Thursday, March 17, 2005

Behind the Scoreboard
By Claude Vinson

The SEC tournament championship was decided today (Sunday) and it had plenty of drama. First the Kentucky Wildcats were ranked number four nationally. The Florida Gators didn’t even have an honorable mention. The Wildcats were seeking their 26th SEC title. The Gators have never had one.

The Wildcats have had a storied past under some of the game’s most notable coaches. The Wildcats had barely edged LSU to make it to the finals. Florida walked past Alabama.

The two Mississippi teams (MSU and um) had their brief moment of fame on opening day and then folded into the annals of the lost. The good news is that it looks as if both coaches will be back next season.

Sunday (13th) it was up to the NCAA selection committee to hand out the crying towels. Some of the members admitted last week that their job this season was not going to be a cake walk. It seems that they wanted every team to have a “fair shake.”

Would you all like to know their number one quandry? Which team is going to be the number one seed in each region? I am still holding firm to my belief that Illinois will be the choice of the Chicago region. Some think that Kentucky will be one of those placed in the number one slot. I don’t think that is going to happen after Sunday’s performance against Florida. The other duo, according to some, would be comprised of Wake Forest and North Carolina.

The final ranking would be Illinois, North Carolina, Wake Forest and Kentucky.

We were all to know Sunday night or Monday morning.

If the ranking were mine to give, I would gladly throw a high seed on the Tigers of the University of Memphis. There is no accounting the class and poise shown by this team in their try for the championship of CUSA. They ended their regular season on a four-game losing streak and came back and beat three of the best teams in CUSA, back to back.

Then they took on loved foe Louisville in the final game. They played the Cardinals like iron. It went down to the .00 seconds with a freshman at the charity stripe. The score was 75-73. Never mind the two point deficit with a zero clock. The frosh had a “threebee.” He was fouled at the buzzer on a trey attempt.

He canned the first free throw with effortless ease. Then he missed the last two which would have given the Tigers the title and a NCAA berth. Don’t blame Darius Washington. Don’t blame the rest of the Tigers. Reward them with an at-large bid to the NCAA.

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