The final Four is set as everyone knows- Ohio State v. Kansas and Kentucky v. Louisville.
A couple things you might want to take note of...just for future reference. First, most obviously, only one #1 seed made the final weekend of the tourney. J noted on Twitter how many of EsPN's pundits had at least two #1s...some had four; and these are the experts, right? As much as it feels good, always resist the urge to go chalk...unless you're talking women's basketball.
Sidenote: J and I aren't women's basketball fans...and this is just one of the reasons. Not only does the women's tournament seems to run according to seed almost always, BUT, massive blowouts in the round of 16 happen regularly. There were 27 and a 44-point discrepancies this weekend in the women's tourney...and neither of those was because a Cinderella made it through. Only two of the eight games were single-digit games...Plus, not one lower seed won a game. That will leave the women with a final eight of 1v.2...times four. You won't hear us tell you what to do on this site- if you like the women's game, watch to your heart's content; but we won't be.
Back to the men's game.
Moral Victories Stink
In 2012, for the fourth year in the last five, Purdue was knocked out of the tourney by an eventual FF team...the only exception was Xavier. Two of those three (this year is yet to be decided, obviously) were eventually crowned national champs.
For me though, that says two things- One, timing is everything. If your squad plays the wrong team at the wrong time (read as VCU), it's tough to overcome that. Second, there's no solace in losing to anyone, even a team that wins the championship.
If you take a glance at the teams that made the final four, it's no surprise that talent reigns supreme; almost always does. But almost all of this year's FF teams have length- good height and long arms...coupled with athleticism. The team that has been the best on paper all year, Kentucky, has a line-up that would make many NBA teams jealous. They have size, they have length, they have athleticism...plus almost the entire team shoots their free throws in the 70% range or higher...and they get to the line a lot. In other words, they do it all well.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, I think Kentucky's pros will finally bring all-around good guy, Calipari, his first national title.
And to clarify...again (because this is something that doesn't seem to come across via Twitter). Just because we think someone will win the national title, doesn't mean we like or root for that team. Of the remaining four, I'll be pulling for Kansas...mainly because I don't want to see aOSU, Kentucky or Louisville win it.
On late Friday night/early Saturday morning, Butler's Brad Stevens' name started lighting up Twitter. Rumors of a 21-28 million dollar contract offer from Illinois came first and then, of course, news guys started saying Stevens would be announced as the new Illini coach on Saturday.
Stevens quickly denied ever being offered a contract...and a day later re-affirmed that he'd be staying at Butler.
For those of you keeping score at home, Illinois has been turned down by Smart and Stevens...next up, they'll probably offer Ohio's coach, Groce, college basketball's most-recent "it" name. Since he's only had four years at Ohio, hasn't planted deep roots, and Illinois will offer to quintuple his salary, I think he'll be the guy that takes Weber's place in Champaign.
Groce graduated from Taylor, and later coached under Matta at Butler and aOSU (and a few other stops as well).
This time of year is always tough to tell what's really going on with Purdue's football team as Hope keeps practices and scrimmages locked-down. But here's a quick report for those of you who haven't put the pieces of info together that's available.
The QBs (Marve and TerBush, specifically) have looked good as has the new-look offensive line. But, in spite of that, the defense still won Saturday's scrimmage. That's understandable as it always takes offenses a bit longer to get in sync...then again, this is a defense that is showing new looks and has a coaching staff comprised of a lot of new guys.
What we do absolutely know is there have been no major injuries...the best info that can come out of Spring football practice.