Hooray For Links! NCAA Tournament Edition
I was never a big proponent of doing link dumps and the like on this site because, well, it didn't really make sense to me. Why would I simply reproduce things that are already out there? But as I did my own scouring of the Intertubes for college hoops content, I realized there was just too much quality (and, at times, utterly awful) stuff out there to simply leave untapped. So I give you Hooray For Links! which should appear at completely random intervals. Because without links, it's not really a blog, it's just a place to put thoughts I might not want to forget.
I haven't written all that much about the Tournament, except for some wildly outstanding previews; I prefer to just kinda enjoy it as a spectator and avoid consuming the enormous mass of regurgitated storylines and feature ideas. This year's March Madness has been tremendous, something I was worried about after the mediocrity that highlighted the regular season and the general lack of interesting match-ups. I thought this year would be an event that would bore for the first two rounds and then really shine in the regionals, after all the craptastic teams were eliminated. Well the second part of that has came true -- these games this weekend should be awesome -- without the boring part. So here are some links, many of which are preview items as the content produced about the actual Tournament is pretty boring.
Them links be after the jump.
- Given their first meeting and its outcome, watching the diverging paths of North Carolina and Duke in the NCAAs was fascinating. The Heels have been utterly dominant. Duke was awful, would've been the victim of the biggest upset in NCAA Tournament history if not for Gerald Henderson playing like a man, were destroyed in the second half against West Virginia and are home now. I'd like to think this moment, and this moment alone, was the turning point for both teams. Revel in its beauty.
- This CBS Sportsline column about Tyler Hansbrough from Mike Freeman was pretty bold, pretty controversial (read the comments) and difficult to argue with. I'm not going to go to deep into it; he basically feels there is a double standard perpetuated by the media regarding highly visible white players in college hoops. The giveaway line is : "America loves a tough, white guy." He is right in that regard but doesn't quite make a full argument or offer a lot to support the hypothesis. Freeman is a fellow University of Delaware alum so in interest of full disclosure, I'm probably an apologist for a fellow Blue Hen. But it's an interesting read.
- Dan Steinberg at the fabulous (heterosexually fabulous, that is) DC Sports Bog with a great first-hand account of storming the floor following American's Patriot League Championship (which seems like it happened year ago).
- Everyone was all fussy about the Selection Committee matching up mid-major with each other, including me, and no one has been better at chronicling the view from the little guys than ESPN.com contributor and Mid-Majority editor Kyle Whelliston, Lord of the Mid-Majors. After the field was announced he penned this great column on the traveshammockery that is Selection Sunday. In light of the runs made by mid-majors like Western Kentucky and Davidson, which has hopefully validated the many cries of foul directed toward the Committee for seemingly wanting the BCS schools to conduct their business without losing face, Whelliston has renamed his site The WKU-Majority. Rather than link all of Whelliston's great posts from the weekend -- it would require many hyperlinks and possible carpel tunnel -- just go to his site and read it all. After a year where the big boys reigned, the mid-majors are back and have found a place at the top. George Mason was no fluke, watch out world.
- Basketball Prospectus, in its first year on the job, offered this season's best tournament preview. And to follow it up, they have been outstanding in their tourney coverage. So go there, read it, love it, live a better life.
- For someone with the rare and unfortunate combination of being a basketball addict and former English major in college, this piece on how Ernest Hemingway would analyze some of the top NCAA contenders was absolutely fantastic.
- I enjoyed this column from Andy Katz on Kevin Love and OJ Mayo, even if it was approximately the 8 millionth of its kind and basically jinxed the hell out of USC. Hopefully we can put all those preconceived notions about the two and the completely false "antithesis" they represent.
- Alright so one more Kyle Whelliston item to pass along. Last one, I swear, but the guy is doing great work over there. With my brackets in complete shambles, as I predicted, I enjoyed this column asking readers to not fill out a bracket this year. I wish I could do this. Unfortunately my body and mind will not allow me to abstain from Bracketering; I must have a chemical imbalance. But with my picks basically ruined, I have enjoyed this year's tournament even without having any real live reason to root for a specific. I've become a liberated fan, something that the boys at FreeDarko talk a lot about; I am simply an enjoyer of good basketball. And this makes very much sense. The reason I love the NCAA Tournament is not because I love winning office pools, it's because I love basketball. A lot. So, as Whelliston argues, by filling out a bracket you are simply celebrating prognostication, right and wrongness. Not basketball, which is what this thing is all about. Just because there is no prospect of winning money off of them, doesn't mean you can't like a team or have interest in a game.
- There certainly are some curious trends the Selection Committee seems to be perpetuating, and Gary Parrish is there to point them out and call out the Committee. For someone who is unusually Freshman-centric, I also enjoyed this column he wrote on young bucks and their big tourney roles.
- This is why I enjoy Bill Raftery.
- This was in Sports Illustrated's March Madness preview issue, a great look from Grant Wahl at how size dictates tournament success, especially in regards to this year's field, which contains a lot of small-ball teams, which follows the trend recently seen in the NBA. Looking at the teams left, many of the remaining top seeds at least has respectable post players, but squads like Texas, Tennessee, West Virginia and Memphis will be operating without a great deal of size. Should be interesting to see how that dynamic plays out (especially with Texas vs. Stanford; the best Sweet 16 match-up this year).
- Further proof that no matter how much Bill Simmons knows about the NBA (which is a whole lot), he should not write about college basketball.
- No No. 1 seed was really even tested in the first round this year, but there is really nothing better than when one gets scared. Here is a run-down of the closest calls in history.
- The world will never be the same. There is no God.
- Very good piece analyzing CBS' first weekend coverage of the NCAAs (even if it praises Seth Davis for non-comedic excellence). I thought it was pretty good coverage as well, except that Gus Johnson had all blowouts and Tim Brando was nearly comatose during that insane Friday in Tampa. Given all the tooting being done for Davis taking Davidson, I would like to point out that I said Belmont would give Duke all they could handle in the first round. I may be near last place in all my pools, but I will hold onto this for years.
- And here, an example of why local nightly news will not bring upon the end of civilization, contrary to popular belief: