What a weekend for the university of Louisville! The men won the NCAA championship and the women’s squad made it to the final where they ran into the UCONN Huskies which may be one of the best all time programs. The women were unable to pull out the victory but a valiant effort by a 5 seed nonetheless. The men were ranked number 1 overall and they proved that by beating the Michigan Wolverines (on the 20th anniversary of the Fab Five’s second trip to the final….Timeout anyone?) in the mens final. I am not going to sit here at a desk and brag about the fact that I chose Louisville to win because a lot of people did, I am happy that I got it right but I got too many things wrong and that leads to the title of this entry. I am going to go through what I got right and what I got wrong when it came to my bracket. May I add however, I won 2 of the 3 pools I entered, my one loss came at the hands of my mother so I am not going to get into that one.
The final was an awesome game, big three point shots by Luke Hancock (eventually the tourney’s Most Outstanding Player) for Louisville and some kid name Spike from Michigan. The game was a great example of what basketball is, a game of runs. If a run is made at the right time then a win in is sight. A run is almost always countered by a run from the opposition as games like the one on Monday go back and forth. Louisville pulled it out despite Russ Smith’s many attempts to lose the game for his team. After a great amount of hustle by his teammates Smith put up and missed a quick 3 instead of killing clock in the last 2 minutes. He panicked with the full-court press and threw the ball out of bounds and on top of that he made a stupid foul on Trey Burke less than a second before Peyton Siva (Louisville’s true MVP) made a steal. Smith looked scared under the bright lights and he has now entered the NBA draft so good luck with that one bud.
I do not want to touch much on Kevin Ware because everyone knows what happened. Once I understood the gravity of what took place I felt more comfortable than ever with my Louisville pick. Got to give it to the guy, he had a bone sticking out of his leg and all he said was “win, win, win” and thats what they did. Stud.
Coach Rick Pitino had a hell of a week, his 37th wedding anniversary, his horse qualified for the Kentucky Derby, he got elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame and that night he won the national championship and got a nice little bonus for his efforts. He became the first coach ever to win 2 National Championships with 2 different schools, ironically the 2 are bitter rivals Kentucky and Louisville. I have heard that Rick may not be the nicest guy in the world but the dude wins.
Rights and Wrongs:
Louisville came through for me and I got some money to spend because of that. A squad that I was wrong about (along with alot of people) was the Indiana Hoosiers who I had in my final but could not figure out the Syracuse Zone defence. Indiana was too reliant upon their big men and their inside the 3-point line scoring so that the zone was the perfect defense. A team like Michigan was meant to destroy a zone due to outstanding shooting by all their guards. I did not expect Syracuse to make it to the final four, as long as they rely upon a zone defense I can never put much faith in them. Once they play a team that can shoot, their doomed unless they can win in a shoot out and Carmelo Anthony is not walking through that door.
My prediction of a Michigan vs. Florida elite 8 match-up was correct, but me thinking that it may be the best game of the tournament was way off. That spot belonged to Michigan vs. Kansas where we saw Trey Burke (Naismith Award Winner) hit a 3 pointer from a stupid distance to tie things up and eventually win in overtime.
Perhaps my biggest mistake was my faith in Wisconsin who I predicted to beat Gonzaga but instead lost their opening game to Ole Miss. whoops. Gonzaga was the first 1 seed knocked out, something I got right. Their record was not very legitimate because of how weak their conference was, they would have not been a 1 seed had they played in the Big 10 or the Big East conference which both produced the teams in the final.
In the match-up that held a special place in my heart, the Duke Blue Devils beat my Michigan State Spartans; despite bleeding green I chose Duke to Win (I know, I know) I was focused upon getting as many check marks on my page as possible so it had to be done and my betrayal paid off, literally.
What I got wrong was most of the East region, I had Butler beating Marquette (nope) and Indiana winning the region (been over this already). As the tournament progressed I started to believe and fear that the U of Miami may been the squad that causes me to burn my bracket in shame but they lost to Marquette. Miami has one hell of a future and one hell of a coach, a coach that I found out this week, came from George Mason who was the cinderella team in 2006 that destroyed my bracket (thanks UCONN, thanks Rudy Gay!). Great coach, a lot of money and nice jerseys makes the future appear bright in South Beach.
Some notables from the tourney, of course Florida Gulf Coast messed a lot of people up as brackets throughout North America were ripped into shreds after they beat the Hoyas of Georgetown (Sorry J-Wess, tough one). They made it to the second weekend where they fell to the better team from Florida, the Gators. A great run that saw the coach immediately jump ship and head to USC to try to rebuild a sad program. Another shout-out goes to Harvard as they won their first tourney game ever by beating the heavily favoured New Mexico (Like Harvard kids need anything more to be proud of, we are all going to work for them one day anyway). Both of these teams got love and hate from the audience who loves and underdog as long as they don’t beat their favourite team.
To wrap things up we have a lot of sports to look forward to now that the madness has subsided. Miami just locked up the best record in the NBA and look absolutely terrifying to the rest of the league. Alexander Ovechkin is once again on fire after a long hiatus and the Leafs are going to make the playoffs? (actually? huh? because of the short season right?) and this weekend we got the Masters as Jim Nantz goes from calling the Final Four to the biggest Golf event of the year. He may be the best announcer in the world so in his honour I say, so long friends.
Until next time.