March 27, 2005

Hubba Hubba Hubba

Is there any doubt that this has been the best Sweet Sixteen/Elite Eight week ever? Sunday's games were outstanding, 10 out of 10! But they still couldn't quite match Saturday's games. Watching UNC - Wisconsin, I never thought that Wisconsin was going to be able to pull it off, but they played well. Kentucky has so much talent, but their problems trying to get a shot off at the end of regulation and the first OT are a direct result of the fact that they don't yet have a first rate point guard. As I've been saying for a while, Michigan State is a very good team. If they should manage to win it all this year, they may match Arizona having to go through three #1 seeds, as well as a #2 seed thrown in for good measure.

And now, the Final Four is coming to my town. Damn. Just. Damn.

Big Ten Wonk has an excellent summary of the game with some interesting insights and links from all over calling it an instant classic. And keep scrolling for some commentary that is much better than what's probably in your local paper. The ACC Basketblog is a good source from, well, a different perspective. Both of these blogs also have an excellent blogroll for those interested.

And here's Illini Wonk on the game, and Illinitalk, Mark Tupper, and Brett Dawson. And check out illinigirl's comments on the last two weeks, including being at the RCA Dome for Rounds 1 and 2.

When I woke up this morning, the first thought that crossed my mind was, "un-f*cking believable." Somehow, I think that's probably going to be my first thought when I wake up tomorrow morning as well.

Oh yeah, about that weak Big 10..., did I mention that Illinois handled Wisconsin easier than North Carolina managed to today -- three times?

Bracket update heading into the Final Four with number of Final Four teams remaining in parentheses:

Kirkwood Illiniwek: 38-22 (1)
Kirkwood Illlini: 36-24 (2)
St. Louis Illini: 37-23 (2)
St. Louis Illinois: 45-15 (3)
St. Charles Austin: 41-19 (2)

The St. Louis Illinois entry is now tied for 7,077th out of 2,800,000 entries in ESPN's Tournament Challenge. I have three of the Final Four teams correct (Illinois, North Carolina, and Michigan State, though I have been dissing Louisville since Day 1 to my great regret). Damn. I might actually win something if Illinois manages to beat Michigan State in the final game by a score of 78-72. If Gonzaga had come through to the Final Four I think I'd have been in the top 50.

Now, will the story line for the Illinois - Louisville game be that Illinois shot its wad to get to the Final Four, or are they truly a team of destiny? I, of course, have to go with the latter. And while I'm sure Dick Vitale won't agree, I think the North Carolina - Michigan State game is a toss-up. While my heart wants to see an all Big 10 final, I expect Illinois will face North Carolina for a chance at a title. And then we'll see whether Illinois is truly a team of destiny. There's no point in me trying to pick a winner for this game. But if it does happen, how often do the best two teams in college basketball actually play each other for the championship?

So, who's got an extra Final Four ticket?

DOWNDATE: Maybe ESPN should hire me:


I've got Dick Vitale and Andy Katz beat. And we won't even talk about Joe Lunardi any longer.

Posted by Charles Austin at March 27, 2005 09:50 PM

Kentucky broke my heart. And almost gave me a heart attack, too.

But wait until next year. Tubby has a lot of good, young talent coming back.

Posted by: Acidman at 09:40 AM