The Madness is over folks!
March Madness has come to an end and Louisville has proven to be the best team in the country by defeating Michigan 82 – 76 in the Championship Game of the 2013 Final Four at the Georgia Dome in HotLanta.
Here are three things we learned from the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
1) Rick Pitino is the Man!
Louisville head coach Rick Pitino has just solidified his place amongst the all-time great coaches in Division 1 history. His postseason resume is staggering. He became the first coach to win the whole thing at two different schools (Kentucky ’96). He is one of two coaches to lead three different teams to the Final Four (Calipari is the other but the Memphis years are vacated). He is also one of a pair of coaches to lead two teams to three Final Fours (Roy Williams). Pitino has coached a team to the Final Four in four different decades. His teams have made 18 tournament appearances, seven Finals Fours, and have won 11 conference tournaments over his 27 year career.
What do all these accomplishments mean? They mean Rick Pitino gets the job done when it counts the most. His up-tempo offensive attack combined with stifling, full court defensive pressure has led to 662 careers wins. That’s good for 22nd all-time, just two behind John Wooden! It’s only fitting that a coach with as much style as Coach Pitino be named to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame on the same day that he makes coaching history…and the scary part is…he ain’t done yet!!
2) The quality of play is down compared to years past.
The tournament is always exciting. It doesn’t really matter what teams are in it, or if there are any major “stars” showcasing their talents, because the NCAA has built the brand of March Madness to a point where it has become self sustaining. Brackets, office pools, and Vegas lines are a driving force behind what has become a multi-billion dollar business. The tournament will always be good.
It’s the quality of play that stinks…
Young athletes are fundamentally flawed because we live in a society that values entertainment over hard work. Youngsters are taught, by their peers and by the media, that it’s cooler to have swag and style than it is to be fundamentally sound. 24/7 sports coverage on television shows nothing but dunks and flashy plays. This becomes engrained in the minds of young athletes who, instead of practicing bounce passes and foul shots, are practicing lob passes and dunks.
3) The Refs STINK!!!
Can it get any worse?
I sure hope not because it’s really, really bad right now for these NCAA officials. There were a multitude of terrible calls throughout this NCAA tournament that affected the outcomes of games. Trey Burke had a clean block on Peyton Siva but was called for a foul because the referee anticipated contact. There was a charge call on Syracuse guard Brandon Triche at the end of the Michigan game in the semifinal that could have changed the game.
My point is that the poor officiating has contributed to the lack of quality play from the student athletes. When the officiating is inconsistent (and it sure has been in not only this tournament but in the conference tournaments as well) the players don’t know what to expect when it comes to what is going to be called on a game to game basis. This uncertainty and confusion leads to poor execution because more split-second decisions have to be made by the athletes instead of allowing their natural instincts to prevail. The combination of uncertainty and inexperience leads to poor basketball, which doesn’t help when the refs can’t even get it right!
March Madness did exactly what it was supposed to do, entertain and excite while providing unforgettable storylines that we will remember forever. Kevin Ware’s injury, Rick Patino’s glory week, the Big East goes out with a bang, the Fab-5 reunites at the Final Four…yeah, I would say it was Madness…but at least you learned three things!!!