Point/CounterPoint #19 – Looking at the Big Dance Thus Far

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In this installment, Rowan Shiell & Bermuda Bob talk about what else they saw in the Big Dance, aside from Duke’s games.  

Be careful, if you’re not able to handle very frank opinions !!!

Query #1

Cinderella teams have long been the mark of a good tournament because they garner the attention of the casual fans as well as those whose teams were defeated.

This year there are no higher seeded teams remaining except UCLA with an #11 Seed.

Do you think the games have been entertaining in spite of this ??? 

Rowan:

No, because the NCAA tournament is all about upsets and with the higher seeds winning, emphatically at times, this is not a great show. If your team is still in it, then you may have a different opinion.

There were some great matchups on Saturday, and even better on Sunday culminating in Kansas being sent home by Wichita State.

Bermuda Bob:

Yes, I love to see the Butlers, Valpos, George Masons, VCUs, and the other great upsets (desperately trying to forget Lehigh and Mercer) as much as the next fan, but I think the original intent of the Big Dance has gotten lost.  The idea was to have teams that would not normally play each other to determine who is the best.  Duke’s draw in the South looks like that, but the East does not.

As we noted in our “Blue Paper” on the Selection Committee, I think that since they are not “basketball people,” they look to create match-ups for the wrong reasons. One needs to only look at how they orchestrated the Kansas-Wichita State match-up to understand my point.  The Committee essentially considered Bill Self’s adamancy to schedule Wichita State, and made a statement about it.   

Query #2

Which Sweet Sixteen Coach is under the most pressure ???

 Rowan:

Everyone thinks it is John Calipari because he has an undefeated team but I don’t think so.  He is already winning.  His formula works and he is just two seasons removed from his first Championship.  He is a man on top of his game, and unless we can prove that he is another Lance Armstrong, respect has to be given to his achievements.

Coach K on the other hand has suffered in the NCAA tournament is his pursuit of “one-and-done” players. He has to prove his doubters wrong and that he can indeed win with players on campus for only one year.

North Carolina needs some good publicity after the current scandal, so Roy Williams better be a keeper.

Meanwhile, Tom Izzo is playing with house money and Bo Ryan has a chance to step up from the middle tier of the coach’s ladder to the top within the next fortnight.

Bermuda Bob:

Well, you know I’m going to disagree on “Cal-the-Lip” and I guess I was backed up by the college basketball writers, who did not name him their Coach of the Year. That went to Tony Bennett.

Simply said, this whole idea of “reinforcements” is just another bit of the slick way “Cal-the-Lip” tries to look like a coach, but alas, his past record tell you all you need to know about him.  For you Godfather movie buffs, let me just refer you to the way Don Corleone characterized Phillip Tattiglia after the meeting of the “5 Families.”  That what I think of “Cal-the-Lip”

I think guys like Coach Miller at Arizona, Coach Few at Gonzaga, and Coach Marshall at Wichita State all need to take a step closer to the National Championship to validate their efforts. 

Query #3

Which top seed has had the easiest run to the Sweet Sixteen ??? 

Rowan:

Louisville had to beat Northern Iowa and UC Irvine. 

Bermuda Bob:

As an ACC fan, I’m happy that Louisville is still in, otherwise, I’m surprised that a team who shot so poorly during the season has won twice.

Arizona did not get much from Ohio State. Wisconsin has dispatched their opponents handily. 

Query #4

Which team had the hardest path to the Sweet Sixteen ???

Rowan:

No question, it is Wichita State, beating Indiana and Kansas. Then NC State, second, who had to take down Villanova, the #1 Seed, to progress. Notre Dame has had some issues but they prevailed.

Bermuda Bob:

Michigan State is, by Coach Izzo’s admission not nearly as talented as some of his other teams, but never bet against “Mr. March.”   I agree with you on your picks and would just add that any of the 3 other teams left in the MidWest Region could break a lot of BlueGrass hearts and expectations. 

Query #5

Which had the most Controversial route ??? 

Rowan:

Was it a rebound or a goal tending ???  That’s something we will be debating for an eternity, especially with SMU fans.

Bermuda Bob:

I agree on SMU, but often calls are skewed for the same reason as why UCLA was in the Big Dance in the first place.  Otherwise, I think the officiating has been reasonable faire.  When they make bad calls, they make them for both teams. It’s a concept that has always made me shake my head.  Calling a game evenly is not calling the game effectively.

As Cosmo Castorini of “Moonstruck” fame likes to say: “… and I’ll say no more …” 

Query #6

Who is the tournament’s MVP so far ??? 

Rowan:

Fred Van Fleet of Wichita State 

Bermuda Bob:

Jerian Grant of Notre Dame.  He’s a Senior, the sparkplug of that team and a worthy runner-up for ACC POY !!!

Query #7

Who are the 4 most impressive teams so far ??? 

Rowan:

Kentucky, Arizona, Duke and Gonzaga in no particular order.  They all won the games they were meant to win without any drama. Wisconsin belongs in that group but sadly the question was four not five. 

Bermuda Bob:

I’m going the other way with Michigan State, NC State, West Virginia, and Wichita State.  All have had much more difficult draws and prevailed when some considered them underdogs.  

Query #8

Who have been the Most Entertaining teams so far ??? 

Rowan:

Wichita State, Michigan State, NC State and Notre Dame.

Bermuda Bob:

I’ll stay with the same teams in Michigan State, NC State, West Virginia, and Wichita State.

 

Thanks for reading !!!

We invite your comments either here, or at our Twitter site:

@SimplyDukeBB

 

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