With the exception of the Michigan State win over Kansas that was one incredibly boring night of basketball. Sadly, neither of the early games were even remotely interesting. I had high hopes for Syracuse, and I thought Arizona was feisty enough to at least make it interesting, but they both fired blanks. The biggest conclusion out of those games is that I feel very confident in my pick of Louisville to win it all. It’s not just that they can score like they can, or that they play such good defense, or that their style of play is so unconventional that it gives other teams major headaches. It’s that they are so freaking deep – they are better five deep on the bench than most teams are two deep. Very impressive.
Oklahoma looked good, too, but I have to rant again – Blake Griffin is a moron. Two moments tonight reinforced that pre-existing opinion. The first was when he sent Jonny Flynn into next year at the end of the first half. Flynn was looking for the charge, but you can’t convince me for a second that Griffin didn’t set out to knock him down hard. I have no respect for a guy who plays like that yet whines like Griffin does when someone else does it to him. The other moment that made the king of the idiots was late in the game when he hit his head on the backboard. The game was totally out of hand, and he should have been on the bench, yet he had to go up there and slam it hard like the big stud he wants us to make sure we know he is. He hit his face on the board and came down looking even more stunned than he always does. A classy player would have just gone for the simple layup and then walked away like they’d been there a million times before. Griffin is a phenomenal talent, but the more I watch him the less I ever want to watch him again.
As much as I hate to say it, North Carolina won big. I didn’t watch a second of this game because the Michigan State one never lost my focus, but the stat sheet says that it was as decisive as the score would indicate. I am a long, long way from being a Tar Heels fan, but my Blake Griffin issues put me in the rare and very unfortunate position of actually cheering for the boys in blue. Just for one game, mind you.
As a Big Ten guy I was very proud of Michigan State. Frankly, I was relieved, too. In the end we wound up tied with the ACC in Elite Eight bids, and ahead of the Pac-10 and SEC. Not great, but not too bad for a conference supposedly in a down period. Brighter days are ahead, too.