Saturday, March 19, 2005

Um, about those picks....

Syracuse losing to Illinois in the national title game? What, are you kidding me? Who would pick Syracuse to even make the title game? Well, unfortunately, I did. I knew I had a good reason not to post my picks before any of you who are in pools (purely for entertainment purposes of course) had to turn in your sheets. At least Chief had Syracuse in the Final Four so I don't feel quite so bad. I thought Vermont would play them tough and give them a good game but didn't think they would prevail in the end. You try to go with someone other than UNC or Duke and that is what you get I guess (although I am still not convinced both or maybe even one of those teams will make it to the Final Four let alone the championship game--not saying it won't happen,just not sold on it yet).

I was also disappointed to see Iowa and Minnesota lose. As a Big Ten fan, I was hopeful they would each win their first round games, especially Minnesota. Kansas losing to Bucknell last night made me feel a little better about Syracuse and the two Big Ten teams losing. I only got to watch the end of the game due to CBS choosing to show me the Michigan State game (which was fine since they are Big Ten) while Kansas was playing, but in watching the real-time score updates, Bucknell was ahead or tied almost the entire game.

At the end, I was thinking that if Simien's shot went in, we would be seeing it during tournament time every year from here on out just like we see a certain former Duke player's shot against Kentucky from a few year's ago. But it didn't go in, and no matter what happens from here on out, that is a game Bucknell's players will remember forever and tell their kids and grandkids about. I was sorry to see a great player like Simien end his career that way but Bucknell deserved to win.

I imagine Coach Bill Self's seat is feeling a bit toasty today. From what Chief has heard, there is quite a bit of outrage being posted on Kansas' message board. I have no desire to rip him on this blog today (no sense kicking a guy while he is down) but I do wonder if he ever wishes that he hadn't left Illinois. I am glad we have Weber, though. Self is a great recruiter but Weber is by far the better bench coach based on my observations of the Self years vs. the Weber years.

Illinois plays Nevada today. Don't underestimate the Wolfpack. They are a solid team and played very well in the tournament last year so they have experience. The real Illinois team needs to show up this afternoon, not the one we saw Thursday. They need to get back to playing a full 40 minutes of hard-nosed defense and team oriented offense. Lately, they have been doing enough to win but their recent play won't be enough to get it done against better and better teams. I still believe in this team and hope to see a great peformance today. Go Illini!

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