Celebrating Final Four Underdogs

Bobby Curran
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Friday - April 06, 2011
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VCU coach Shaka Smith

For all the hand-wringers who hated a Final Four with two non-power conference teams, take a chill pill and give this some thought. You had a 68-team tournament decided exclusively on the court. Yes, actual competition rather than the computer polls and human votes that settle the college football championship teams. Now the whiners are carrying on about the diminished impact of the regular season.

Really? The regular season is still important. First, you must play well enough to get into the field. Second, the regular season becomes the testing ground for continuous improvement, which is a core value in just about every successful American business. Now you’d like to abolish the 3-point shot.

Really? Let’s eliminate the part of basketball that requires hard work and commitment, hours and hours of practice time. So you’d prefer to turn the game over exclusively to those who can run and jump, essentially accidents of birth and heredity?

Not me. I like the tournament just the way it is. I love to see coaches like Brad Stephens of Butler and Shaka Smart of VCU get their chance, and players like Joey Rodriguez and Matt Howard take center stage. I promise you I’ll be rooting for the little guy in the championship game. Because if they win the title, you won’t have to hang the banner with Velcro. It will stay up forever.

* I don’t mean to be a buzz kill for those who think the 2011 Warrior football team will cruise to double-digit wins, but close observers of UH football tell me that the offense is way, way behind the defense. The offensive line is inexperienced and very young, and so are most of the current receivers.

Yes, quarterback Bryant Moniz is back, but it’s hard to be super-productive if he’s constantly playing the lead in “Run for Your Life.” Yes, there’s still time, but really only about 25 practices till kickoff against Colorado. There will have to be tremendous improvement if the Warriors are going to have anywhere near the kind of record they had last year.

* I wonder which team will start hitting first, the Rainbow baseballers or the Wahine softball team? Both clubs are getting excellent pitching, but the bats have yet to come around. Both may need a steady dose of WAC pitching, which should not be nearly as tough as they’ve already seen.

* As shocking as this may be, a number of analysts are predicting a terrific season for the Milwaukee Brewers, with a couple even predicting that the Brewcrew will play in the World Series. I’m taking a wait and see on that one. I’m going with the Philadelphia Phillies and the Boston Red Sox for the World Series. Of course, if my NCAA brackets were any indication, then neither Philly nor Boston is likely even to make the playoffs.


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