Elgin Baylor died yesterday. He was a great collegiate and NBA player in the late 50s through the early 70s; he had the misfortune of playing in the NBA at the same time that Bill Russell and that Celtics dynasty was alive and kicking. After his playing days, he was the GM of the Clippers for almost 20 years.
Rest in peace, Elgin Baylor.
Before I get to specific game comments from yesterday’s second round Tournament games, let me insert something here that I should have mentioned yesterday. When Abilene Christian upset Texas in the tournament over the weekend, it had to be a doubly bitter pill for Texas fanboys to swallow:
- The Longhorns were a 3-seed and got bounced by a 14-seed.
- The loss came to a poor-relative school in the State of Texas.
There has been ample evidence over the past 10-15 years that Texas alums hold football coaches on a short and tight leash. The recent firing of Tom Hermann exemplifies the demanding nature of that impatience on the part of the deep-pocketed boosters. Because of that impatience, I wonder if this embarrassing basketball loss to Abilene Christian might incite an uprising among Texas alums against coach Shaka Smart. I think that would be a big mistake – – but when fanboys with deep pockets start to feel that they are not getting what they feel entitled to, there is no telling what might happen next…
Having watched tons of basketball games over the past several days – – total immersion would be a good description – – let me say that I love to watch college basketball on TV, but it does need some rule changes:
- Teams have too many timeouts. Look, there are 8 television timeouts built into every game. This is not a rec league with a “coach” who knows far less about the game than he thinks he does. Each team should have 1 timeout per half that they may call on their own; the rest of the stoppages will be for TV timeouts.
- Rules that require the officials to read minds are bad. Therefore, change the rule on flagrant fouls to the discretion of the individual; the current difference between Flagrant 1 and Flagrant 2 fouls needs amicus curiae briefs to be filed and analyzed on the fly.
- Another discretion rule that needs changing is the “hanging on the rim after a dunk” rule. Is it OK or is it “excessive”? Here is my rule; if a player dunks the ball and grabs the rim for ANY REASON, the basket does not count, and it is a technical foul on the dunker. No need for much interpretation here. Coaches will take care of teaching that aspect of the game very quickly taking the need for officiating judgement off the table in one off-season.
I have always had my doubts about college sports “Selection Committees” and their ability to deliver a quality product. I must admit that I did not watch nearly as much college basketball this year as I have in the past, so I had no basis to quarrel with much of the Basketball Selection Committees’ seedings this year. But seriously…? Do you believe that all the members of the committee spent enough time WATCHING these teams play – as opposed to watching YouTube highlights and reading accounts of the games? If so, how did some of these monumentally erroneous seeding come to be? The problem here is simple; the Committee is made up of too many people who have regular day-jobs that keep them busy 40 hours a week or more; it is not that they do not want to do a good job; they do not have the time to devote to this committee assignment to be able to do a good job.
On to Monday’s games:
- Iowa/Oregon: Both offenses were fast, effective and efficient in the 1st half; there were 102 points on the board at halftime. The Oregon defense was even more impressive than the Oregon offense which scored 95 points for the game.
- Oklahoma/Gonzaga: Oklahoma finished 7th in the Big 12 in 2021 regular season; how did that happen? Could not keep up with Gonzaga but there is no shame in that. Lots of bad calls by officials on blocking/charging situations in this game.
- Ohio/Creighton: With 7:19 to go in the 1st half, the score was 19-19. The announcer said after a made basket, “Whoo, there’s some shooting going on …” Not really. Ohio could have been one of the Tournament Cinderellas, but they coughed it up.
- Abilene Christian/UCLA: The Bruins won this game hardly breaking a sweat…
- Michigan/LSU: The first half was an evenly matched contest. The second half was a series of runs by both teams. In the last 5 minutes, the shot selection by LSU was awful.
- Florida St./Colorado: This was a grind-it-out game in the first half by both teams; the Seminoles led 24-20 at the half. My note from the second half was, “What is a good antonym for ‘intense?”
[Aside: Thesaurus.com suggests “bland”, “dull” and/or “mild” as possible antonyms for “intense”. Those are good descriptors here…]
- Maryland/Alabama: This game was a blow-out. One question that kept coming to mind was, “Why does Maryland think it is a good idea to take 3-point shots with not a single Maryland player within 15 feet of the basket to try to rebound a possibly missed shot?”
- Kansas/USC: Kansas looked like a 15-seed in the first half and trailed by 19 points at the half. Then things went all to Hell for the Jayhawks in the second half…
Finally, Brad Dickson – – formerly of the Omaha World-Herald – – must believe that the Governor of Nebraska has been glued to the TV during March Madness:
“Breaking: Apparently after watching too many sporting events, the Nebraska governor is about to announce that businesses can reopen ‘at 110% capacity.’ ”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………