It’s A Love/Hate Relationship: Volume XVPosted by jbaumgartner on April 2nd, 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…. Mach Five speed. There reached a point in Sunday’s regional final between Louisville and Duke where lateral movement ceased to exist. There was Peyton Siva, there was Russ Smith, and there was 94 feet of court from end to end. It didn’t matter where and when they got the ball – they were heading straight to the hole, and you could try to keep up if you wanted. Those two bring a dimension that no other team in the country has, and they made some decent Duke guards look downright tortoise-like on both offense and defense throughout the second half rout. They ran ‘em straight out of the gym.
I LOVED…. Wichita State “shocking” (sorry, too easy) the world and making it out of the West Region, and more importantly striking another solid blow for mid-majors with its convincing win over a very good Ohio State team. While Gonzaga making it just two games as a #1 seed was rough, this WSU run helps erase some of that damage for quality schools in small conferences going forward.
I LOVED…. Trey Burke deciding to become The Man. For nine minutes against Kansas, literally everyone in the building knew exactly who the ball was going to and what he was trying to do. Didn’t matter. Ping, ping, ping, ping – the jumpers just kept raining in as he willed his Wolverines into overtime and on to victory. Any Player of the Year questions should have been answered right there.
I LOVED…. just how dumb the NCAA Tournament selection committee looked by putting Oregon as a #12 seed. I honestly believe it was one of the worst hack jobs in selection history, and the Ducks, who were possibly underseeded by about five slots or so, powered their way to the Sweet Sixteen and hung with a star-studded Louisville team for the full 40 minutes. Someone needs to take a long hard look at what went wrong there, and make sure we don’t ever, ever see it again.
I LOVED…. Tubby Smith already getting snapped up by Texas Tech. That’s an impressive reaction by the Red Raiders, who I think really grabbed Smith under the radar with the NCAA Tournament still going on. No surprise that I’m not the only one who thinks Minnesota flubbed this one.
Five Things I Hated This Week
I HATED…. even beginning to watch the replay of Louisville guard Kevin Ware’s injury, and I highly suggest you avoid doing so if you haven’t seen it yet. I honestly don’t know that I’ve ever seen something that gruesome during the middle of such a tense and heated game – a play so disgustingly painful that literally every person on the floor had to turn away. For several minutes, the game and the potential trip to the Final Four ceased to matter. I don’t know anyone who isn’t hoping that kid doesn’t make it all the way back from that nightmare of an experience. Still gives me the shivers just thinking about it.
I HATED…. the decision-making of Kansas guard Elijah Johnson down the stretch in the Jayhawks’ epic collapse against Michigan. You have to feel for this guy – in a span of about four minutes, he committed numerous turnovers, somehow was called for a 10-second violation despite being lightly guarded, missed a huge free throw, missed several shots, and then bizarrely passed up what looked like a good chance to tie the game at the end of overtime. Ouch.
I HATED…. teams not showing up. Yes, I’m looking at you Marquette, Ohio State and Florida. With a trip to the Final Four on the line, you put in performances worthy of November exhibitions and left us couch-dwellers yawning during what should be one of the Tournament’s most exciting rounds. Marquette’s 39 points should keep them out of the Dance next year, and I’m only half kidding.
I HATED…. the unfulfilled potential of Indiana. That team was straight up stacked, but the longer the NCAA Tournament went on, the more mediocre they seemed to become. They were lucky to get out of the second round against Temple, and you have to ask a few questions about Tom Crean until he makes a Final Four without Dwayne Wade on his roster.
I HATED…. having only one championship game match-up that I really want to see. Usually it doesn’t matter at this point, but I really think that Louisville-Michigan gives us our one chance at a quality final that features attractive basketball from end to end. Any other combo, particularly ones that involve Syracuse, has the potential to be a Monday night yawner. Here’s to hoping that the Cardinals and Wolverines finish off this entertaining tournament.