Tater’s Take on March Madness

This is the month we get the best event in sports: March Madness. I love the upsets, the buzzer beaters and the thought that any random team can go on a run and win it all. Normally, it is even more fun for me because My Kentucky Wildcats are there until the very end. This year, though, I’m adjusting to life without the Wildcats being around. It’s hard, but I’m still watching.

Buh Bye: I am happy to see that Duke, Wisconsin and Indiana have all been eliminated from the tournament. There are still plenty of teams that I don’t like, but I’m very happy that none there seams will win it all. I was even happier with the way they lost. Duke and IU are beaten easily and Wisconsin choked. I guess it’s petty to watch in hopes of others being disappointed, but I don’t care. I laugh at the defeat of these teams. Also, this picture is still valid

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Shut Up: Of course Duke and rat face Coach K@#@$$@ couldn’t go quietly. Coach K@##$@#$ decided to lecture an Oregon player for taking a shot at the end of the game. Not as the clock expired, but as a shot clock expired with time still on the game clock. I guess the polite thing to do is to hand the ball to Duke instead of continuing to play the game. This took place after trippy Grayson Allen refused to shake hands with the Oregon players as the clock expired. The same Grayson Allen who tripped at least two opponents during the season and was not punished. I’m sure coach K@###@$@$ would have been OK with the Oregon coach lecturing Allen on sportsmanship, right? To make things worse, when asked about it, Coach K@##$$ lied about the exchange and said it never happened. Stay classy, Duke.

Frauds: UNC and Syracuse are in the final 8. Both teams are teams that have committed academic fraud. UNC still has not been punished. Syracuse got in the field because the committee felt their losses while their cheating coach was suspended shouldn’t count against them. Yet somehow people still say Calipari is what’s wrong with college basketball and we hear more complaints about UK players going pro instead of the academic fraud issues. We need to get rid of the one and done rule and let the kids who have no interest in college go pro. That might help with the need to commit academic fraud to keep players on the court when they can’t do what it takes in the classroom.

Refs: College basketball officiating is horrendous. You know it’s bad when someone like Doug Sirmons is considered good enough to officiate a tournament game. The NCAA needs to find a way to fix this. They are ruining the game. Limit how many games they can call in a week. Actually review their work and install consequences for screwing up. Suspend the ones who call technical fouls when none are warranted. Fire the ones who are consistently bad. As long as they can be bad at the job, penalize people who complain about them and suffer no consequences, there is no reason for them to want to improve.

My Dream Final Four: I don’t have much love for any of the teams left in the field. I guess I will go with a dream final four of Oregon(though Oklahoma would be fine), Villanova, Virginia and Notre Dame. Most of those picks are because I dislike the other teams, not because I like the ones I picked. It would be interesting to watch the announcers blatantly ignore the academic fraud issues while calling a Syracuse/UNC gme, but not enough for me to want to see them win.

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Reflections on the Season and the Loss

I know some will think it is bad timing to post a basketball blog on the morning of the attacks in Brussels, but this is the first time I’ve had the time to type out my thoughts on the season. So, here goes:

Early this season when Kentucky lost to teams like UCLA and Ohio State, I would have said a second round loss was to be expected. The team looked OK, but not great and a second round loss wold not be a surprise given what I saw on the court. Unfortunately, wins against Duke, overtime against Kansas and a surge in the SEC tournament made everyone think the team was finally getting it together and had what it took to get to the championship game. This week against Indiana we discovered that the team was who we thought they were early in the season: a team with two great guards, but not much else A team not built for a long tournament run. It’s disappointing, but we are spoiled. This is only the second team in the Calipari era to not go to the final eight. That’s a pretty good run and there is a monster recruiting class coming next year.

I will miss watching Ulis and Murray play. They were one of the best guard combinations we’ve ever had. I wish we had them for another year, but we can’t expect a kid to pass up millions of dollars to stay in college one more year. I will miss good Poythress and even inconsistent Poythress. I can’t say I will miss Skal, because I barely saw him play, but I wish him the best in the NBA. Once a Cat, always a Cat no matter how much you were on the floor. You still wore the uniform and that’s enough. I will look forward to next year and the hopes of another final four run and will always be a fan no matter the results.

Now, the rest of the tournament field: Normally, I would want the team that beat Kentucky to go far so that we at least lost to a team on a championship run, but that team is Indiana. I can’t cheer for Indiana. Especially after Yogi Farrell’s mom tweeted trash about Ulis after the game. Learn how to win with class. It would be interesting for UNC to win since that might mean Roy Williams would retire and shake up the coaching world, but I can’t cheer for UNC(plus I can win money if they lose). No way I can cheer for Duke, Syracuse or Kansas(plus, again, I can win money if Kansas loses). So, I’m left with the Gonzaga Fighting Wiltjers(once a Cat, always a Cat) as my heart choice and the Oregon Ducks as my head choice. I guess an A&M win would be good for the SEC, so that would be OK as well. But, really, basketball is over for me and I will look toward the rebuilding Braves as my next source of sports frustration.

My Bracket Projections 2012

I am likely very wrong because I did not pick many major upsets.

 

First Round upsets – New Mexico St over Indiana, Xavier over Notre Dame, WVU over Gonzaga, Purdue over St. Marys.

Second Round upsets – none

Final 8 – UK v Baylor, MSU v Missouri, Syracuse v FSU, UNC v Kansas

Final 4 – UK, Missouri, FSU, Kansas

Championship  – UK over Kansas.

 

I must be missing a 12 over a 5. I think Harvard over Vandy is the most likely, but couldn’t pull the trigger on picking it. Georgetown will likely lose earlier than I predicted because they always do. Regardless of my picks, with the exception of UK I will be pulling for the upset in every game.