I Enjoy Winning Too

April 2, 2008 at 8:59 am | Posted in Jackie Manuel, Lates Links | 1 Comment
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Only Wednesday and Saturday night seems months away.
This time, nobody will be yelling to put Melvin Scott in. If only Roy had this kind of power:

Williams was asked again Tuesday about the drama of playing Kansas, the school he coached from 1988-2003.

Specifically, is he worried it will be a distraction leading into Saturday’s game?

“I don’t think my team will get distracted from it, and I’m getting very close to putting an end to it right now,” Williams said. “It’s not the story. The story is Kansas and their great program and their great team in 2008, and North Carolina and their great program and their team in 2008.”

Tywon likes to flirt with Roy? Adam Lucas makes a wonderful case against the hype. Captain Obvious now at WRAL? Surry Wood’s featured in the gray lady! John Gasaway discusses the rotating hegemons:

This dominance is not only measurable by the composition of the Final Four. Consider also that 11 of the last 12 one-seeds have made the Elite Eight. The collective tournament record of those 12 one-seeds against non-one-seed opponents is a notably robust 44-6.

Lastly, it’s worth remarking that there was a time not so long ago when it was at least within the realm of possibility for a one-seed to lose a second-round game. Sure, it was a rare occurrence, but it did happen 12 times in the first 20 tournaments of the 64-team era. Such a thing was conceivable. No longer. Starting with the 2005 tournament, the cumulative first-weekend record of the one-seeds is 32-0.

Why is this era of domination happening now? It’s early to speculate, of course, but it might just turn out to have something to do with those freshmen we keep hearing about. The NBA collective bargaining agreement that took effect before the 2006 draft defined eligibility upwards. Now a player has to be 19 during the calendar year of the draft (or, if they matriculated at a U.S. high school, at least one year has to have passed since their graduation). Meaning Greg Oden was the first player forced, in effect, to play college basketball for a year. The best, or at least most promising, players in the country outside the NBA are no longer high school seniors. They’re college freshmen.

That is true, but in this case all four teams have been building a championship team over the last few season. Kansas, UCLA, and Memphis have merely added a key freshman to a strong team.

The effect of these freshmen on their teams has been dramatic. North Carolina is the only Final Four team without (gasp!) a representative from the 2007 McDonald’s All-American Team. Then again, Kansas would very likely be where they are even without Cole Aldrich. The catalytic Final Four freshmen this year are, of course, Kevin Love and Derrick Rose.

True, their teams would be excellent without them. Their teams may even have made the Final Four without them. The point is not that you need a spectacular freshman to win the national title. (After all, we haven’t seen such a team since Carmelo Anthony’s time.) No, the point is that college basketball appears to have become bifurcated. On the one side are teams good enough to both attract (that includes Kansas State) and capitalize on (that does not include K-State) a catalytic freshman. On the other side are 330 or so other teams. If the catalytic freshmen were smart, they’d start committing in groups, a la Greg Oden and Mike Conley.

Not so sure about this either. If John means to say that there are 11 teams with a better chance than the other 330…I’m with him. That has always been the case. Elite programs exist. IF he means to say none of the other 330 can make runs or become one of those elite programs than I completely disagree.

Tar Heel Fan looks at the importance of officiating on Saturday. I’ll actually blog about Kansas basketball tomorrow.

Cash cup recaps and previews. I’ll go with PECOTA. Nobody wins. Devastating loss for the Canes and although the officiating was dreadful, it wasn’t as bad as our power play. Fins headed to the Super Bowl.

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  1. Waitwaitwait, the dolphins signed the “leave britney alone” dude? Finally an athlete worthy of the Teal Machine!

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