Tuesday, April 06, 2010

04/06 Quickie: Duke, Butler, MLB Openers

Anyone else think that Gordon Hayward's half-court shot was going in? I did.

It was the most memorable missed shot in the history of basketball, capping one of the best championship games in the history of college hoops.

I really thought it was going in.

Not to diminish Duke -- although that's the popular sentiment -- but when we look back at the 2010 Tournament, the first thing to come to mind will be Butler.

That's not to say Duke wasn't as worthy of a champ as any team this season. They had the best combination of offense and defense in the country this season -- and, unlike other would-be contenders like Kansas or Kentucky, didn't choke early.

I might even say that this Duke team was relatively likeable -- I said "relatively." But for whatever reason, this group was OK. (It might have a little to do with my longtime sympathy for Jon Scheyer, but it probably goes beyond that. The way they won -- yeah, including a few iffy calls -- earned our respect, even if it was paired with crushing disappointment that Butler didn't pull it off.)

Here's the crazy part: Butler will surely miss Veazey (and Jukes!), but they will be even better next season. Is it so crazy, based on this Tournament run, to install them as the No. 1 team in the country next year? Hardly. Certainly no crazier than me making Boise State my No. 1 team in football for next season, based in large part by the way they performed last season (and that they return almost everyone).

And so the college hoops season is over -- and, with it, the 65-team era of the NCAA Tournament. Obviously, I'm not as averse to the change as many many others, but it will be a change. This was a good way for this era to end.

(By the way, I really enjoyed the Jennifer Hudson version of One Shining Moment, but it was appalling that CBS included multiple shots of Hudson herself in the montage. Whose idea was that? If hers, CBS should have passed; if CBS's, someone should be demoted.)

Tons in the SN column today: MLB Opening Day (J-Hey! Pujols! Halladay! Buehrle!), Tiger press conference, UConn women preview. For a Tebow-Nike reaction, click here.

More later.

-- D.S.

1 comment:

Christine said...

Do you think the BCS/NCAA noticed that:
a) Mid-majors can compete with the big 6 conferences? and
b) Giving mid-majors a legit championship opportunity can be fun & compelling?

NCAA football could've had this same game with 'Bama vs. TCU, or Texas v. Boise State. Instead they churned out another bad championship game.