1-3-1 Sweet 16 Special (March 22nd)
THE 1-3-1 SWEET 16 SPECIAL (4 Thoughts About the Tournament So Far)
Kentucky is peaking at the right time. This team is scary good. This team is so good, it’s almost unfair. Does that make them unbeatable? Not by any stretch of the imagination. That being said, I think that Marquis Teague’s constantly improving play at the point guard position makes this team a NEAR impossible out in the tournament. Not to mention the constantly improving maintenance of the unibrow on the face of Anthony Davis.
Draymond Green is the unequivocal MVP of the tournament so far. By now, everyone has heard the “Draymond does everything for this team…including mopping the floor” joke. I would like to toss aside my loathing of such trite wit to examine what he’s done in two tournament games. In the Spartans’ victories over LIU Brooklyn and Saint Louis in the second and third rounds, Green averaged 20 points, 12.5 boards and 8 dimes per game. Without Draymond, the Spartans would’ve struggled mightily to get past Rick Majerus’ Billikens. Even Anthony Davis and the very hungry caterpillar above his eyes have to be impressed with his play thus far.
Bill Self is lucky to have such talented players. If not for the sheer fact that they are significantly more talented than the Purdue team they almost loss to, this Kansas squad would be back in Lawrence watching the rest of the tournament on the tube. Bill Self has proven time and time again that he’s not a reliable tournament coach – see Bucknell in 2005, Bradley in 2006, Northern Iowa in 2010. Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson might’ve gotten him out of the jam in the Round of 32, but he might actually have to…gasp…out-coach Mark Gottfried and Roy Williams in order to secure his Jayhawks a spot in New Orleans. Speaking of Thomas Robinson, I’ve been wondering how he’d match up with the masked unibrower – a fellow Naismith POY candidate – if they square off in the Championship.
The Wisconsin/Syracuse matchup will be about as interesting as watching paint dry for fans that don’t appreciate slow-paced, methodical, defensive basketball. The first game to tip-off in the Sweet 16, this has all the makings of a 55-54 barnburner. Phones will be ringing off the hook, with snails and turtles calling in complaining to the committee that the pace of this game is too slow. In all honesty, I don’t give a rat’s ass if you enjoy this game or not, because I know I will. Two great coaches, two well-developed systems of offense and defense, and two teams hungry for their school’s first Elite 8 berth in a long time. Some food for thought to leave you with: I wonder what Bo Ryan would look like if I photoshopped Anthony Davis’ eyebrow (singular) onto his face?
Author: Joe Cook