Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, and welcome to the Tuesday Morning Quickies.
Well, despite predictions of a “boring” matchup (sorry, James) in the 2019 NCAA Tournament final, last night’s overtime Virginia Cavaliers victory over the Texas Tech Red Raiders was anything but. The game was played at a very high level on both ends of the floor. The pace was low, as you would expect from two teams that generally prefer execution to run-and-shoot, but not as glacially slow as, say, the Virgina-Oregon game.
Both teams were efficient offensively, and the numbers will probably surprise some people. Virginia scored at 1.21 points/possession and Texas Tech at 1.10, which is a nice departure from the brick-fests we saw in 2017 between UNC and Gonzaga, 2014 Kentucky-Connecticut, or the really nasty 2011 slog between Butler and UConn.
No, this was a fine game played at a very high level by both teams. As has been the norm throughout the season and the tournament, there were bad calls, good calls, and good calls that make idiots write dumb articles (retweeted approvingly by none other than Pat Forde) that say things like the out-of-bounds overruled call was “right by definition and wrong in spirit.” It’s by Pete Thamel, so nobody should be surprised that it contained about as much sharp analysis as something produced by an ipsum lorem generator.
Second-guessing has been the mantra of this tournament, and some of it was justified. But as we all know (and it always bears a mention), calls are made by human beings and sometimes they get it wrong. Mostly, they got it right.
I was glad that, in general, there was no single call (or non-call) that directly affected the outcome of the game like in the UVA-Auburn matchup. Having seen UK on both sides of those types of situations, it’s tough to swallow when they go against you and frustrating to defend when you’re the beneficiary. Just like life, the imperfections add spice to the game – sometimes it makes the dish delicious, and sometimes it just chokes you.
In the end, it was a great finish to what I consider to be, and expect to be vindicated by the stats, the most competitive NCAA Tournament in my lifetime. I must say, despite Kentucky bowing out in the Elite Eight, I totally enjoyed the entire thing. It was heart-stopper after heart-stopper in a seemingly never-ending sequence, and I don’t believe I’ve seen anything quite like it.
Virginia is definitely a worthy champion, as they’ve been near the top of the rankings all year and were a top seed in the tourney. Texas Tech proved to the world that they are a force to be reckoned with now, and in the future.
Congratulations to both on a worthy and impressive effort.
Tweets of the Morning
Tony Bennett’s face while watching One Shining Moment says it all. pic.twitter.com/KQIGLav1Ik— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) April 9, 2019
Congratulations to the Virginia Cavaliers, 2019 NCAA Tournament champions. This is their first ever NCAA championship.
Congratulations also to Texas Tech on a fine game and outstanding effort in the 2019 tournament.
Much talk going into last night was the future of college basketball. What that National Championship showed was college basketball is going to be just fine. All you need are compelling stories, kids that play their hearts out and good basketball. We got that last night!— Tracy Wolfson (@tracywolfson) April 9, 2019
I think this is right.
All three times Clemson has won the National Championship in football, an ACC team has followed up with the basketball championship the following spring.— Tim Bourret (@TimBourret) April 9, 2019
- Kentucky’s new football commitment, a four-star defensive tackle from Canada, is a “moose,” according to his coach.
- Vince Marrow mic’d up at spring practice.
- Former UK wide receiver Tavin Richardson signs with Marshall.
- Mark Stoops is pleased with Kentucky’s progress so far.
- Has the “one-and-done” era actually been over since 2015? Maybe, but it’s had a lot of success in the last decade.
- UK at #3 in ESPN’s “too early” top 25. Heck, we don’t even know who’s going to be on the team yet.
- Could Tre Jones’ return to Duke hurt Kentucky’s chances with Matthew Hurt?
Other Kentucky sports
- Kentucky women’s golfer Leonie Bettel climbs the leaderboard at the Clemson Invitational.
- No. 22/23 Kentucky softball visits Northern Kentucky this afternoon.
- How local newspapers celebrated Virginia’s NCAA Tournament win.
- Virginia goes from making history by losing a 1-16 game to winning the NCAA Tournament championship in 12 months. Not quite as sexy as winning back-to-back championships, but it’s history of a sort. More from SB Nation here.
We’re, what, about two decades into widespread replay review and we’re still letting unintended consequences rule the day, huh? Never was, never will be, the spirit of replay.— Michael Beller (@MBeller) April 9, 2019
This is what a friend of mine calls, “authentic frontier gibberish” – it seems to make sense, but it’s nonsense.
There is no “spirit” in the use of replay. It is merely a tool to try to get calls right that were otherwise wrong. Nothing more, nothing less. There is no universal meaning or spiritual truth behind it, it’s just a tool provided by technology.
Sometimes we forget that the NCAA Tournament is not life or death. It is not some higher truth. It contains no revealed wisdom, or deep meaning. It is a game played by callow young men. When you finally recognize that, it all comes into focus.
- Well, you know Kentucky had to be involved.
OT in the national title game:— Mitch Goldich (@mitchgoldich) April 9, 2019
1944: Utah over Dartmouth
1957: UNC over Kansas (3OT)
1961: Cincinnati over Ohio St
1963: Loyola Chi over Cincinnati
1989: Michigan over Seton Hall
1997: Arizona over Kentucky
2008: Kansas over Memphis
- Yes, we can’t even wait until the ink is dry on a new NCAA Tournament champion to be talking about next year. Hey, we get it here in Wildcat country…
- Michael Avenatti’s claims that Zion Williamson’s mother was paid by Nike is under investigation by Duke, and I suspect they aren’t the only interested party. But consider this:
Duke says it is “looking into” lawyer Michael Avenatti’s claims that Nike paid Zion Williamson’s mother for “bogus consulting services” to an entity called Sharonda Sampson Consulting.
A legal source checked with the South Carolina Secretary of State’s Office and was told there is not now nor has there even been a registered business entity in the state called Sharonda Sampson Consulting or anything similar.
Jay Bilas said about this situation:
“This situation and situations like it are pretty easy to figure out,” Bilas said. “If you’ve got a contractual relationship with a shoe company like Duke has with Nike, Nike should be saying, ‘Yes,we made this payment, here are the documents in the transaction’ and they should be able to justify it quickly. We should know the answer to this right away. They had people on a plane over a blown-out shoe, they should have this answer quickly.”
- Point guard Tre Jones is coming back to Duke for another year.
- Is no blue bloods being in the NCAA Tournament final this year a good thing? I can see how some might think so. There has been a lot of silly talk about how the tournament is always about teams like UK, UNC, Kansas and Duke, but there are always flies in the ointment. Three out of the last four NCAA Tournaments have been won by non-bluebloods. And no, Villanova does not get to be named a “blueblood.” Well, not yet, at least.
- The 35 best teams that didn’t win the NCAA Tournament. Yeah, Kentucky is in there, three times. Not as many as Duke and UNC, though.
- Tennessee coach Rick Barnes turns down UCLA coaching offer. Nobody wants to coach that dumpster fire – well, nobody with a good job, anyway. But I’m sure somebody will, it’s UCLA. God help them if they don’t win a championship in 3 years, though.
- Dick Vitale says that the UCLA coaching search has become “embarrassing.” Right on, Dick.
Other sports news
- Youth basketball coach from Michigan accused of punching a Kentucky referee, knocking him unconscious. The coach has been charged with assault. Good.
- Whither Jordan Speith?
Three years ago, Jordan Spieth was the No. 1 golfer in the world. Heading into this year's Masters, he is currently ranked 33rd on the PGA Tour. Why has the 25-year-old struggled and can he break out of his slump in Augusta? pic.twitter.com/xhMo4zZh2f— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) April 9, 2019