Monday, April 02, 2007

A second helping of Gatorade

Congratulations to the seemingly unstoppable Florida Gators, who continue to win when it most counts, on the championship level. It took five NBA-caliber starters, but it still amounts to a repeat. Then there's the added bonus of a football title sandwiched in between. Maybe this calls for a third serving of Gatorade?

Even scarier than Florida's dual sports titles is their one-two punch of star coaches Urban Meyer and Billy Donovan, who are young, popular, and successful. They make the Gators the marquee program in the Southeast, perhaps on a level with UCLA and Texas in all-around athletic greatness. And they have the potential to keep Florida a perennial power in both sports.

There's a lot of speculation about Donovan and the open Kentucky job. I believe the parties will officially meet soon, but no hiring will take place. Kentucky has a program with a much better history than a future. At this point, it's the inferior job. And if Donovan is thinking about coaching immortality, he's not going to do it in Rupp Arena. The great ones are synonymous with a single program, and he can do that if he stays in Gainesville.

The Final Four reconvenes in San Antonio for 2008. Who will be there? Always a tough decision, especially when you don't know which underclassmen will declare for the NBA draft. One year in advance, I say Kansas, Louisville, USC, and Memphis. Bill Self overcomes his tournament demons as the Jayhawks cut the nets.

9 comments:

Quinn said...

Everybody says if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. So here goes: Horford has pretty eyes. Now that that's out of the way, what a horrible tournament!

Neel Mehta said...

Horford has pretty eyes.

And he can shimmy his shoulders, apparently.

Was the tournament really so bad? I don't think so. Sure, others have been better, but it's really a can't-miss event no matter what. It was frustrating to see Florida be so unreachable, but that level of combined talent is really a rarity. So even if I'm not fully entertained, I'm at least appreciative.

Can't believe I'm predicting Kansas.

K-Lyn said...

It was a great tourney! I won $25 bucks. Woot!

Quinn said...

Congrats, K. And where will you be taking me with your winnings?

My analysis that this was a bad tournament comes down largely to the fact that the Chalk won. That shouldn't happen. There was no grand moment, a la Bryce Drew. No great Cinderella, a la George Mason. There was a grand tragedy, with the death of the UNC mascot. And the best team won, going away.

Sum it up, and it's a crappy tournament. Which is not to say I didn't completely neglect both work and children to watch as much as possible!

K-Lyn said...

Both you and N get the Starbucks drink of your choice! You can even get a Venti...

The top three winners were all part of my morning coffee group and the rest of the department was crying foul. We plead caffeinated.

Neel Mehta said...

My analysis that this was a bad tournament comes down largely to the fact that the Chalk won. That shouldn't happen.

Actually, it should. Despite a few glaring mistakes, the NCAA selection committee has gotten a lot better in seeding teams. Butler and SIU were given an appropriate seed, so their Sweet 16 appearances became less surprising. The reason there were no upsets in the 5/12 matchups is because the 5 seeds in those days are 8 seeds now, and the 12 seeds are 7-10 seeds now.

That last part seems more important; no team is under the radar anymore. Valpo should never have been a 13 seed, but the NCAA was closed-minded then, and the fans enjoyed watching the Crusaders get their revenge. To compare, Winthrop was an 11 seed this year. Think about that. As a result, they didn't surprise anyone... except Notre Dame.

Neel Mehta said...

One of the reasons I project next year's Final Four on championship night is because others are quick to do the same, and I don't want to be influenced by them.

Case in point: The Vent over at SI on Campus projects their 2008 Final Four, and three of them match mine: Louisville, USC, and Memphis. They went with UCLA instead of Kansas, perhaps assuming that the majority of Afflalo, Collison, and Shipp will stick around.

Quinn said...

Spouse said something really wise: if the selection committee does a bad job, everybody bitches because of mis-seedings. But if they do a good job, everybody bitches because the games are all predictable. They did an excellent job this year. Which is fine. But it does make for a predictable tournament. Especially when Florida was, well, better than everybody else.

Give me Villanova shooting 78% from the floor to surprise Georgetown any day.

Neel Mehta said...

As usual, I agree with Spouse.

But note: Butler shoots 78 percent and they beat Florida. Just sayin'.