I’m torn about the Final Four for many reasons, including:
1. The Georgetown Hoyas aren’t playing in Indianapolis. I know, I know … get over it already. To add insult to injury, my favorite player is graduating (Aaron Bowen), I will miss Jabril immensely, and DSR declared for the draft. On the latter point, who can blame him really? He can go back and get his degree. He probably feels that he isn’t going to improve so much in another year in school to become a lottery pick–he is too small. He is pursuing his dream, and like Jeff Green, Greg Monroe, and other players before him, he will be able to return in summers to finish his degree if he so desires. Hoyas hope so.
2. Frankly, I don’t love any of the teams in the Final Four and my feelings range from extreme dislike (Kentucky, One and Done U, Slick Calipari) to fondness for Coach Tom Izzo, although the odds are really stacked against #7 Michigan State playing among 3 #1 seeds. While I do believe that they could knock off Duke, I would have to be delusional to believe they could beat Kentucky. I reserve that chance for Wisconsin today, IF (a big IF) they play a perfect game and Kaminsky displays his POY chops; and I do believe that Duke, with its magical sorcerer’s powers and Coach 1K, could in fact take down the Wildcats in the championship game.
3. While Wisconsin’s chances may be slim, it’s not hard to root for Bo Ryan, who, while so successful in March, has never hoisted that trophy. Besides, this a special Badgers team. Whereas those of the past always had Sweet 16 written all over them, this one has Kaminsky, and the school’s first college Player of the Year. I’d be happy for Bo.
4. I have consistently said that I will never again root against Tom Izzo in March. Does that extend to a Final Four matchup against the Duke Blue Devils? Sure, why not. This is Tom Izzo. His Spartan team is probably not as talented as the Blue Devils but a great coach can take a team far. They are in Indianapolis today, correct?
5. The Blue Devils, that is a tricky one. I have blood ties, related to multiple Dukies. One wants their loved ones to experience the thrill of victory, but haven’t they won enough? 🙂 Never enough, I think. Of course everyone is expecting and the hoops world/at least the Sports Media wants to see a Duke-Kentucky final. It is likely. What is rather unlikely is an All Big Ten final. It would possibly have the worst TV ratings in decades for a championship game.
6. The Evil Empire: I cannot, will not root for Kentucky. It’s everything that is wrong with college basketball. It’s not pure, it’s NBA light, it’s Calipari–does he even pretend to coach for a team that’s part of an educational institution? So even if Duke too has become One and Done U, bye bye Jahlil, it is difficult to question some academic integrity there, although Coach 1K doubles as the University President and makes all decisions at Duke, correct?
So, with little to no skin in the game, brackets busted, I have one thing left to root for: great games. Let the Games Begin! And Go Hoyas, 2015-16!!