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« Freedom of speech | Main | Hammerlarious »

Mar 27, 2006

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cm

All respect but: The quality of college basketball declined dramatically in the early 90s and has remained static ever since. Folks like Deadspin and Ed Cone are sour because their teams choked up a kitten and went home early. And BTW, Joakim Noah may be the most complete college player to emerge since Magic Johnson. Florida and LSU in particular may be changing the formula for college success from dominant guard play to versatile, athletic big men. And for my money, that makes for better basketball than watching pygmies dribble around the perimeter fo 25 seconds before jacking up a pitiably short college trey. So the Final Four may bear watching after all even if "Psycho T" (whom Noah and Tyrus Thomas make look like a dinosaur) is spending this weekend in Manly Dorm.

Ed Cone

It's interesting how people think they aren't just blog-readers, but mind-readers.

I don't read Deadspin enough to know who his team is, or was. I'm not sour about UNC's performance in the tourney, especially given George Mason's subsequent performance; it was a great year for the Heels' rebuilding program.

Even with the lower talent level in college ball vs years ago, I do think the level of play this postseason has been poor on a fundamental level in several games I've seen, starting in the ACC tourney with State-Wake and on through Memphis-UCLA. Nova shot 25% from the floor, and that wasn't all good defense by Florida.

I have not mentioned LSU in the poor-play discussion. They seem to me to be doing something different -- their game is built around missed shots and flying bodies. It's not especially pretty, but it's been fun to watch.

Noah has been impressive. I liked his dad, too.

Cara Michele

FYI, "cm" is not me, in case anyone gets confused. In my world, "sports = blah, blah, blah." ;)

Peace, from the other CM. :)

David Boyd

Damn. I thought that was you, Cara M, taking Ed to school on ACC hoops.

Cara Michele

LOL. (Literally.)

Patrick Eakes

Allowing underclassmen to go pro without hardship has reduced the talent level of college hoops, but I also think that when the refs starting reinterpreting the rule book, the game started suffering.

Michael Jordan was called for traveling a few times a game as a freshman. By the next year, the same move was no longer traveling. What passes as a a legal dribble was palming not that long ago. Ditto for hanging on the rim, entering the lane early on free throws, hand checking, and leading with the elbow when driving to the hoop.

Throw in a shot clock and a short three point arc and the important fundamental skills of the game are very different. Good coaches have adapted to these changes and are recruiting and coaching differently as a result.

I am a traditionalist, so I do not like the current game as much as I used to. Since the clock is not going to get rolled back on the interpretation of the rule book, I think we will see more teams built in the mold of LSU, Memphis, and Villanova. And that means on some nights, they will look very bad.

Jim Caserta

The problem is the 3-point line. What's more exciting - a guy shooting a 3-pointer, or a fine pass to a cutter near the basket? Florida shot 49% on its 2-pointers, with Villanova still shooting a poor 28% on its 2's. Look at the NBA, they move the 3-point line in, scoring goes down, move it back out, scoring goes back up. Coincidence? With the 3 point line where it is, too many bad 3 point shots are taken, and too many guys take one step back to get the 3, instead of taking one step forward to take a high-percentage shot. Plus, getting the ball to big guys inside seems to be a dying art - see Wake Forest for more evidence.

As for this tournament, I think it's provided a lot of very good games - UConn v. GM, both teams shot near 50%. Most importantly, it showed that when a team comes very motivated and well prepared, they can beat any other team - motivation+preparation > talent.

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