Beckenridge/Devon O’Neil: College hoops’ history is our gain
March 31, 2008
Four No. 1 seeds in the Final Four. I’ll bet the tournament selection committee is tickled.
And so should we be. Part of what you get when Cinderella makes the Final Four is a virtual guarantee that she’s going to get her tail kicked when she actually takes the court.
It happened to George Mason in 2006; the 11th-seeded Patriots were blown out by eventual champ Florida. And although the perma-believers would argue Davidson is different, that the Wildcats have the superstar player to eliminate that possibility, we saw in Sunday’s regional final against Kansas that they’re not all that potent when Stephen Curry doesn’t hit his shots ” the mark of a good team compared to a great one.
We also saw how defensively excellent Kansas is. Now, are the Jayhawks good enough to stop North Carolina, a team chock full of gazelles and cheetahs? That, in a nutshell, is the kind of question we get to answer when history happens.
I’ll be the first to root for the underdog. I was pulling for Davidson on Sunday, even though my bracket needed Kansas to stay alive so it could lose to Memphis in the final. But by having all four No. 1 seeds in the same building on Saturday, we get to see Goliath battle his twin brother, twice in a row.
Memphis, which I still think is the most athletic team in America (I could watch Derrick Rose sprint and dunk for an entire afternoon), tangles with UCLA, the most storied team in history, making its third straight Final Four appearance.
Like the Kansas-UNC game (which features Roy Williams in a rare ” and, he says, dreaded ” matchup against his old squad), the UCLA-Memphis contest pits two powerhouse programs that expect to beat every team they face.
As a fan, you can’t want any more than that. …
Holy dogfight in the Western Conference playoff race. The Nuggets have won five in a row to pull into a three-way tie for the seventh spot with the Mavericks and Warriors; all three teams were 45-28 going into Monday night’s games.
Too bad that in the Eastern Conference, five teams will likely make the playoffs with a worse record than the club in that Western trio that gets left out. …
Forget Quote of the Week. This one’s nominated for Quote of the Year. After the Miami Heat made an NBA-record-low 17 field goals in its blowout loss to Boston on Sunday, Ron Rothstein, the Heat assistant filling in for head coach Pat Riley (who was off scouting college talent again), had this to say when informed of the dubious record:
“Oh, did we? How about that?” …
Might be a good move to pick up Manny Ramirez in your fantasy baseball draft this year. They’re not calling him “Contract-year Manny” for nothing. …
Did anyone else see Patrick Roy’s son go loony in the minor-league hockey fight the other night? Guy looked like a bona fide criminal, no joke. Just beating the stuffing out of people for no reason at all. …
Introducing a new feature to the column this week: You Know You’re a Loser When … you’re Jay Gibbons, and the Orioles would rather pay you $11.9 million to go home and sit on your porch than include you on their 25-man Opening Day roster. …
Couple interesting facts: Manu Ginobili leads the Spurs in scoring, at 20.1 points per game, but he doesn’t even start … In case you hadn’t heard, the NFL is looking into a rule that would ban players from having long hair sticking out of their helmets, and George Steinbrenner has nothing to do with it. …
In parting, calling all sports agents! Six-foot-7, 386-pound NFL offensive lineman Boris Rickshaw’s wife gave birth to a 26-pound baby last week, the largest in Alabama history. They’re calling the kid Peanut.
” Breckenridge resident Devon O’Neil’s $0.02 column runs on Tuesdays. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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