It’s A Love/Hate Relationship: Volume XVIPosted by jbaumgartner on April 12th, 2013
Jesse Baumgartner is an RTC columnist. His Love/Hate column will publish each week throughout the season. In this piece he’ll review the five things he loved and hated about the previous seven days of college basketball.
Five Things I Loved This Week
I LOVED…. a final game that was so good, so full of quality and runs and drama, that you literally sat in your seat and wondered if it could sustain itself for 40 minutes. The answer was yes, and anyone who wasn’t on the edge of their seat for most of Monday night doesn’t have a pulse. That game was everything we could have hoped for – after an NCAA Tournament that included both upsets and duds to go alongside some raggedy play, this was a title game deserving of the name. What a way to end the year.
I LOVED…. being vindicated in my disgust for Doug Gottlieb. Just take a few quick seconds in case you missed him making a fool of himself on national television (ahem, I mean bigger fool than usual).
I LOVED…. Russdiculousness. You have to give it to Russ Smith – he carried his Louisville team all the way to the Final Four, all the way to the title game with a torrid stretch of scoring, and once he got there he flat-out refused to become a different player. With a lead down the stretch, Russ fouled on the perimeter, dribbled into traffic, took a three-pointer with a new shot clock and 2:30 left, threw crazy passes into the stands and generally tried to give the championship trophy away. But hey, he wouldn’t be Russ if he weren’t a little nutty, and the Cardinals wouldn’t be holding that trophy if he wasn’t on their side.
I LOVED…. a shootout. It didn’t get any better than that first-half step-off from 22 feet by Spike Albrecht and Luke Hancock. Spike’s might have been more unexpected, but Hancock’s was pure guts in the face of a double-digit deficit with the season on the line. It made for some incredible runs in the first 20 minutes, and it got even better when Albrecht made a cybermove on Kate Upton.
I LOVED…. trying to decide how much more likely a team is to win the national championship next year with Andrew Wiggins after watching this mix tape. I’m not gonna lie – the thought, “Would they be a shoe-in?” did cross my mind. Man that is a lot of talent in one kid. I hear Chapel Hill is a good launching spot for superstar careers, Andrew…
Five Things I Hated This Week
I HATED…. officiating that was as bad as the title game was good. You know it’s bad when you couldn’t care less about which team wins, but you find yourself cringing on replay after replay. Refereeing at this speed is tough, to be sure, but we’re talking about obvious missed goaltends, kicked balls, terrible foul calls on the three-point line and absurdly clean blocks (yes, Trey, we felt for you on that one). Combined with Karl Hess’ ridiculous jump ball call to seal the Louisville/Wichita State semifinal, this was a weekend for the zebras to forget.
I HATED…. John Beilein’s tragic decision to leave Trey Burke out of the game for 12 minutes. You understand what he was thinking, and when Spikemania hit Atlanta for seven minutes, he thought he could get away with it. But I agree with many of the analysts – you HAVE to trust your Player of the Year, especially as a guard, to play smart with two fouls and still be effective. People have tried to make the argument that Luke Hancock got hot so quickly that it wouldn’t have made a difference, but that’s just not true – as someone said (maybe, puke, Doug Gottlieb), you don’t go on a 14-1 run when Trey Burke is on the floor. Period.
I HATED…. that after a season of admittedly mediocre game quality (come on, you know it’s true), the talent that really would have made 2013-14 special fled straight for the NBA to take advantage of this down draft year. You can’t blame them – in few other years would Cody Zeller be this high, or Ben McLemore a potential No. 1 pick – but it means that we start largely from scratch next fall.
I HATED…. everything about the Rutgers story with Mike Rice and the unbelievably large number of senior level officials who enabled him. Anyone who uses this to deride sports for becoming too soft (yes, that’s you FOX News) doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Normal human beings don’t pull this kind of crap – it’s just disgusting.
I HATED…. that sinking feeling while watching “One Shining Moment,” when you realize that your college basketball intake for the season is literally being counted down to these final two minutes. We may have baseball and the NBA Playoffs to look forward to, but it’s still a tough pill to swallow. Hang in there… we’ll see you in October.