NCAA Men’s College Basketball: The Final Four: Overcoming Styles, Games Of A Lifetime And Bad Breaks Utilizing The Ingredients Necessary To Win A Championship.
While men’s college basketball is in a state of parity, in some measures do to the lack of consistent execution of the fundamentals and style of play, credit is to be given to the four teams who have made it to the NCAA “Final Four”. Louisville, Syracuse, Michigan and Wichita State have endured all adversaries, taken on all comers and positioned themselves as one the four best of the rest with the hope of ultimately wearing the crown of the best of the best, NCAA national champions.
March Madness 2013 was everything many college basketball fans wanted, the opportunity to cheer for their team, or the underdog, while trying to predict which powerhouse teams would win games and potentially win it all.
The fact that so many NCAA underdog teams had success in their conference tournaments that paved the way for their NCAA tournament appearance is a testimony to the parity in the men’s college game.
The problem goes beyond Mike Rice and existed long before him.
In sports, in society as a whole, we often embrace the bully – not only by failing to stand up to him, but by making excuses for him and his behavior, by hailing him for showing “tough love,” and, worst of all, by continuing to put him in positions of power … because we’re just too damn scared to take a stand, or too damn screwed up to realize we even need to take a stand.
At a time we should be celebrating the impending culmination of college basketball’s annual elimination to excellence, not to mention another installment of fun-loving, thought-provoking and argument-starting Midweek Madness, we instead are being inundated with stories, videos and opinions about the physical, verbal and motivational, um, “tactics” used by a coach for power-conference program that hasn’t been a power since, well, ever.
Yeah, OK, Rutgers University reached the Final Four in 1976 and the Sweet 16 three years later. But, keeping it real, that’s not saying much for a program that just finished its 106th season. All told, the Scarlet Knights have made six trips to the NCAA Tournament.
In 2011, Clemson's breakout player was quarterback Tajh Boyd and then All-American freshman receiver Sammy Watkins. Last season, it was DeAndre 'Nuk' Hopkins, the unquestioned No. 1 receiver who made opposing defensive backs pay week after week. By the end of the season, Hopkins had racked up 1,405 yards with 18 touchdowns.
But who will break out for Clemson in 2013?
On offense, everyone knows what to expect of the main duo in the record-setting quarterback Boyd and the dynamic Watkins at receiver. But this offense, even without Hopkins on the outside or All-ACC running back Andre Ellington in the backfield, still remains one of the most dangerous in the country.
A lot of eyes are on the remainder of the receiving corps. Charone Peake, who filled in nicely during Watkins' absences in 2012, could take that next step as a starter. With both Hopkins and Jaron Brown both gone, Peake is the favorite to win one of those two positions.
The Final Four is set—Atlanta here they come!
This year’s Final Four will be played at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Saturday April 6, with the NCAA National Championship Game being played on Monday April 8.
The Final Four semi-final games will begin on Saturday April 6. Game one will feature the No. 1 overall seed Louisville Cardinals representing the Big East, will play against this year’s Cinderella (No. 9 seed) the Wichita State WuShock, (the last remaining Mid-Major) from the Missouri Valley Conference. The second game will feature the No. 4 seed Syracuse Orange (Big East) matching up against another No. 4 seed Michigan Wolverines of the Big Ten Conference. The winners from each semi-final game will play for the National Championship on Monday April 8 (all games, semi-finals and Championship games will be covered by CBS).
With March Madness in high gear heading into the Sweet Sixteen, Mid-Week Madness remains on a mini-hiatus. Even with that, though, some mid-week observations about the Madness seem worthwhile.
That being the case, enjoy or despise at your leisure …
– It’s time to close the book on Gonzaga’s Cinderella story. Year after year, we keep trying to shoehorn that glass slipper on the Bulldogs’ foot. Ladies and gentleman, after 14 years of trying, it does … not … fit. We need to accept that and move on, and, if by chance, Gonzaga finally does do something major in the NCAA tournament, like, oh, say, reach the Final Four, kudos to it. Until then, enough already …
– Sticking with the aforementioned, why in the world did coach Mark Few anoint this group as the best during his reign at the small, Catholic school in Spokane? Rankings and newer-found respect aside, it wasn’t. All his words did was draw a bigger bull’s-eye on his team’s jersey, which, frankly, a good portion of the nation is sick of seeing and hearing about at this point anyway because it bombs in the NCAAs.