Tar Heel Fan

Saturday, April 01, 2006

The Final Four: YAAAWWWNNN!!!!

Wow, that sucked. After a great set of games with most going down to the wire we got treated to a pair of games which were over by the first TV timeout of the 2nd half. Also what you had here was a classic case of clearly inferior teams being exposed for the frauds they were by somewhat more talented schools. Even Billy Packer, who probably ticked off the CBS brass, said it was "a weak Saturday evening." Harsh words but true. In fact there is a rumor that multiple individuals are being treated at local Indianapolis hospitals after being thrown from the Glen "Big Baby" Davis bandwagon which came to a violent stop this evening. Chances are they will be treated and released in time to jump onto the Joakim Noah bandwagon for Monday night Florida 73 George Mason 58 Florida just took the glass slipper from George Mason and smack them upside the head with it. The Gators put an end to any dreams of a Patriot title with a resounding 73-58 win. The common thread among George Mason opponents in the tournament was they none of them were playing particular well with the exception of Wichita St, who Mason had beaten earlier in the season. Florida was on top of their game and they did two things well. They had tremendous inside athleticism and Florida's Lee Humprey hit SIX three pointers. In fact Florida hit 12 threes to only 2 for GM which is a thirty point gap. I was beginning to wonder if GM was having trouble playing in a dome, which is something that has bothered shooters before. GM fell behind by ten early, came back to tie the game and trailed by 5 at half. After intermission Humprey hit two threes and all of sudden GM was down 19. The Patriots do not have an offense given to scoring a lot of points quickly unless the other team commits six straight turnovers like UNC did. Florida handled the ball better than that and in the end they not only were more talented but focused on winning the game unlike UConn. Florida goes to the title game for the second time this decade. UCLA 59 LSU 45 I knew this one would be ugly and it was. In fact 8 minutes into the second half, LSU had scored only three points while falling behind 50-27. That means UCLA scored only nine points the rest of the way and still won by 14. That is horrible. As for Big Baby Glen Davis of LSU who had been crowned as the best player in college basketball or something like that looked as though he needs to spend the offseason getting into shape. UCLA ran him up and down the court to the point LSU had expended all but two timeouts by halftime just to offer him more rest. UCLA was able to double him because LSU had a better chance of getting CBS play-by-play man Jim Nantz to refrain from espousing cheesy platitudes than they did of hitting a permeter shot. LSU got exposed because believe it or not beating Duke(which had basically two offensive options) and Texas(which is not as great as many think) is not really a huge accomplishment. And I can only assume that Jim Nantz and Billy Packer had two games worth of material on Glen Davis and LSU because every freakin' time I flipped over to watch a few minutes it was Big Baby this and LSU that. Here's a clue guys. Why don't you talk about the team that is actually cleaning LSU's clock. And LSU's Tyrus Thomas? He had 5 points, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks, 3 turnovers and 4 fouls. If you anyone had bought any of his NBA stock during the last week they would be out of some serious money tonight. So we get Florida vs. UCLA. I think Florda's Billy Donovan is shady and not only is Joakim Noah from France but he looks like girl. Not to be mean, but the only other time this week I saw someone pull hair like that back into a ponytail for a game was Tuesday night when was I was watching the women's regional finals. And I really would rather UCLA not get another title which will lead to talk about how great UCLA is. History has proven UCLA was great for a grand total of 10-12 years in which they won 10 titles. Yes, that is big deal but since Wooden left the barn UCLA has been to only four Final Fours in 30 years. They lost to Indiana in the 9176 national semifinal, dropped the title game in 1980, won it in all 1995 and now they are here again. [Edit: UCLA fans are quite upset with my perception they are uninterested so I am retracting that particular point since I may have made it in ignorance] In other words I will be taking a neutral position Monday night, though Florida is probably the lesser of two evils and heck they have never won it before.


  • It's easy to label the UCLA-LSU game ugly. I mean it looked like LSU quit. They had no heart. Especially Big Baby, he couldn't keep up with the pace of the game. The rest of his team looked like they forgot how to play. Based on their performance tonight LSU may not have one future NBA player. Now you've got to ask yourself at this point: How could LSU have received so much hype and praise all week if they completely stink? Clearly UCLA is doing something special on defense. (Unprecidented in this era of basketball.) Their style of play should be heralded as a return to fundamentals. Call it ugly now, but it will make the college game better in the long haul.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/02/2006 04:22:00 AM  

  • Try to knock off a mid-major program first before you talk smack about the best college basketball program in the nation and history. Enjoy your championship from last year cuz you won't be getting another one in a long time. Expect the Bruins to get at least five more titles before UNC gets another one, if you're lucky.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/02/2006 11:33:00 AM  

  • Hey Tar Heel, are you kidding me? Have you even visited UCLA's campus? Have you polled our fans? On what grounds can you possibly say with any validity that UCLA fans don't care about basketball. UCLA fans eat, drink, and sleep basketball. We wrote the book on basketball. You want history? we have the greatest sports dynasty ever. You want recent accomplishments? how about making it into the final game while shutting down hilight reel offenses to nearly half of their season averages and frustrating "star" players and leaving them with no idea what hit them. Defense wins championships, nobody said it had to be pretty. Our 12th banner is all the beauty I need. And I'm sure the rest of my "uninterested" campus will agree.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/02/2006 01:12:00 PM  

  • First of all posts containing personal insults and profanity will be removed. If you are unable to make your argument based on facts and proper use of English then you essentially have no argument to make.

    "Uninterested campus"

    The perception I have about UCLA fans was just that a perception probably formed out of ignorance so I am not above editing the post to removed that point.

    "It's easy to label the UCLA-LSU game ugly."

    That does that mean UCLA did not play good defense, it just means that in doing so it created some painful basketball to watch. And the last I checked only scoring 59 points and 9 in the last 12 minutes is tatamount to an ugly offensive performance. And it is not like it the first time, you guys only scored 50 against Memphis.

    "By the way, giving the NCOY to Roy Williams is an absolute farce."
    "Even before the tournament started, this was still true. If you can't admit that, then you need to pull your head out of BSPN's ***."

    Roy Williams took a team with one returning senior, a junior who rarely played and a group of freshman and went 23-8 so if that is not a COY performance than I do not know what is. Show me some evidence that Howland was more deserving instead of assuming I am parroting the ESPN line.

    "You. Are. Jealous."

    Jealous? Everything UNC got this year was gravy. I came to understand a long time ago that anyone can win the tournament so I stopped being jealous. As I look at UNC over the last 25 years(which comprises the bulk of my basketball memory) Comparing UNC to UCLA is a laugher. UNC has three titles and 9 Final Fours. UCLA 1 and 3(counting 1980). UCLA did have a great run and won a lot of titles which is commendable.

    "Try to knock off a mid-major program first before you talk smack about the best college basketball program in the nation and history. Enjoy your championship from last year cuz you won't be getting another one in a long time. Expect the Bruins to get at least five more titles before UNC gets another one, if you're lucky"

    Based on what? UNC has the top recruiting class coming in and losing only one starter, they are loaded to bear. Of course it is a pretty asinine comment to make concering winning 5 titles before UNC gets another considering the difficult in winning a title and as is proven this year, the best team does not always win the tournament.

    As for ESPN, if you back in the archive I spare ESPN no grief in their pro-Duke behavior so spare me the "you love ESPN" routine.

    Thanks for stopping by, I hope you can enjoy a win tomorrow night.

    By Blogger BCB, at 4/02/2006 02:22:00 PM  

  • Actually, the tournament does determine the best team in the land. Its sudden-death format puts a lot of pressure on all the teams involved. This is a unique feature that separates the pretenders from the contenders. Just because a team is extremely talented (UConn) does not mean they are the best team. You have to be able to play together and win together. UConn did that two years ago. UNC did that last year. And UCLA or Florida will do it this year. In that regards, the tournament decides the best team in the land. You have to do well during the regular season to get invited and then you have to win six straight under enormous pressure to claim the title of national champions.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/02/2006 03:53:00 PM  

  • Forgive some of my fellow Bruin faithful - their eloquence is exceeded only by their fervor in supporting the team, which then can run roughshod over said eloquence at times. :)

    "And the last I checked only scoring 59 points and 9 in the last 12 minutes is tatamount to an ugly offensive performance."

    True, but putting up 39 in a half, or 50 in 25 minutes of basketball, is hardly ugly. Go check out Ken Pomeroy's blog at http://www.kenpom.com/blog/ - To quote: "An interesting possession split by half in this one: 37/25. UCLA was willing to run in the first half, then took the air out of the ball with big lead after halftime." And the team continued to run until the game was effectively out of reach, suggesting that over those last 15 minutes there were probably only 12 or 13 possessions - sure, .75 PPP (points-per-possession) is pretty damn low, but you're much less likely to get good looks if you're dribbling the ball 30 feet away from the hoop until there are 10 seconds remaining on the shot clock.

    The low-scoring by the Bruins was largely an intentional result caused by their willingness to sit on a 24-point lead. With 2 minutes left, Ben Howland emptied his bench with the score 59-39. The Tigers put up 6 easy points against guys like Michael Fey and Ryan Wright, who hadn't seem time in a game since the blowout over Belmont (even DeAndre Robinson got some PT, and he's only played 11 minutes ALL SEASON).

    "Show me some evidence that Howland was more deserving instead of assuming I am parroting the ESPN line."

    More deserving is always difficult with regards to subjective awards. But I would say that Howland (who only received a single vote out of the 50- or 60-odd sportswriter votes that go in, I believe) probably got much less attention than he deserved. He lost arguably his best scorer in Josh Shipp for the entire season, has had every (or almost every) single scholarship player miss games due to injury, and has a team that returned only 2 impact seniors, and has every other key player in his first or second season (including 4 freshmen). And while UNC had some surprising success, UCLA won the Pac-10 regular season and tournament against a Pac that, considering its showing in the tournament, was probably much better than people wanted to believe.

    Does that mean he did a better job? Considering the voting is done before the tournament, not necessarily (though I think if the voting was done right now Donovan and Howland would probably be top 3, as opposed to getting 0 and 1 votes, respectively).

    I will engage in a little puerile chest-beating in noting that UCLA alone has more titles than the entire ACC put together (at least, if I'm not remembering something incorrectly), though it's true that the Bruins haven't been the obvious national favorites year-in and year-out like they once were. Still, I think people dismissed the program too easily once they dropped back from '10 in 12 years' level - this is a team that is still expected to pretty much make the NCAAs every season, compete for its conference title, and should be able to make deep tournament runs with regularity. So while I wouldn't say that UCLA is guarenteed any sort of Wooden-esque run any time soon (just ask George Mason about D-I parity), I do think they have the coaching, talent, and recruiting advantages to be considered "back" to a significant degree.

    I can't honestly say that UNC is one of my favorite programs, as I feel that sometimes they get a little too much exposure simply because they're in the ACC (which, along with the Big East, gets by FAR the most media coverage, at least as far as this one west-coast fan can tell, take that for what it's worth). Still, you guys had a very solid season, and I can hope for some epic UNC/UCLA battles in the tournaments to come (how's THAT for tournament history for the media pundits to chew on?).

    Go Bruins!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/02/2006 07:46:00 PM  

  • Ah, civil and well thought debate. I thank you for those comments. You made some valid points and not much to argue with. The issue I think UCLA runs into is the fact that everything after Wooden has been up and down and as you pointed out they get very little exposure on the West coast.

    By Blogger BCB, at 4/02/2006 10:10:00 PM  

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