Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Tuesday 04/07 A.M. Quickie:
UNC, Hansbrough, Lawson, Opening Day

Last night's game sucked, but domination is rarely fun to watch. It's just plain impressive.

I'm no UNC fan. And though I have a begrudging respect for Tyler Hansbrough -- increased substantially this morning since 24 hours ago -- I'm not a huge fan.

But I appreciate the ass-kicking that UNC laid down. They are a very worthy champ, and that leads today's SN column.

What last night was not was a validation of the "stay-in-school" crowd. Make no mistake: If Lawson or Hansbrough or Ellington or Green were guaranteed to be Top 10 picks in any of the last few years, they would have gone pro immediately.

What it DOES display is the level of basketball we would be seeing if NBA early-entrants stuck around an extra year or two (or, in the case of Hansbrough, three). Was UNC '08-09 legitimately awesome -- or was the field that watered down? Probably a bit of both.

The fact is that Michigan State decisively beat both Louisville and UConn, and UNC just smoked the Spartans. And Oklahoma was the best of the Big 12, and UNC smoked them. And Villanova beat arguably the best team in the Big East, and UNC smoked Nova, too.

This was a great team, and a worthy champ.

Oh, and baseball started yesterday. And it was quite an awesome day. CC sucking. K-Rod acing. Hanley rolling. Griffey's turn-back-the-clock moment. And particularly if you drafted Adam Lind onto your fantasy roster, as I did.

See: Because of my worst-ever finish in the Tournament Challege -- 12th percentile. Seriously: 12th. Jaw-droppingly bad. -- I am SO due for a great season in fantasy baseball.

Meanwhile, for his slow start, Obama finished in the 80th percentile. And if I had followed the "National Bracket," I would have out-performed 88 percent of pool entrants.

Next year: National Bracket.

Complete column here.

-- D.S.


Larry said...

Why wasn't UNC's win a validation of the stay-in-school crowd? Why are you so begrudging, as you say, in your respect for Tyler Hansbrough? Would the game have "sucked" as much if it was "Florida" on the jerseys instead of "North Carolina"? Bemoaning the lack of competitiveness wasn't how you led your post on Tebow's first championship. And why didn't you talk about the diluted talent pool in college basketball after the 2006 and 2007 championships?

Seems you could have written a lead like this:

"Certainly UNC's starting five should go down as college hoops' greatest ever.

"Carolina's four biggest stars all could have gone pro a year ago; they gave up the NBA millions in the short term for the chance to come back to school and make history. And they did.

"You can hate Hansbrough. You can hate Carolina. You can hate UNC's perennial success in basketball. But if you love college hoops, you have to appreciate what this group chose to do -- and did."

If that sounds familiar, it should: http://www.danshanoff.com/2007/04/florida-best-team-ever-but-ill-settle.html

I know you've been a Hansbrough hater for a long time (something I've documented in the past), which is surprising since he has a lot of the same positive qualities of Joakim (but without the pot and suspension-voting teammates) and Tebow.

* * *

I'm picking on your biases here, obviously, and it's fine to have favorite teams (and hated teams), and it's even acceptable to hop on and off bandwagons (like the Kevin Love-fest of last year, which caused nausea in at least this reader), but it does bring up a broader point about something that is near and dear to your heart: the bloggers versus the so-called "main-stream media".

I may be in the minority, but I don't really want to hear the voice of the common fan. If you are into that, fine--read the yahoo sports message boards or the comments on ESPN or Sportsline stories, but be forewarned: if rational discourse and objective reasoning is your thing, you'll be in for a disappointment.

I'm sure you feel liberated to be free from the ESPN editors, but it seems to me that your commentary on Page 2 was more balanced, more reasonable and yes, even more intelligent than what is often offered up here.

Not that those biases don't show up in the MSM; did you see how disappointed Greg Anthony was at halftime last night after his pre-game prediction of an MSU upset? He even called the first half "sad" , then hastened to add, "from a Michigan State perspective"--though from his face, you could see it was a perspective he shared.

And, just to be clear, there are bloggers that do aim for rational discourse (like the fine writers at the much-missed Fire Joe Morgan, whose hyper-rationalism resulted in hilarity that was, at its root, serious-minded). And, as those same FJM writers point out, lots of irrationality in the MSM.

Which goes to show that the lines between the MSM and the bloggers are becoming less clear. (For instance, is a blog at the Sporting News still a blog?) By and large, that is not a net-gain for objectivity and civility. If you are interested in a good read that examines this loss, check out Deborah Tannen's "The Argument Culture".

I still read your stuff, obviously--I find it interesting and provocative (again, obviously). And I'm sure provocation is part of your goal. Mission accomplished.

Michael W said...

The title game played vaguely like a Globetrotter game: the hapless Spartans managed to get the ball into UNC's hands at nearly any opportunity. Make no mistake, had MSU played that way against Louisville or UConn, they wouldn't have even been in the game. They played like a team happy to be there, or maybe believing their own hype. I know Izzo is a great coach and all, but I have a hard time not putting a performance like that on him.