Thursday, April 3, 2014
Behind The Scoreboard
If one can get past having one’s bracket shredded almost every game and seeing a favorite being sent back into the “wait until next season” bin, then one could probably say that this is a terrific NCAA showdown. Action has been interestingly tense since the first tip.
It became very clear in the latter part of round two that the higher the seed the bigger the target. Unless my calculations are flawed (and they very well could be), a dozen higher seeds fell in that round and the first number one dropped out in the next, when the Wildcats (#8) of Kentucky stopped Wichita State (#1) 78-76. This was one of a trio of highly contested games decided by two points. North Carolina went under Iowa State 83-85 and Dayton went over Syracuse 55-53.
The SEC had all three of its teams making it to the “Sweet 16” with the #11 Vols up against #2 Wolverines. There are many who would say that the Vols got the short end of the stick when the officials made a wrong call near the end of the game, allowing Michigan to send the Vols home with a two-point loss (73-71). Florida (#1) had little trouble waylaying the #4 Bruins by 11 points.
Another number one bit the hardwood when the Michigan State Spartans knocked off the Cavaliers. That game was close throughout and it appeared that Virginia would become “Elite: but had a reversal of fortunes as the Spartans moved on 61-59. Michigan State was one of three teams representing the Big Ten in these hardwood battles. Badgers are known widely as tenacious and ferocious little animals and #2 Wisconsin needed every inch of that tenacity to turn back the (#1) Wildcats of Arizona by one point (64-63).
There were a lot of fan-pleasing games and lots of tears, pro and con, flowing freely throughout the tournament. I believe that I counted more tear ducts being exercised in the games in which the Kentucky Wildcats played than any other. You can color him cagey, crafty, etc., but you have to call him Calipari. Big John has developed a young cadre of players into “ball hawks” (a phrase often used in my playing days), meaning that those young men snatch balls out of the air and opponents’ hands.
After dispatching a very pesty Wolverines team on Sunday, there is a chance that the ’Cats just might get a fourth shot at their SEC nemesis, number one Florida Gators, this season.
The Gators also get a shot of avenging one of their two losses – UConn, which beat them 65-64 last December and about a month before, they had lost to the Badgers.
If you somehow didn’t get the picture, the Final Four will be decided this Saturday evening with Gators versus Huskies and Wildcats versus Badgers. The championship game will be played on Monday, April 7.
Now fans, you have about a week to replenish your supply of Kaopectate, Phillips Milk of Magnesia or Alka Seltzer before the Final Four kicks off next weekend.
Don’t ask me because I don’t have a clue. However, if I had my druthers, it would be all SEC.
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