Thursday, March 31, 2005

Behind The Scoreboard
By Claude Vinson

SEC absent from this year’s Final Four

I will mention this for the simple reason that it has some nostalgic value for yours truly.

The playoff games this past weekend were preceded by the Division II men’s championship. This game was played in Grand Forks, North Dakota. I am well familiar with this venue, having spent four years there one week!

It was the only time that I had ever played football in 22 feet of snow (well, it seemed like 22 feet!), but that is another story.

Anyway, we tend to get so caught up in the Division I sports that we just gloss right over the lesser ones. These young athletes put their all into these games, which is why Virginia Union is the new champ. They defeated Bryant. Bryant who? See what I mean?

There is only the Final Four left. And already it has spun a new catchy playoff phrase – “March to the Arch.”

The major brackets were listed as Chicago, Albuquerque, Austin and Syracuse. I know it could have been a little confusing since these games were played all over the place. But, we cagey old SEC folks didn’t have any problem figuring this out.

There were so many high seeds falling; why, you would think this was a game of dominoes. Going into the Final Four, only two of the high ones were still around – the Illini and North Carolina.

And what about these games on Saturday and Sunday? Fans have been telling me all weekend that they didn’t believe that Duke would fall. Well, I knew that Kentucky had some chinks in the armor, but I was pulling for the SEC.

And?

I have never used the term “parity” when referring to collegiate athletics. Simple reasoning, really. These franchises have to change the guard (play on words) every four of five years, unlike their pro counter parts. They have to re-invent the wheel.

But, if one ever wanted to make a statement for this premise, now would be the time.

One last teensy-weensy item. Someone called me from New Albany and asked who was going to win it all. No problem. The Illini. Or North Carolina. Or Michigan State. Or Louisville.


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