Saturday, April 02, 2011

NCAA Tournament Thoughts: Final Four

Butler hits the first two shots and Shaka Smart switches to a full-court press which keys an 11-2 run. As a Syracuse fan that hurts because Jim Boeheim hasn't made a similar adjustment in 25 years.

Thank you Jim Nantz for confirming that Darius Theus is not related to Reggie.

By the way, that's the third mention of Reggie Theus I've seen in 24 hours. I watched the HBO special on UNLV. And I also watched an NBATV show on Kevin Love in which he chided his assistant coach for being on "Hang Time."

What you are about to read is the greatest insight I have written this entire tournament:

Late in the first half they showed video from before the game of Shaka Smart jumping around with his players in something of a mosh pit. Nantz, Kerr and Kellogg then praised Smart for his "energy" and said his team "feeds off it" giving that intangible "energy" at least some credit for the team's success.

Nantz said there's a long list of coaches who would never do that with their players. One of those coaches would undoubtedly be Brad Stevens. In fact, I have heard announcers praise Brad Stevens for being "even keel" and saying his team takes it lead from him, and indirectly attributing Butler's success, especially late in close games to the example of their coach.

In summary, the announcers pointed to two different coaches with two polar opposite demeanors and gave those very traits credit for the teams success. Now, if two opposite approaches are each equally successful (or have the potential to lead to equal success) perhaps neither of those approaches is right or wrong and neither has any impact on the team's success.

And this is my problem with mainstream media (and it's shared by many, especially in the statistical community), in lieu of examining things differently they just trot out the same platitudes they've been using for 50 years as an explanation for success. This especially happens in college athletics when the players turn over so quickly and the coaches don't. Everything is attributed to the coaches when in fact very little of what they do matters (the aforementioned strategic adjustment notwithstanding).

I hope I made myself clear. The mainstream sports media is intellectually lazy and it often contradicts itself in an effort to explain things that either can't be explained or are too difficult to explain.

Ok, back to the action. Lots of fouls called in this game. And a lot of stupid reach-ins and over the backs and stuff like that. You don't want to see a game like this decided by fouls, and with best players in foul trouble the entire second half. The fouls also slowed the pace of the game considerably compared to the up and down pace we saw early in the first half.

I love Shelvin Mack. What a great player.

I also like Joey Rodriguez as a leader and a passer, but not as a shooter. He has poor form on his jump shot. He leans his upper body into it and it looks like he is throwing the ball at the rim.

It's amazing when any team goes to the final game, loses a top 10 pick, then makes a return trip. It's even more amazing when it is Butler.

"Butler says 'let's do it again.". Really Jim Nantz? You had all week to come up with a cheesy line and that's what you came up with?

And then he breaks out "Okwandu says 'no can do'" And this guy is the best announcer CBS has? Between him and Joe Buck what is it about these guys with their cheesy lines that network executives love?

Now he just said Kemba Walker performed at the Apollo with his dance troupe when he was a kid. At least that was intesresting.

Non-stop action. After a foul with 8:15 left in the second half there wasn't another official's stoppage of play (foul, ball out of bounds) until 2:09 left. There were timeouts called by each coach but those doesn't satisfy the requirements of TV timeouts. So the under-8 timeout came at 2:09 and the under-4 came with 56 seconds left.

Why do teams insist on shooting 3s when they are only down 2 points? I just don't get it.

Rough game for Brandon Knight in what I still think will be his last college game.

Terrence Jones is going to leave too. He'd be well-advised to practice his free throws.

Shabazz Napier must watch a lot of European soccer. He took one dive, and then faked a low-blow that didn't get called.

At least we don't have to worry about the championship being vacated in a few years.

Or maybe we do.

I think every Big East team is going to try to play on the first day of the conference tournament next year.

I think Butler would have had a better chance beating Kentucky. I don't doubt them, but UConn's size is going to be a problem.

1 comment:

Bill said...

I see your point about the media and absolutely agree that the team with the most talent usually wins. All you have to do is look at SU's championship or the NBA player theory for title winners. But I think coaching is a big factor and you can point to Final Four coaches.

With that said, we're going to see more GMUs (Laranagas) and VCUs (Shakas) with success in the tunament.