Saturday, March 18, 2006

Observations from Another Big Day of Hoops

I didn't have a crowd with me this Saturday as I watched the games, so I have to come up with my own material. Let's see if I'm up to the challenge.

The day started out on a flat note when I watched Maryland's season mercifully end with a loss to Manhattan in the NIT. It was depressing seeing an announced crowd of less than 5,000 withness a lethargic "effort" by the Terps. I thought Maryland fans did a good job generating excitement last year when they hosted NIT games, and not coincidentally the Terps won all three. There was little interest in this game, little energy in the building, and only a token effort by the team. Has it only been four years since Maryland won the national championship? It seems a LOT longer than that.

Does Adam Morrison every shut up on the court? I know there is a lot of talking between players during the game, but I have yet to see him this weekend when he wasn't running his yap. He may be the best player on the court, but he is probably also the most obnoxious--too bad.

Josh McRoberts of Duke is showing me a lot in the post-season. He can handle the ball quite well for a big man and he seems to have a nice all-around game. He could blow up next year when he will be THE man inside with Shelden Williams gone. He's a bit of a hot dog at times; hopefully he'll grow out of that.

I think March Madness on Demand one of the greatest things ever, as long as you have a high-speed Internet connection. Not only can you watch out-of-market games live (like the Albany-UConn game last night), but you get a highlight package and full game replays after the games are over. It MMOD was a woman, I would marry it. Here's hoping the CourtMrs doesn't pick tonight to catch up on reading this blog.

Mike Davis just kills me. I saw him interviewed during the CBS pre-game show, and he took credit for his team's turnaround by making the decision to step down as coach and announce it before the season ended. He wants people to believe that's why he did it, but I'm not buying. Davis hasn't shown me the ability to be a stand-up guy and put others' interests ahead of his own, and I don't believe he did it this time. Since it worked out well, though, he'll take the credit. I wish he would just disappear, but I'm sure he will be coaching somewhere next year.

Two coaches who I don't think have received enough credit this season are Mark Gottfried of Alabama and Ben Howland of UCLA. Gottfried's roster has been gutted with injuries and academic issues, and he is down to seven scholarship players. His team struggled at times during the regular season, but dug down deep enough to earn an NCAA bid. The Crimison Tide showed their toughness on Thursday by fighting off a furious rally from Marquette to advance into the second round.

UCLA has also been decimated by injuries this season, but the Bruins have shown a toughness not seen in Westwood for many years. Give Howland a lot of the credit for that--his Pitt teams were also known for their toughness. He hasn't had time to recruit his own players yet, but he has taken the players he inherited and got them to buy into his mindset. I think the Pac-10 is going to have to take the Bruins very seriously again.

There are not yet any Cinderella candidates in the Sweet 16. We'll see if one emerges tomorrow.


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