Thursday, March 29, 2012
Behind the Scoreboard
Still going with Wildcats
Is it just me or has the current NCAA tournament taken on the appearance of a whirlwind? Seems like only yesterday that the games had just begun and now already we have reached the Final Four. How many of us have suffered the attendant malady of “bracket fever?” You know the itch to try and keep up with every game and the representatives from your favorite conference. Last season (2011) the SEC had a bit more to brag about because we had five teams (Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Georgia, Florida and Kentucky) in the hunt. In 2012 we only had three dogs in the fight (Vanderbilt, Florida and Kentucky). And history repeated itself this season – the SEC entered the “Elite Eight” with two (Florida and Kentucky). Alas, alackaday, the SEC enters the Final Four with just one rep, same as last season. And that one rep is Kentucky, same as last year.
Last season there were no number ones who had made the final cut. This time there is one, Kentucky. Gone is Syracuse; gone is North Carolina; and gone is the vaunted Michigan State.
The Gators were rolling along merrily and apparently on a collision course with SEC friend and foe Kentucky until they met Louisville. It was a test between pupil and teacher. Louisville had disposed of the Spartans (Michigan State) in the Sweet 16 round. Florida’s head coach (Billy Donovan) and Rick Pitino of Louisville have history. Pitino had mentored Donovan in his early career. However, this doesn’t count for much when you are on the road to New Orleans.
Syracuse suffered its defeat at the hands of a number two. The Ohio State Buckeyes are not considered pikers in any sports arena and it was obvious that they were up to the task against the Bearcats of Cincinnati. Now Ohio State must face the Kansas Jayhawks on March 31. Personally, I would have preferred a matchup between N.C. State and North Carolina as opposed to the one between the Tar Heels and Jayhawks on March 25.
The number one team, after wading through the Baylor Bears on the 25th, will meet Louisville. The Wildcats recorded a clock-buster over Indiana and hadn’t slowed down any when they met Baylor. One has to admire the Baylor program. A private school in Waco, Texas, not really large, however, it has a women’s team that is undefeated and Britney Griner. Griner entered history over the weekend by joining Candace Parker as the only woman to have two dunks in an NCAA playoff game. She has seven over her collegiate career thus far. The Lady Bears are picked to win the women’s NCAA. Baylor also has the Heisman winner, RG III (Robert Griffin III).
The Kentucky Wildcats are still on track (in my estimation) to take out Louisville and whomever the Midwest and East regionals send against them. As one sportscaster put it on Sunday, “The Wildcats will have to beat themselves.”
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