NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP 2015
It’s taken me a few days to calm down after the disappointment of the NCAA Tournament Championship game. I love Duke’s Coach Mike Krzyzewski, but I really wanted Wisconsin to win.
So, now I can finally put my reflections to paper. (The first half of my tourney musings, before the Final Four, are here, if you’d like to check them out: itsnotaboutme.tv/news/sportsbasketball-the-road-to-the-final-four.)
First, a few thoughts on the Final Four coverage, on TBS:
TBS didn’t do the Final Four human interest stories that CBS always did, which disappointed me. Instead, there was way too much talking from too many analyst panels.
And, as entertaining as the first hour of their coverage was, (how could it not be, with Charles Barkley as one of the panelists?,) what were Dennis Miller and The Rock doing there? That was plain weird. It really was exactly like a Saturday Night Live sketch!
I love Grant Hill. I always have, but even more so now, after his first foray into color commentating on a big stage. He’s always so pleasant.
Clark Kellogg has gotten so much better this year, as has Steve Smith.
Now to the Monday night Championship Game:
I still can’t believe what I saw.
In my ongoing life-role as an Empath, I’m sick for Wisconsin coach, Bo Ryan. First, he didn’t make the Hall of Fame that morning, and then the Championship loss, after this team had been ahead for most of the game.
I still can’t believe Duke won without their big star, Jahlil Okafor, and next guy, Justise Winslow, doing much of anything.
Those two Duke freshman, Tyus Jones and Grayson Allen, really won it for them. Really.
Speaking of Grayson Allen—what a great name! If I have a son, I want to name him Grayson Allen X. (Because Mr. X would be the father, of course!) Or maybe Grayson Allen Jackman. (I’m talking to you, Hugh Jackman!)
I still can’t believe Wisconsin lost after being up by nine points in the second half. But, as soon as Charles Barkley picked them to win, I was worried. (He’s always wrong. His erroneous brackets are notorious.)
And I still can’t believe that I keep writing, “I still can’t believe!” I guess I best start believing!
The Badgers got a few bad calls, (more on those in a second,) but they were playing a bit scared. And beating unbeatable Kentucky two days before took more out of them than perhaps they realized. This is one time in sports where I can truly say that they lost, in part, due to losing their composure. And missing so many of their free throws, that they rarely miss, didn’t help their cause.
Now, as to the terrible calls, and no-calls, that went against Wisconsin, here’s one of the worst: A Duke player obviously slapped a Badger right in the face, which, without a doubt, should have been called a flagrant foul. The announcers, including Duke hero of yesteryear, Grant Hill, were just trying to decide if it was a Flagrant 1 or the more punishing Flagrant 2, (which includes ejecting the offending player.) But guess what? The refs called nothing! Noth-ing! What an egregious error.
Then, with less than two minutes left to play, in a close five-point game, they awarded the ball to Duke on a play where the ball was knocked out of bounds, with several members of both teams touching it. Replays (which are allowed in that instance,) clearly showed that the ball was last touched by Duke player Justise Winslow, so it should have one hundred percent, without a doubt, absolutely been awarded to Wisconsin, who could have then cut the lead to a single possession, with what would have been plenty of time left in the game.
But, even after several minutes of examining the tape, did the officials do the correct thing? Of course not! They gave the ball to Duke, who hit a three-pointer on that play, putting the game pretty much out of reach for Wisconsin. That was disgusting. Officials should not affect the outcome of a game, especially one as important as this. Those men are probably the only three people watching the game who didn’t see what was what.
But I truly love Coach K, so I am very happy for him. But I’m sure even he knew the game did not end right.
I love that Coach K stopped the celebration, that his assistants ran over to have with him the second the game ended, to give a very warm and courteous handshake to opposing coach Bo Ryan.
Krzyzewski won three of his five Duke championships, including this one, in Indianapolis. Wow. Good thing he’s not gay!
I give Grant Hill all the credit in the world for not sounding biased at all during the entire game. I don’t think I could have done that.
The happiest part of the tourney for me was that Ron and RJ Hunter made it into the iconic “One Shining Moment” segment that concludes the whole tournament. They were, indeed, the highlight of the entire tourney for me. And I’m sure I’m not alone in that sentiment.
And lastly, TruTV is the Brigadoon of TV; I watched it all the time as they broadcast many tournament games, but it disappeared right after that! I swear, it was nowhere to be found after the championship game!
And now, I’m on to the pro ball play-offs, horse racing, tennis, and, of course, an entire season of baseball!!! I’m hoping for more fairness in them all.