2005-04-03

Final Forons!


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For all the stunning upsets, the drama, and the most amazing set of Regional Finals, the NCAA Tournament has boiled down to Illinois and North Carolina - the consensus #1 and #2 team in the land for several weeks running. Though the semi-finals weren't as dramatic as the rest of the tournament (how could we have expected them to be?), Monday's Final promises to be a bruising clash of Titans that will produce a worthy champion.

Sadly, the excitement of this event is often tempered by the involvement of the sports broadcasters. This weekend's gems:

Dick Vitale: "(Illinois) wants to become the first team to win a National Championship without ever getting on an airplane." He was referring to the Illini playing their games in Indianapolis, Chicago and now St Louis; all a modest bus ride from Champagne. I'm sure Illinois wants, as badly as anyone, to win the National Championship. I doubt that the being able to say they did it without a plane trip has been a real driving force however.

Clark Kellog: Prognosticating the UNC-Michigan State game, "I sense that the Spartans are ready to do what they have not done all year - shoot the three well and upset the Tar Heels," (paraphrased). He gets paid for that? "I sense?" That's one of those dumb things you can say, and if it comes true you can remind everyone what a genius you are, and if not no one will remember.

But, a word to the wise - If a team hasn't been shooting the three well all year, it really isn't logical to expect that they'll suddenly find their range in their most pressure-packed game of the season against one of their toughest opponents.

Unknown: During the UNC-MIchigan State game, pointing out that UNC's road has matched them up against 16-seed Oakland, 9-seed Iowa State, 6-seed Villanova, and 5-seed Wisconsin. No high seeds there. "The Tar Heels haven't faced a team like the Spartans yet." Problem is, Michigan State is a 5-seed. Now if you are claiming that MSU is playing better than you'd expect of a 5-seed, that point can be made. But then Villanova and Wisconsin also played above their seeding. You can't have it both ways. Either the seeds mean something or they don't. I'd argue for the latter. This was the most bizarre tournament ever when it comes to seeds.

One note: I'm getting sick of the "calling time out in mid-air as you are falling out of bounds in an attempt to steal the ball" play. I believe that you should actually have to steal the ball, not just get a brief hand on it. I'd like to see them come up with something like the NFL's rule on pass receptions. You should have to establish possession first, then take your time out if you want.

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