Friday, March 25, 2005

Why Illinois Won't Win

I truly enjoyed last night's game between Illinois and Wisconsin-Milwaukee. It was, for the most part, one of the fastest college games of recent memory, with both teams executing the fast break almost at will, with Illinois jamming the ball inside with intermittant threes from their outstanding guards, and UWM hitting lots of open threes.

But Illinois won't get past Arizona, who handled a rock-solid Oklahoma State team last night in the late game. I'd be saying the same thing about OSU if Stoudamire hadn't hit the buzzer-beater. Both of those teams just looked tougher and more confident at this point in the year than Illinois has.

If I'm wrong (and I usually am when it comes to sports, and so are you, and so are the "experts" who get paid for it--it's why sports are so much fun; their inherently democratic) then I'd wager a dollar or two that Louisville beats them in the Final Four in St. Louis. Rick Pitino's Cardinals look like the team to beat in the whole tourney right now. They handled a good (albeit overrated) Washington team last night and won going away. At this point, I think they could beat either North Carolina, Duke or Kentucky from the other side of the bracket.

In any case, the rest of the NCAA tourney promises some outstanding basketball, and right now, that's about all the sports world has to offer right now. Baseball's still a few weeks away, football's a whole season away, I don't care about the NBA, and hockey's just gone away for good. When T.S. Eliot wrote "April is the cruelest month," I think he was lamenting the lack of exciting sports news.

1 comment:

Big Pappa Pump said...

The good news is you are probably wrong about Illini. They may have played bad the other night, but this team is one of the best in the tournament. Don't count out Duke and the Tarheels. I always love to watch Duke play. They press the whole game. If your going to bring your team up against these guys, you better have very good guards. I don't understand why more teams don't do this. I believe Duke is the best coached other than Texas Tech, but they are watching now. Bobby Knight is probably the smartest coach in college basketball. North Carolina has the best talent, which they usually do. Louisville is just a bump in the road for either one of these three. A small bump at that!