sports: April 2006 Archives

Unfortunately, the NCAA Championship game was dead boring, unless you had a rooting interest in the Gators. Me, I'm glad they won. I like Donovan, and I like their team, but I was more interested in seeing a good game.

All the talking heads were falling over themselves to anoint UCLA the 2nd Coming (or I guess it'd be the 3rd Coming, now, post-O'Bannon), and they failed to observe one simple point. As "great" as UCLA's defense was against LSU two nights ago, LSU actually outscored them in the second half. UCLA didn't need to score, true, but for a long long stretch of that game, they basically didn't score. And so, when for a long long stretch of tonight's game, they basically didn't score, I wasn't really shocked.

I was a little shocked by how much better Florida's interior game was, at both ends. I was pleasantly surprised at how talented Florida's bigs were at interior passing. They have skills, and they deserved to win tonight. UCLA, for all the hype, was exposed as a team that didn't play a serious power conference opponent until tonight (LSU, the 4th or 5th best SEC team, doesn't really count). They got there by beating other good teams (Gonzaga, Memphis) from bad conferences--good on them for getting as far as they got, but they no more deserved to be on the court tonight than LSU did on Saturday. Florida was that dominant.

Two additional notes. My favorite moment of the night came with about 8:55 left, when Joakim Noah walked over to inbound the ball, and the camera caught him winking and flirting with the UCLA cheerleaders. I laughed out loud.

Second, it was a little depressing to me that they couldn't talk about the game for ten minutes afterwards without lapsing into the refuge of the analytically weak: gossip about whether or not the kids at each school will stay or declare for the draft. Really. Pathetic. Give em a little space for goodness sake--they just played for the national championship and the NBA draft isn't for months yet. The most obnoxious part about it was the assumption, on more than one white announcer's part, that Florida's kids were more likely to stay because they all came from families of ballplayers, and thus didn't "need the money." Cuz, y'know, the "kids" these days, they're all about the green.

Sadly, that is all.

One Shining Moron

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By no means am I the only person sad that George Mason's amazing NCAA run ended last night. But even as I rooted for GMU to figure out a way to win one more, I had to admire Billy Donovan's strategy wherein he basically used the first half to set up what ended up being a blowout. His frequent substitutions ended up wearing down the Patriots, and it showed in the 2nd half, especially with the bigs. Jai Lewis looked a step or two slower in the 2nd half, and missed plays that he was making in the 1st; meanwhile, Florida cruised. Good for them.

LSU embarrassed themselves. Badly. I kept track: it wasn't until 2:39 left in the game that LSU tied UCLA's first-half output, and it wasn't until 1:55 left that LSU exceeded that score. That's right. If UCLA hadn't scored a single point in the second half, they wouldn't have lost the game until the final two minutes. Talk about domination.

Speaking of embarrassment, I think it's time that CBS found themselves a new top analyst. Not only did Packer look like an ass before the tournament and then suffer the indignity of having to call a Final Four involving one of the teams he originally claimed shouldn't have made it, but then there was this little gem. Packer's keys to the games involved 1 crucial player from each side--Glen Davis, who squeaked out 14 points, mostly garbage, on 5-17 shooting, and then Aaron Afflalo, who only managed 9 points on 3-11 shooting. Neither player was a factor at all, and the one who actually got the better stats (Davis, barely) was on the losing side. Thanks for the insight, Packman.

I know that it's hard for the networks now, what with ESPN, but if CBS can borrow Jay Bilas, then why not some of the others who have been covering these teams for the whole season? It's getting to the point where I almost can't listen to Packer anymore--last night, during the second half, during Afflalo's lackluster showing, he actually wasted time trying to rationalize his analysis from the first half. Ugh. For what's arguably the best sporting event in this country, it'd be nice to have something a little more engaging than 4th-rate announcers.

That is all.



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This page is a archive of entries in the sports category from April 2006.

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