1) Little East was Overrated
Pitino failed to handle Morehead….at least this time it was on the basketball court and not in the bedroom [cue crowd-eye roll]. The wounded Johnnies showed up…but that’s about all they did. Jay Wright proved his Wildcats shouldn’t have gotten a bid, and Georgetown showed us that JT-III is no JT-II. Is Gerogetown the T-Mac of the NCAA? Yes, Uconn is 2-0, but they’ve played one high-school team and a fellow LittleEast team. Pitt, the lone one-seed in this “power” conference, lost in what was probably the greatest game of the tournament…but to Butler, the eight seed.
2) Butler is Legit
I’m not sure how much longer Butler can handcuff Brad Stevens to their head coaching chair, but the longer the better for Bulldog fans. This team has not only arrived, but they aren’t departing anytime soon. They have legitimate ballers in Howard and Mack, a big-time coach in Stevens, and two-straight sweet-sixteen appearances including being 6 inches from a national championship last season. They play hard, smart, and don’t quit. Sounds like another midwest team….has Brad Stevens become the next Tom Izzo?
3) Tom Izzo isn’t God, But Close
For years, MSU was the little brother to Michigan’s elder. Izzo has flipped this around and made a perrenial powerhouse with the Spartan program. He managed to receive a tournament bid (after kicking a starting guard off the team) and although they lost, it was one of the greatest tournament comebacks I had ever seen (they were down 23 with 8 and change to go and lost by 2), and he did so despite hes “star” Kalin Lucas contributing as much as Nate Dogg will on the next Dre album (too soon?). It isn’t news that Izzo is a supertstar and hall-of-famer, but it’s nice to see it in action year after year. To be fair, the Spartans were only in the tournament as a result of this being the weakest field in tournament history.
4) Weakest Field Ever
(You’re starting to love my segues, aren’t you?) The 64 teams in the tournament have a combined loss total greater than any other year in history. Notre Dame and Florida may be two of the weakest two-seeds the field has ever seen, and there is seemingly not one great team in this bracket. All this parity talk isn’t necessarily a positive thing, is it? This also confirms my assessment that this upcoming NBA draft will be just as weak. I wholeheartedly subscribe to the “2-years removed from high-school” rule the NFL has in effect and wish the NBA would adopt the same policy, but that is for another post entirely.
5) The 2012 NBA Draft < Interesting
We don’t need much explanation for this do we? This tournament’s “stars” aren’t exactly all-star prospects. Sullinger is underdeveloped and I what I believe to be a “low-ceiling” guy. Jimmer is 50-5. Kemba is an under-sized 2 and not a complete 1. Kahwi hasn’t showed up for the dance yet, and Kalin Lucas destroyed his draft value while simultaneously failing to penetrate a freshman UCLA defender for 40 minutes. Morehead State’s Kenneth Faried might be the best potential pro, and hes no more than a homeless man’s Dennis Rodman. I am, however, glad my Pistons will be drafting in the top ten this year so Joe Dumars can showcase his inability to draft.
6) Jay Bilas = Best Analyst on Television
The guy flat out says it like it is. Yes, he was the most outspoken when it came to VCU not deserving a bid, but he was RIGHT! THEY DIDN’T! It doesn’t matter how far this miracle team plows through this weak field, you get your bids based on the regular season (or in Izzo’s case…past performance) not what you accomplish during the tournament. Either way, Bilas is quite possibly the best college analyst out there. If you are on Twitter and you’re not following his brilliance, you should be here. Now that were on the topic of analysts, how great is the four network coverage?!
7) We Were WAY Overdue
TNT, CBS, TBS, and the horrendous “HD” TruTv have been absolutely phenomenal. The seamless meshing of the Turner network’s NBA guys with the CBS mainstays has been a joy to follow. I don’t even mind the addition of Pitino! My favorite utterance was delivered by Greg Anthony…”how about the lack of upsets this round?” What?! He says this while sitting 6 inches from Pitino, who was fresh off getting ousted by Moorehead. The look on Rick’s face made his presence worth it. Four options, great analysts, better coverage, and a Gus Johnson sighting (if you are a Gus Johnson fan, please see this)make this year special regardless of the lesser quality product.
-by Lowell Ahee