Monday, March 28, 2011

NCAA Tournament Thoughts: Elite 8 Sunday

I would put VCU over Kansas as the third biggest upset of the 64 team era. It has to come after Villanova over Georgetown even though they were the same conference. Because it was the title game, and because Georgetown had Patrick Ewing. There are no all-time legends on this Kansas team. I also rank it behind George Mason over Connecticut because at that point we really didn't know it was possible.

There is one great equalizer in basketball. Something that will help you overcome a bigger, stronger, faster, more talented team: shooting. VCU made 12 of 25 3-pointers and 77% from the line. Kansas was 2 for 21 and made only 53% of free throws. That was the difference. Every time Kansas started to make a run VCU hit an outside shot.

Jamie Skeen was unbelievable, even though he missed a lot of shots. And Rozzell (who reminded me of Rahzel) also was clutch.

I think Shaka Smart deserves a lot of credit. I think I could have beaten Kansas after his pregame speech. "We're gonna punch our ticket to the Final Four."

Did the announcers say Tyrel Reed's father has taken off four years of work to watch his son play basketball? Apparently he quit his coaching job (maybe that was only part-time) so he could travel to all of Reed's games. And he damn near played in more than anyone. Yesterday was 132, if Kansas would have won he would have tied the record, if they played for the title he would have set a new record. But for now no college player has played in more games than Shane Battier.

Note: I mentioned this last year but Reed also has a hot sister.

If you're a VCU alum you have to go to this Final Four right? When else in your lifetime is VCU going to make the Final Four?

Kentucky earns a Final Four appearance they will have to vacate in a few years.

There are actually some I like about Coach Cal. First, he recognizes that talent is the most important factor in winning. So he goes after talent. He embraces the one and done player and even encourages those guys to come to his schools. But he also develops them. Look at the point guards he's had in the past four years: Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans, John Wall and now Brandon Knight.

Sure he probably bends the rules to get those guys in but some schools go on probation for guys like Conrad McRae whereas Calipari got popped for Marcus Camby and Derrick Rose.

Also, I heard he didn't show his team any game tape of North Carolina. He used the old Petey Bell credo "it's not what you do God damn it, it's how you do it."

But I think he also tried that in 2008 with free throws, had the guys stop shooting free throws and just mentally picture free throws going through the hoop. They ended up missing a bunch and losing the title to Kansas.

Back to this game for a minute: I love Brandon Knight. He's the kind of point guard that only scores when he needs to. He point totals in the NCAA Tournament: 2, 30, 9 and then 22 against UNC.

I really like Tyler Zeller. A big guy with a good post-up game. And he's improved each year. He has to come out right.

It's amazing that Kentucky lost an entire starting lineup (Wall, Cousins, Patterson, Bledsoe and Orton) and actually advanced farther in the tournament.

First year of 64 teams I believe that no number 1 or number 2 seeds made the Final Four.

ESPN says only 2 of 5.9 million brackets had all four Final Four teams correct. Amazing.

1 comment:

Damino said...

Great summary. I love Brandon Knight too, and unlike most other Calipari players, he's a great student.

Kentucky has a ridiculously good recruiting class lined up for next season, so depending on defections they could be a prohibitive have back to back final fours vacated.