Between the sleep deprivation caused by being home alone with the baby, and the new Jim Butcher book, I realized that I almost forgot to mention North Carolina's defeat of Michigan State for the NCAA basketball championship. I'm glad to see it for two reasons: their victory let me win two of the basketball pools I was in (neither involving money, alas), but more importantly, I like Roy Williams and I like this team. They play some really good basketball when they're clicking, and they absolutely dismantled the Spartans last night.
They're not going to displace Syracuse or Maryland in my affections, but if an East Coast team that wasn't the Terps or the Orange had to win, they'd be my choice. Hence the pool victories...
-- It really wasn't much of a game. The Tar Heels jumped out early, and could've won by forty if Roy Williams was an asshole. As it was, they eased up quite a bit, and cruised to a relatively easy win. Michigan State made a couple of small runs in the second half, but got turned back every time.
That suited me fine, because for most of the game, I had a sleeping baby in my lap, and having a tight, emotionally involving game would've risked waking her. So I left the game on, and split my attention between the game and re-reading Robert Jordan books on my Palm (and man, does Path of Daggers bring the suck...).
-- This is a real feel-good story for most of the sports media, because Roy Williams is as cornily wholesome as you'll find in the business. Everybody likes him, so you get a lot of warm-fuzzy stories about that. It doesn't hurt that their biggest star is a big clean-cut goofy-looking white kid, either.
Cornball as Williams and Hansbrough are, though, I do like both of them. Given another decade or so, Williams may well start to seem as irritatingly smarmy as Mike Krzyzewski, but for the moment, I like the way he runs his program, and I like the style of ball they play.
And Hansbrough is a good example of what's best in college basketball. He's unlikely to be more than a journeyman pro, but he stuck around, got better every year, and finally made it through to the title, and I like to see that. Too many guys leave early to be drafted on potential, and become journeyman pros without ever getting a chance to play on the big stage, so it's nice to see somebody doing it right and getting rewarded for it.
-- As for the broadcast, I think CBS is missing some opportnities to squeeze in ads and promos. There were at least three times when they came back from commercial and went directly into game action without working in some stilted promotion of one of their shows. And I don't recall any instances of them just happening to find the stars of some CBS program eating popcorn in the stands. They need to work on that.
-- Jim Nantz has been paired with Billy Packer for so many years that it's easy to forget that he's annoying as all hell. He sort of got lost in the giant negativity vortex that was Packer's commentary, but paired with the relentlessly bland Clark Kellogg, whose commentary has all the pizzazz of unseasoned rice cakes, Nantz really comes into his own as the smarmily overdramatic asshole that we always knew he could be.
Anyway, congratulations to North Carolina on a fine victory. Now, it's on to the methadone basketball of the NBA, to ease us into the long, sports-less months before football season.
And while we're here: go UConn! As a Brit, I think I missed out on the DNA methylation patterns required to be a true basketball fan; I do prefer the women's game as a spectator event, though. Also not much of a contest, but an impressive cap to a dominating season.
Funny how we both cheer for the Terps and Orange (I lived just north of UofM back when Terps made it to final four, but moved away just before they won), and my Father-in-law has season tickets to the Orange as they moved there about 5 years ago and I have loved every game I've been to (was there last year when they (un-ranked) beat Georgetown! and this past year when they beat virginia)
thanks for your oh so real, yet funny, comments on CBS coverage...