52 Games Later
Regrettably, I have to include the “First Four” in my title. We cannot overlook anything these days as the 2013 NCAA Tournament wrought the must upset riddled SECOND ROUND and a THIRD ROUND which left jaws dropped. The lack of overtime hasn’t been enough to keep the drama away thanks to Florida and the Big Ten. Here’s a short list of things we can say about the 2013 NCAA Tournament so far:
1) Road Warrior/IT Guy Charles Barkley knows nothing about College Basketball
I’m not talking about Barkley’s incessant badgering about refs affecting the outcome of the games, his idiot face, or the fact that CDW found perhaps the one human being more disgusting than Barkley. As much as I want to talk about those things, I’ll stick to college basketball. On Selection Sunday, Barkley ignorantly discussed the Big Ten being overrated. Now, on the surface it is easy to argue a conference is overrated by saying every team is overrated thus a win against an overrated team isn’t impressive. If you say “Indiana isn’t as good as people think” and Indiana beats Michigan or Michigan State then you can follow-up “Michigan and Michigan State are overrated too”, etc. However, even Rod “He Hate Me” Smart can understand the “Eye-Test” of college basketball. Even the breathing embodiment of the perfect oxymoron looks at the teams in the Big Ten and then the teams in the Pac-12/Mountain West and knows to suggest the Pac-12/MW are better is sheer ignorance. We’ll just examine the tournament. The Pac-12/MW had 10 bids combined. The Big Ten had 7. In the Sweet Sixteen, there will be 4 Big Ten teams, 2 Pac-12 teams, and 0 MW teams. The conferences have matched up only twice with the Big Ten’s #11 Minnesota and #7 Illinois (middle tier Big Ten schools) facing #6 UCLA and #10 Colorado (and upper and middle tier team). Minnesota won by 20 against UCLA and Illinois beat Colorado by 18. I know this is only one example of Charles Barkley being wrong and an idiot, but just listen to him and you’lll sway to my side. Does he do a good job on the NBA? I have no idea. All I know is the collaborative between Turner Sports and CBS is beautiful except for his idiot face.
2) Florida Gulf Coast is the best story since George Mason
George Mason opened the door for the Cinderella in 2006 (under current Miami Florida head coach Jim Larranaga). Since then we’ve seen a #11 VCU in the Final Four and a #8 Butler in the national title game. We’ve had Steph Curry and #10 Davidson in the Elite Eight and two #15 seed victories last year. Arguably, all of those stories pale in comparison to groundbreaking #15 Florida Gulf Coast which reached the Sweet Sixteen yesterday by beating #7 San Diego State. “Lob Paradise” sprinted through the first two rounds, proving to be the more athletic team in both occasions…
3) Florida Gulf Coast will lose in the next round
I don’t mean to bring out my inner Alan Rickman, but FGCU is doomed. I’ll be rooting for the Eagles almost as hard as my alma mater Ohio State, but it will be futile. Clearly, my picks this year leave me with little credibility, but at least I wasn’t Charles Barkley who had 1 Big Ten team in the Sweet Sixteen. Florida Gulf Coast beat G-Town (fudge) and My Aztecs (double fudge) because they were more athletic…well, if FGCU tries to outrun #3 Florida in the next round they’ll be down by 20+ at halftime. I’m rooting for you Lob Paradise, but I don’t like your odds.
4) It’s the Year of the charge
The “player control” violation (better known as the offensive charge) is being called with regularity like never before. The controversial call in the Ohio State-Iowa State game put the call in the limelight, but charges have become the thing in college basketball…meanwhile
5) The charge call in the Ohio State-Iowa State game did not decide the outcome
Sure, the call hindered Iowa State’s chances. In fact, they might have won the game if it was called a block, but to expect the ref to notice Aaron Craft’s hovering foot in real time is ridiculous. Was it a charge? It was more of a charge than other charge calls I’ve seen in this year’s tournament, but it was also more of a block than some blocking calls. All in all, to say one call cost a team a game is ridiculous. The call is magnified because it happened late, but anything which happened in the 37+ minutes of basketball before it had just as much influence. It’s like saying the batter who struck out with a runner on third down one with two outs in the ninth lost the game…What about the guy who grounded out in the third inning? If he’d have hit a homer the game would’ve been tied! Late game calls and plays are magnified because they are late. A charge/block scenario is the toughest call in sports and all-in-all the Aaron Craft call was more a judgment call than most. It was a 50-50 call and that’s all I have to say about that.
6) No overtime hasn’t caused a loss of drama
Late game drama is what everyone drools over in March Madness; however, the lack of buzzer beaters and overtime would seem to invoke less drama. This year’s tournament has not been short of images and heroes, however, thanks to a Florida Gulf Coast pumpkin carriage ride, Aaron Craft’s buzzer beater, and the biggest hardass in college basketball Marshall Henderson (I love the guy, he’s hilarious). The games are about to get a little more interesting as posers have been weeded out like crabgrass. Let’s just stay the course and root for Florida Gulf Coast to somehow keep winning.
7) The best play so far was a alley-oop
It should be the lasting image for at least the first weekend of the tournament. Georgetown was mounting its run and had closed the gap. A pass was lofted and appeared to be a turnover…Suddenly Chase Fieler gave us our Ali Farokhmanesh moment of 2013.
I’m tired and that’s all I got so far. P.S. My Final Four picks were Indiana over Georgetown and Michigan State over Ohio State with Indiana winning the title…there you go, people.