"You Gotta Be Kidding!"
by Mickey Charles CEO, sportsnetwork.com
Hatboro, PA (Sports Network) --
Please, spare me. Do not tell me you have Virginia Commonwealth or Butler in
the Final Four, no less coming this far at any time. You had them both making
an inglorious exit long ago. Whoops! Nobody told them and the teams deemed to
be much better either did not take them seriously or missed something in the
scouting reports. That is what watching them play in an earlier round is all
about, studying game films. These two are not just hot teams, they had nothing
to lose and played like it, let it all hang out.
So, what do we have coming up this weekend? Two down to the wire again wars.
The Bulldogs and the Rams are going to trade punches, baskets, fouls, rebounds and
three pointers as if they were playing HORSE. Reckless abandon at times, but
it will only add to the contest. They are not going to circle one another like
fighters in the early rounds of a championship bout. They start fast and
finish faster. Their guards cannot take over and charge in among the trees nor
loft three-pointers expecting them to be magnetized to the hoop. Not going to
Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas will be the site of this weekend's Final Four.
There is no prognostication for these two games, no crystal ball, nothing
discovered that gives one the edge over the other except ... and it is a big
"except," Kentucky will run and UConn will walk. That is a certainty. Both
will seek to set the pace. The overall edge probably goes to the Wildcats, but
the Huskies can run off anywhere from 7 to 9 quick points. Not a fortune and
not enough to distance themselves from the other guys, but enough to allow
them to catch up if they fall behind.
All four of these teams should spend much of the next few days shooting fouls,
making 80% of them blindfolded. That is where the games are likely to turn
when it gets down to the wire. Have I seen a preview, a trailer of sorts? No.
I have just watched the games and seen these four play, seen others that might
have put the competition on ice blow one-and-ones in the waning moments, even
seconds. Foul shooting is not taken as seriously as the three pointers from
the corner, but those are the baskets that win or lose games when it is all on
the line and the kid standing on the line has the same confidence that you
have when you get ready for the zip line flight for the first time. Underwear
Kentucky won by two, eight, two and might be perceived to have had a much
tougher road getting here than did Connecticut, and that could be to their
advantage, if it was true. UConn blows out Bucknell - be still my beating
heart. Then sends Cincy home, also not a great achievement, takes two OT's to
beat San Diego State and then wins a game they might have lost just as easily
against Arizona, where the final does not tell the true story. This one will
have more ups and downs than the mercury of thermometer going from the
Microwave to the freezer and back again.
Everyone is giving credence to the old adage about any team on any given day.
Yes, it happens and, in this tournament, it has been transported to a time
capsule and they are now making plaques inscribed with that statement to be
hung near the 60" screen with pride and as a reminder so you can tell everyone
that you were there and actually witnessed it. It doesn't really happen that
often in the wide spectrum of sports, and it might have used up all the games
left to it in this disquieting madness of unpredictability. The selection
committee is aglow right now and going to orthopedic surgeons and rehab to
gain movement in arms weary from slapping one another on the back and do
multiple high fives hourly.
The Elite Eight, the Sweet Sixteen, the Final Four. Lacking anything of a
similar grammatical nature, just the Champion that awaits. One team that
should not be is going to play another shortly that coulda, shoulda made it
and David could take Goliath to give the announcers another chance to say,
"The greatest upset and trail of success in the history of the NCAA
Tournament." The optional phrase will be "One of the most amazing things I
have ever seen!" OK, you have the picture and the perfunctory phrases being
kicked about now by producers, directors and announcers. This is their
preparedness. Also, researching history so they have other major upsets ready,
as if they just thought of them...printed out on large sheets of paper in 18-
point type fonts.
Brandon Knight leads the 29-8 Wildcats into the Final Four vs. the 30-9 Connecticut Huskies.
The fact of the matter is that it has been a great tournament, most of the
games were exciting with the last few minutes telling the tale, even the last
few seconds and no one was getting super rich on the outcomes or the brackets
in their offices or among friends. It was all for a few dollars and major
bragging rights. Time to brag about something else and buy the new LCD with a
few dollars from the savings account.
There are no sensational words of wisdom forthcoming and earlier opinions and
predictions of mine about who will still be standing, running, dunking this
weekend and Monday were not heeded by the players or coaches. They let me
down. Bummer. It would be easy to say that VCU or Butler, whoever wins their
game, has come to the end of the trail on Monday evening. Likely so. if they
encounter Kentucky...only likely at this stage of the game. Opinions now are
as certain as predicting the weather this weekend....rain, snow, wet snow,
sleet, Nor'easter, sun. Take your choice, but come prepared for all.
You had VCU and Butler? You gotta be kidding!