Sunday, April 5, 2009
Wake Me When It's Over
It’s possible, that I was just extra cranky Saturday night.
Having been shunned by at least a half dozen “friends” to come over to the 5-Hour Dome and watch the Final Four, I was sitting all by my lonesome, making notes on the game.
I also had no great rooting interest in any team, or either game. My money long flushed in Vegas, my pool sheet down in flames even earlier than that.
Plus, I can be a moody bitch, you know.
I thought the Final Four sucked.
In fact, I turned it off.
Yep. It was about 13 minutes left in the Carolina v. Villanova game and I had seen one no-call too many. (PS: Was there any doubt Carolina had that game in a headlock?)
The heels 6-10 freshman Ed Davis caught the ball roughly 3 feet from the basket. Rising for an easy lay-in, not one but two (I swear!) Villanova players SHOVED him in the lower back. The easy lay-in caromed wildly off the glass and rim.
The refs apparently saw nothing.
Okay, good night now, I said to myself.
Had this been a rare horrible call, I probably would have stayed up for the inevitable Heels stompin’. But it wasn’t. The whole night was filled with a bunch of non-calls that simply perplexed me.
Thabeet gets juked into orbit, and lands ON TOP of a Spartan player. No call.
Price drives the lane and gets his head snapped back visibly in mid-air. No call.
And on and on it went.
The whole night seemed too NBA-ish for me. I’m not a “let ‘em play” guy, because in today’s game, that means “let ‘em foul.”
How on fucking earth could all three refs miss that play? How come Nantz and Kellogg didn’t mention it? (I think I know the answer, but more on that later).
Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, and a corpse of your choosing could have made that call.
Michigan State plays lights out defense. Give Izzo and Company full credit on that front. They hedged on every ball screen on top of the key against Uconn, and the Huskies never did figure it out. Michigan State pounded the boards. They came to ball. Good on them.
But if 70% of their defensive effort is pure desire and execution, then the remaining 30 percent is Van Gundy Style foulination. The logic is simple: “They can’t call them all.”
Knowing the home crowd would wail at every marginal call, knowing that if the foul count got out of whack (which it did) the refs would start to issue some “make up” citations, and knowing that this is the FINAL FOUR, so you surely wouldn’t want to FOUL SOMEBODY OUT, knowing all this just gave Izzo more of a green light to turn it into a brawl.
And Uconn responded in kind. For the most part. Adrian and Robinson were flat out beastly. In fact, Stanley Robinson played with a ferocity that was simply awesome to watch. He made about 6 plays (I counted) that were better than any play everything on the first 3 editions of “One Shining Moment” from back in the 1980’s.
At the end of the night, let’s see….
One guy fouled out. One. Draymond Green for Michigan State. He had 5 fouls in 12 minutes. Ibok had 3 in 6 minutes and didn’t even make much pretense of his intentions.
It was just so ragged. Not unlike the call by Nantz. And don’t get me wrong, I’m a Nantz FANATIC. He just seemed, so… so… out of sorts. Maybe he’s still getting used to the post-Billy era. But I have a different theory.
He couldn’t see what was happening. Because like everybody else courtside, he was EYEBALL TO DUSTMITES with the FUBAR floor being 4 feet in the air thanks to the Dome set up.
Why can’t they put a floor, like, on the floor?
Even though they let the head coaches roam the perch above the “dugouts” during the game, they were all alone. Substitutions required an awkward “excuse me, pardon, excuse….” shuffle up the mini-stairs, like going to get Milk Duds at a movie.
It just sucks. All basketball games in football stadiums suck. And I resented - RESENTED - Nantz and Kellogg trying to shuck and jive me about how “great” the environment was. Please. Get the NCAA’s dick out of your mouth.
The crowd was amped at times, but more often, the distance from the game left many stretches of play seem hollow and utterly dead. The camera angles get all fucked up in football domes. They have to shoot from father away. There aren’t as many good close ups.
Sorry, am I being a bitch here, or am I finally telling it like is?
I suppose the weight of the NCAA’s greed and hypocrisy has finally broken my back on this event. They shouldn’t be playing these games in anything but basketball arenas. And when coaches leave for another team, either they should have to sit out a year, or the players they left behind should become instant free agents.
And knock it off with the whole “student athletes” crap.
Finally, can we call a foul, a foul? Can we get back to basketball? If you let them play, you are going to get a crappy looking game. If you call fouls early, then the players will adjust.
They might not even try to low-bridge a lay-up with a two-fisted shove.
So will I be back for tonite’s finale? I would, because I still love the college game in general, and these are two very, very, very good teams.
But the tip time in the east is 9:22 p.m.
Good night. I’m going to bed, and the highlights will be waiting for me in the morning.