Congratulations to this year's Final Four, Michigan State, Louisville, Illinois, and yeah, even North Carolina.
This year, I should have gone with my instincts. Looking at the brackets, I thought that there was no way to avoid suffering through yet another Duke-Kentucky regional final, and the Spartans managed to exceed my lowly expectations, taking out both Kentucky and Duke to reach the national semis. It's a welcome outcome. It's always good to see Coach K splashing tears of defeat at the press table rather than that wincing grin of his (sorry Hayden). Yet I had Duke going out against MSU, if only on principle.
Those boys from East Lansing are lookin' mighty tough this year. Reminds me of another NCAA tournament, where Lute Olsen's Arizona Wildcats knocked off North Carolina, Kansas, and Kentucky in successive games to clinch the national title.
Yep, I sure do recall that year. March Sadness. To watch the mighty Kansas Jayhawks steamroller through the regular season, stacking up 29 wins and 1 loss, and yet they still managed to fall in yet another post-season choke, and that year to the (admittedly talented and eventual champion) squad from 'Zona. Still, you had to see it coming from the opening moments of that game -- Bibby was unconscious, and combined with the 'Cats off-guard counterpunch of Miles Simon, their guard tandem made hash out of Jacque and the Beanstalks. That vaunted KU inside game couldn't make up for the FGs raining into the bucket from downtown. (Eventual NBA recruits) Pollard, LaFrentz, and Pierce were neutralized as a defensive force. And if their defense was stalled, their offense was positively in the ditch. I watched helplessly as the Jayhawks fell to a 19-5 deficit early in the game. Once you see that, you know that the rest is pretty much academic. Granted, they wound up losing by a mere 3 points, but one thing I know about KU basketball is that they're not a team that ever plays well from behind.
Well, there's always next year, right?
Roy Williams brought the Jayhawks to the threshold against Maryland… and Syracuse… only to lose each time. Now he stands at the precipice yet again, only this time, at the helm of another program.
The difference between you and me, Roy, is that I still don't give a shit about North Carolina.
Thankfully, I don't have to root for Duke to whoop your backside to a bright shade of KU crimson.
I'm taking the Spartans to win the Championship.
(edited for clarity)