CONGRATULATIONS TO THE NCAA BASKETBALL CHAMPS

04Apr12

Was that a great tournament or what?  Tons of upsets in the early rounds.  A few more upsets in the middle rounds.  Ultimately the final four had very good teams that put on an exciting semi-final show before the best team in the country handily won the championship game! 

Who can ask for anything more?  And to finish the season undefeated was simply incredible! 

What, you thought I was talking about the men’s basketball tournament?  Oh that was great, too.  But I’m talking about the way Baylor steamrolled through the women’s brackets to finish undefeated and become the 2012 national champions. 

They only had one real challenge, and that was in the semifinals against the second best team in the country.  Otherwise, they dominated, or at least controlled every game they were in. 

Which leads me to a question that nags me every year.  Why can’t the brackets gurus ever set up the women’s brackets so that the two best teams in the country can only end up meeting in the final game?  The men’s brackets are set up that way, so why can’t the women’s brackets be set up that way?  Oh well, a question for another time, I guess! 

For now, let’s take a look at the champions.  Both of them.  Wasn’t it kind of eerie how the men’s and women’s tournament played out in such similar fashion? 

Kentucky, clearly the top team in the tournament, grabbed control of every game and just kind of toyed with their opponents, never letting them get close enough to pose a real threat, but seemingly expending little energy in disposing of them.  

It reminded me of the scene in The Little Rascals TV show where the bully would place his hand over the little guy’s forehead and keep him at arms length while the little guy would swing wildly at him, with all of the shots falling just short of connecting. 

The only team that posed a real threat to them was their semifinal opponent, Louisville, who slowed the game down and played tough defense that allowed them to stay close for most of the game, with Kentucky pulling away at the end.  Then the Wildcats dominated the championship game on their way to winning it all. 

Now change “Kentucky” to “Baylor” and change “Louisville” to “Stanford” in the last three paragraphs, and we have just described the women’s tournament. 

Wow, exciting basketball was found in both tournaments this year, something that cannot be said for most previous years. 

Perhaps the women’s tournament is on its way to breaking the stereotype that they have fallen into.  You know what I mean, the one that says that there are only four or five good teams in the women’s tournament. Connecticut, Stanford, Tennessee and the two or three teams that happen to be good this year! 

Only time will tell.  But if future tournaments end up as exciting as the way this year’s played out, look for viewership to rise.  You might even see some of their highlights on the news each night, like the men’s tournament does. 

But for now, congratulations to this year’s champs – Kentucky on the men’s side and Baylor on the women’s side.  It was fun watching both teams take home the trophy that they clearly deserved!

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