Posted on: April 6, 2009 7:15 pm
Edited on: April 6, 2009 7:18 pm
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Member Mayhem Championship Results

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a battle that was fittingly close, TeddyD defeats Sfrye4585 to become the 2009 Member Mayhem winner! Congratulations Teddy! The prize will be on its way shortly.

Both competitors put together solid entries. Sfrye loaded up on stats, and broke down the best games from the 2009 NCAA Tournament, scoring a perfect 25 points on the knowledge portion. Teddy, meanwhile, was awarded the maximum for the passion he envoked with his portrait of Detroit, and the impact the Final Four and Michigan State team have had on it's struggling citizens. In the end, Teddy's essay was good enough to earn him a 87-85 victory.

I just want to send one final message to everyone involved... Thanks to all of you who competed in this year's contest. It was a lot of fun, as usual, and it was great to see all the different thoughts and opinions. If you're reading this after the fact, take a look back at some of the great submissions your fellow Community members have put forth in the last few weeks. If you're a college basketball fan, I guarantee it will be worth your while.

Member Mayhem Homepage

Full Scores and Essays Below

 


 

    
Sfrye4585 -
Good evening and welcome to another edition of “The Deep Fryer.” I'm your host, Sfrye4585. Tonight, we want to take a look back at the 2009 NCAA Basketball Tournament. We have had 64 games so far with only the championship game remaining. Let's now take a look at the top ten games from this year's tournament.
     
10) Midwest Region—Sweet Sixteen #2 Michigan St. vs. #3 Kansas  Last year's champions started out the game strong, taking an eight-point lead into the locker room. However, the Jayhawks could not hold it as Michigan St. quickly erased the deficit. The second half went back and forth with the depth of the Spartans eventually getting the better of Kansas. Goran Suton had 20 points and Kalin Lucas added 18 as the Spartans won the game in the end with free throws, 67-62.
     
9) South Region—First Round #5 Illinois vs. #12 Western Kentucky  The Hilltoppers led almost the entire game. With six minutes to go, their lead was 17 points. The Illini then started to chip away with the help of Trent Meacham's 24 points. It closed to a one-possession game with under a minute to go, but that was all they would get. Western Kentucky gets the upset, 76-72.
     
8) East Region—First Round #6 UCLA vs. #11 Virginia Commonwealth  Eric Maynor almost did it again. The man that hit the buzzer-beater against Duke two years ago had the chance for another one against UCLA. The Bruins led almost the entire game, but VCU never let it get too far away from them. The Rams closed in the final minutes and Maynor had the ball with a few seconds left. When the shot fell short, the trendy upset pick was foiled and UCLA advanced, 65-64.
     
7) West Region—Sweet Sixteen #2 Memphis vs. #3 Missouri  This was a phenomenal match-up with Memphis' high-powered offense against Missouri's full-court press. In the end, neither of them was better; it was Missouri's offense that stole the show. Mizzou led by as many as 24 and never looked back. This was the first time that John Calipari's Tigers had allowed 100 points. The Tigers (Missouri) beat the Tigers (Memphis), 102-91.
     
6) East Region—Second Round #2 Duke vs. #7 Texas  Gerald Henderson took the Blue Devils on his back and carried them. He scored 24 points and had three clutch free throws in the final minute. The Longhorns managed to tie the game at 69-69 with 1:07 left on the clock. But that was as close as they would get. By making most of their final free throws and shooting 50% from behind the arc, Duke squeaked by Texas, 74-69.
     
5) Final Four #1 Connecticut vs. #2 Michigan St.  This much-anticipated match-up was closely contested from the opening tip-off. But, in the end, Michigan St. once again used their depth to control the tempo and put the Huskies on the ropes. The Spartans had 33 points from their bench, including 11 from Korie Lucious and 10 from Durrell Summers. Michigan St. advanced to the title game with an 82-73 victory over Connecticut.
     
4) East Region—First Round #8 Oklahoma St. vs. #9 Tennessee  This game was back and forth for forty minutes; Oklahoma St. led by as many as 8 and Tennessee led by as many as 7. All totaled, there were 18 lead changes through the entire game. With 7.2 seconds on the clock and the Volunteers leading by one, Byron Eaton found a hole and scored a lay-up and a foul. When Tyler Smith bricked a three-pointer at the buzzer, the Cowboys walked away with the win, 77-75.
     
3) South Region—Second Round #4 Gonzaga vs. #12 Western Kentucky  Orlando Mendez-Valdez did all that he could for the Hilltoppers; he had 25 points and 7 assists. Gonzaga led by 9 until giving up 9 straight points for a tie game with 7.2 seconds left on the clock. Demetri Goodson then went the length of the court for the Bulldogs and nailed a runner with 0.9 seconds left. Gonzaga moves on with the win over Western Kentucky, 83-81.
     
2) Midwest Region—First Round #8 Ohio St. vs. #9 Siena  The Buckeyes led by as many as 11 in the second half, but the Saints overcame 22 turnovers to tie the game at 56-all with a few seconds left in regulation. Evan Turner missed what would have been the game-winner and the game went to overtime. Ohio St. led by three at the end of overtime until Ronald Moore hit a three-pointer with three seconds left to send the game to double-overtime. There, Ronald Moore hit another three to give Siena a two point lead. When Turner missed a shot that would have caused a third overtime, the Saints could celebrate their 74-72 victory.
     
1) East Region—Elite Eight #1 Pittsburgh vs. #3 Villanova  What could be better than two overtimes? If you saw this game, then you know. This was a typically physical Big East game. Villanova led by ten early before the Panthers closed the gap. The two teams traded the lead 15 times, with six of them being in the final six minutes. Levance Fields made two clutch free throws with 5.5 seconds left and the game looked to be going to overtime. Reggie Redding then inbounded the ball for the Wildcats. He threw a half-court pass to Dante Cunningham, who quickly dished it to Scottie Reynolds (closely resembling the the old Valparaiso play). Reynolds dashed through the defense and scored the game-winner with 0.5 on the clock. Villanova wins the game 78-76.

Well, there you have it: the top ten games from this year's tournament. Michigan St. now must take on North Carolina with the title on the line. Who will achieve their “One Shining Moment”? We will find out Monday. Good night.

Passion: 20
Creativity: 21
Knowledge: 25
Clarity: 20
Total: 86



TeddyD –

John Wooden. Adolf Rupp. Dean Smith. Bobby Knight. To establish yourself as one of the greatest coaches of all time, you have to something truly special. The “Wizard of Westwood” won 10 championships in 12 years at UCLA coaching two of the greatest college players of all time (Alcindor and Walton). His UCLA teams won 38 straight games in the NCAA Tournament and had four perfect 30-0 seasons. Adolf Rupp established a standard of excellence at Kentucky that turned horseracing fans into rabid hoops lovers. The “Baron of the Bluegrass” won four titles with an amazing 80% of his players coming from the sate of Kentucky. Rup oftentimes didn’t have the most talent, but his in-game coaching was unrivaled. Dean Smith coached at UNC for 36 years and retired as the winning-est coach in NCAA Division 1 history. He is known for his two championships, great players such as Jordan and Worthy, and his efforts towards desegregation and equal treatment of African Americans in the South. Bob Knight, the winning-est head man in NCAA Division 1 basketball history, coached the last undefeated NCAA men’s basketball team. “The General” won three national championships at Indiana with players such as Isaiah Thomas and Steve Alford.

Tom Izzo. This year, it feels like Tom Izzo is built more in the Rupp mold. He has his players and an entire state playing with desire and buzzing with hope like nothing I have witnessed. Izzo has led his Spartans to wins over USC, Kansas, Louisville, and Connecticut. You could put together 2 rock-solid NBA teams with the players he has beaten in the last several weeks (DeRozan, Gibson, Collins, Aldrich, Williams, Samuels, Price, and Thabeet). Based on talent alone, Michigan State should have arguably been shown the exit in the Round of 32. Yet, oftentimes talent only gets you so far. In sports, you oftentimes need a leader and a motivator to channel that talent into hustle, grit and determination. Michigan State has that leader. And now, if only for a weekend, Michigan as a State has found that leader.

When I pulled into Detroit on Friday night, things seemed bleak. Abandoned buildings were everywhere. Jobless claims were soaring week by week. Homelessness was becoming a very real possibility for many people like you and me. But every Detroit-native that I ran into seemed to be floating. Time after time, I heard people saying things like “How about Michigan State?” “Do you think Tom and those kids can do it?” and “Go Sparty!!!” One lady told me that she had never watched a basketball game in her life, but she was donning a Kalin Lucas jersey and face paint. During a time when people need hope, Tom Izzo has delivered. He has taken a group of kids who will listen and pushed them to play every game like it is their last. And Izzo knows what it means to fans. After the UConn game, he said “I hope we were a ray of sunshine, a distraction for them, a diversion, anything else we can be. We're not done yet, so hopefully we can continue to make them feel a little better.” Izzo understands that it’s bigger than him. He knows what a victory tonight will mean. He can see that people are depending on him. And, luckily for Michigan State fans, he thrives in these situations.
 
After the UConn game, Jim Calhoun told reporters that he “gave Izzo a great deal of credit.” And he should have. His team was out-hustled, out-motivated and out-coached by the best x’s and o’s coach the college game has seen this decade. Izzo was able to channel the fans into a legitimate 6th man wearing green on the court. And it all felt right…even if you weren’t a MSU fan. There have been a lot of fantastic moments in this year’s tournament. Scottie Reynolds’ runner in the Elite 8 will be replayed for years and years to come.  Western Kentucky’s heroics were undoubtedly incredible. But at the end of the day, the job that Tom Izzo has done with this team and the hope he has restored to the community is unmatched. When I look back on the 2009 NCAA Tournament in 20 years, I will remember the Spartans, win or lose.

Passion: 25
Creativity: 22
Knowledge: 22
Clarity: 18
Total: 87

 

 

 

 

Posted on: April 3, 2009 9:27 pm
Edited on: April 3, 2009 9:35 pm
 

Final Four Essays and Grades!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That's right, we're finally down to our final two competitors. Regretfully, that means we have to eliminate two of my favorite writers, kmvenne, and ArkIrish. Both players did an outstanding job, and left me with very tough grading decisions. In the end, though, I had to award one-point decisions to TeddyD and Sfrye.

Gentleman, you've been great competitors and sportsmen. Thank you so much for taking part in the Contest.

As for our winners... Congratulations! You've made it to the championship round. This time around, you'll have 1000 words for your essay. Your writing will be due by 5 p.m. ET on Monday, April 6.

Member Mayhem Homepage

 

FULL ESSAYS AND GRADES BELOW

 


 

TeddyD
For the Final Four Member Mayhem round, two questions are posed:

   1. Which of the Final Four teams is the most complete top-to-bottom? And;
   2. Which team has what it takes to bring home the title?

The answer to the first question is indisputable and, I would argue, based almost exclusively on statistics and ability when looking at this year’s Final Four. North Carolina has it all on paper:

    * The most talented starting 5 (including the two best players left in the tournament: 2009 ACC Player of the Year Ty Lawson and 2008 NPOY Tyler Hansbrough along with future NBA draft picks Wayne Ellington, Danny Green, and Deon Thompson)
    * The best bench that seems like it goes on forever (Ed Davis, Tyler Zeller, Bobby Frasor and Larry Drew)
    * One of the 5 best coaches in college basketball (granted, Izzo and Calhoun also fall into that category)
    * The highest scoring offense left
    * The “been there” factor (This exact same team played in last year’s Final Four)
    * A defense that has held tournament opponents to 40.1% shooting

Yet, even though UNC is the most complete team left in the NCAA Tournament, sports are oftentimes more about destiny that what is “supposed to happen,” more about the intangibles than the tangibles, and more about the meaning of victory than the award itself. This will be one of those moments in sports.

This story starts in1985 in the Mecca of college basketball (Lexington, Kentucky) in the first year that the NCAA expanded the field to 64 teams. Jay Wright was 24 years old. The Big East was the strongest conference of all time, placing 3 teams in the Final Four. Villanova was the lowest ranked seed remaining with an 8 seed. Nobody thought they could win. Sound familiar? Fast forward 24 years. The Big East is called the best conference in decades. Three teams are given #1 seeds. People seem to think that it could be an all Big East Final Four with Pitt, UConn, Louisville, and Syracuse. Any mention of Villanova? Forget about it. In 1985, Villanova pulled off the biggest upset in NCAA history knocking off the mighty Georgetown Hoyas. Destiny? Check.

Who wins big-time basketball games? The team that has the best scorers? The team that has the most talent? Wrong. Grit wins basketball games. Hustle wins basketball games. Teamwork wins basketball games. You won’t find another team out there that works harder and plays with more togetherness than the Villanova Wildcats. It all starts with fiery point guard Scottie Reynolds, who hit the game winner with 0.5 seconds left to upset Pitt and put the Wildcats back in the Final Four for the first time since 1985. After the game, Reynolds said that a Pitt player was going to have to “wrestle the ball from me” for him to give up the rock in final seconds. And of course he would use the word “wrestle.” Coming out of the Big East, Villanova was forced to be the toughest team on the court without a legitimate big man. Guards Reynolds, Corey Fisher, Corey Stokes, and Reggie Redding average nearly 14 rebounds per game between them. And boy, do they play great team ball. Dante Cunningham, Reynolds, Fisher, Stokes, and Dwayne Anderson all average north of 9.0 ppg. Nobody is selfish with the ball, just as Jay Wright teaches his kids. This grit, determination, and hustle as a whole outweighs UNC’s talent.  Intangibles? Check.

It’s all about the now. It’s all about today. In the next three years, Lawson, Hansbrough, Green, Ellington, Thompson, Davis, and Zeller will all shake hands with David Stern on Draft Day. The same can’t be said about Nova. Maybe Anderson or Stokes will get a shot, but nobody is a lock. It’s easy for UNC’s players to look ahead to the bright lights of the NBA. But I can promise you that Villanova is 110% focused on Saturday night in Detroit. These kids could care less about accolades…it’s all about victory. This is probably the best it’s ever going to be from a basketball standpoint, and Reynolds and Stokes and the rest of these kids are going to come out ready. Do these kids appreciate the meaning of victory? Check.

So, fasten your seatbelts everybody. Ed Pinckney, getcha popcorn ready. Because on Monday, April 6, the Villanova Wildcats will be cutting down the nets at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan as your 2008-2009 National Champions.

Passion: 22
Creativity: 23
Knowledge: 23
Clarity: 20
Total: 88

Kmvenne

When you look at all the factors that make a college basketball team great, you can make a compelling case about the exceptional strengths of three of this year’s Final Four teams:

North Carolina has coaching, offense, the best starters, and great depth.

Michigan State Spartans has defense, coaching, players raising their game, and the de facto home court.

Villanova has killer three-point shooting, a defense stepping up big time, and enough intangibles to fill up an entire week’s worth of sports columns.

But these are the last four survivors of the basketball Armageddon we call March Madness. Every team has proven, just by surviving to this point, they have strengths. If you’re looking for a complete top-to-bottom team, you don’t look for strength! You look for weakness.

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and in a Final Four with all this talent, these four great coaches will have their squads attacking weaknesses with surgical precision.

The only problem is the Connecticut Huskies don’t have a weakness.

Offensively, there is no real way to attack the Huskies; they will shut their opponents’ strengths down. They are allowing only 0.85 points per possession in this tournament, easily the best of any team left. Opponents are shooting only 42% from inside the arc and a paltry 23.5% from behind it, both tops of remaining teams. Most impressive of all, it takes ten possessions for a team to earn two free throws against the Huskies, a disgustingly low number (State and Villanova give up shooting fouls about twice as often) that is no fluke, it’s the same rate they had in Big East play.

The reason for this stinginess is no surprise. Connecticut have two players who have average double digit rebounds, Hasheem Thabeet and Jeff Adrien, and Gavin Edwards has stepped up huge in this tournament on the glass, giving Connecticut overkill on the boards. This size allows Connecticut to prevent easy second chance points. Thabeet owns the defensive rim, and he does not allow trespassers, blocking over 4 shots a game. It’s hard to score when your shot ends up in the third row. And most helpful of all, it’s hard to start up a transition game off a Connecticut miss, they don’t miss many shots.

Connecticut is scoring 1.19 points a possession, just one tick behind North Carolina for the most efficient offense left. Two keys to their scoring are their inside game and their ability to get to the line. The Huskies are shooting 58% from inside the arc so far in the tournament. Tell me you didn’t do a double take at that number! Combine that with the fact Connecticut is taking the highest percentage of two pointers , and you know this a team who is coached to go to what works best, and has the talent to execute. And nobody goes to the line more then Connecticut does. Connecticut averages over 1 free throw for every 2 possessions, another stat that ranks first in the Final Four. With such a free throw difference, it just makes it that much harder to beat a team that refuses to beat itself.

The scariest thing about the Connecticut offense is that the stellar outside play for Connecticut hasn’t performed up to the benchmarks it set during brutal Big East play. A.J. Price and Craig Austrie have yet to find the range from deep, but with talent like they have, it’s not a question of if they do, but when they do. Sixth man Kemba Walker has picked up the slack, getting to the rim at will while running an efficient offense. And inside-out guard Stanley Robinson is such a talent, he will still be bigger and faster then any match-up the tournament can throw at him.

The Huskies are currently being accused of recruiting violations, but given the excellent performances the Huskies had against Purdue and Missouri, it is clear that the team is rallying around exceptional coach Jim Calhoun. Sometimes in sports no intangible is stronger then escaping the media’s constant questioning and just doing what you love on the court, and Huskies will take advantage of this X-factor. When you make a team this good focus even more on the task at hand, it can only help the Huskies.

While other teams will be desperately welding their chains, trying to strengthen the weak links, Connecticut is coming to Detroit fully equipped with what it takes to bring home the title.

Passion: 22
Creativity: 23
Knowledge: 23
Clarity: 19
Total: 87

 



Sfrye4585

Seeing that I am the last person to post, and that three of the four teams have been chosen, I probably should take Michigan St. However, if I were to make a wager on who would win the championship this year, I would not be able to look past the Connecticut Huskies. From the coach all the way to the bench, UConn is the team to beat.

As we start examining UConn, we have to first look at the man in charge: coach Jim Calhoun. Calhoun, a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, has 805 career wins while coaching Connecticut and Northeastern. He has 6 Big East tournament championships and 2 national championships (1999 and 2004). The stat that really stands out, though, is that Calhoun is 4-0 in the Final Four, so he knows how to win the ones that count the most.

The funny thing about UConn is that the leader of the team has not played since February 11th. Jerome Dyson could have been the Big East player of the year until a knee injury sidelined him for the remainder of the season. Up until then, he was averaging 13 points per game, including big games against Wisconsin, Gonzaga and Villanova. The key aspect of Dyson's game is that he is a playmaker; he is out there to do whatever it takes to win and not to make himself look good.

Taking over the point for Dyson has been A.J. Price. The senior guard has taken the Huskies on his back with almost 15 points and 5 assists per game. He broke the 30 point barrier twice, one of which was in the 6 OT game against Syracuse (where he played an astounding 61 minutes). Another huge part of Price's ability is his range; he shot 40% from beyond the three-point line.

Junior Stanley Robinson has also done his share to contribute to the Huskies success. While only averaging 8 points and 6 rebounds per game, he has made an impact on the court. By setting picks and creating opportunities for his teammates, Robinson has aided to the “team” atmosphere at UConn.

Jeff Adrien has accomplished much in his four years at UConn. This season, he is averaging a double-double: almost 14 points and 10 rebounds per game. In one game against Notre Dame, he managed to pull down 19 rebounds. For the season, he shot 51% from the field. Granted, most of his shots are from point-blank range, but he still puts them in when they count.

Craig Austrie has benefited the most from Dyson's injury by way of playing time. He is another one of the “team players” that the Huskies have needed for their tournament run. He has allowed Price to get open in order to create plays and has also shot 32% from behind the arch.

Perhaps the star of the Huskies team is Hasheem Thabeet. A native of Tanzania, this 7'3” junior has dominated throughout the season. He, along with Adrien, is averaging a double-double with 13.5 points and 11 rebounds per game. Along with that, he also has more than 4 blocks per game. In the January 31st game against Providence, Thabeet had a triple-double with 15 points, 11 rebounds and 10 blocks.

Even more impressive than his stats, Thabeet adds a presence in the lane that no one else in the nation can. Some players that face off with Connecticut are afraid to come against Thabeet. Personally, I am hoping that the Finals ends up being Connecticut and North Carolina. It would utterly thrill me to see Thabeet man-handle Tyler Hansbrough. We would finally be able to see how overrated Hansbrough actually is.

Kemba Walker has made a name for himself during his freshman season. While coming off the bench, Walker has averaged 9 points a game and had a career-high 23 in the Elite 8 win against Missouri. He has proven that he is fully capable of leading the team next year after Price graduates.

Honestly, Connecticut is not perfect; they can be beaten (as proven by Georgetown, Pittsburgh and Syracuse). However, from the looks of the last few games, it seems that UConn is peaking at the right time. Monday night in Detroit, I fully expect to see Jim Calhoun and the Huskies cutting down the nets for their third national title.

Passion: 22
Creativity: 21
Knowledge: 23
Clarity: 19
Total: 85

ArkIrish920

Here we are in early April and March Madness has finally passed us by.  We have four teams remaining, the Michigan State Spartans, the Connecticut Huskies, the Villanova Wildcats, and the North Carolina Tar Heels.  If you had those four in your Final 4 for your bracketology then you have probably locked up a sizable amount of cash.  Last year more than half of the brackets filled out by CBS and ESPN users had North Carolina winning it all, however it was Kansas that stole the show beating the Tar Heels and coming back on Memphis in an overtime thriller.

The shortcomings for the Carolina Tar Heels have brought us to this point, the point where the fans begin to question just how great Tyler Hansbrough truly is.  Mr. Hansbrough, in the words of Jerry Maguire, "Show me the money".  Here you are four years into your baby blue Carolina uniform, you are the ACC's All-Time leading scorer, you are a 4-Time First Team All-American, and you might possibly be the greatest collegiate player thus far in the 21st Century.  But what do you have to show me Physco-T?

This brings me to my point that the North Carolina Tar Heels in 2009 are destined to win this year's National Championship.  At the end of last season Tyler Hansbrough, Danny Green, and Ty Lawson got together and decided to return one more year for a chance to win it all.  Ty Lawson and Tyler Hasnbrough's names are mention on Wooden's All-American List for 2009, and this Tar Heel Tandem, alongside Danny Green is the best 1-2-3 punch left in this year's tournament.

The Tar Heels have five players averaging 11 PPG or more, they have five players averaging 4.7 RPG or more.  This team leads the ACC in scoring at a little more than 90 PPG, they are second in field goal percentage at 48, and shoot a staggering 76.1% from the free throw line, and on a side note this team also has range, shooting 37.6% from behind the 3-point line.  They score my points than the other 3 teams, shoot better at the free throw line than the other 3 teams, turn the ball over less than the other 3 teams, and only UConn averages more rebounds per game.

Now that I have proved who the best team is, it is time to show you who the best coach is; Tom Izzo, Jim Calhoun, Roy Williams, and Jay Wright.  Let's see here..."Bueller...Bueller...", come on now folks you are talking about three of the greatest coaches of our lifetime in Williams, Izzo, and Calhoun, I will pass on comparing these guys and claim a tie when it comes to coaching, however I do feel that Roy Williams is the greatest at halftime adjustments when it comes to comparisons.

UConn is 7-3 in their last 10 games, losing to Pittsburgh twice, and once to Syracuse in that Big East overtime thriller.  Michigan State is 9-1 in their last 10 games, losing only to Ohio State during that stretch, but I am sure that December 3rd meeting between North Carolina and Michigan State is still fresh on the mind of Tom Izzo (98-63 Heels).  Villanova is 8-2 in their last 10 games losing only to Georgetown and Louisville.  North Carolina is 8-2 in their last 10 games losing only to Florida State and Maryland, both defeats by 3 points each.  Momentum in my opinion is a scratch; however North Carolina is the only one of the four that hasn't suffered a double-digit defeat this season.

Villanova, Michigan State, and UConn will all be depending on one thing to carry them to the title, defense.  North Carolina has the one thing that the other three don't, the ability to score wherever and whenever.  The Tar Heels are the best at forcing their opponents to play the way Carolina wants, credit that to Roy Williams.

Take my word for what it's worth folks, hate the Tar Heels or love them, but whether you despise them or not, you have to respect Mr. Hansbrough and his career in a Tar Heel uniform.  So on the night of April 6, 2009, when the North Carolina Tar Heels are crowned the 2009 NCAA Basketball Champions you will see exactly what I have pointed out in this very essay; a team dedicated to winning, a bench that plays with heart and desire, and Seniors that desire nothing less than winning it all.

Passion: 22
Creativity: 21
Knowledge: 23
Clarity: 18
Total: 84

 

 

 

 

Posted on: March 31, 2009 9:51 pm
Edited on: March 31, 2009 10:09 pm
 

Elite 8 Essays and Grades!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have no idea where this graphic came from. It came out kind of... interesting. Undecided

Anyway... Very nice job with the Elite 8 essays. There are now only four of you left in pursuit of Member Mayhem glory and one pretty cool piece of autographed memorabilia. Good Luck!

Your next essay will be due by 5 p.m. ET on Friday, April 3. You will have a 750-word limit.

 

Full Essays and Grades Below

 


 

TeddyD
Anyone who has watched the UConn Huskies play this year knows that they have arguably the toughest, most talented starting 5 in the country. Calhoun has a solid bunch coming off the bench as well. Against any team with “cupcake” status, UConn was not going to have any trouble. As a result, I would argue that you would have to measure the extent of this team’s greatness based on how they competed against the best teams in the land. And when you look at the performance of the incredibly overrated Hasheem Thabeet when he laced it up against the big boys, he played like Mugsy Bogues.

To be fair, let’s just look at the teams that made this year’s Elite 8. UConn played four of them: Missouri, Pitt, Villanova, and Louisville. And how did everyone’s favorite 7-footer fair?

Game 1: UConn vs. Villanova (January 21) – 10 points, 3 rebounds, 3 blocks, 4 fouls

Game 2: UConn vs. Louisville (February 2) – 14 points, 11 rebounds, 4 blocks, 3 fouls

Game 3: UConn vs. Pitt (February 16) – 5 points, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks, 5 fouls

Game 4: UConn vs. Pitt (March 7) – 14 points, 13 rebounds, 5 blocks, 3 fouls

Game 5: UConn vs. Missouri (March 28) – 5 points, 13 rebounds, 0 blocks, 3 fouls

For the entire season, Thabeet has averaged 13.5 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 4.3 blocks per game. Against the best teams in college basketball, Hasheem Thabeet averaged a rather pedestrian 9.6 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks per game and UConn went only 3-2. Does that line look familiar? You wouldn’t guess it, but Chris Johnson, the lanky center for LSU, put up startlingly similar numbers this year. Against the best competition, Thabeet played, at best, like Jarvis Varnado, and at worst, like Johnson.

To further my point, A.J. Price picked up Thabeet’s slack with 19.0 ppg (4.5 above his average) during these 5 hard-fought match-ups. Price was the key in winning the games that counted and he was also the team’s emotional leader down the stretch during that brutal Big East schedule.

Although Thabeet was the Big East co-Player of the Year and undoubtedly a great defender, he did his damage against inferior teams and really struggled offensively and even defensively against any team that would speed up the tempo.

In an interview with Sports Illustrated at the beginning of the season, Thabeet said that he “wasn’t impressed” with Luke Harangody, which made me think…”How did Thabeet do against the two best big men in the Big East?”

Game 1: UConn vs. Notre Dame (January 24)

    * Harangody: 24 points, 15 rebounds
    * Thabeet: 9 points, 11 rebounds

Game 2: UConn vs. Pitt (February 16)

    * Blair: 22 points, 23 rebounds
    * Thabeet: 5 points, 4 rebounds

Put your money where your mouth is, Hasheem! Step up in the big game! Play like a 7 footer when it matters! Until you do, you better get used to me calling you Mugsy (and many others thinking it).

Passion: 22
Creativity: 22
Knowledge: 23
Clarity: 20
Total: 87

USC Holmey

Since I am a Pac-10 guy and would only consider that conference as an area of expertise, especially if the question asks me to poke holes in the argument of someone who knows enough about their choice to do an entire essay on said player, then I will choose a Pac-10 player to be the subject of my essay, which leaves me Isaiah Thomas of Washington to dispute, and I am just lucky that I think he is overrated and not a worthy answer to the question posed previously.

The question to which Isaiah Thomas was the "answer", was which player was the most valuable to his team's tournament run.  Obviously, the choice would be a player who was the team's best player.  Or the team's most inspirational player.  Or maybe the best defensive player.  Or how about the team's player who stepped up the most at the end of the season.  Those might all be good choices.  However, Isaiah Thomas was not only none of those things, but by the end of the year, he was not even the Huskies' best point guard, let alone the player that was most important to their tournament run.

Anyone who watched the Huskies this season would obviously say that their best player was Jon Brockman.  This is not even really up for debate.  Maybe Thomas was their inspirational leader.  He was not at all, as Venoy Overton was possibly the most effectively inspirational player in the entire Pac-10.  So was Thomas the Huskies' defensive stopper?  Nope.  Not even close.  In fact, he was a defensive liability for several reasons, including lack of defensive intensity.  Did Tomas "step it up" at the end of the season to secure the Pac-10 Championship for Washington?  He did not.  In fact, his scoring average in the second half of the Pac-10 season was 6 points less than it was before.  He also lost an average of more than 5 minutes a game of his playing time because of the team's other point guard, Overton, finished the season as the Huskies' true floor general.

If you watched the Huskies as the season came winding down, they were a flat team with little enthusiasm when Thomas was on the floor.  When he sat and Overton came in to run the team, they Huskies picked up the intensity and hustle.  I believe that while Thomas was the guy that Washington would put in if they needed to score, the player that made the team better was Overton.

While I readily admit that Thomas was a great scorer for much of the year and also that he has a great future for his next 3 years, I will contend that not only was he not the most important player for the Huskies', but he also was not even one of the top two or three players for this distinction.  I would have actually had a harder time making an argument against Venoy Overton than I would have against Isaiah Thomas.

Passion: 21
Creativity: 21
Knowledge: 21
Clarity: 20
Total: 83




ndliblnc

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kmvenne

A 3 time Antonio Smith Guts and Glue Award winner, 3 time Stephen G. Scofes Award winner, and a 3 time John E. Benington Award winner. Yes, Darrell has been a great asset here at the Elmer’s Glue factory…

Wait, these awards belong to a player we are supposed to believe was the most vital player to his team in the 2009 NCAA basketball tournament, and not to a guy who helped made sure my glitter stuck to my construction paper in kindergarten?

Travis Walton is the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, but he is not the most important player in the Big Dance to any team. According to the Big Ten All Conference picks, he’s not even the third most important player on his own team, as he failed to garner even Honorable Mention status from the Big Ten coaches or media.

Defense is an important part of basketball, and nobody believes this more then the Big Ten, where 80 point games are as common as UFO abductions. By the way, did you know that a Google search of Travis Walton will teach you all about “one of the best-known instances of alleged alien abduction” from 1975 and very little about “the most important player to his tournament team” from 2009? I think this is Google’s subtle way of agreeing with me that Walton is overrated. But back to my point, being the Defensive Player of the Year in a defensive minded conference is nothing to be scoffed at, and Walton deserved the honor with his tenacious play against superstar Big Ten offensive players like, well, let me get back to you.

Offense is also an important part of basketball; after all, no team has ever won a game 0-0, as much as the Big Ten seemed to try this season. And on offense, Travis Walton was nothing short of atrocious. His 5 points on 43% shooting from the floor and 3 assists per game are about as impressive as Shaq is at the free throw line. Which reminds me, Travis Walton shot less then 56% from the foul line in 2009. For a starting guard in a conference where points are at a premium, that is unacceptable.

Digging into deeper stats somehow makes Walton look even more overrated. One secondary stat that jumps out is Walton’s 1.02 points per shot, easily the worst offensive output on his team. It’s no wonder Walton never scored over 8 points in any Big Ten conference game.

To be fair, judging the most important player to any 2009 tournament team is a matter of taste. But some matters of taste should go without saying. Choosing Travis Walton over the litany of more qualified and less overrated choices is akin to passing up a free porterhouse to pay for some Hot Pockets. I wouldn’t call Walton a crazy choice, but Darrell would. And considering all the glue fumes Darrell inhales at work, he should know crazy when he sees it.

Passion: 21
Creativity: 23
Knowledge: 23
Clarity: 19
Total: 86

 



Pinktoad
The most overrated player on the list is a subjective point-of-view because every player has had a tremendous impact for his respective team.  Having said that, I believe Jonny Flynn may be the most overrated of them all.

First I must commend him for the skills he possesses.  Flynn is definitely a thoroughbred and built chevy-tough.  He has heart, passion, and athleticism.  In the 6 overtime game with UConn, despite his body going limp from exhaustion, he perservered.  The effort was incredible and the game itself has already been shown on ESPN Classics.

Flynn averages over 17 ppg and nearly 7 assists per game, plus he actually shoots with a respectable percentage, and some regard him as the best point guard in the nation.

Coach Boeheim will tell you he's as tough as they get.  He has instincts that are necessary to run the team, and on many nights he carries the team on his shoulders.

He will use his teammates, set them up for open buckets, hit guys on the break, and when he doesn't have an open shot from the outside, he'll take it into the land of giants.

The reason I feel he is overrated is because I believe he tries to do too much, and that gets him in trouble.  He averages nearly 3 turnovers per game and sometimes they're at inopportune times.  Furthermore, he tends to put his talents on display for scouts in the stands by shooting shots that are out of his range.  I have seen Flynn be the hero, but equally so, he has been the scapegoat.

There are ten seconds remaining in the game and Syracuse is coming out of a timeout.  Flynn passes the ball inside to Harris, he has nothing, so he kicks it out to Devendorf who quickly passes it back to Flynn at the top of the key.  The clock winds down 3 ... 2 ... 1 ... Flynn releases a shot from his back-foot; it sails through the air and for a brief period, time seems to stand still with anticipation.  The camera slowly pans around the audience, some fans are jumping up and down, others standing with their fingers in their mouth's, biting their fingernails.  The camera focuses back on the ball slowly plunging down to the basket in what seem an eternity.  With a loud CLANK, it bounces off the front of the rim.  The camera moves to Coach Boeheim on the sideline who drops his head and shakes it in disappointment.  Other players on the bench get mad, some throw towels.  This has been a pretty familiar scene dating back to Flynn's freshman season in which he has missed numerous buzzer beaters.

Flynn needs to learn from his mistakes and put more trust in his teammates is he's to be successful at the next level.  He also needs to do a better job with his decision-making.  He will learn, but he needs to stay under Boeheim's tutelage a bit longer.

Passion: 21
Creativity: 22
Knowledge: 20
Clarity: 18
Total: 81


Sfrye4585

When talking about the most overrated player in college basketball, one player stands out in my mind. Unfortunately, no one wrote previously about Tyler Hansbrough. Therefore, I will have to write about an overrated player on the most overrated team from the past several years: Tyreke Evans of the Memphis Tigers.

I will agree that Evans is a very talented basketball player. He had a very good freshman season averaging 17 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4 assists per game. He had quite a few turnovers, but this is expected from a point guard. He also managed to score a career-high 33 points in Memphis' loss to Missouri. The main problem that I have with Evans is the same problem the rest of the Tigers have: free throws.

Evans shot 70% (slightly above the team average) from the charity stripe this season. Granted, that is a lot better than Shaquille O'Neal, but it is still unacceptable. (They are called FREE throws for a reason.) The Tigers have been notably lacking in this particular aspect for a number of years and that even cost them a national championship and perfect season last year. John Calipari (or whoever the new coach will be) really needs to work on free throws if Memphis is to have a chance at winning a championship.

Other reasons that Evans is overrated include his lack of assists and his three-point percentage. Four assists per game is a decent number for a forward. However, for the point guard, it is pathetic. The point guard does not necessarily have to score; he is there to set up the plays so that anyone could score. His three-point percentage for the year is 27.4%. In my opinion, if you cannot prove that you can make at least 30% from behind the arc, you have no business shooting them.

For these reasons, Tyreke Evans is the most overrated person on the list. He will probably go to the NBA after this season and will probably be a lottery pick. But, whoever his coach will be next year will have a long way to go to turn him into a high-quality point guard.

Passion: 22
Creativity: 20
Knowledge: 22
Clarity: 19
Total: 83

 

 



ArkIrish920

For almost four years now I have had to listen to all the talk and chatter about how Tyler Hansbrough is the greatest player, the leading scorer in ACC History, Physco-T, and how this guy plays with all the heart in the world.  But honestly, put his numbers aside, and let us look at the facts.  Firstly, he plays for the North Carolina Tar Heels, under Roy Williams.  Look at the pieces along side of Mr. Hansbrough; he gets to play with one of the best point guards in the nation in Ty Lawson, the true MVP for the Tar Heels.  Next, we have Danny Green, a game changer, who plays great defense and is unstoppable on the offensive end.

Tyler Hansbrough got his nickname, Physco T, from his heart and desire to play the game all out for 40 minutes a game.  But let's be honest, when things aren't going great on the offensive end, he chooses not to show up on defense.  Everyone wants to think and hope that Hansbrough is going to be just as great at the next level, wrong.  You have to be tough in the NBA, you have to man up, deal with getting bruised up, and play on.  Tyler Hansbrough gets more bail-out calls than anyone else in the nation.  If the North Carolina stud even gets touched on a shot or on a move, he whines and cries until the ref bails him out with a whistle.

The NBA recently established a rule, known famously as the Vlade Divac Rule, which prevents players from "flopping".  Flopping is when a player, while on defense, pretends to take a charge by "flopping" to the ground, Mr. Hansbrough does this more than anyone I have even seen, and does it more than I ever thought possible.  Next, we have to look at what he has helped the Tar Heels do in his time at North Carolina.  They have 1 Final 4 appearance, 1 Elite 8 chokejob to Georgetown, and a loss to George Mason during their Epic run to the Final 4.

So what would the North Carolina Tar Heels be without Tyler Hansbrough?  We will never know, but I can tell you one thing, they wouldn't be losing any National Championship banners.  Each one of the players listed above has a valuable contribution to their team, but in my opinion it is Mr. Hansbrough who is the most overrated, not only because of the hype, but the output as well.

Passion: 22
Creativity: 22
Knowledge: 21
Clarity: 7
Total: 72

locotbish

Tyreke Evans.

One-and-done. Freshman Phenom. Diaper-dandy, baby!

Overrated.

I'm not going to sit here and spout off reasons why Evans isn't going to be a good NBA player because, frankly, he will be. He's got the size. He's got the speed. I have little doubt that he'd be a hot commodity if (when?) he declares for the NBA draft after just one year in college. Let's be honest here; Memphis isn't exactly a school basketball stars will attend if they're looking for a top-notch education.

Yes Evans is a top, unique talent, but does it hurt or help his team? He led his team in points per game and is a threat to score from almost any spot on the court. Earlier in the season, Memphis lost to a streaking Syracuse team and Evans arguably did more damage than good. Five points, five rebounds. Two assists, six turnovers. I thought stars were supposed to play better in the big games.

After the loss to Syracuse, Memphis settled into a weak schedule of conference and non-conference foes. Evans flourished against these average players before seeing the end of a long win streak snapped against Missouri.

During the season, Evans averaged about one attempt for every four attempts his teammates made. That's not a bad number average for a stud player. Against Missouri, however, Evans put up over one-third of his teams attempts. I'll say that again: one-third. That's not how you beat good teams.

Evans scored 33 points in that game, but still proved his youth and inexperience may have cost the Tigers. For a superstar player, Evans let his team down by immature decisions to try to take over the game. He had just four assits to his five turnovers.

Any athlete can score points by not passing the ball. Any athlete can help his school beat bad teams.

A great teammate and a great player makes his school better. Tyreke Evans failed to make his team better when it counted most.

Passion: 0
Creativity: 0
Knowledge: 0
Clarity: 0
Total: 0 (Late)

 

 

 

Posted on: March 27, 2009 7:13 pm
Edited on: March 27, 2009 9:53 pm
 

Member Mayhem: Sweet 16 Essays and Grades!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whew... looks like this graphic came out much more manly than the last one. Wink

In any case, the grading for the Sweet 16 in complete, and the field is set for the Elite 8. Surprisingly, a few players decided to bow out without an essay, making it that much easier for eight of you to chase down the prize.

This week, for the first time, I was unable to give anyone a score lower than an 80, which should prove that the talent level is increasing. Meanwhile, we also had our first player crack the 90-point plateau. Congratulations to kmvenne, this week's high-scorer!

The next round of essays will be due by 5 p.m. ET on Tuesday, March 31. Essays cannot exceed 500 words. Good luck in the next round!

Member Mayhem Homepage

 

Full Essays and Grading below

 


 

onyxium

Passion: 0
Creativity: 0
Knowledge: 0
Clarity: 0
Total: 0

TeddyD -
My dream matchup is a battle between the 2 most talented and athletic teams of all time that did not win a National Championship: the 1990-1991 UNLV Runnin’ Rebels vs. the 1992-1993 Michigan Wolverines.

The “Fab Five” became famous when Coach Steve Fisher started 5 freshmen (Chris “C. Webb” Webber, Juwan Howard, Jalen Rose, Jimmy King, and Ray Jackson) in 1991-1992 and led them to the NCAA Finals. Michigan was known for its cocky play, trash talk on the court to opposing players, and long baggy shorts that became the norm in basketball uniforms. They were far more athletic than every other team and legitimately looked like an NBA team. When all five returned as sophomores in 1992-1993, expectations were through the roof about this team cutting down the nets. Unfortunately, the rest is history thanks to C. Webb’s infamous timeout.

After winning the 1989-1990 NCAA Championship, the 1990-1991 UNLV team couldn’t lose. Coach Tark the Shark, armed with the devastating group of Larry “Grand-ma-ma” Johnson, Stacey “The Plastic man” Augmon, Greg Anthony, and Anderson Hunt, won 34 consecutive games with an average margin of victory of 27.3 points. Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson best described the team: “They were men playing with boys. I think (UNLV) is the best team I've ever seen. I'm not sure anyone else is even close.” Then, somehow, after beating Duke by 30 earlier in the season, the Rebels lost to them in the 1992 NCAA Finals.

The matchup of Larry Johnson (#1 pick in the 1991 NBA Draft who averaged 22.7 ppg and 10.6 rpg in capturing Player of the Year honors) vs. Chris Webber (#1 pick in the 1993 NBA Draft who averaged 19.2 ppg and 10.1 rpg) would be the highlight, but would only be a small part of the brilliance of this game. Each team would easily put up 100+ points and talk trash after dunking on each other. Both teams’ arrogance and utter dominance would make one heck of a game to watch.

Sure, some people might want to watch Walton vs. Alcindor. Or Jordan vs. Magic. But when those 2 guys were on the bench, you might leave the room to go grab a beer. But you better not blink for a second when the Fab Five tip it off against the Runnin’ Rebels…you’re certain to miss the best basketball game you’ll ever see.

Passion: 21
Creativity: 21
Knowledge: 22
Clarity: 22
Total: 86



Walshdollar2

Passion: 0
Creativity: 0
Knowledge: 0
Clarity: 0
Total: 0

USC Holmey -
If I could choose a matchup from that I would want to see, it would be the 2002 USC Trojans team, a 4-seed and chosen by many experts to make the Final Four, vs. a relatively ordinary Indiana team, a 5-seed, who managed to run through the South bracket and make it to the Final Four.

This was possibly the most highly-touted and most-accomplished USC team of my lifetime.  USC was led by Pac-10 Player of the Year Sam Clancy who dominated the paint on offense and defense.  Senior point guard Brandon Granville captained the team and senior forward David Bluthenthal provided the explosive shooting that helped balance this team out beautifully.  There was explosive play from the bench in the form of the Craven twins, Errick and Derrick, and the team's sparkplug was sophomore forward Desmon Farmer.

Indiana was a good team, but no better than USC by any form of comparison.  However, Indiana was able to scrape by #1-seeded Duke in the Sweet 16 and ride that all the way to the Final Four.  If not for the dream-stealing UNC-Wilmington Seahawks, USC could very well have made that exact same ride that Indiana enjoyed.  USC fell behind by 19 points, but managed to scrap all the way back to force overtime on a last-second jumper by Errick Craven, only to have the USC starters foul out one by one and UNCW pulled off the unlikely victory.

We would never have known at the time, but a second-round matchup between an ordinary Indiana team - led by Jared Jeffries - would have been right in USC's wheelhouse, as the swarming defense of USC could have easily shut down Indiana's offense which relied too heavily on the three-pint shot.  USC could have dominated the middle with Clancy and would have had plenty of aggressive athletes to throw at the slower, less-athletic Hoosier squad.

This 2002 team may have been USC's best chance to make the Final Four and it will forever stick in my craw as "the one that got away".

Passion: 21
Creativity: 21
Knowledge: 20
Clarity: 20
Total: 82

 



ndliblnc -
It's common enough, I'm assuming, to speculate on who your personal IDOL looked to for inspiration...the Man's Man, Hero's Hero thing.  My idol, and his idol, were both high school standouts, both played abbreviated but stellar collegiate careers, both earned Gold Medals representing America in the Olympic Games and both went on to major stardom in the NBA.  My idol took his college team to a National Championship (in the game that, to this day is the "most watched" college basketball game of all time); his idol racked up a national collegiate scoring record that stood unchallenged for 12 years.  My idol was universally feted and given keys to every city he travelled to; his idol was banned from sleeping in the many of the same hotels his teammates did.

Ask Earvin "Magic" Johnson (my idol) who he grew up dreaming to play like, and before you finish your question, Johnson's answer comes quicker than one of his famous "gasp passes"...his idol was Oscar "Big O/O Train" Robertson.  Magic was born the year after the Big O left Cincinnati for the NBA.

Put Earvin Johnson and his 1979 Michigan State Spartans on the same court as Oscar Robertson and his 1958 Cincinatti Bearcats and you've got a matchup made in roundball heaven.  Both players orchestrating a kind of symphonic chaos on the floor, displaying superior shooting and ball control...but...the passing?  OMG.  I said "gasp pass" earlier...how many times did an unbelievable pass from Magic or the Big O travel through/under/over and around 10 legs and 10 arms to end assisting a teammate's easy lay in or slam dunk?  And in so doing, draw an astonished intake of breath from every spectator (including their teammates and coaches on the bench?)

Personally, I'd not want such a game to ever end...would not care to see a winner proclaimed at the buzzer.  Because the GAME would be in front of us as it progressed, in all it's possible glory, in the person of two of the greatest players of all time.

Passion: 22
Creativity: 22
Knowledge: 21
Clarity: 18
Total: 83

CubsFan1908 -
Imagine.  A time when players could not play on varsity until their sophomore year.  A time before the three point line was part of the game.  A time when big men dominated the game of basketball.  A time that had the likes of Bill Russell, Bill Walton, and Lew Alcindor.  But my dream match-up is a one on one battle between two guards that stood above everyone else in their era.  These two are none other than Oscar Robertson and Pete Maravich.

Oscar Robertson.  The “Big O.”  Six foot five, 200 pounds.  At Cincinnati, he was a three time Sporting News College Player of the Year.  Remember, he only played three seasons.  In case you struggle in math, he won the College Player of the Year Award in 100 percent of his college seasons.  Pretty good if you ask me.  He also led the nation in scoring all three years.  I mean, I guess that’s decent compared to his opponent.

Pete Maravich.  Six foot five, 200 pounds.   Probably the greatest scorer of all time.  No, scratch that.  He is definitely the greatest scorer of all time, and in my mind, he always will be.  I mean, a 44 point performance is stellar.  44 points in a season is phenomenal.  44 points in a career is mind-blowing.  Especially when the only way to get three points is to get fouled and make the basket (According to former LSU coach Dale Brown, he would have averaged 57 points for his career with the three point line).  And for those of you who didn’t play much basketball, it’s much easier said than done.

Now.  Imagine the two oversized guards, the only two players on the court.  This dream matchup would be played on a modern court, including the three point line.  Who would come out victorious?  Would it be the triple threat, who would undeniably be able to outrebound “Pistol Pete,” or would it be the scoring machine?  I think Robertson obviously has the “athletic” advantage, but would that be enough?  Would the one on one matchup cause a disadvantage for Robertson, eliminating his passing ability?  Would “The Big O” even have a chance to rebound, or would Maravich be able to sink every shot, and not give Robertson a chance?  Unfortunately, I will never know the answer.

Passion: 21
Creativity: 21
Knowledge: 21
Clarity: 18
Total: 81

 

 



D2Moo -
Hello, I’m Chris Matthews and welcome to Hardball.  Tonight, call the show Roundball instead because, in honor of the NCAA Basketball Tournament, we are going to discuss a fun topic.  How would your favorite teams and players from different decade’s matchup against each other?

One of the privileges of hosting your own show is getting to control the direction of the discussion.  That means we get to cover my favorite dream matchup.  The 1976 Indiana Hoosiers were the last perfect team in Division 1 history.  The 32-0 Champions, coached by Bobby Knight, were led  by  Scott May, Quinn Buckner, Kent Benson, Bobby Wilkerson, and Tom Abernethy.  This group understood Coach Knight’s motion offense well.  They were his best defensive team ever, employing a smothering man-to-man defense, shutting down opponent’s offenses.

Their opponent coined the phrase, “Forty Minutes of Hell,” and made it recognized as a standard for aggressive, pressing, in your face defense.  Coach Nolan Richardson’s 1994 Arkansas Razorbacks had talented players like Corey Beck, Clint McDaniel, Dwight Stewart, Corliss Williamson, and Scotty Thurman.  Their average margin of victory that year was 19 points.  Eight times they scored over 100 points.

Each set of starting guards were considered the best defensive tandem in their day.  Beck at 6’2” and McDaniel at 6’4” were smaller than Buckner’s 6’3” and Wilkerson’s 6’7”.  Wilkerson would guard forwards and centers as well.  Also, in 1976 there was no shot clock to help the defense.  Give the edge to Indiana here.

The forwards were similarly sized.   May, Abernethy, Williamson, and Thurman were all around 6’7”.  Richardson demanded more defense from his forwards than Indiana did because of the press.  Also Thurman and Williamson both could carry their team offensively whereas May was Indiana’s threat.   Edge here to Arkansas.

Indiana’s Kent Benson was a 6’10” center who was the NCAA Tournament’s most outstanding player for 1976.  Arkansas’ Dwight Stewart was versatile but not the offensive threat Benson was. Arkansas did have two 6’ 11” freshman centers on the bench who did see playing time.  Each Razorback center outweighed Benson by 20 lbs.  Edge to Indiana but Benson doesn’t dominate this group.

So who wins this game?  Even with the slight matchup edge to Indiana, Arkansas wins a close one because of their defense and physical strength wearing down the Hoosiers in the 2nd half.

For Roundball, I’m Chris Matthews.  Happy hoop dreams everyone.

Passion: 21
Creativity: 22
Knowledge: 22
Clarity: 19
Total: 84

kmvenne -
(Gus) Hello everyone! This is Gus Johnson, here with Bill Raftery, and welcome to CBS NCAA Basketball Hardwood Legends 2009 on Xbox 360! After 63 thrilling games, this is the championship finals that none of us expected to see, but frankly the best match-up we could dream of!

(Bill) Well Gus, protect the women and children, because tonight we got two teams with great "big fellas", giant tickers, and vegetable carts that only sell one thing, onions!

(Gus) For a full preview, let’s send it to the studio, here’s Greg Gumble and Seth Davis!

(Greg) Gus, you are right, what a dream match-up! Seth, break down our first team.

(Seth) Not a huge surprise to see the tournament #1 overall seed - the 1968 UCLA Bruins - make the finals! Considered the greatest team of all time, the '68 Bruins are led by the greatest college player of all time, Lew Alcindor, who came into this tourney averaging 26 points and 16.5 rebounds…

(Greg) And Lew has exceeded those totals every game so far!

(Seth) Yes Greg, but it’s no one man show here. Lucius Allen, future #3 overall pick, teams with Mike Lynn, Michael Warren, and Lynn Shackleford to all average double figures in points. What balance! No wonder Coach Wooden said this is his greatest team of all time!

(Greg) It will take a special team to overcome all that, and the other finalist has proved they are just that.

(Seth) That would be the undefeated 1972 UCLA Bruins - the Walton Gang! We all know Bill Walton is a superstar and big game player; he is the one person who could contain Alcindor. But it won’t all fall on the big redhead to win this one. The Walton Gang may be the only team in this tournament that can match the starting depth of the '68 UCLA team. 3 time NBA All-Star Keith Wilkes and 2 time ABA All-Star Swen Nater give Walton an abundance of support, and '72 NCAA 2nd team All-American Henry Bibby could be the X-factor, he can flat out ball!

(Greg) Let’s send it back to Gus for the tip.

(Gus) Wow, UCLA vs. UCLA, it’s like a video game or something! One thing is for sure, the great John Wooden will be cutting down the nets tonight! Ha ha! And here’s the tip!

(Bill) And UCLA's out, in the man to man!

Passion: 22
Creativity: 24
Knowledge: 22
Clarity: 22
Total: 90

 

 


 

BhamBrew - It is easy to dream this time of year.  Grown men and women alike are wrapped up in Cinderella stories, and magically dreams and possibilities grow in our thoughts like that of a child.  March Madness to the adult mind is the equivalent of Christmas morning in the mind of a child.  Anything is possible, and some things we choose to believe, even though we know they are not real or possible.

As much as I agree collegiate players should be able to leave early for the NBA, I often dream of teams that might have been…

April 5, 2005, one day after the UNC Tar Heels (33-4) captured the National Championship, four stars of that year’s squad jointly announce they will return for another season.  The next year, the 2005-06 “Dream” season, UNC dominated the competition thanks to returning four key players: Marvin Williams, Sean May, Raymond Felton, and Rashad McCants.  In addition, UNC boasted a solid bench including David Noel, Reyshawn Terry, and an up-start freshman named Tyler Hansbrough.

In their 2004-05 season UNC had a scoring margin of an amazing +17.8 points a game.   During their 2005-06 “dream” campaign, they somehow found a way to improve on that margin, thanks to the dominance of May in the middle, the floor leadership and shooting of Felton and McCants, and the emergence of pure talent from Williams and Hansbrough.

In the 2006 “Dream” NCAA Championship game, UNC faced the Florida Gators, who entered the game at 32-6, and winners of 10 straight.  Their lineup featured the return of key players from their 2005 team as well.  Matt Walsh and Anthony Roberson considered going pro in 2005, but opted instead for another year to play alongside Corey Brewer, Joakim Noah, Lee Humphrey, Taurean Green, and Al Horford.

In the 2006 championship game both teams were at their height and these star-studded squads slugged it out all night long.  In the end, however it was UNC’s incredible depth, which pulled out the 107-103 overtime win.

UNC finished the season an amazing 37-0, the most wins ever by a UNC team.  UNC’s back-to-back championships in 2005 and 2006, were the first in the NCAA since the 1991-1992 Duke Blue Devils. Predictably, the debates soon ensued about whether or not this team was, not only the greatest team in UNC history, but the greatest in NCAA history.

Passion: 21
Creativity: 21
Knowledge: 21
Clarity: 17
Total: 80

Pinktoad -
Pauley Pavilion stadium is packed.  There is a murmur amongst the crowd who are all awaiting the most-anticipated match-up in the history of NCAA basketball.  With a loud pop, a single light beams on the middle of the floor:

                  Dream Court

The crowd erupts to their feet, screaming and cheering.  The beam of light travels to one corner of the stadium and Marv Albert announces the players as they enter the court.

"The Captain” Lew Alcindor leads a team of all-time great Bruins to the court, followed by twin-tower Bill Walton, "Stumpy" Gail Goodrich, Sidney Wicks, Henry Bibby, Marques Johnson, and Jamaal Wilkes.

Following the players are legendary coach John Wooden, Jim Harrick, and Gene Bartow.

Combined, these players and coaches have led the Bruins to 11 NCAA Championships, including 7-straight from 1966-73, and four undefeated seasons.

The players and coaches all stand in front of their seats on the sideline.

One fan asks another, is this heaven?  The other says, I'm not sure, but this is where dreams come true.

The beam of light travels to the opposite corner of the stadium and Marv Albert announces the visitors.

“Skywalker” David Thompson is supporting his vintage NC State jersey.  The man with the 48-inch vertical-leap was the Wolfpack leader who guided his team to a title in 1974, which ended the Bruins' reign of seven titles.  Following him is the leading NCAA scorer from the 1950’s until 1970 “O-Train” Oscar Robertson of Cincinati.  “Pistol” Pete Maravich representing LSU is the man who broke O-Train's scoring record, amassing an astounding 44 ppg average.

John Wooden's jaw drops when Bill Russell of San Francisco enters the court.  Wooden regards him as the best defensive legend to ever play.  He led his team to 55 straight wins and back-to-back championships in 1955 and 1956 with averages of 20 points and 20 rebounds per game.  The last starter of this All-American dream team is none other than the Big Dipper, Wilt the Stilt Chamberlain.  Following Wilt are backups Jerry West, Elvin Hayes, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird.

Coach Adolph Rupp enters the court wearing his famous brown suit; behind him are Bobby Knight and Dean Smith.

With both teams lined up on opposite sides of the court facing one-another, the buzzer sounds.  Marv Albert slowly moves his mouth towards the vintage microphone and says, "Let's Play Ball".

Passion: 22
Creativity: 23
Knowledge: 22
Clarity: 19
Total: 86

 




Sfrye4585 - You could talk about the Tar Heels team led by Michael Jordan against Christian Laettner's Blue Devils. You could have the Fab 5 against Phi Slamma Jamma. You could even have Pistol Pete take on Lew Alcindor. But, in my opinion, the dream matchup has already happened.

The night was March 26, 1979. The place was Salt Lake City, Utah. The game was the National Championship. Undefeated #1 seed Indiana State was taking on #2 seed Michigan State. This game was known for starting the rivalry between Larry Bird and Magic Johnson that would stretch into the early '90s. This game was (and remains to this day) the highest rated college basketball game on television.

The game (in itself) was sort of anti-climatic. Michigan State won the game 75-64. Johnson led the Spartans with 24 points and added 7 rebounds. Bird had a double-double with 19 points and 13 rebounds. The real key for the Spartan victory was their zone defense; this really shut down the Sycamores' offense. Also, Bird had broken his thumb earlier during the Missouri Valley Conference tournament which limited his range somewhat.

What this game did accomplish was that it took college basketball to the "modern era." It was this game that intensified America's love for March Madness. It was also this rivalry that fueled the NBA revival in the '80s. It gave the league two stars that people could cheer for. Throughout the decade either the Celtics or the Lakers (or some years both) were in the NBA Finals. None of this would have happened had it not been for one night in 1979.

Passion: 21
Creativity: 22
Knowledge: 21
Clarity: 18
Total: 82

KC1288

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ArkIrish920 - As an avid sports watcher and writer I constantly find myself in the dream phase of "what if?"  What a dream this is, getting to match up two different teams with future Hall of Famers on both sides of the court.  So many players and teams to choose, from the 1957 Kansas Jayhawks featuring one of the greatest "Big's" of all-time in Wilt Chamberlain, or how about 1956 with the University of San Francisco featuring another great by the name of Bill Russell, and we could finish it up with a little guard play from the "Pistol" himself Pete Maravich at LSU back in 1969.

Let me introduce you to my first team, setting the scene, its 1982 and the North Carolina Tar Heels were expected to win it all, and they would.  Starting at Guard, a Freshmen, standing at 6'6 out of Wilmington, NC, Michael Jordan.  Starting at Forward, a Sophomore, standing at 6'8 out of East Meadow, NJ, Matt Doherty.  At Center, a Sophomore, standing at 6'9 out of Latham, NY, Sam Perkins.  At Forward, a Junior, standing at 6'9 out of Gastonia, NC, James Worthy.  And at Guard, a Senior, standing at 6'3 out of The Bronx, NY, Jimmy Black.  Now the Head Coach of the North Carolina Tar Heels, the legend himself, Dean Smith.

Now let me introduce you to the team that will be taking on the Tar Heels, the 1994 Arkansas Razorbacks.  Nolan Richardson was now in his sixth season coaching the Hogs, and his "40 Minutes of Hell" was now well known throughout the nation.  Many of these guys would return the next season to try and repeat their run, but would come up short of back-to-back National Titles by losing in the National Championship.  But this year our starting lineup is read off, starting at Guard, a Junior, standing at 6'2 out of Memphis, TN, Corey Beck.  At Forward, a Sophomore, standing at 6'6 out of Ruston, LA, Scotty Thurman.  At Guard, a Junior, standing at 6'1 out of Bessemer, AL, Alex Dillard.  At Forward, a Sophomore, standing at 6'7 out of Russellville, AR, Corliss Williamson.  And at Center, a Junior, standing at 6'9 out of Memphis, TN, Dwight Stewart.  Coaching the Arkansas Razorbacks will be future Hall of Famer, "Rollin'" Nolan Richardson.

Now all we need is a packed out Madison Square Garden, and a Hog Wild victory, Woo Pig!

Passion: 21
Creativity: 21
Knowledge: 22
Clarity: 16
Total: 80

gonzagafan62

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locotbish

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Posted on: March 25, 2009 12:02 am
Edited on: March 25, 2009 4:43 pm
 

Round 2 Essays and Grades!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well... that graphic came out kinda girlie? Good thing I added the little basketballs down at the bottom. Undecided

In any case, I'm sorry it's taken me so long to post the results. I had to read most of the essays at least twice to insure that I was giving everyone the correct grading. With all the great essays and close matches, one point can make all the difference! (Special condolences to mrgocubs, who posted a score of 88, but lost by one point, in a tiebreaker, to the week's high-scorer, D2Moo.

*Also, I had to make another small tweak to the schedule, to space out the remaining rounds as evenly as I can. Your Sweet 16 essays will now be due on Friday, March 27, at 5 p.m. ET. The maximum allowed length is 400 words.

As always, best of luck!

Member Mayhem Homepage


Full Scores and Grading below

 


 

onyxium: With so many star players in the field every year, determining which one has the biggest impact can be tough.  As we've been shown time and again though, one player does not make a team.  It might help you win a couple of games, but one player won't win you a championship.  That is unless, of course, that one player directly affects the play those around him, making the entire team stronger.  With that in mind, I find it hard to argue against Ty Lawson of North Carolina.


As the point guard of the Tar Heels, Lawson has shown an uncanny ability not only to take control of a game if need be, but also the unselfishness to allow other star players of his team to shine.  UNC guards Danny Green and Wayne Ellington find soft spots in the defense that aren't there when Lawson isn't running the point.  The inside-outside game with Hansbrough is much crisper with Lawson bringing potential double-teams out to guard him.

Make no mistake, though.  Lawson is plenty capable of being a one-man show if need be.  After a slow recovery from "hardwood" toe, Lawson was finally able to regain his footing late in the game against LSU.  He torched the Tigers for 11 points, 2 steals, an assist, even throwing in an offensive board, all in the last 8 minutes of the contest.  No surprise, then, that Carolina stretched their lead from 1 to 14 points in that timespan.

No doubt, other teams have guys with incredible talent.  It was awfully hard for me to pick against JaJuan Johnson of my hometown Boilers.  But when it comes down to winning a tournament in which every game is life or death, Lawson's impact on the entire North Carolina squad is second to none.

Passion: 19
Creativity: 20
Knowledge: 20
Clarity: 20
Total: 79


123456789:
I would have to say Johnny Flynn for Syracuse made the biggest impact.  His OT performane (and OT OT OT OT OT come to think of it) against UCONN in th Big East Tourney was incredible.  He showed heart and allowed Syracuse to be a real threat going into the Big Dance, despite losing to Louisville in the Finals.  HIs performance single handeldly made Syracuse a legitimate contender, not just a token entry.

Passion: 16
Creativity: 10
Knowledge: 9
Clarity: 7
Total: 42




Sillypuddy:

Passion: 0
Creativity: 0
Knowledge: 0
Clarity: 0
Total: 0



TeddyD: Midway through the 2008=2009 ACC season, the Maryland Terrapins were 3-5 in conference play and without a point guard. Fresh off a 20 point drubbing at the hands of UNC, Greivis Vasquez entered Gary Williams' office and told his coach that the team needed to make some changes. "I'm playing the point," Greivis told him. Vasquez spoke...Williams listened...and the rest is history. Vasquez literally put his young team on his back and CARRIED them into the NCAA tournament.  On February 21, Vasquez went off for a triple double (35 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists) in one of the most impressive come from behind victories of the year as Maryland came back from 8 down with a little over a minute left to knock off #1 North Carolina.

A month later, as Maryland entered the ACC tournament on the NCAA bubble, Vasquez exploded for 22 and beautifully managed the game as Marylaand upset Wake Forest to cement their place in the field of 65. Most people couldn't name another player on Maryland's roster and it's a true testiment to Vasquez's leadership and ability. Without him leading the way, Maryland would be a 10 win team at best. GREIVIS VASQUEZ definitely had the biggest impact on his team's run to the 2009 NCAA tournament!!!

Passion: 21
Creativity: 20
Knowledge: 22
Clarity: 17
Total: 80



BernieRotten:

Passion: 0
Creativity: 0
Knowledge: 0
Clarity: 0
Total: 0

Walshdollar2:

Passion: 0
Creativity: 0
Knowledge: 0
Clarity: 0
Total: 0




USC Holmey: Being a USC fan, this is a very easy answer for me.  The answer is Demar DeRozan.  DeRozan is not USC's MVP (Hackett).  Nor is he their best player (Gibson).  But he is the single player who turned the Trojans' season around and made USC's run to the NCAA Tournament possible.

USC was struggling along all season, losing close games that they had leads in and just could not get over the hump.  Well, with about 10 games left in the season, DeRozan seemed to finally "get it".  All of a sudden, he was asserting himself and taking shots that were falling.  In fact, he became USC's "crutch" on the offensive end, becoming the only player who could create and hit his own shot on a regular basis.  Now instead of scrambling around as the shot clock wore down, USC started to get the ball to DeRozan with 10 seconds left and clear out.  He also developed a real knack for picking off rebound, especially on the offensive end, which just made USC's offense more dangerous.  This new weapon known as Demar changed USC's entire season.

Since USC had to win everyone one of their last 5 games to even get into the Tournament, and I know there is no way that they make the run through the Pac-10 Tournament without DeRozan's emergence, I think that maybe that Demar DeRozan is the ultimate answer to this question.  His emergence as a force on the offensive and on the boards changed USC from an NIT team to a NCAA Tournament team over the course of 3 weeks.  Without DeRozan, USC would be home, watching The Big Dance from Heritage Hall.

Passion: 21
Creativity: 21
Knowledge: 22
Clarity: 17
Total: 81


MSUSpartan76:
Evan Turner of the Ohio State Buckeyes and Kalin Lucas of the Michigan State Spartans were both candidates for Big Ten Player of the Year. Unfortunately, as these things go, only one could receive the honor, although both are quite deserving. It is a hard choice to choose between the two as both had extremely significant impacts on their respective team's performance. If one were to purely evaluate the two players on game statistics, Turner wins hands down. But there is more to winning basketball games than FG%, A/G, R/G, and the rest of the alphabet soup used by statisticians and fans. There is leadership. Who best led his team?
Both played tough games. Both led their teams. Both had moments of ecstasy and agony. Both kept their teams in games when the team went cold. Both led their teams to the "Big Dance." MSU beat OSU in the regular season. OSU beat MSU in the Big Ten Tournament, thus cementing a seed in the NCAA Tournament. I've seen them both play and I can not decide. I do tend to favor green and white over scarlet and gray.

As much as I like Lucas, this piece has to be about Turner. In the Big Ten Tournament, OSU took on MSU. The second half started with OSU up by 5, not a comfortable lead by any stretch. MSU started nibbling on the lead. Then Turner came alive. 18 points in 20 minutes plus assists, rebounds at both ends, steals, and blocked shots. He fired up his team and held off the Spartan rallies, and led his team to 12-point win. Would Ohio State have been in the tournament without that win? Probably, but not as a number 8 seed. Without Turner, OSU would not have danced at all.

Passion: 21
Creativity: 20
Knowledge: 22
Clarity: 17
Total: 80




VACANT:


Ndliblnc: Travis Walton, Senior - Michigan State University.  Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.

IN DEFENSE OF DEFENSE.  Like it or not, defense is 50% of the Game.  When a basket's not being attacked - it's being defended.  Now, the Big Ten Conference, if you hadn't heard, holds in high regard both individual and team defensive set skills.  If you appreciate good "D", Travis Walton is a thing of beauty - high art on the hardcourt.  I call it the HIGH NOON SHADOW STYLE defense...not close or around you - but all over you, on top of your every move.  Throughout this past season Walton's remarkable talents have frustrated, stymied, quashed and (a few times) humiliated his opponents.  Catch his stuff while you still can.  Today's match against USC might be (horrors!) your last chance.  Personally though, this Spartan is hoping to see Walton put Lawson in a box at Ford Field on April 6th.  GGGW!

Passion: 22
Creativity: 21
Knowledge: 20
Clarity: 17
Total: 80




CubsFan1908:
Who has had the biggest impact on his team’s run to the Tournament?  Yes, there are plenty of big name guys I could choose here.   I was tempted to go with DeJuan Blair here, but he has Lavance Fields in his backcourt.  I could have gone with Hasheem Thabeet, but he also has a lot of talent around him.  And that eliminates all Duke and UNC players.  I easily could have picked Blake Griffin or Terrence Williams here.  Both of them were huge roles in getting their respective teams 2 and 1 seeds.  But you could argue that both teams would be in the tournament without those players.  Could you honestly say North Dakota State would be in the tournament without Ben Woodside?

Woodside is averaging 23.3 points per game.  That ranks 10th in the nation, and Woodside is the leading scorer of any player on a team that made the NCAA Tournament.  More than either Holmes twin from VCU.  More than Tyler Hansbrough.  More than Blake Griffin.  More than any of the other 324 starters in the NCAA Tournament.

Sure, scoring is big, but Woodside does things that don’t show up in the stat book.  He is the leader of the North Dakota State basketball team that gave its school the first appearance in the tournament.  He is the leader of the team that single handedly made the state of North Dakota have a reason to watch the NCAA Tournament.  And one last thing.  He’s clutch.  Dribbling the ball down the court, he hits a game winning shot to send his team to the Tournament.  Did Ben Woodside have a big impact on NDSU’s run to the tournament?  That’s an understatement.  He had the single biggest impact of any one of the other 324 starters.  Or anyone period.

Passion: 21
Creativity: 22
Knowledge: 22
Clarity: 20
Total: 85

wgjones85:

Passion: 0
Creativity: 0
Knowledge: 0
Clarity: 0
Total: 0



mrgocubs: When you think of players that have led their teams to the tournament, names like Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Grant Hill, and Ray Allen come to mind. Who doesn't come to mind and should is the player that led Cleveland State to the NCAA tournament this year, Cedric Jackson.

When I watched Cleveland State upset Wake Forest, I just had to write about him. The numbers he put up in the Wake Forest game: 19 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists, and 3 steals, were amazing. Amy Shipley was quoted in the Washington Post on 3/20/2009, calling him “… a dark green blur.” His ability to be everywhere on the court, to score, pass, rebound, and create opportunities is just amazing.

Cedric rode the bench for St. John’s for the first two seasons before he took a year off and transferred to Cleveland State. He started last year at the point for Cleveland where he took a 10 win team and turned them into a 21 win team headed for the NIT. However, that was not enough for Cedric

In his senior year, he put up 10.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 3 steals per game, including 11.8/6.0/5.1/2.8 in Cleveland’s final 14 games. They went 12-2 in those games; including the Horizon League final win over Butler was where we first saw the line 19-7-8-3. Those numbers and that energy were the thing that brought the Vikings to the tourney, and were repeated against Wake.

In the five years before his arrival, they averaged 8.2 wins and spent March hoping for warm weather. With him they are 46-16, have made two postseason appearances (the school has 5 now since 1929), and are upsetting the likes of Wake Forest. He IS Cleveland’s tournament director!

Passion: 22
Creativity: 22
Knowledge: 23
Clarity: 21
Total: 88



D2Moo:
Scene:  A church in Norman, Oklahoma where the sermon about to start.  Approaching the pulpit is the Reverend C. Hoops, an official NCAA licensed minister.

Rev. Hoops:  Good morning to all of you.  On this bright Tournament morning, I want to talk about passionate dedication to a cause, giving without reservation until your body hurts.  Sacrifice for the noblest of goals, winning basketball games.  Can I get an Amen to that?

Congregation:  Amen!

Rev. Hoops:  Today we are going to learn about the player in the college game who personifies that passionate dedication.  Mr. Blake Griffin, the Dunk Monster, means more to his team’s success than any, and I repeat, any player in the college game.  Deacon Capel, read the statistics please.

Deacon Capel:  Mr. Griffin is 6’ 10”, 251 pounds.  He averaged 22.1 points per game before the tournament, 25% of his team’s 79 point average.  His 14.3 rebounds were over a third of Oklahoma’s rebounds per game.  On Saturday, his 33 point, 15 rebound performance against Michigan was the first 30/15 NCAA Tournament performance since 2003.  The only back to back losses OU had this year came when Blake was injured and not playing. 

Rev. Hoops:  Thank you Deacon Capel.  Mere statistics cannot measure the heart of a man.  The Michigan game was typical of the victories Oklahoma needed to get invited into the tournament.  Blake was battered physically and bloodied in the first half.  He hit the floor more than used paper cups near a water cooler. Yet he goes out and dominates the second half with 20 of his 33 points.  Can I get an Amen?

Congregation: Amen!

Rev. Hoops:  Blake Griffin is an inspiration to his teammates.  Without him, the Sooners are watching the tournament. With him, they’re playing in the Sweet 16.

Passion: 22
Creativity: 24
Knowledge: 23
Clarity: 19
Total: 89 (+1 tiebreaker)




DaPillCaper:
Imagine, you're a fan of a school that has been Mediocre at best for years. Your school is, let's face it, a football school first with little basketball history. Then to top it all off you're in the ACC, arguably the best conference in the NCAA almost every year. Well, if you aren't sure who you've become a fan of, the school is FSU. The scenario seems bleak, but that's where sensation Toney Douglas steps in. Let's get a little background, shall we?

Douglas, who was recruited to Auburn, transferred after his freshman year to none other than FSU and instantly became a success after his year off. The change from a weaker SEC to the far better ACC didn't seem to hurt his numbers that much, though they did lower a little. That is until this year. In 2009 Douglas scored 21.5 points per game to go with 3.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists in a season where he would take home 1st team All-ACC AND the All-ACC Defensive team honors along with two ACC player of the week awards. This was not just a great individual statistical season though, he helped the Florida State Seminoles made it to the big dance for the first time since 1998.

The best part is Toney truly caught fire when it mattered most, which is always a sign of greatness. In every game of the ACC tourney he scored at least 22 points and managed to take the Noles all the way to the finals (Their first finals visit ever) where they would eventually lose to Duke.  Unfortunately for the fiery senior the Noles took a disappointing exit in the first round of the tourney, but don't forget he was THE reason that they even got there in the first place.

Passion: 21
Creativity: 21
Knowledge: 22
Clarity: 18
Total: 82


kmvenne:
In the state that may get the least amount of college basketball coverage, at a school only the biggest college hoops fans knew of before Selection Sunday, one impact player was the centerpiece of a literal 5 year plan to dance in 2009. And when it came time to fulfill his half decade long dream of making this very tournament, with his team tied in the conference championship and just 3 seconds left, he took a 17 foot jumper to complete a story even Hollywood would reject for resembling a fairy tale.

Ben Woodside from North Dakota State was the leader and superstar of a group of 5 seniors who signed with the Bison in 2004 to lead a transition from D-2 to D-1 hoops. They all redshirted early in their career, with a pipe dream of making the 2009 NCAA tourney. Playing as an independent during his first three seasons, Woodside’s Bison were let in The Summit just this season. With an automatic birth now finally available to his team, Woodside played all year like a man possessed.

Woodside had excellent career averages of 18 points and 5 assists before this season, but during this senior campaign, even that would not be good enough. He averaged 23 points and 6 dimes this year, dropped 60 points during one road game, and led NDSU to 25 wins prior to the Summit League championship.

Like all good fairy tale endings, that aforementioned 17 foot jumper was pure, and Woodside’s Bison earned a dance invitation 5 years in the making. It’s a shame Ben had to do it all so far removed from the media spotlight. It’s the only way that the fact Woodside impacted his team’s run to the 2009 tournament beyond any other player could go so unnoticed.

Passion: 21
Creativity: 22
Knowledge: 23
Clarity: 20
Total: 86




BhamBrew:
Greivis Vasquez played 34.6 minutes a game this season, averaging 17.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 5.0 assists.  For you old school ESPN “Did You Know?” brains this means Vasquez became only the sixth player in ACC history to lead his team in scoring, rebounding, and assists.  Add him to the list right after Tim Duncan, now do you understand the type of impact we are talking about?

Without Vasquez, Maryland would not have made the NCAA Tournament.  Truth be known, the Terps probably wouldn’t even have a winning record.  The Terps snapped a bid from a crowded field of bubble teams, thanks to making the ACC tournament semifinal, and picking up several signature wins throughout the season.  Looking deeper into the games which strengthened Maryland’s résumé, you see the difference Vasquez made.

When Vasquez’s game was on, he was brilliant, and his team played and beat the best teams in the nation.  As proof, reference his triple-double of 35 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists in an overtime come from 16-down victory versus UNC.  In addition, check out his 23 points, 12 boards, and 6 assists in defeat of Michigan, and his 22-8-9 in upsetting Wake Forest.  When his game was off, however his team struggled, and they took some ugly and annihilating losses.  Case in point, a 41-point loss to Duke with only 4 points, 1 rebound, and 1 assist to show for the effort, or shall I say lack thereof?

Cal’s Coach Mike Montgomery said it, “He’s the wild card.  He is capable of making everyone around him better.” Well said Coach, the bad thing about wild cards however is they are inconsistent, and Vasquez’s lack of consistency is what prevented Maryland from being a great team this year.  Then again, they were going no where without him.

Passion: 20
Creativity: 21
Knowledge: 23
Clarity: 21
Total: 85


gnarus:
Who is the most valuable player in the NCAA tournament relative to his team?  Tyreke Evans of the Memphis Tigers.  As I thought about why I was reminded of an ancient proverb my old physics teacher always said.; “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”  This saying  points out you can not prove you made quality pudding by simply showing you used the best ingredients and followed the finest recipe exactly.  Results are what count.

Prior to Tyreke Evans becoming the starting point guard for the Memphis Tigers it appeared the Memphis Tigers were due for a rebuilding year.  They lost 3 starters and 2 assistant coaches from last year’s final four caliber team.  Early in the season they appeared to be an average at best.  Memphis was 7-3 with key losses vs. the only 3 apparent tournament quality teams they had faced; Xavier, Georgetown, and Syracuse.  Memphis fell out of the top 25 as well.  This is when Evans took over as the starting point guard in late December.

Evans leads the team in points per game (16.6), made field goals (205), made free throws (176), steals (70), and is second in assists (129).  These show he has the right ingredients, however, there are clearly players on other teams with much better raw stats.  So why then is Evans the most valuable player respective to his team?  The Memphis Tigers went 25-0 to close out the season since Evans took over the point guard position.  Under his leadership they went from an unranked and sinking team to a #1 seed.  The proof is in the pudding, or in this case; the proof is in the winning.

Passion: 21
Creativity: 21
Knowledge: 23
Clarity: 19
Total: 84




SlappyWeddedJoe:
I hate this team, I hate their fans and I hate their coach, but I do respect the player with the most impact on his team's run to the NCAA tournament. It is none other than the little engine that could, can, and does, Ty Lawson from the North Carolina Tar Heels. The Tar Heels would be lucky to be in the field of 64 without him and can only dream of a top seed in his absence. Standing at less than 6 feet tall, he is often the smallest man on the court but still averages over 16 points, and 6.5 assists per game. He also shoots an astounding 53.8 FG% and an equally impressive 47.3 3pt% and 81.7 FT% for the season. Ty is obviously the emotional leader on the court for his team too; it was never more evident than Saturday's second round victory over LSU.

The LSU tigers stormed back into the game in the second half and managed to take a 5 point lead with less than 13 minutes left to play. Then the mighty mouse like ACC player of the year, who scored 21 of his 23 points in the second half of Saturday's game, decided it was time to shine. He emotionally and physically lifted his team on an unbelievable 35-16 run to close out the game which the Tar Heels won 84-70. I doubt that will be his "One Shining moment" of the tournament either.

As much as I hate to see North Carolina win games I truely love watching the little man with the small name and giant game. If heart and intensity could be measured, he would be the tallest man on the court.

 


Passion: 21
Creativity: 21
Knowledge: 23
Clarity: 18
Total: 83


Pinktoad –
The player I feel had the biggest impact on his team’s run to the 2009 NCAA Tournament is Hasheem Thabeet.

Thabeet is a 7-foot-3/263 pound Junior Center for the Connecticut Huskies.  His rebounds (10.9), Field Goal percentage (65), and blocks (4.6) are all tops on the team and he’s 2nd in points at 13.7 (he is averaging a double-double).

His block total not only tops the team, but is best in the Big East and #2 in the nation to Mississippi State’s Varnado (4.7).

UConn only has four losses all year, and in two of those losses Thabeet fouled out.  But given all the shots Thabeet challenges, he has only fouled out of 3 games all year.

On January 31st, UConn annihilated Providence 94-61 (which avenged 2 losses from the prior year).  In the win, Thabeet had a triple-double with 15 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 blocked shots.

That game set the tone as Thabeet surpassed his average of 4.6 blocks per game in 9 of UConn’s final 11 regular season games!  That is an amazing statistic and a clear indicator that Thabeet stepped up his game down the stretch run.

Head Coach Jim Calhoun was once asked about Thabeet’s presence in the paint and he said, “When a guy pump fakes four times and shoots the ball over the basket, I’m not sure what that is, but it’s something”.  After a slight pause (and a grin) he said, “There is no stat for it”.

If the NCAA were to keep statistics on altered shots, there is no doubt Thabeet would be tops on the list.  His ability to rebound, block shots, and especially alter shots is why UConn is one of the premiere defensive teams in the nation, and the main reason why UConn reached the NCAA tournament.

Passion: 20
Creativity: 21
Knowledge: 24
Clarity: 19
Total: 84




Sfrye4585:
I have absolutely no doubt in my mind who that one player is. I wish I could list someone from Duke; unfortunately no one has really stepped up to take leadership. Also unfortunately, is that this player is from a rival school in the ACC: Maryland guard Greivis Vasquez. If you look at his stats, he really does not appear to be an outstanding player. He averaged 17.5 points per game with 5.5 rebounds and 5 assists. There were also some games where he miserably failed, such as his two point performance against Georgetown, or his four points the first time that they played Duke. But, when his team needed him down the stretch, he was unstoppable.

Take, for instance, the February 21st game against UNC. This game was the first time that I saw Vasquez play. I expected the Tar Heels to destroy Maryland, as they already had earlier in the season. Greivis Vasquez refused to let it happen again. He put on a show for all the people in College Park that afternoon. Maryland was down by as many as 16 in the second half, but the Terps made a run and closed the gap. Vasquez made a lay-up near the end of regulation to tie the game. In overtime, Vasquez hit a three to break an 81-81 tie and later iced the game with two free throws. When it was all said and done, Vasquez had 35 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists: Maryland's third triple-double in school history.

In the ACC tournament, Vasquez had a huge game in a "must win situation" against Wake Forest. Once again he was close to a triple-double, finishing with 22 points, 8 rebounds and nine assists. This game was enough to push Maryland into the Big Dance. Now, Vasquez has already dropped 27 points in an upset win against Cal. He is peaking at exactly the right time. Maryland is 8-1 when Vasquez scores 20 or more points and 3-8 when he is held under 15. The key for anyone to beat Maryland is to stop Vasquez. However, with his performances as of late, Memphis had better watch out.

Passion: 20
Creativity: 20
Knowledge: 24
Clarity: 22
Penalty: -10
Total: 76


JoeDirt126:
The player biggest impact for his team is Ty Lawson.what a player, i can see why he is player of the year.Not only was he injured, he plays with it, and very well rested he put up 23 points,1 rebound and 6 assist.but what he has done this season is amazing.53% Shooting,46% 3 point shooting.The presence he has against other teams is obvious,he can drive with amazing finishes he can drain The 3 with accuracy.

The most important stat is he just might be a national champ with mvp honors but most important being drafted  #1.This is why Ty Lawson has the most impact on his team making and winning the final four.Go Orangemen

Passion: 17
Creativity: 13
Knowledge: 17
Clarity: 8
Total: 55




KC1288:
There is no substitute for will, desire, leadership, and competitiveness. All of these intangibles were possessed by Dominic James. Scoring and passing can be replaced on a basketball court, but the intangibles Dominic brought the court could not.

Before the senior guard went down, Marquette had lost two conference games all year. After he went down, Marquette dropped the final four, and got bounced early in their conference tournament. Dominic James was the backbone that supported the fragile Marquette skeleton and the glue that held the toothpick bridge together. When he was called on James answered the bell.

James almost willed his team to an improbable Big East tourney comeback win over Villanova. There was James in his jumpsuit, chewing on a towel, sitting at the front of the bench screaming, chest bumping, and willing his team back into the game. He had a foot cast on, yet every timeout he was out on the court giving his team confidence. Although they fell short, James' showed his competive nature and desire to will his team to victory.

With James Marquette would have likely been a 3 seed, but without him they fell miserably to a 6. However, James made a miraculous recovery and was cleared to play in the second round game versus Missouri. James stepped on the court less then a month from breaking his foot, and competed. James played a limited amount of minutes, and Marquette lost, but it was an inspiring story that almost got Marquette passed the fighting tigers.

James was no doubt the most important asset to a team this year. James not only preformed on the court, but he preformed off the court as well. He will go down as one of the greatest leaders and players in Marquette history.

Passion: 22
Creativity: 21
Knowledge: 21
Clarity: 22
Total: 86


theecount:
Well there are many players that led their respective teams to a huge run to the NCAA Tournament and we could go on and on with hearsay of who was the best and who was the most impressive. A few people will tell you that Blake Griffin was huge; others will immediately pop off with Hasheem Thabeet. I mean who wouldn't agree with either of those players, heck they were both in talks for Naismith Player of the Year. But I must digress.

You want a player that brought his team back from ineptitude for a few seasons, take a look at Isaiah Thomas. The Washington Huskies were stuck in the middle of a conference loaded with Hall of Fame coaches and future NBA All-Stars. He isn't a big man, he isn't a senior, and he isn't even really known outside of the West Coast or by your typical college basketball fan. What he is, is a leader. He is a player that leads his team in scoring, (15.4), assists, (2.5), steals and even averages about 3.1 rebounds per game. Not too shabby for a 5'8 freshman point guard. Oh yeah he also received PAC-10 Freshman of the Year honors.

Many will argue that leading your team to an NCAA Tournament berth is not all about statistics and at times I have to agree. Leadership off the court shows what a player can do for his team. But you know what leadership on the court can do? It can lead you to a regular season title that your team has not seen in a long time. He pulled all this off on a team with a few other notable players, like Brockman and Pondexter, and you know what they failed to do? LEAD their team to an NCAA Tournament berth.

Passion: 21
Creativity: 21
Knowledge: 23
Clarity: 17
Total: 82




RebelPatriot23:

Passion: 0
Creativity: 0
Knowledge: 0
Clarity: 0
Total: 0


ArkIrish920:
While looking across the country at the 65 teams that made this year's NCAA tournament, it was extremely hard to find that one player that was the true MVP for his team.  What I thought would be an impossible task was actually sitting right in front of my nose at the very moment.  Picking up the flipper and checking out some ESPN Classic between some prime time thrilling games over on the CBS, I got to watch the game of the year between UConn and Syracuse in a 6 overtime thriller.

Not only is this guy the best Point Guard in the nation, but he averages 37.2 mpg (minutes), 17.5 ppg, and 6.7 apg.  He shoots a solid 46% from the field and 33% from behind the 3-point line.  As this little speedster goes, so does his team.  Not only did this player have the biggest impact on his team's run to the 2009 NCAA Tournament, but at this point has also helped keep them alive.  This guy is one of the most exciting players to watch in the country, ahead of Baby Face Curry.

Many of you fell in love with this sophomore out of Syracuse during the Big East Tournament, watching him play 67 out of 70 minutes against UConn in that thriller, and then watching him break the Big East Conference Tourney record for most minutes played.  Jim Boeheim has even gone on to say that this player is as exciting to watch as Carmelo Anthony was back in 2003.  Can you guess this player by his stats, description above?

Well if not, the player that had the biggest impact on his team's run to the 2009 NCAA tournament and their success has to be the youngest Jonny Flynn.

Passion: 21
Creativity: 21
Knowledge: 22
Clarity: 20
Total: 84




dolphinwater: 
My player of choice, is from my very own Illinois team.  Though eliminated from the first round, you can see the importance of this guy as a player.  One week from the opening round of the tourney, Chester Frazier had injured his hand. Was it Broke,? That is still unknown, but it was a signifigant enough injury to keep him from playing in the Big Ten Tourney, and the Big Dance.  Chester was a senior, and the heart and soul of this team.

His numbers on offense were not quite the contribution that he gave on Defense.  And it showed come time to play without him.  Here was a team that outscored everyone by a 16 point margin at the begginning of the season, only to see those numbers drop off when he sat down to rest.

His leadership, and passion for the gme, inspiried not only his teammates, but he would bring the "Assembly Hall" to life with his floor slapping, " Bring it on" attitude. He was missed in the first round, and it showed in a 4 point loss to W Kentucky. At only 6'0 tall, he played like he was the biggest man on the floor. Though he will not make the NBA, Chester brought pride and class to a 2009 Illinois fighting Illini Team.

Passion: 21
Creativity: 21
Knowledge: 21
Clarity: 14
Total: 77


gonzagafan62:
The player that I feel had the most impact on a certain team's success is Tyreke Evans. Since December when Coach John Callipari switched Evans to the point from the 2 guard, this guy has been outstanding. He isn't your normal point guard, but this guy can handle the ball, and he can drive the ball. Memphis since December has not lost since then and run through Conference USA. Might I add, that this is one of the better mid-major leagues, and if Memphis wasn't in this conference, that this would be a multiple bid league, no doubts. Also since then they have run over annual foe Gonzaga. They tore them up on a national televised game, where Memphis blew them outta the water. Tyreke Evans is the savior to Memphis' season right now. Not just him, but the brilliant coaching by John Callipari, as well. This guy is not the best player in the nation, I know, but he has also had the biggest impact on his team. Because, if he wasn't at the point right now, I have no doubts Memphis would be a 2 seed, let alone in the tournament all together, and now they are on a mission to win a national championship (again) like the other 15 teams left standing. That is why I think Tyreke Evans has had the biggest impact on his team. Thank you.

Passion: 21
Creativity: 20
Knowledge: 21
Clarity: 16
Total: 78




FOREPLUS:
Little did anyone know that four years ago a freshman named Dante Christmas who averaged just 11 minutes and 3 1/2 point per game would one day lead to Temple history.  Since that first year he has averaged 19 points in 35 minutes, which is 44 percent of his teams total.  While his scoring average is illustrious he has also finished 2nd in average rebounds per game.

With only the Atlantic 10 Tournament remaining in his final year at Temple, the Owls needed to win the Tournament or they would be on the outside looking in.  After four straight wins and an average of 16 points and 4 rebounds Dante Christmas led the Temple Owls to their first ever Atlantic 10 Championship.

Although Temple will not go on to win the NCAA Tournament in 2009 as they were knocked out in the second round, Dante Christmas averaged 36 points and 4 rebounds and will forever live in the hearts of the Temple Owl fans.

For at least this year "Christmas" did come in March.

Passion: 20
Creativity: 21
Knowledge: 22
Clarity: 18
Total: 81


locotbish:
I can't think of anyone being more valuable to a single team than Levance Fields.

The Pittsburgh Panthers have great talents in DeJuan Blair and Sam Young. Those two players epitomize the physicality and athleticism of Big East basketball, respectively, but Fields adds the senior leadership and dynamic talent at the point guard position that makes Pitt one of the top teams in the nation.

A general on the court, Fields and his trademark head band never wows the crowd with scoring performances. He rarely makes daily highlight reels and almost never dunks the ball. He's a leader in the huddle and on the court. He's the ideal point guard: unselfish and calm. He's one of the smarter players I've seen in the final two minutes of game.

Speaking of those last two minutes, that's when we see just how important Fields is to Pittsburgh. He doesn't take bad shots when his team is down by four late in the game, but when his team is up by a score or two (like this past weekend against Oklahoma State) he always seems to sink that big shot to put a dagger in the heart of the opponent.

Fields also plays through pain. Battling a groin injury, he led the Panthers to a convincing win over UConn to finish off the regular season but obviously was not himself in a loss to West Virginia in the Big East tournament.

Ty Lawson or Darren Collison may be better scoring point guards. Jonny Flynn may be more athletic. But when the game is on the line, I want Levance Fields gettng my team a number one seed in the Big Dance.

Passion: 21
Creativity: 21
Knowledge: 21
Clarity: 20
Total: 83




halpo1:
Blake Griffin with the slam! Oklahoma without Blake Griffin is like a hot dog without a bun. Blake Griffin scores just over 1/4 of their points. He is the future #1 pick of the NBA draft. Without Griffin who knows if Oklahoma would make the tournament. When Blake Griffin suffered a concussion, Oklahoma sunk. After Griffin, only playing 11 minutes suffered a concussion Oklahoma went on to lose that game. The next game without Griffin they lost. They went 0-2 without Griffin. They still felt the after effects of Griffin not being 100% when they went 2-2 in the following 4 games. Before Griffin's injury Oklahoma had a impressive 25-1 record with a 11-0 conference record. Following the injury they dropped 4 of their last 6 and choked away the chance at a #1 seed. With all the other teams competing for a #1 seed most of them lost their conference tournament. If Oklahoma's Star isn't hurt i find it hard to believe that they would fail to get a number 1 seed. Averaging over half as many rebounds as points while being the leading scorer on your very respectable team is very impressive. Mr. Double Double himself is the most valuable player in division one men's college basketball.

Passion: 21
Creativity: 21
Knowledge: 22
Clarity: 16
Total: 78


Beagle14:
There are so many good teams, stories, and players this year, it's hard to choose just the one with the most impact.  But since I have to make a choice, I'd go with DeJuan Blair in Pittsburgh.  The Big East has shown they are the toughest conference out there this year and they are historically a big man driven conference.  When you've finished watching Blair play, you know you've just watched a big man; but you don't realize he's only listed at 6'7" which is usually exaggerated by the schools that put those listings out.  In that way, he reminds me a little of Charles Barkley.  He totally dominated 7'3" Hashim Thabeet twice in their sweep of Connecticut.  He controls the boards offensively and defensively and will wear out any center in college basketball.  Blair is fourth in the nation in rebounds and he led the Big East.  He usually does a great job staying out of foul trouble which is tough for a man his size playing taller athletes.  Historically, Pitt is on the verge come March but he led them to their first 1 seed in school history and the entire Pitt nation has high hopes for a ligitimate final four run this year.  They also climbed to #1 in the polls during the season and beat #1 two differenct weeks (both times UConn).  Without him, the Panthers would have been a middle of the pack team this year in the Big East.  That would still be good enough to make March Madness, but in a year when the top teams don't seem to be separated by much, leading them to the 1 seed was a tremendous feat.

Passion: 21
Creativity: 21
Knowledge: 22
Clarity: 15
Total: 77

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on: March 20, 2009 7:36 pm
 

2009 Member Mayhem: Round 1 Results!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, usually, I would create some kind of "awesome" graphic to go with this post, but I decided I might try to escape and go watch tonight's Wake Forest vs. Cleveland State game in person. (What can I say, reading all those great essays got me in the mood!)

On that note... I was absolutely impressed with the quality of the essays. Except for the "clarity" portion, I was almost unable to give out anything below a 20. I can tell already that this year's field is stronger, as a whole, than the crew we had for 2008. (But watch those word-counts!)

Because of that, we had a ton of close matchups in the first round, and I can only assume that there are a lot more to follow. There were even a few unexpected upsets that I'm sure most Community regulars will recognize.

All things considered, everyone did a great job! Later tonight, I'll post the Second Round question and match threads on the Member Mayhem Homepage . The next round of questions will be due on Tuesday, March 24.

 

Full Scores and Grading Below






Cardfan Drewski – (Scratch esoteric references for this one. We’re going straight for cliche.)

1992.

(Do I need to reference this further?)

1992.

(I was thirteen, the WWE was the WWF, Vanilla Ice was (still not) cool, Unforgiven and Clint Eastwood won a Best Picture.)

(And there was also... The game. The moment. The unending replay.)

1992.

(Seriously, you already know the moment that I’m referencing. It’s there, embedded in to your cranium. Dangling through your subconscious. Nagging at your psyche, year after year, the repeated moment... You see the pass, the turn, the shot... Don’t you remember? 103-102?)

1992.

(I was hanging out with my best friend Mark, watching the game on TV in the basement of his parent’s place. I was praying that UK would lose because I was sick and tired of those doggone Wildcats. If his team won, I’d never hear the end of it. He had already beaten me twice that day in H-O-R-S-E.)

(We watched the game... every possession, every shot... endless talent versus endless heart... I rooted for endless talent and a guy that stepped on the chest of a UK player. Mark rooted for endless heart)

(Mark believed his team would win. Rick Pitino would beat Mike Krew-slee-woos-kee. Mark was wrong. One turn around jump shot would make me right over and over again for years and years replay after replay.)

Just remember 1992.

(And thank Duke and Laettner for beating UK and my fried Mark over and over again.)

Passion: 19
Creativity: 22
Knowledge: 18
Clarity: 19
Total: 78



Onyxium – When you're growing up in Indiana, basketball is assumed to be part of your life.  Everyone has "their team", and in most cases, that team is going to be Purdue or IU.

The March of 1998 was no exception.  Both teams were in the NCAA tourney that year - Bobby Knight's Hoosiers as a 7 seed, Gene Keady's Boilermakers as a 2.  Each side had their own dreams and aspirations of having a March to remember.  But it was a 3rd, lesser known (but even closer to home) team that would go on to be remembered by basketball fans not only in Indiana, but across the country.

In the first round of that NCAA tournament, the heated rivalry between the Cream and Crimson and the Old Gold and Black took a backseat...to a young coach's kid from just up the road.  We looked up with pride at the brave, unimposing leader of a real-life "Hoosiers" team if ever there was one in the NCAA tournament.  And when Bryce Drew took that last gasp, silky smooth shot, arms were raised across the state in unison.

Valparaiso, the tiny school up north who didn't have any die-hard fans in Boilermaker and Hoosier country, managed to find an adoptive fanbase that day.  They were our team, even if they weren't really "our" team.  Now, years later, that buzzer-beating shot still defines Cinderella...and those of us who took Valpo under our wing that year wait anxiously for a another run like theirs.

Passion: 22
Creativity: 20
Knowledge: 21
Clarity: 19
Total: 82





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VACANT –





VACANT –

Sillypuddy – "A Michigan man is going to coach a Michigan team!"  - Bo Schembechler

With that phrase, the hearts and minds of all of my friends went haywire as we wondered what was going to happen to the 1989 Michigan Wolverine basketball team.  Oh, the drama and discussion that ensued in my 9th grade science class.  Our teacher, Mr. Wood, was a die hard UM fan.  Normal class itinerary was out the door.  New topic: Can Michigan win w/out Bill Freider leading them to battle.  Heck....I had never even heard of Steve Fisher before he was announced as "Interim" Head Coach.  What would we do????  How could we handle an early exit due to this sudden change in leadership?  Did Bo do the right thing??  Can't argue with history, and it goes like this:

1st Round- UM 92- Xavier 87.   A Slow start capped of by a wild finish.  Science class was never so much fun!!!

2nd Round- UM 91- South Alabama 82.  Glen Rice is unstoppable!!  Michigan rolls!!

Sweet 16- UM 92- UNC 87.  After two straight eliminations from the dance by UNC, Michigan gets its revenge!!

Elite Eight- UM 102- Virginia 65.  Symphony of Destuction Baby!!!!  Largest margin of victory in school history!!

Final Four- UM 83- Illinois 81.  I love you Sean Higgins!!!  Last second shot puts the dagger in the hearts of Marcus Liberty, Kendall Gill, Kenny Battle, Nick Anderson, and Lou Henson!!  My god did Illinois have a good team that year!!

Championship Game- UM 80- Seton Hall 79.  Overtime win!! Rice gets the MOP Award!!  Total team effort brought to you by Mills, Vought, Hughes, Calip, Robinson, Higgins, Griffin, and Mr Rice!!!

Yeah.....Bo was right!!

Passion: 22
Creativity: 20
Knowledge: 22
Clarity: 17
Penalty: -10 (280 Words)
Total: 71
 




TeddyD – When you think about college basketball, you normally think of a “team” rather than the actions of individual players. However, during the 1990 NCAA Tournament, you saw the ultimate display of using an individual action to define the meaning of "team". On March 4, 1990, Hank Gathers collapsed and ultimately died of a heart attack while his Loyola Marymount team was playing against Portland in the WCC conference semifinals. His Loyola Marymount team advanced to the NCAA Tournament as an 11 seed and made one of the most memorable runs to the Elite 8 in NCAA history.

What will be remembered by me and by many as the quintessential display of brotherhood, team-strength, and college basketball was when Gathers’ best friend and high school teammate Bo Kimble shot the first free throw of every NCAA Tournament game with his left hand is memory of his best friend. Even though Kimble was right handed and had never really shot with his left hand before, he sunk all three left-handed free throws leading up to the Elite 8 as if Gathers was helping guide the ball to the basket. That team played with so much ferocity and passion that you knew that they were doing it simply for their fallen teammate.

Amazing? Yes. Heartwarming? Yes. Gritty? Yes. Divine intervention? Maybe. The essence of college basketball? YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT!!!!

Passion: 23
Creativity: 21
Knowledge: 21
Clarity: 19
Total: 84


Shui4241 –
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BernieRotten – My favorite March Madness moment is, by far, West Virginia's run to the Elite Eight in the 2005 NCAA Tournament. WVU was a virtual unknown to the basketball establishment since the great Jerry West laced up his Chuck Taylor's for the Mountaineers in the 1950's. But, this team captivated the nation with last second victories, come from behind shockers and stunning upsets that led the Mountaineers to the Elite Eight and a place on the national stage. The tournament started when the seventh seeded Mountaineers staved off elimination with a victory over Creighton in the final seconds. Up next was ACC powerhouse and second seeded Wake forest. The Mountaineers outlasted the Demon Deacons in a double overtime slug fest that saw the "Eers" come from thirteen points down in the first half. The game was epic and still considered one of the greatest games in recent NCAA history. The Mountaineers next opponent was Texas Tech. West Virginia's Junior center Kevin Pittsnogle, a Hillbilly Jim look-alike, put on a show draining a crucial three pointer and hitting free throws down the stretch to secure the victory and advance the Mountaineers to the Elite Eight. This is the game that introduced America to the phrase "You've been Pittsnogled". The Final Four dream came to an end with a heartbreaking overtime loss to Louisville. Although all good things come to an end the memories live on. And, the performance by the unheralded West Virginia Mountaineers in the 2005 NACC Basketball Tournament was my favorite moment in March Madness history.

Passion: 20
Creativity: 19
Knowledge: 20
Clarity: 18
Penalty: -10 (256 Words)
Total: 67


NCAABKJNKY81 – My favorite moment in March Madness history occurred in 1992, when Duke defeated Kentucky in overtime to reach the Final Four.  They went on the win the National Championship as a matter of fact.

Duke trailed by one point with only a few ticks left on the clock.  Grant Hill inbounded the basketball the length of the court to Christian Laettner, who caught the ball.  He dribbled to his left and found an open spot and calmly sank a 15 foot jumpshot to win the game.

It does not sound so great, but at the time it was poetry in motion.  It was the greatest basketball moment I ever witnessed.  In hindsight, so many factors had to work perfectly together in order for the game to be won.

I did not believe there was any way that Duke could win that game.

Passion: 17
Creativity: 15
Knowledge: 15
Clarity: 19
Total: 66







Walshdollar2 -
College basketball is absolutely the best sport in America and there are so many freaking amazing March Madness memories that I could probably write a thousand essays. Seriously. I could write a million words on how Christian Laettner crushed Kentucky's dreams in the Elite Eight, on Jimmy V's frantic run around the court after beating Phi Slamma Jamma in 1983, or on North Carolina's epic three-overtime repeat performance against Michigan St. in the Final Four and then over Kansas in the finals. I could write about all of those things ... but I can't. It just wouldn't feel right for me to write about anything but Mario Chalmer's magical game-tying three pointer with 2.1 seconds left in the National Championship game.

It was only my second ever championship game as a full-fledged Jayhawk. I was watching it in Allen Fieldhouse and I could imagine no better place to celebrate with thousands of other crazy fans as the not-so-Cinderella clock struck twelve for Memphis. My heart was somewhere around my Adam's Apple when the shot was released and never came down that night. At first glance, I was positive Mario's foot was on the line and was waiting for the waves of disappointment to float over the crowd once Billy Packer announced it was only a two. But that moment never came. The shot was good, and as they say, the rest is freaking sweet history (or something like that). As long as I live, I will never forget that moment.

Passion: 23
Creativity: 20
Knowledge: 22
Clarity: 19
Total: 84


Vik Crapper – This being North Dakota State’s first year of eligibility for the tournament, obviously I cannot pick a moment in their history.

Being 19 years old, I never really got into the tournament or fully appreciated it until about 2000, so my moment will be a recent one as I lived through it.

My pick is George Mason’s victory over Connecticut in the 2006 Elite Eight.

 UConn was widely regarded as the top team in the tournament, and when you look at their roster it is not difficult to understand why. Rudy Gay, Hilton Armstrong, Josh Boone, and Marcus Williams were all first round picks. Rudy Gay was arguably the best player in the tournament when you look back.

George Mason had lost twice in the last month of the season to Hofstra and many were flabbergasted when they received the bid as an 11 seed. It was essentially a five man team, with the 6th man scoring a paltry 3.4 ppg.

It was a foregone conclusion that UConn would blow them out, but it did not turn out that way. It was a back and forth game. George Mason took a 4 point lead with 23 seconds left, seemingly safely in the Final Four. But a lay-up and a missed one-and-one later, Denham Brown tied the score at the buzzer.

It was deflating. As a fan, I was crushed. No way George Mason keeps their composure and even competes in OT. But they did. 86-84 George Mason

Passion: 19
Creativity: 18
Knowledge: 20
Clarity: 19
Total: 76





Coachbill4pres –

Passion: 0
Creativity: 0
Knowledge: 0
Clarity: 0
Total: 0



USC Holmey – Since this is for my "favorite" moment, I luckily don't have to choose between James Forrest's dagger in 1992 or the disastrous 2002 UNCW-matchup when many picked USC to go the Final Four, meaning I will choose 2001 when my favorite USC team made a run to the Elite 8, losing to Duke, but giving them everything they could handle before succumbing, 79-69.

This run was incomparable for those of us who had suffered through many years of HORRIBLE USC basketball.  In school, we used to be able to get in 10 minutes before tipoff and sit in the front row, feet on the wood, where we were treated to 20-point drubbings regularly.  To finally make a run to an Elite 8 was amazing, especially since we had a team of leftovers that were too small (Granville), too slow (Bluthenthal), too goofy (Scalabrine), or too methodical (Clancy), for the UCLA's and Arizona's.  We beat OK-State in the first round despite them being sentimental favorites after their tragedy earlier, then B.C. (sorry we have to beat them down again this year), and then by the HEAVILY-favored Kentucky team, led by Tayshawn Prince and his "Close Encounters Of the Third Kind" physique.

It was a wonderful run, ending with a very respectable loss to the eventual Champions, making it almost tolerable.  2001 is still the "Cardinal and Gold-standard" for USC fans and one we will hope to duplicate again this year, with a team that has much of the same makeup as that memorable team.

Passion: 21
Creativity: 21
Knowledge: 21
Clarity: 16
Penalty: -10 (253 Words)
Total: 69




MSUSpartan76 – The year is 2000. Michigan State is playing Florida for all the marbles. It is a hotly contested game and both teams are reaching deep to keep up their intensity. Then it happens. Mateen Cleaves is hit and falls, hurting his ankle, a bad sprain. He his taken from the floor to the locker room. Both teams are shell shocked. The heart and soul of the Spartan team is gone. 16:18 to go. Somehow the Spartans hang on and stay in the game.

A short while later, about 4 minutes, Cleaves returns. He his hobbling. The crowd cheers his return. To everyone's surprise he goes right out on the floor. He is slow. He limps. He can't do much at all for the team, but he does everything. It does not matter. The Spartans play on in a 4 against 5 game. He is the icon, the inspiration. The game ends, the score 89 to 76. The Spartans win.

Pandemonium ensues.

Then the TV camera zooms on Mateen. His face is wet with his own tears.

I recall my dad exclaiming, "Look at that kid crying!"
I turned to my dad, my own tears streaming and replied, "Dad, he just played the game of his life."

We all know the history after this. Izzo bought the floor and the Spartans went through the 2000 and 2001 seasons unbeaten at home and finally succumbed to Wisconsin on January 12, 2003, 63 to 64, nearly 3 years since the floor was installed.

Passion: 21
Creativity: 20
Knowledge: 20
Clarity: 19
Total: 80


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Scilian Lou – The year is 2007, setting is Las Vegas. Time, well, we all know the time its the elite eight and I am here to break the bank!.. I know it sounds crazy but I got to tell guys nothing beats Vegas during this time!!. I am here with the Mrs and she is one of the true big College fans. How else would you explain sending our only kid to attend Winthrop?.. Who ever heard of Winthrop I said to myself but we all soon found out what Winthrop did to ND that year!!..  Talk about your bracket buster?..

So what does this have to do with March madness?.. Well, I like to share part of the day with you guys and hopefully you will relive that memorable moment as University of Florida  marches on and tries to match  the  91-92 Blue Devil team as National champions . For those who didn't like Florida  like me, I thought about betting heavy against them but we all know when we bet with our hearts what happens.. So, I played a three team parlay and got Florida state with points!...  I thought i hit jackpot in the slots!

In what was actually a close game for most of regulation, Florida's three-point shooting, along with a 20-9 run in the second half, amounted to a Gator win over Oregon. Florida player Lee Humphrey led his team with seven three-pointers, for  a total of 23 points. In one of the more odd moments of the tournament, Humphrey shot a three-pointer through the side of the net, causing a 10-minute delay as the net was repaired. Do you all remember that?

I tell you about this particular game only because the mix feeling I had rooting hard for the Gators that night.. Being an Alumni of University of Miami, it was like watching your favorite car go over the cliff with your worst  enemy in it!

Passion: 19
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Ndliblnc – My Favorite Moment in March Madness History.  Three seconds in March, 1979.

Mideast Regional Final.  Judd Heathcoat's #2 seed Michigan State Spartans vs Digger Phelps' #1 seed Notre Dame Fighting Irish.  ND there by dint of slim victories over #8 Tennessee and #5 Toledo...MSU there after smashing #10 Lamar and humiliating #3 LSU.  This game WAS the Tournament in my mind - having despised all things Irish since 1966; and knowing Notre Dame's Tourney Ranking was earned (but, as usual, accompanied by that irritating air of superiority so many ND fans/teams unreservedly share with their unappreciative opponents) - with pre-game jitters everywhere evident...in the stands and on both benches.

The game's opening tip by MSU's Greg Kelser was less a tip and more a volleyball smash to teammate Don Brkovich, who pivoted, took four steps and killer slammed MSU's first two points.

The roaring crowd hushed for an astonished second...then those wearing green & white resumed howling even louder.  That slam killed more than jitters.  Within the first 3 seconds of the game, every Spartan KNEW the contest was decided...game over...and every Irish fan knew it as well.  From that point on everybody sat back to watch a good basketball game between a decent Notre Dame team and a Magic group of Spartan super-achievers.

Passion: 21
Creativity: 21
Knowledge: 21
Clarity: 16
Total: 79






CubsFan1908 – My favorite March Madness memory is a mixture of everything that makes March Madness great.  It is one of the greatest underdog stories in sports history.  One thing that makes March Madness so great is that it gives the underdog a chance.  This memory is also set on the greatest stage in College Basketball, the National Championship game.  I could have used the miraculous George Mason run, but it didn’t end with a championship.  I could have used Richmond over Syracuse, but Richmond lost the next round.

No, my favorite March Madness moment has to be an upset, and the team needed to end with a trophy.  And the last requirement is it had to be a feel good story.  And by that, I mean it had to go beyond the fact that it was the underdog winning it all.  That’s why I went with the 1983 NC State Wolfpack.  This fits all of my criteria.  As a six seed, NC State is still one of the lowest seeds to win.  They beat powerhouse Houston in the National Championship game, and it sets up to be one of sport’s greatest stories.

NC State versus “Phi Slama Jama” and the Houston Cougars. I won’t give a play-by-play of the game, but I need to emphasize Lorenzo Charles’ last second dunk and Jimmy V “looking for someone to hug.”  These are clips that are shown countless times, and for good reason.  They are simply two of the greatest clips in sports history.

Passion: 20
Creativity: 20
Knowledge: 20
Clarity: 21
Total: 81



TheVille8109 –

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Crudmaster –

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wgjones85 –
Favorite moment?

Without a doubt, the first image I think of is Coach Jimmy V running around the court, arms outstretched, looking for someone to grab and celebrate the moment.  Of course, being from Houston, I was a Phi Slamma Jamma fan.  Olajuwon and Drexler, unamimously #1, vs Cinderella NC State.  What a game......thinking the desperation shot from Whittenburg was not anywhere close to going in, the celebration was sure to begin for the Coogs.  However, that celebration was not be, as Lorenzo Charles grabbed the imminent air ball and slammed it in.  Pandemonium erupted on the court for the Wolfpack faithful, as the Coogs stood in disbelief.  I would dare say that this moment was one that helped coined the phrase "March Madness."  This is probably on of the most replayed moments in Tournament history, and one I will always remember as my "Favorite Moment."

Passion: 20
Creativity: 17
Knowledge: 19
Clarity: 18
Total: 74





mrgocubs - On my old cell phone, there is a blurred picture that I took while jumping up and down. The picture is of the scoreboard at the US Cellular Arena, and if you look closely enough, you can just make out the score: UWM 14 – Butler 0. That picture was taken at the 2002-03 Horizon League Championship game on March 11th, 2003. Not more than a week prior to that, the Butler Bulldogs had defeated the Panthers for the regular season title on, in my humble opinion, a totally lucky shot. That was horrible, but we got our shot at redemption by hosting the conference tournament final and being able to play Butler one more time.

Mind you, UWM had never been in the Big Dance before, and all that was standing in our way was the Bulldogs. We were hyped and ready for a fight, a real “diaper dandy,” but what we got was something totally different. The Panthers jumped out early by taking advantage of the sloppy/clumsy play of some of the Butler players and by the first break in play, we were up 14-0. We were all kind of stunned at that point, but it finally set in when the classic House of Pain song came on the PA system. Normally reserved for Badger games, the “Cell” was rocking and rolling to “Jump Around” and we all knew that we were going to win and punch our dance card. That is my favorite March moment.

Passion: 22
Creativity: 21
Knowledge: 20
Clarity: 22
Total: 85


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D2Moo
– You never forget your first time.  No, I’m not talking about with a girl.  Your first NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament games attended in person.  It’s even easier to remember them if something spectacular occurred.  That’s what happened to me in 1981.

Spring break was a disaster.  Rain was coming down hard on South Padre Island, and more was forecast.  Instead of watching TV, my friend Mike suggested we go to Austin and see the tournament games there.  Missouri, Arkansas, Louisville, and LSU were playing, so off we went.

The Missouri game was a big letdown.  Lamar won and we watched Norm Stewart’s bald spot get bigger.  Arkansas won and that set up the  2nd round games between Lamar and LSU, then Louisville and Arkansas.

We showed up at the Drum, as the arena was called, 48 hours later, bleary eyed from two late nights.  The LSU-Lamar game was a 20 point plus win for the Bayou Bengals.  The Cardinals and Razorbacks game was much better.  Arkansas led most of the game, but  poor play late allowed Louisville to storm back and take a one point lead with 5 seconds left.  U.S. Reed took the inbounds pass, dribbled, and took a shot from just behind the half-court line.  When the ball went in, the arena erupted with sound.  74-73 Arkansas wins!  Reed smartly ran around the benches and scorer’s table, waving to everyone, instead of being gleefully crushed on the court by teammates.

That is my most memorable, amazing, NCAA game.

Passion: 21
Creativity: 21
Knowledge: 20
Clarity: 22
Total: 84

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jbrian –

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DaPillCaper
– My favorite March Madness moment? Well that's an easy one. Let's take our time traveling DeLorean back to the year 2002 the day of the NCAA finals. I was sitting on my couch with my grandpa, who is the biggest sports fan I know, and we watched the most amazing game of my life. We LITERALLY took the phone off the hook for this game, no distractions, it was a very big deal! Sure, it wasn't really that close, and if you weren't a Maryland fan it was probably a little boring. I however found it absolutely breath taking. After years of cheering for the Maryland Terrapins they finally paid me back with a 64 to 52 win over the Indiana Hoosiers and the title.

I know there are way more moments that are spectacular and probably a sexier pick for best moment, but I promise you if you're a fan of a school that isn't a huge powerhouse every year then there is nothing more satisfying than seeing your team win it all. You UNC fans can keep your four championships. Duke hold onto those three, it's fine. I'll stick with my one that made me the happiest person in the entire world. Of course it's only one for now, who's to say we can't win more and make me even better memories! Go Terps!

Passion: 22
Creativity: 20
Knowledge: 18
Clarity: 19
Total: 79





kmvenne – Would you believe that a Memphis fan would tell you his favorite NCAA tournament moment was the championship game of 2008? Watching your favorite team lose a 9 point lead in the last 132 seconds of a title game was beyond devastating; don’t get me wrong. A perfect storm took a surefire vacation to Titletown for the Tigers on an overtime detour, and in the end, a permanent layover at Heartbreak City.

But for all that anguish, one key phrase from that first paragraph still comes back to me, “certain national title”. The Memphis Tigers were, barring the impossible events that suddenly became a nightmarish reality, actually going to be national champions.

You have to remember where Memphis has just recently come from to realize that a national title used to seem impossible. It was just 4 years ago Darius Washington missed free throws that cost Memphis a C-USA title and an NCAA birth. Last year, missed free throws cost the Tigers a national title and NCAA immortality.

It’s the difference between embarrassing yourself at karaoke night and embarrassing yourself on American Idol. Nobody gives the guy who can’t sing at karaoke night the time of day. But when you reach the biggest stage, and the title is in the palm of your hands, nobody can say that you don’t belong or that you can’t do it.

2008’s pain makes 2009 ecstasy seem honestly possible. As a fan, what could be greater then that?

Passion: 22
Creativity: 22
Knowledge: 21
Clarity: 21
Total: 86



Raven Reign – Those who rooted for Davidson , those who graduated from Davidson, those who picked Davidson to reach the Sweet 16 in 2008 will agree with me, Davidson's run in 2008 was magical and it is not only my favorite moment but the moment of all those that root for Underdogs and tournament darlings.

Twelfth- seeded Western Kentucky had its buzzer beating win over Drake, and Nova, another No 12 seed, had its comeback victory over Clemson, but it was Davidson that for 4 days of madness, were called BRACKETBUSTERS. Ask my family and they can tell you that during those days I felt like a 12 year old boy cut loose at The Sharper Image store (RIP).

So many people asked me over and over again if I went to Davidson, but that's the beauty of the NCAA tourney, I felt the emotions of that run as if It was happening to me or a relative or my best friend. I didn't, I was as far removed from Davidson as I'm today.

Then again, if the NCAA had taught me anything over the years, is that I may see another run like that this year.  For the record, I don't have as my final four  all 10 seeds or higher. Cinderellas come and go, our economy will rise and fall again, but the March Madness favorite moments stay with me.

Passion: 22
Creativity: 22
Knowledge: 21
Clarity: 18
Total: 83




BhamBrew – I am always a sucker for father-son moments in sports.  Moments when sons make their fathers so proud, egos come crashing down, and fathers hug, cry, and tell their son how proud they are of them.

In 1998 the NCAA tournament witnessed a classic father-son moment.  Homer Drew coached Valparaiso to their third straight NCAA tournament bid with the help of his son Bryce, a senior that year.  Entering the first round, the 13-seed Valparaiso had never won an NCAA tournament game in their school’s history, and the odds were stacked against them.  Valpo played tough, but down two with 2.5 seconds remaining it appeared their effort had once again come up short.  Fate had a different plan in mind however.

The last second heroics came courtesy of a play called, “the Pacer.” It was a full-court pass from Sykes to Jenkins, and Jenkins a flip to Bryce Drew.  Bryce then hoisted a thirty-five footer spiraling into the air, mid-flight time expired, then nothing but net.  Bryce dove onto the floor; Valpo had won, upsetting the 4-seed Mississippi, and together father and son shared the moment and emotion.  “I’m still wiping the tears from eyes,” said Homer after the game.

In 2002, Homer Drew retired as coach of Valparaiso.  He was replaced by another one of his sons, Scott Drew.  In 2003, when Scott left for Baylor, Homer Drew resumed the head coaching duties at Valparaiso, a position he holds to this day.  His associate head coach is Bryce Drew.

Passion: 23
Creativity: 22
Knowledge: 22
Clarity: 18
Total: 85


Canestastic
– Underdog -n- a person who is expected to lose in a contest.

Before the 1983 Championship game, calling the North Carolina State Wolfpack an underdog was like saying the grass is green or the sky is blue.  Quite the understatement for a sixth seeded team getting ready to face the 31-2, winners of 26 straight, back to back final fours team of Phi Slama Jama.  State cruised into the championship game that year by blowing out three of their first four opponents by a staggering 4 points.  In fact their first round game against eleventh seeded Pepperdine only took double overtime for the “Cardiac Pack” to prevail.  Houston Cougars guard Clyde Drexler was quoted as saying “I like to dunk”.  Well that night the dunk like somebody else.  We have all seen the replays, time and time again.  Game all tied up, just the way State liked their games; With time running out Whittenburg was setup for a date with Destiny.  He was stood up.  Fortunately for those pesky “Cardiac Pack”ers, Destiny had her own agenda, a blind date with Charles.  As Whittenburg’s shot was obviously looking short and overtime looking more obvious, Charles took the famous Leap of Faith and pounded the hearts of Houston fans and bounced their beloved Cougs’ from Phi Slama Jama’s best shot at a title.  It wasn’t pretty, but Valvano’s 1983 Wolfpack rarely were.  You cannot watch a tournament without seeing Valvano’s epic Tour du “I need a hug” around the court, Priceless--.

Passion: 22
Creativity: 20
Knowledge: 22
Clarity: 17
Total: 81



gnarus – My favorite saying is “no guts, no glory.” I can’t recall when I first heard this expression, but I repeat this to myself every time I am in trouble or facing a big challenge.  In sports you always have to bring your A-game. You have to step up to the plate and give 110 percent if you really want to turn up the heat on the competition and take things to the next level. The 1999 Buckeyes were in such a position vs. the top rated Auburn Tigers. 

Things looked bleak half-way through the 2nd half.  Center Ken Johnson picked up his fourth foul with 14:55 to play and Scoonie Penn was pegged with fourth 92 seconds later.  Jason Singleton then picked up his fourth 12:26 mark.  The Buckeyes found themselves trailing 52-46 at the 10:17 and the game was slipping away.  That’s when Coach Jim O’Brien called a timeout and decided to put Penn back in a move that embodied the saying “no guts, no glory”.  Penn never fouled out and sealed the game by making a 10-footer with 70 seconds to play. 

The Buckeye’s went on to the final four this year.  The moment that O’Brien put Penn back in that game is my favorite moment of all of sports.  That decision demonstrates everything that is great about college basketball.

Passion: 22
Creativity: 21
Knowledge: 22
Clarity: 19
Total: 84


utkipp –

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SlappyWeddedJoe –
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XU BABY!!! – As a Hoosier, my family spent many late March nights watching basketball games and defending our bracket picks.  I remember back in 1998, I was 10 years old and finally old enough to make some foolish upset predictions.  Naturally, because Valparaiso was just a couple hours away, they would defeat mighty Mississippi in the first round.  As I remember it, the Mississippi-Valpo game was the last game of the night, so my eyes were waning as a young 10 year old.  Ansu Sesay, I can still remember that name being said as he stepped to the line to take the 2 free throws.  Back iron for the first one, deflected right and rebounded for the second.  Valpo calls time out to set up what any Indiana kid today knows as Pacer.  As Valpo began to pass the ball in, everyone in my living room stood up, because we saw Bryce Drew was open at around half court.  Drew gets the ball and nails one of the most exciting shots in NCAA history, as 13 seed Valpo upsets the 4 seed Mississippi.  They went on to defeat Florida State and then lose to URI in the Sweet Sixteen, but no one can forget the great shot of Bryce Drew as you see his dad, Homer Drew, throw his hands to the sky as the shot goes in.

Passion: 20
Creativity: 20
Knowledge: 19
Clarity:18
Total: 77



Pinktoad – The year is 2006 and a deafening silence reigns in Dayton, Ohio as the George Mason Patriots trail the defending-champion Tar Heels by 14 early.  Behind Lamar Butler and Tony Skinn, the 11-seeded Patriots were able to fight back and pull off a 5-point upset of UNC (after already knocking off Michigan State in the 1st  round).

A week later, fans once again nibble their fingernails to the nubs.  An eerie feeling fills the Verizon Center as George Mason find themselves down 12 to the top seed UConn.  With less than 10 minutes remaining, the Patriots take the lead and pandemonium strikes the stands; fans feel another incredible upset brewing.  The game enters overtime before George Mason pulls off the most dramatic victory in the history of their program.

This was the most improbable run in tournament history.  GM had to upset 3 former champions on the road to fame, and it was the first time that an 11-seeded mid-major managed to advance to the final 4 (Majerus’s Utes did so in 1998 as a 3-seed).

This run converted Coach Jim Larranaga from an unknown commodity to a celebrity.  George Mason ended up losing their next game, but they can take comfort in the fact that they lost to the eventual champion Florida Gators.

Many experts believed Mason was the last at-large team selected by the committee, thus making this the most historical moment in the history of the tournament by any mid-major.

Passion: 21
Creativity: 20
Knowledge: 23
Clarity: 19
Total: 83





Pgadoc61 – Being a U.C.L.A. fan,there are many amazing moments to choose from. However,the best of the best for me is Jimmy V. in 83. The Lorenzo Charles dunk off the spiralling moon shot by Derrick Whittenburg was an ending that could not have been scripted any better in Hollywood. Houston and the "Phi Slama Jama" boys should have steamrolled the Wolfpack. Instilling the "Don't Ever Give Up" attitude into his boys proved to be the difference. Playing with the atheletic grace of a gazelle, and pounding the paint like a runaway train,Clyde "The Glide" Drexler and Akeem Olajuwon were not enough on this night. The Wolfpack had won 7 of their last 9 after trailing with a minute to go. This game would be no exception.

Coach Valvano was a man who practiced what he preached until the day he died.He was an inspiration to so many,myself included." Don't give up,Don't ever give up",became the catch phrase for millions. Nothing epitomized this more than the 1983 North Carolina Wolfpack

Passion: 21
Creativity: 20
Knowledge: 21
Clarity: 16
Total: 78


Sfrye4585 –   My favorite March Madness memory has absolutely nothing to do with my favorite team. Ever since I can remember, I have been a Duke fan. Since then, they have won three championships and, outside of the Christian Laettner shot, I cannot remember anything from their tourney runs. One that I do remember vividly comes from a small college in Indiana.

I can remember rushing home from school that Friday thinking about nothing else except an enitre weekend of basketball. That afternoon, the coverage jumped over to the end of the Mississippi/Valparaiso game near the end of the second half. Valpo was down two after two missed free throws and 2.6 seconds on the clock. A full-court pass was then sent down the court which was tipped to a wide-open Bryce Drew. Drew pulls up for a 24-foot shot and nails it at the buzzer for a 70-69 win. I can still remember Bryce diving onto the court after the shot and his teammates piling on top of him. I was completely in shock and to this day will never forget the "Pacer" play.

Passion: 20
Creativity: 18
Knowledge: 21
Clarity: 20
Total: 79





JoeDirt126 –

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KC1288 – Title: HEARTBREAK CITY!

Gonzaga was up 9 and running clock, and all hope seemed to be lost on the UCLA sideline. As the clock neared the 40-second mark UCLA pulled within 3. What transpired next will never be forgotten. As Adam Morrison ran the clock inside 20 seconds, he took a fade away jump shot in the corner as the shot clock ran down and missed. The rebound was grabbed by Ryan Hollins and he was fouled. UCLA was in the bonus, but it was 1-and-1. Hollins was a terrible free throw shooter through the year (60% on the year), but he made both. With UCLA and Gonzaga out of time outs, there was a scrabble to get the ball in bounds (Gonzaga was leading 71-70). The ball was eventually in bounded to Adam Morrison who threw it across court to what looked like a wide open man (Batista). However, he was quickly trapped and Jordan Farmar stripped him and made a pass to a wide open man under the goal for an easy go ahead lay-up (UCLA took the lead 72-71). There was pandemonium in the arena, and as Ravioli dribbled down the court for a potential game winning shot, but Mbah A Moute made a sensational defensive play. Mbah A Moute Dove (from behind) and took the ball from a speeding Ravioli, and the commentators screamed “UNBELIEVABLE! ARE YOU KIDDING ME AFTER BEING DOWN 17, HEARTBREAK CITY! HOLY COW!” The steal capped an improbable 17 point comeback, as UCLA advanced.

Passion: 21
Creativity: 21
Knowledge: 21
Clarity: 18
Total: 81



arekdahl - In 2004-05, the Illinois Fighting Illini had a fairytale season. Other then one conference loss at Wisconsin, the Illini seemed unstoppable. After advancing to the elite eight,the matchup was set with Arizona, in what would become one of the most memorable college basketball games of all time. The first half was close, but Arizona, led by Salim Stoudemire,   came out gunning in the second half, leading 75-60 with only about 4 minutes to play. Nobody gave the Illini a chance to come back, but they never gave up. Behind the big three point shooting of Deron Williams, Luther Head, and Dee Brown, Illinois went on a 20-5 run, capped by Deron Williams’ 3 pointer to tie the game at 80 to send it into overtime. After Illinois opened a 90-84 lead, it seemed as if the game was over, but with a game this exciting, it would only be fitting to have it come down to the final shot. Arizona scored 5 straight points to cut the lead to 90-89, and Hassan Adams gave Arizona one last chance to win, but his three-point shot was off the mark. What a game!

Passion: 21
Creativity: 20
Knowledge: 21
Clarity: 18
Total: 80





theecount – Favorite moment? Hands down has to be the Laettner shot with 2.1 seconds left on the clock to beat Kentucky. What a moment frozen in time. What a pass by Grant Hill. What a shot by Laettner. How can there be any better last second shot to win a game, than one to win a spot into The Final Four.

There I am sitting on the couch mad as hell. No way Kentucky is going to win this game. A die hard Tennessee fan, detesting those Kentucky colors and players. "Please let this not happen, anything but let Kentucky win, I say to myself." " Long pass, No, No, horrible pass. Oh Yes, great pass! Shoot it, Shoot it damnit! Go in, Go in! OH MY GOD! DUKE WINS!" Relief. Oh sweet relief. I hate you Kentucky, take that.

That wonderful feeling of victory. How is it possible that it all works itself out, it never does. This one time it finally did. How I have and will never lose "that feeling". THAT makes it my favorite moment.

Passion: 23
Creativity: 22
Knowledge: 17
Clarity: 18
Total: 80


BoSoxPats – Some of my favortie moments in March all seem to revolve around upsets, and why not?  The upsets in March madness are what make college basketball what it is, the nail biting, edge of your seat, I may just crap my pants execitment train we all love.  The way all the hairs on the back of your neck stand up when you feel the electricty coming through your tv set.  Holding your breath as that final shot rains down, clank clank .... swoosh!

 Which brings me to one of my favortie upsets in recent history.  The year was 2006 and Uconn as usual had there number 1 seed, and were early favorites to the final four. Few had any idea that George Mason was coming to this tourny with something to prove. GM had early upsets in the first, second and third rounds. They put down Michigan State, North Carolina, and then Wichita State respectivley. Then there was the mighty number one Uconn.

Not one would imagine that George Mason had any chance in this game, Uconn will destory them they said! Oh but what a game it was, back and forth for most of the game. Amazingly George Mason takes the lead by 4 with about 20 seconds left! No one can believe it! Uconn can not let this go down, they battled back and Denham Brown hits a buzzer beater to tie the score, it's not over yet!  To OT we go.

George Mason stayed tough, goes on to 86-84 win what an upset!

Passion: 21
Creativity: 21
Knowledge: 22
Clarity: 16
Penalty: -10 (256 Words)
Total: 70




RebelPatriot23 – In March of 2008, red and white clad warriors took the court in Raleigh, North Carolina, led by a gun slinging deadeye and a wizard at the point. Stephen Curry, Jason Richards, and the Davidson Wildcats were a relative unknown across the nation, lurking in the shadows cast by the leviathan programs that inhabited a stretch of North Carolina known as "Tobacco Road". The Wildcats had already tested their mettle earlier in the season, pushing the Tar Heels to the brink in Charlotte, and heading cross-country to Westwood to take on the Bruins.

Davidson began wearing their glass slipper against mid-major power Gonzaga; the Bulldogs marking their tenth consecutive tournament appearance. The teams played tight for most of the game, before a second-half scoring barrage by Stephen Curry led the Wildcats into the second round, 82-76. The next game proved to the doubters that Davidson was no slouch, and murmurs of another George Mason-esque run began to swirl. The size and strength of a battle hardened Georgetown team threatened to fast forward the clock to midnight for Davidson, before Curry put the Hoyas and the eyes of avid viewers and fans alike through a whirlwind tour-de-force, singlehandedly outscoring Georgetown 25-22 in the final 14 minutes.

It is moments like these that spur my passion for the game. The will to win, the never say die attitude, the refusal to lose. All of these characteristics are embodied in my favorite March Madness moment.

Passion: 20
Creativity: 21
Knowledge: 21
Clarity: 22
Total: 84



dantheman4250 – Connecticut was eyeing the Final Four, and as the #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament they were the favorites to get there.  However the Huskies were quickly tossed from the limelight by George Mason, a team named after one of the Fathers of our Country. The Patriots had knocked off North Carolina, Michigan State, and Wichita State to reach the Elite Eight but asking for an upset of Connecticut was just too much wasn’t it? When Denham Brown’s layup stayed on the rim and then fell through the net as time expired in regulation to tie the game it looked like Cinderella’s clock had struck midnight. It didn’t. If you re-watch the highlights from this classic battle you will see the George Mason bench clapping when Brown’s shot fell. Most Cinderellas would feel devastated, but not the Patriots. They were just happy to be playing with one of the nation’s best teams on the nation’s biggest stage. Even with that, just being there wasn’t enough because of the winning attitude Jim Larranaga had instilled inside all of his players.  In overtime George Mason quickly took the lead and then held on with all it had as America rooted them on from every couch in the country. When Denham Brown’s last second attempt in overtime clanked off the rim George Mason had found a place in all of our hearts and the NCAA Tournament had one of the most remarkable Cinderellas in its history.  GMU made us all believe.

Passion: 21
Creativity: 21
Knowledge: 22
Clarity: 19
Total: 83




ArkIrish920 – As cliche as it might be, the greatest moment of the NCAA Tournament requires a rewind back to 1992 at the Philadelphia Spectrum for the East Regional Final between Defending Champion Duke and Kentucky.  These were two of the best teams in college basketball that year, with Duke's Christian Laettner, an amazing Blue Devil point guard in Bobby Hurley, and Jamal Mashburn who showcased his talent to the world that night.

With a Final Four spot on the line Kentucky was playing the best game they had played all year, they were shooting 57% from the field, and forced Duke into 19 turnovers, and had this game won with all but 2.1 seconds left.  Sean Woods had just hit the go ahead layup, and Kentucky fans around the world thought their team had done it; they were going to the Final Four.

Grant Hill was to inbound the ball, standing under the Kentucky basket, the play called for him to throw a 3/4 length pass to Laettner who was standing at the free throw line.  Rick Pitino would go on later to say he wish he would have had someone guarding Grant Hill on that pass.  But that night he had John Pelphrey around mid-court hoping to tip a low flying pass, and had 6'7 Deron Feldhaus guarding 6'11 Laettner one-on-one.

With a dribble, a fake to the right, and a fadeaway jumper from the free throw line, Christian Laettner would create the most magical moment of all-time.

Passion: 21
Creativity: 21
Knowledge: 23
Clarity: 20
Total: 85


Fishstick – There are so many classic basketball moments throughout tournament history that it’s hard to even know where to begin.  I do believe that watching a classic game on TV cannot even begin to compete with the emotions that go hand in hand with watching a great game, live ( be it in person or on TV.)  It just isn’t even close.

I have only been a College Hoops fan for 5 or 6 years and that puts me at a disadvantage;  I didn’t get to watch The Shot.  I didn’t get to watch Chris Webber call his timeout.  As a newer fan to college basketball, I didn’t get to see UCLA hold off Missouri’s ’95 upset bid with a last second layup by Tyus Edney.  Have I watched these games on ESPN Classic?  Of Course, but it just doesn’t compare to watching it as it happens.

If I look at great games during my time as a fan, I could throw George Mason/Uconn out there or Illinois coming back on Arizona in 2005.  They were two of the greatest March Madness moments in recent history.  However, were either of them my favorite moment?  No.  My favorite moment was in 2005, when UW-Milwaukee knocked off 5th seeded Alabama for the Panther’s FIRST EVER win in NCAA tournament play.  Do I expect everyone to agree with me?  Of course not.  However, there is nothing more magical than watching YOUR TEAM advance in March.  It’s what being a fan is all about.

Passion: 21
Creativity: 20
Knowledge: 22
Clarity: 18
Total: 81




dolphinwater –   Running like a man on fire, waiving his hands in the air looking for the first player to hug after the game clock ended. I can remember it like it was todays lunch menu.  I had the flu, and was missing the party going on downstairs. Curled up on the couch with my head feeling like a basketball itself, I watched in amazement what had to be the perfect game. Massimino had just led Villinova to a National Championship.  Now this was no ordinary win, because Villinova had been unranked most the year.  They had also entered the NCAA tourney with a #8 seed. How impossible was this going to be their fans must of thought.

Here was the likes of Chris Ford, Kerry Kittles, and Micheal Bradley, going up against the previous years National Champions, Georgetown and John Thompson.  Why was this memorable for me to watch?  It was April Fools day, and it seemed Villinova was planning on a trick of their own against the great 'Patrick Ewing'.

It ended with a score of 66-64. It was the first time, and only time, a #8 team won a National Championship and the most electrifying game I have ever seen. Well,  that was until Illinois beat Arizona in the Elite 8 in 2005, down by 16 points with 4 minutes to go, and won the game. But thats another essay.

This 1985 Villinova team, had shocked the world, and myself included. Thats why they say,"This is why we play the game".

Passion: 21
Creativity: 22
Knowledge: 21
Clarity: 18
Total: 82


Don’t Hate On Me
–  North Carolina State and Houston 1983

I was a preteen in 1983, I had not gotten into sports other than baseball when it came to watching them on television.  This changed in the year of miracles for Jim Valvano and the Cinderella Wolfpack. 

North Carolina State #6 beat Houston #1 in this historical event. The Cougars started out very slowly, and NC State actually led at the half. Houston then went on a 17-2 run at the beginning of the second half to take a 43-35 lead. State's Dereck Whittenburg brought the Wolfpack back, though, to tie the score at 52 and set up what is arguably the most fantastic and improbable finish in NCAA tournament history. After the Cougars' Alvin Franklin missed a free throw, NC State rebounded and held the ball until the game's final seconds. A pass to Whittenburg was deflected by Clyde Drexler, but the NC State player managed to grab the ball (God forgive me for not recalling his name, I was 12) and heave a lob at the net from 30 feet away as time wound down. The ball was short of the rim, but Lorenzo Charles caught the ball in midair and slammed it down for the winning basket as time expired.

What captured my heart was the pure joy Valvano had not for himself but for his team winning the game for themselves and their school.  Valvano’s passion must bleed through the veins of his players even today, I still feel it.

Passion: 21
Creativity: 21
Knowledge: 21
Clarity: 18
Total: 81



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Beagle14 - In 1993, college basketball was different. Three years before Garnett would enter the draft and start gradual saturation of straight to the pros athletes, great college players stuck around for three to four years. Upperclassmen ruled -- with one exception; the infamous Fab 5. Best recruiting class ever according to most and they made the finals as freshman. As sophomores, championship was inevitable. Meanwhile, Carolina led by Lynch and Montross had a solid regular season and rode the hand of Donald Williams to the finals. The championship was close throughout but Michigan built a steady lead in the second half until Williams led a late run that put the Heels up by two. With the shot clock off, Carolina with a chance to take a three point lead but Pat Sullivan missed the second foul shot giving life to the Wolverines. What happened next was legendary. Chris Webber grabs the rebound and clearly walks. Every Tar Heel fan in the world is left baffled at how they could miss the call. Quickly, the focus shifts to getting a stop because Michigan has 5 scorers. Karma or devine intervention settle in as Webber calls a timeout the team doesn’t have. From there, Williams was automatic from the foul line. It wasn’t as exciting as a halfcourt shot but the emotional roller coaster from missed foul shot, to missed call, to mismanaged timeouts within 10 seconds was tremendous.

The most exciting 10 seconds that didn’t involve a field goal attempt ever!!!!!!!!!

Passion: 21
Creativity: 20
Knowledge: 22
Clarity: 18
Total: 81



Posted on: April 7, 2008 4:30 pm
Edited on: April 7, 2008 5:15 pm
 

Member Mayhem: Championship Results


























Congratulations to the 2008 Member Mayhem winner: Badgerdiver, the representative for Wisconsin.

We would also like to thank all the users, including our runner-up, DaPillCaper, who participated in the tournament. There were many, many great writers, and the amount of interest in this event insures that we will have similar competitions in the future.

Finally, thanks to everyone who voted, or was actively involved in the essay debates!

Check out the final Bracket.

Grading for the finals is below.



Championship Grading


Badgerdiver (Wisconsin)

Big Ten Rising

The Big Ten receives the stiff end of many conference vs. conference battles. Big Ten football has been beaten up in bowl games as of late, accumulating a 14-22 (.389) record over the last five seasons. The SEC is faster, the Big 12 has more talent, the list goes on, and even Big Ten fans will admit it; the conference is down. No other single event captured this notion as well as Ohio State's embarrassing 27 point loss in the national championship game last season. The Big Ten ACC basketball challenge has been dominated by the ACC in the last decade by a staggering 9-0 record. The Big Ten only received four bids to the NCAA tournament this year, seemingly a gift, thanks to the efforts of Matt Painter at Purdue. Fans were glum in Big Ten country this post season.
That is all about to change.

With the hiring of Tom Crean at Indiana, the Big Ten now has the premier coaching of all of the conferences in the Nation.
Tom Crean, Indiana (.664) - Crean has five NCAA tournament appearances in nine seasons as a head coach, including a Final Four appearance with Dwayne Wade in 2003. Crean's recruiting combined with the program prestige of Indiana will bring Indiana back to the glory days.

Tom Izzo, Michigan State (.702) - Izzo is regarded as one of the best tournament coaches in the nation. In his thirteen NCAA tournament appearances, Izzo has brought five to the Elite Eight, and seven to the Sweet Sixteen. You know a program has reached the top tier when a loss in the Sweet Sixteen is unacceptable. Nobody overlooks the Spartans, especially in the post season.

Tubby Smith, Minnesota (.719) - Tubby got bored...of winning. Well not exactly, but to go back to his last sub-20 win season, you would find him coaching the Tulsa Golden Hurricane in '92-'93 (15-14), a team he took to the Sweet Sixteen the two subsequent years. Tubby came into the Minnesota program with less than talented players, and improved their record from 8-22 in 2006-07 to 20-13 in 2007-08. Look for him to bring this program into the spotlight, he certainly knows how.

Matt Painter, Purdue (.643) - Painter is new to this whole coaching thing, but don't overlook his inexperience. In his first four seasons, he has produced three tournament teams, making it to the second round twice. Painter took his team from the worst in the conference to the to the vice president position in only three seasons. He has already produced on the recruiting end, with a top 5 class for 2007. Watch out for his Boiler Babies in the next couple of seasons.

Bo Ryan, Wisconsin (.773) - Ryan is a system man, and that is why he has year after year of success. It seems his only weakness is recruiting, but that does not stop him from winning. Ryan's last nine seasons at the Division III level produced four national championships. Bo has achieved an NCAA berth in all of his seven seasons at Wisconsin. Don't plan on him going away anytime soon.
Thad Matta, Ohio State (.755) - Matta has only been a head coach for eight seasons, producing six tournament berths, an Elite Eight showing, and the opportunity to play for the National Championship in 2007. Matta knows how to bring a team deep into the tournament. Recruiting never dies down at the Ohio State University, so don't wipe them of the national stage after that embarrassing NIT appearance in 2008 just yet.

John Beilein, Michigan (.607) - Beilein has not been able to produce at all the schools on his way to Michigan, but he did produce at West Virginia, with a Sweet Sixteen, and an Elite Eight under his belt. His last season at West Virginia was three wins short of 30, and crowned with the title of NIT Champion. Beilein's first season at Michigan was less than stellar, in fact, almost reminiscent of his first season at West Virginia, when the Mountaineers went 14-15. Beilein has the know how and recruiting power to bring Michigan back to where is was in the late 80s, early 90s.

Bruce Weber, Illinois (.696) - Last season was rough on Fighting Illini fans, but Weber has proved before he has the coaching prowess to bring Illinois out of the Big Ten dump. Last season was the first season he did not take the Illini to the tournament in his five seasons there. Weber knows how to play in the post season, bringing his team to the title game in 2005. the Fightin Illini are not going anywhere soon.

The Big Ten is down on it's luck right now; no teams in the Final Four, two in the Sweet Sixteen, and only four competing in the tournament this year, but things are looking up thanks to the elite coaching that now runs deep.

These coaches all know how to not only bring their team to the post season, but how to play effectively in the post season. Some programs are having recent lows, but don't be naive enough to look at where they are, and not where they are going. Coaches like Painter, Smith, and Beilein will bring middle of the road programs in the Big Ten up to the level of competition that the perennial conference elite teams Wisconsin, Ohio State, Michigan State, and Indiana are known for around the nation. Deep conference competition will only increase the strength of the conference, and prepare Big Ten teams for deep NCAA Tournament runs. The Big Ten might not win their challenge against the ACC next year, but its looking like, after ten years of domination by the ACC, they will be poised to ride north with a victory.

The sun is rising again on Big Ten country.

Grading:
Words: 977
Passion: 17
Creativity: 17
Clarity: 17
Knowledge: 19
Penalty: 0
Total: 70


DaPillCaper (Maryland)

The power of 1

The 2007-2008 college basketball season was quite interesting. There were many upsets including, but not limited to, Tennessee over Memphis, Kansas State over Kansas in Manhattan (The First time Kansas State has beaten them there in more than 20 years) and my personal favoite Maryland defeating North Carolina (For the second year in a row I might add). One would expect this trend to continue. These upsets did not exactly flow into the NCAA tournament however.

This year in the NCAA tournament history was made. All four number one seeds made it to the San Antonio for the Final Four. Memphis was able to overcome having the worst free throw shooting in the NCAA to make it there. North Carolina proved they truely were deserving of there number one seed by defeating all of their foes handily. UCLA was able to come back against Texas A&M and then beat their next opponents with ease. And of course, Kansas, with their immense talent, won a thriller against Davidson.

That's not to say there were no upsets, aforementioned 10 seed Davidson was able to get to the elite 8 and almost the final four. Also all four first round games where I live (Tampa) were upsets. Never has that happened before. But in the end the selection commitee appears to have made the right choices in their seeding (For once, that is).

I feel the dominance can be attributed to many things, though, not just the 1 seeds being that much better than the two seeds. I believe some teams underachieved in the early rounds (See; Duke/Clemson) and many teams with lesser tournament experience were left in the later rounds for the more experienced 1 seeds to beat them. Also, some teams seemed to be scared when they had to match up against star players, if they had just played their usual game that got them to the field of 64 then they may have won, but everyone seemed so obsessed with taking away Tyler Hansborough, Kevin Love and the other superstars to the point where they didn't pay much attention to any other players.

Yes sir, this years Final Four was all set to be incredibly close, or so I thought. I sat down on my couch waiting for the matchups to start, first was Memphis vs. UCLA. "This is guaranteed to be a good match" I thought to myself. And don't get me wrong it was still an ok matchup, but it wasn't what I expected. I wanted a buzzer beater I guess, but I didn't get one. In the end what I got was a 78-63 victory. Good, but not great. "The next matchup will be much better though," I told my friend Alan "no way it will be that lopsided." Again, though, I was wrong. Kansas jumped out to a huge 40-12 lead and North Carolina seemed dead, but Tyler Hansborough and company led back a charge and they were able to get back to within 5 at about the 10 minute mark in the second half. The come back was not meant to be though as the Jayhawks were able to dominate the final 10 minutes and come away with a 84-66 win. Both of these matches were exciting at times as I mentioned before but overall did not live up to the hype of 1 vs. 1.

My NCAA brackets were destined to fail though under this number one dominance. I mocked all of my friends and coworkers who picked all four number one seeds in the finals. I called them fools, but who's the fool now? I am. I picked UNC, Clemson (CLEMSON!?!?What was I thinking?), Pittsburgh and UCLA. 2/4 ain't bad I guess, but the two I had correct were hardly reaches, they were the favorites. Long story short, I lost my bracket. If any good comes of this it will be the fact that from now on no one will hesitate to pick all one seeds and next year you, the "expert" can coast all the way to a win in your office pool. Yep, there's a silver lining to every dark cloud.

Grading:
Words: 694
Passion: 17
Creativity: 15
Clarity: 15
Knowledge: 18
Penalty: 0
Total: 65
Category: General
Posted on: April 3, 2008 4:39 pm
 

Member Mayhem: Final Four Results



































The field is finally set for the Member Mayhem championship match. The Final Four featured two tight matches, as Badgerdiver edged HogsRoll07, 70-69, and DaPillCaper slipped past Zacky103210, 69-68.

Championship essays will be due by 4 p.m. ET on Monday, April 7. We will once again discard the voting to avoid controversy, but the thread will contain a poll so that other members can participate in some way.

Check out the updated bracket for a tournament overview, and see the final essay question on the Member Mayhem Message Board. Complete Final Four grading is below.




Final Four Grading


HogRoll07 (Arkansas)
A Hog’s Tale: Pride and Prejudice:

A Hog’s Tale: Pride and Prejudice tells the story of an elite program going through the tough times that faces any major sports program in the nation, losing. With the inability to produce wins, and put tails in the seats, Nolan Richardson (Head Coach at Arkansas 1985-2002) was put on the hot seat during his last season by unforgiving remarks he made towards Razorback fans.

During the beginning of this film we see an Arkansas team that was at the height of its elite status during the 1990’s, during which they hard reached the Final 4 three times, played in the National Championship game twice, and had won 1 National Championship. During this time Nolan had implemented his legendary style of play: “40 Minutes of Hell”. You see Arkansas rise to an elite group, only to see shortly that it will take a terrible spiral South.

The movie then skips to the 1999 season, when it seems Nolan has finally assembled a team that could take him back to his winning ways. His team grabbed a 4 seed from the selection committee and was matched up in the same bracket as the National Champion Connecticut Huskies. A perfect opportunity for Coach Richardson to run the table and put his name back on top. After a victory in the first round against Siena, his team seem prepared to take on Iowa, a 5 seed out of the Big 10. However, the Razorbacks never showed up that day, as Iowa routed their way past the Hogs and onto the Sweet 16.

Nolan Richardson would never again get past the First Round during his time at Arkansas, and continued to feel the pressure from Razorback fans. Mind you, this is the coach that brought national attention to a program floundering upon his arrival. This is the only coach in the history of basketball to win a Junior College Basketball National Title, a NIT Championship, and an NCAA Championship.

Towards the end of the movie you finally see the spiral take place. Comments towards the NCAA that Richardson made regarding the amount of African-American coaches at Division 1 schools, comments that there weren’t enough African-American reporters assigned to cover Arkansas sports, Nolan continued to fire back at the University and stated this during his last season at Arkansas, “If they go ahead and pay me my money, they can take this job tomorrow.”

With mounting pressure from the NCAA, fans, and the media, before the 2002 season had ended Nolan was dismissed as Head Coach, and long time Assistant Mike Anderson was handed the reigns as Interim Head Coach. After filing a suit against the University, which was dismissed in 2004; Nolan went on to coach the Mexican National team, and the Panamanian National team.

What once was seen as a program in turmoil, has turned itself around and appears to be headed in a new direction under young, smart, and happy-going John Pelphrey.

Grading:
Words: 496
Passion: 17
Creativity: 17
Clarity: 17
Knowledge: 18
Penalty: 0
Total: 69

Badgerdiver (Wisconsin)
Style of movie: Animated Cartoon

An adolescent scrawny polar bear (Butch) decides to leave the North Pole to pursue his athletic gift. Upon leaving, Butch gets himself in trouble, and finds himself stranded on an African beach, where he meets a little crab (Krabbenhoft). On their way to find help, they become circled by a pack of dogs, but a young lion cub (Trevon) gives a ferocious roar to scatter them. Trevon hurts himself in the process but Krabby picks up the slack around camp that night. The next morning, they come to a wide river, which Trevon cannot get across. To their rescue comes a giant Hippo (Landry). Landry offers Trevon a ride on his back to the other side of the river, where he decides to join in on the journey. Butch, Landry, Hughes, and Krabby are now walking through a huge forest when a bunch of baboons begin throwing nuts (Buckeyes) at them. To the rescue comes Flowers, a speedy little monkey with a can do attitude. Flowers knows the forest well, and guides the group to safety in a near by cave. Flowers sits on Landry's back, and deflects the nuts for the surprisingly hasty hippo. Trevon gets hurt again on the sprint to the cave, but recovers quickly. This eccentric group of creatures works together to solve their problems! While in the cave overnight, they all amazingly find a common thread: they love Basketball! They talk through the night about their love for the game. In the morning the group sets on their way again, but are captured by a group of local warriors (Spartans) and transported via train (Boilermakers) to the local zoo, where they encounter a clever fox (Bo Ryan), who quickly befriends them. Bo overhears the sullen gang discuss their previous basketball adventures, and lets them in on a little secret: he is a veteran of the pastime. He also tells them that every year, the mean, highly athletic zookeepers challenge a team of animals to 40 minutes of basketball; and if the animals win, they are free to leave the zoo, but if they lose, they are destined to spend their entire lives in the zoo. Bo has helped some animals escape before, but at a smaller Division III zoo. Getting ready to play the zoo-keepers, they play games against their friends, win all but a few, and earn the right to play the zookeepers. They feel untested going into the final match-up but their stellar man to man defense, great coaching, and meticulously run swing offense keep them confident. The game is a slugfest, with the zookeepers up early. The under talented animals almost give up, but after a rallying speech by Bo, decide to give it all they have. The second half is a different story as they use teamwork they've accumulated in past dilemmas to make a comeback that will be remembered forever! The group wins, and decides to remain together after they are freed, helping animals all over Africa hone their basketball skills.

Grading:
Words: 506
Passion: 17
Creativity: 20
Clarity: 15
Knowledge: 18
Penalty: 0
Total: 70




DaPillCaper (Maryland)

Title: TMNT (Teenage Mutant Ninja Terrapins)
Starring: Gary Williams as Master Splinter
James Gist as Leonardo
Greivis Vasquez as Raphael
Bambale Osby as Michelangelo
Eric Hayes as Donatello
Tyler Hansborough as Shredder
And the rest of the UNC players as the Tarheel ninja (Or Tarinja if you will)

The year is 2008 the Evil Shredder and his Tarheel ninja are growing in power. It seems as if they are unstoppable and is only a matter of time before they conquer the number 1 spot in the polls and thus, the world.

Underneath the sewers of College Park, however, are four genetically mutated (No they did not use HGH) Terrapins who have decided to put down their pizzas and defend the NCAA from the dastardly grip of Shredder. They are Michelangelo Osby, Leonardo Gist, Raphael Vasquez, and Donatello Hayes. And along with their Kung Fu master and coach Gary "Splinter" Williams they trained. Many months passed defeating such grueling foes such as the LEHIGH MOUNTAIN HAWKS and the HAMPTON PIRATES! But of course where there is triumph there are also many tribulations that were encountered, such as embarrassing defeats due to cockiness and non-unity.

After their long 2 month journey the Terrapins are finally ready to face the evil Shredder Hansborough and his Tarheel Ninja. They arrive at the evil Dean Smith Center only to face a barrage of insults and taunts from the evil Tarheel nation. But these insults and taunts do nothing to dampen the spirits of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Terrapins. They come out fighting strong with an amazing showing where they go up by 11 ninja points but the tables are soon turned as the evil Shredder and his Tarinjas come from behind and take the upper hand. But Master Splinter is not about to allow his group of Ninja Terrapins to be beaten so easily, for he had a plan.

Master Splinter asks the mighty Ninja Terrapins who will step up in their time of need and everyone votes Michelangelo for the win. The final fight will be decided on whether or not Michelangelo can take out one last Tarinja. He seems to be completely out of the fight until Leonardo throws him the ultimate weapon, an orange sphere of hope. He shoots it up as he falls backwards and it goes through the basket of promise and the mighty Tarinjas vanished into thin air with cheap smoke effects (Cheap smoke effects are due to being over budget at this point). The mighty Shredder Hansborough then declares his eternal revenge and informs the mighty Teenage Mutant Ninja Terrapins that he will be back for the sequel, A.K.A. his senior year!

The Terrapins subsequently return to their underground home beneath College Park and take part in some victory pizza from dominoes (Because again, we’re over budget). As they enjoy their pizza, however, Master Splinter informs them of a letter they received in the mail, an open challenge by the evil BLUE DEVILS!

ROLL CREDITS!

Grading:
Words: 497
Passion: 18
Creativity: 20
Clarity: 16
Knowledge: 15
Penalty:
Total: 69

Zacky103210 (Iowa)
John Feinstein is one of America’s top sportswriters and commentators. His contributions via newspaper, radio, and best-selling books have captured the hearts of millions. Coming in October, TRISTAR Pictures presents the story of a team coming together after the tragic death of one its stars.

“This One’s For Chris” follows Feinstein’s exclusive access to the 1992-1993 Iowa Hawkeyes men’s basketball team, as granted by head coach Tom Davis. With a record of 12-3 just past the halfway point, the Hawkeyes were looking to make a statement in the Big Ten in an attempt to earn a high seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.

After a team dinner on January 19, 1993, head coach Tom Davis and the rest of the team became aware of a fatal car crash involving a snowplow. Within hours of the crash, they found out that the victim in the wreck was one of their very own; team leader and NBA prospect Chris Street. After postponing the first game scheduled after the tragedy, the Hawkeyes had to play on, wearing a number “40” on their jerseys in honor of their friend and teammate.

After a heart-warming win in their first game back, the Hawkeyes appeared to lose focus, losing the next three games. However, in a team meeting after a loss at Minnesota, forward Acie Earl coined the phrase “this one’s for Chris”. The team then knew what they had to do; play the rest of the season with just as much firepower as Chris did when he was on the court.

Miraculously, the Hawkeyes would rattle off nine consecutive wins the end the regular season, earning them a 4-seed in the NCAA Tournament. What happens from there is truly remarkable.

“This One’s For Chris” captures the essence of a story that continues to warm hearts on the University of Iowa campus almost fifteen years after the tragic death of Chris Street. And the legend of Chris Street lives on to this day thanks to the Chris Street Award, an Iowa staple since 1994, awarded to the player that encompassed the passion, work ethic and heart that Chris Street had when he played the game of basketball. “…Chris” exemplifies the quality that Street, even in death, passed onto his teammates: dedication and hope.

Grading:

Words: 337
Passion: 18
Creativity: 17
Clarity: 17
Knowledge: 16
Penalty: 0
Total: 68
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com