With March Madness in full swing there’s too much going on to focus on just one or two topics so my “bullets” are back.
The best thing I can say about my Final Four is all four my of my teams go through the opening games unscathed. Kentucky, Duke, Arizona and Northern Iowa all won fairly handily. That’s pretty much where my excitement ends though because I had Baylor, Iowa State and Eastern Washington all advancing to the Sweet Sixteen or Elite Eight but those three exited with a collective thud.
Speaking of Kentucky, I still think the pressure would be the same had they entered the tournament with a loss but even when they win by 20 plus points they are doubts about their chances. Is the pressure too much? Are they playing too conservatively? Can they handle every team’s best shot? Let’s give the Wildcats a little time to breathe shall we? Even they say they didn’t play well in beating Hampton but now they get a more formidable foe in Cincinnati and I believe you’ll see a more concentrated performance.
If you heard a massive gasp for air come from the southern portion of California yesterday that was the reaction to Cy Young Winner Clayton Kershaw taking a line drive off of his grill. The ace pitcher had a tooth chipped but remained in the game and didn’t seem to have any left over effects from the hit. Kershaw looked like he was going to be able to block the ball with his glove but he stumbled as he was still finishing his follow through. Either way, Dodgers’ fans can breathe easy.
It looks as though we’ve seen the last of Kevin Durant this year as his foot just isn’t healing properly. While it hasn’t been made official, Durant has been removed from “basketball related activities” which is typical the first step to being done for the season. The question going forward is whether Durant has played his final game period for the Thunder. There’s no shortage of rumors that he wants to go back to his hometown of Washington, D.C. once his contract is up after next season. If you’re the Thunder, do you trade him now and at the least get something in return for him? Stay tuned on this one.
Sometimes what we forget about the NCAA Tournament is that so many of these kids and their coaches are getting their 15 minutes of fame in what probably feels like a split-second. Watching Georgia State coach Ron Turner fall out of his chair as his son buried the game-winner was what the tournament is all about. It’s also about the many faces of Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo and the reactions of players as that one final shot swooshes through the hoop or clangs off the rim. It really is great theater.
I can’t let today go by without commenting on the goal-tending call that cost SMU in their opening game loss to UCLA. While you probably already know I can’t stand instant replay, if they are going to continue using it, then a play like this has to be reviewable. I don’t care what angle I look at, that ball never made it into the imaginary cylinder and even if might have caught the rim there was no way in the world of Science Guy Bill Nye that the ball was going in. We allow these kids to play above the rim the entire game then suddenly scold them when they make an instinctive play. The officials rewarded a player for a brick and that’s what this is ultimately about.