If you are a huge college basketball fan, today is certainly a day to mark and circle on your calendar. It is final four day and 4 teams will battle it out tonight to determine who will play in Monday night’s championship game. Like most people, my bracket is totally shot so I can sit back and actually enjoy the games this year. Thanks to the efforts of Michigan St. and Kansas, I do not have to worry about winning that jackpot in our office pool. Anyways, I have to say that this has been one very enjoyable tournament. I just love this tournament because of the one and done element to it. No long drawn out best of 7 series which usually favors the better team. This tournament certainly had its share of drama and hopefully the final four games will continue that trend. I would like to share a few thoughts on the tournament so far and offer up some predictions on what might happen in the next few days.
1) MVP of the tourney – Buddy Hield. This is kind of a no-brainer. Hield has had a fabulous year and has taken his game to a new level during the tournament. I am happy for the kid because he decided to come back for his senior year and that decision is during out to be a great one for him. His NBA stock has really risen in the past few weeks. I hope he has a fabulous final four.
2) Most impressive team so far – Villanova. I know how everyone is praising North Carolina, but in my mind, Villanova is the most impressive team that I have seen play in this tournament. I’m not saying that they will win the whole thing, but this team is very solid both on the offensive and defensive end of the court. In addition, they have a strong inside presence which matches up very well with North Carolina. I have to admit that I overlooked Villanova in making my picks. They are one good basketball team.
3) Biggest surprise of the tourney – Michigan State losing in round 1. Of all the teams that you might consider getting upset in the tourney, Michigan St. was at the bottom. It makes no sense at all! They were a hot team with a proven tournament coach and here they go down in flames in the first round, go figure!
4) Most memorable game – Northern Iowa vs. Texas A&M. In all my years of watching basketball, I have never seen a team come back from being down by double digits with less and minute left in the game. It was a shocking finish that will be talked about for years to come. One of the top 5 biggest collapses ever by a basketball team at any level.
5) Television coverage – I like Charles Barkley and the crew on TNT NBA telecasts and wish they would stay there. I very much wish that Turner Sports would stay out of this tournament and let ESPN cover the games. They telecast a million college basketball games during the regular season and have some of the best and brightest analysts. Furthermore, they have about what? 5 different channels to televise the games on. Wouldn’t you rather have Jay Bilas on during the halftime show than Charles Barkley? No offense to Sir Charles, but the likes of Bilas, Dick Vitale and Jay Williams have been watching and commentating on the college game all year. They could give us better insight.
6) Bold predictions- To be honest with you, I would love to have Syracuse win the tournament. That would really screw up many office pools around country! However, I am picking Villanova and North Carolina to reach the championship game with Nova cutting down the nets on Monday night.
I want to wish the players and fans of those teams still involved the best of luck. I wish this tournament would last another 2 weeks; it has been a lot of fun.