and 14.3 rebounds per game, Griffin is a beast under the basket.  He doesn’t just get double-doubles, he averages double-doubles.  And playing in this year’s tough Big 12, no less.

I’d be OK with Blair or Thabeet winning the award as well, but I think Griffin has been the most consistent all season.  Seven-foot-three center Thabeet had an impressive year, but was lackluster in his team’s two losses to Pitt, arguably the most important two games of UConn’s regular season.  Blair had a great season as well, but was streaky.  He really hit his stride towards the season’s end.  Blair dominated his first regular season matchup against Thabeet, but in Pitt’s second win against UConn, Sam Young (Blair’s teammate that averages 18.9 points of his own) was the one who took care of business.
Tourney’s ugliest unis unveiled

For those who hadn’t had the opportunity to see much Big 12 action this year, last night’s Missouri-Memphis game was a rude awakening.  What was the unwelcome disturbance?  Mizzou’s jerseys.

How bad can they be, you ask?  Bad enough to harken comparisons to Gulden’s Spicy Brown Mustard.  A “lovely” hue, I tell ya.

I’ll let you decide for yourself:

mizzou-unis1“Do you like your mustard spicy?”
“Ohhhhh yeah!”

Photo credit: The Charlotte Observer

Sadly, since Missouri is a No. 3 seed, it’s very likely they’ll be wearing these jerseys the rest of the way.  Who’s up next for the Tigers of Columbia?  No. 1 UConn.  With any luck Mizzou’ll be sent packing after tomorrow night’s next matchup.  I’m not necessarily rooting for UConn, I’m just rooting for my eyes to stop burning.
Why does that guy on Oklahoma wear long sleeves under his jersey?  Isn’t he burning up?

Well I know in my basketball playing days (I played, I never said I played well), I usually was a sweaty, disgusting mess.  Maybe I didn’t lose 10 lbs. every time I played like I hear that Shaq and other NBA players do, but let’s just say if I played, my jersey wasn’t dry at the end of the game.

I’ll stop with those gross details now.

Well all tournament I’ve been wondering, why does Oklahoma’s #5 (I’ve since found out his name is Tony Crocker), wear long sleeves under his jersey?  As an ex-player I could never envision any circumstance when I’d want to have more clothes on while playing an indoor basketball game.

Well it turns out Crocker has “a condition that slows his ability to stay warm,” according to the Tulsa World. Check out more commentary on it here (just be sure to ignore Anonymous’ ignorant comments).

tony-crocker-sleeves1Photo credit: Tulsa World

Coach K versus Obama

As you may or may not have heard last week, Duke’s coach Mike Krzyzewski was less than pleased to hear that President Obama wasted valuable time to fill out a bracket.  Who was in his Final Four?  Not Duke.  And even worse, he had Carolina winning it all.

Really Coach K, is that why you’re mad?  Because to me it just seems you’re upset that the President didn’t pick your team, and even worse, chose your archnemesis to win it all.

Some argue that Coach K was just joking, but it didn’t seem that way to me.  I’m pretty sure his “really the economy is something he should focus on” jab seemed more out of disgust than a light-hearted jab at an old pal.

Well, as it turns out, it was a pretty wise decision on Obama’s part not to pick Duke for his Final Four.  He actually had them going out in the Elite Eight round, one round further than they actually did.  Villanova blew out Duke last night, 77-54.

coach-kThe face of a coach that should spend more time getting his team to the Final Four instead of judging political officials who fill out brackets. Zing.

Photo credit: The Boston Globe

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