After watching umpteen commercials over the weekend, I have a question for the readership here. Am I the only one who thinks it is time to lower the
curtain on Blue Man Group? Their fifteen minutes was up a long time ago...
I recall on "Selection Sunday" more than a few of the basketball pundits expressing shock and outrage that Notre Dame was left out of the NCAA
Tournament. The refrain from these folks was that Notre Dame had gone 9-7 in the Big East and that accomplishment alone was enough to get them an
at-large entry. Notre Dame became the poster child for bad fortune done at the hands of the goofs on the Selection Committee. So, Notre Dame went to
the NIT and tanked in the first round to perennial powerhouse, Holy Cross. I didn't hear from any of the basketball punditry after that happened...
Do not take this comparison any further than what I have said right here, but Taylor Coppenrath shares a playing style with Bill Walton. When he gets
a high pass in the low post, he keeps the ball high as he makes his pivot move. The same is true with offensive rebounds that he intends to put back
toward the basket. He does not bring the ball down and give the defense added opportunity to steal it or to block his put-back shot.
Why did Syracuse - my pick to win the tournament - lose in the first round to Vermont? They committed 24 turnovers and at least a third of them would
have been categorized as "unforced errors" had this been a tennis match.
This happens every year in the tournament. Usually it happens once but this year it happened twice. An official makes a call that is absolutely
literally correct but is also one that has not been called all year long. This year, one official decided to call a technical foul for a player
hanging on the rim after a dunk when there was no player under him so that he "hung on the rim" to avoid a potential injury. That is the rule; it has
been ignored for years. Don't drag it out in a tournament game and then ignore it again for years. The second call was a palming/traveling call on a
player doing a hesitation step on a drive to the basket. Indeed, the player traveled. So did the 1,000 other players who used that move all season
long - and the others who used that move in that and other tournament games. Officials need to be consistent throughout a game; that is for sure. They
also need to be consistent about what rules will be enforced strictly and which ones will be ignored from November through the end of a tournament in
And don't get me started on "make-up calls" such as the one in the Duke/Mississippi State game. The first foul on Sheldon Williams was a terrible
call; the next trip down the court, there was an even worse one on Lawrence Roberts to "even things out". I officiated basketball for 37 years; I have
participated in clinics for people wanting to get into the refereeing "business". One of the things you tell newbies is that you will make mistakes
out there but you don't "pull a Maybelline" [jargon for a "make-up call"] because that only makes you wrong twice. The officials at this level of the
game know better and should behave better.
I enjoyed the Gonzaga/Texas Tech game because there was no posing and no showboating by the players. Everyone just went out and hustled and played
hard. They did not need to mug for the cameras or draw attention to themselves. Having said that and notwithstanding the fact that I picked Texas Tech
to eliminate Gonzaga in that game, I was completely underwhelmed by the coaching decisions on the Gonzaga bench to stop pounding the ball inside and
begin playing "jump-shot basketball".
I think Julius Hodge has a future in the NBA.
Finally, Scott Ostler in the San Francisco Chronicle had a great suggestion for a nickname for Oakland A's closer, Huston Street:
Huston "Dead End" Street
But don't get me wrong, I love sports...
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