Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Best and Worst of the NCAA Tournament

Consider this a little Tourney wrap-up before I officially move on to other things. The end of the college basketball year always sucks for me, because March Madness is really my favorite sports time of the year. Luckily, the NBA is getting close to the playoffs, the Frozen Four is coming up (more on that later in the week), and MLB is starting up. Always something good going on in the sports world! Anyway, let's check the tape:

Best Game-Winning Shot: Jermaine Wallace, Northwestern St. With all due respect to guys like Kenton Paulino, Chris Lofton, Darrel Mitchell, etc. this one comes out on top. Fadeaway from the corner with a man in your face? It doesn't get better than that, at least not this year.

Best Game-Tying Shot: Rashard Anderson, Connecticut. This could easily go to teammate Denham Brown, or a guy like Christian Maraker from Pacific, but I have to give it to Rashard Anderson for his shot against Washington. Deep 3 with a man in his face to tie it up... that shot had absolutely no business of going in, and yet it did, and UConn won it OT in the Battle of the Huskies.

Best Player of the Tournament: Joakim Noah, Florida. This seems pretty obvious after the Title game.

Worst Player of the Tournament: Allan Ray, Villanova. I loved watching this guy play throughout the year, but he was just brutally bad versus Boston College and Florida. If he had provided some offensive help for Randy Foye, Florida wouldn't have made it pas the Elite Eight.

Random George Mason Fact I found Interesting: George Mason was the only Final Four team that did not need a miracle/game-winning shot to win one of their previous game. If you'll remember, LSU needed a late Darrel Mitchell 3-pointer to beat Texas A&M in round 2, UCLA needed Luc Richard Mbah a Moute's late layup to beat Gonzaga in the Sweet 16, and Florida needed Corey Brewer's late 3-point play to advance over Georgetown in the Sweet 16.

Best Defensive Play of the Tournament: Jordan Farmar and Cedric Bozeman, UCLA. They were dead in the water against Gonzaga, and then used a late steal of JP Batista of Gonzaga to give them the victory. This was also the most exciting broadcaster moment of the Tourney, and the time that Len Elmore joined Gus Johnson in getting excited. As a Bruin fan, my favorite moment of the Tournament.

Person that Benefits Most from this NCAA Tournament: George Mason, US Historical Figure. C'mon, did anyone know exactly who he was before this Tourney started? Now, even Thomas Jefferson is rolling over in his grave with jealousy!

Other Person That Benefits Most from the Tournament: John Brady, LSU. After the Tigers Final Four run, he's asking for a pay raise, and if he doesn't get it, he could probably wind up somewhere else rather easily. Pay the man!

Best Pre-Game Speech: Jim Larranaga, George Mason. He wrote a poem and read it to his players before their Final Four game against Florida. For some reason, I can't find a copy of the poem, so if anyone has that, I'd appreciate if you could pass it along and I'll post it here. A google search turned up lots of references but not the actual words.

UPDATE: Much thanks to the reader slade, here are the words:

There once was a team named Mason
Who captured the hearts of a nation
They went to the dome
And made it their home
To fulfill the ultimate destination

There once was a team named Gator
Who was a Mason Hater
They went to the dome
Tried to make it their home
But was sent home sooner, rather than later

Best Announcer of the Tourney: I already did go over this, but just to reiterate, Bill Raftery is pretty much awesome.

Worst Part of the Tournament: The commercials, obviously. But you knew that already. For the record, my least favorite one was the guy from the Cingular commercials, because I really want to beat that guy up. "You don't have March Madness. You have March Sadness."

And with that, the season has passed. And what a year it was, up until the Final Four! Seriously, lots of competition, lots of parity, and the great first 2 weekends for this Tournament ever. See you next year!

13 comments:

Slade said...

I think the poem went something like this....

There once was a team named Mason
Who captured the hearts of a nation
They went to the dome
And made it their home
To fulfill the ultimate destination

There once was a team named Gator
Who was a Mason Hater
They went to the dome
Tried to make it their home
But was sent home sooner, rather than later

Pacifist Viking said...

I screamed when Farmar got that steal. In the tourney, you get used to seeing game-winning buzzer-beating shots. Not a lot of teams win games with a last-second steal and layup when down by 1.

twins15 said...

Ah, that looks right slade. Thank you very much! I'll add that in to the original post.

dolphinfan said...

The worst part of the tournament was the Final Four! It was possibly the best tournament ever until we got to the Final Four and then had to suffer through three blow-out games.

Zach Landres-Schnur said...

thanks for mentioning rashad anderson's shot, buddy. i was doing so well repressing it!

as for commentators, most underrated has to go to gus johnson. he really has a nice call.

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