Tuesday, April 11, 2006

I am doing it again ...

OK, OK ... how many times am I going to do this to myself in this blog? Well, given that it's me and that I have a history of not meeting my own expectations, this blog is suffering the consequences. This post, unfortunately, is no exception. I am writing for one main reason only: to prove I still write to it. Yes, it has only been a week, but, in the blogging world, a week is an eternity.

If you have actually read this blog up to this point, I am sure you are deeply saddened that this is the best post I can muster, but, truthfully, this is reflective of the kind of stuff I think about a regular basis. Are my "readers" happy? Am I meeting expectations (personal, professional, others)? What do I have to do to keep up with everything?

Anyway, this is enough drivel for one post. Hang in there, faithful readers ... there is enough other stuff for me to write, including the continuing saga of my life that I promised. Of course, it is helpful to know if others are actually reading ANY of this. If you do read this, post a COMMENT. Then, I will know for certain. Later gators...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Congrats to the new king of college hoops -- Florida!

I would like to congratulate the University of Florida for achieving their first ever NCAA Basketball Championship with a victory in Monday night's finale against UCLA (the most championships in NCAA history). Although I cannot say I even watched the game for any significant length of time, Florida did appear to win in convincing fashion with a 73-57 crushing of the southern California bunch.

The analysis of the game that I have seen is not surprising (and consistent with my own lack of interest in the Final Four this year): there are no dominant players and/or teams worth watching. Yes, fans love to watch the underdogs take on the big guns and pull out a win here or there, but a Final Four without any #1 seeds (Duke, Memphis, UConn, and Villanova failed to get there, with Duke failing to reach the Elite 8 as well) doesn't speak too highly of the upper ranks of college basketball. UCLA was the highest-ranked team there with a #2 seed, but I personally picked them to exit the tourney at least two rounds sooner than they did (they overachieved to make the final game in my eyes).

Florida touted the "powerhouse" player of Joakim Noah, who averaged a respectable 14.2 ppg and 7.1 rpg during the season. At 6'11", he certainly has the size as a team's big man to take advantage of the opposition. Florida appeared to get the job done with balanced offense, though, with all five starters averaging in double figures (10+ppg). They had only one close game in the tournament, against Georgetown (a team with tall players, including a seven-footer). Defense wins championships, and the Florida defense was key to theirs.

The transition of talented high school players as well as some number of college underclassmen directly into the NBA has probably diminished the talent pool in the NCAA, but it is hard to say if the NBA-style of game itself (predominance of the big men and little emphasis on defensive tactics and teamwork) has been a bad influence on the college game as well. When the talent is spread more uniformly across teams at all levels (from the big-name schools to the mid-majors as well), it is easy to see why parity of performance occurs. It is also easier to see how teams at the mid-major level develop more as teams with emphasis on ball control and teamwork that has helped them be more successful in tournament play where some bigger names rely on individual play more.

Accepting the college game for what it is worth (with a level of "purity" in the play that is lost when the players become pros) is still the major consideration for why I have interest in the sport. Players at the college level seem to still remember their *fundamentals* -- which they hopefully will never lose.