And, well, if Wisconsin and Duke compete as they have shown is their and their coaches’ combative nature, it ought to be a doozy.
The Badgers and the Blue Devils, both #1 seeds, are the two best teams in the country this year. Should Wisconsin prevail, it will have truly earned its title, having already beaten the nation’s third best school Arizona, in the Regional Final, as well as the fourth best team Kentucky, in the national semis.
The last time two #1s met for the championship was 2008, when the Kansas Jayhawks beat the (Vacated) Tigers. In fact, that’s the only Final Four in the seeding era, contested by all four #1s. That quartet also included UCLA and North Carolina, the latter of which is sooner or later to be a/k/a (Vacated).
Monday evening’s title match will be the first time the two best teams in the country have battled it out for the crown since ’07, when Florida won its second straight championship over Ohio State.
More on the upcoming slugfest in a bit.
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If it is true that John Calipari’s hubris has been such that he didn’t show his player’s film of Wisconsin, in preparation for Saturday’s game, his election to the Hall of Fame is sham.
Were he a physician or attorney or dentist or cosmetologist , such lack of preparation would be called malpractice. His license to practice his craft would be subject to revocation.
Which isn’t to even consider his strange choices, during the heat of the contest. Like his decision to start Ulis and Booker in the second half against the long and tall Badgers, instead of the Petulant Twins, a/k/a Andrew and Aaron Harrison.1
Also Calipari failed to tweak his highly regarded defense, during the course of action. The Buzzcuts created mismatches all night, which the overvalued neophyte Cats couldn’t comprehend or defend.
One last thing about the latest basketball Hall of Fame coach. There is this image from the Notre Dame game, when the Irish kept chewing up the Cats, and had just made another run. Instead of immediately calling a timeout, harried Calipari looked longingly at the bench for some quick advice. He got none from Slice or Kenny Payne or Tony Barbee. It happened again several times in the semi-final L, when he gazed imploringly at his assistants for some help.
Which never came.
Coach Cal coached the biggest game of his life without confidence.
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So bad was the announcing team of Jim Nantz, Grant Hill and Bill Raftery, I tuned into the Wisconsin Homer Team on TruTV for the second semi-final.
Wayne Larrivee and Mike Kelley, a feature of the Badgers 2000 Final Four squad, are as biased as they are supposed to be. But still provided more info and insight than the allegedly top trio.
This is sort of a non sequitur, but speaking of announcers, allow me to bid a heartfelt and most welcome adieu to Robert Montgomery Knight, who called his last game on ESPN this week.
Good night and good riddance.
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Wisconsin’s season took a turn for the better and more stable, in a similar, but certainly more profitable manner, as U of L.
The Cards turned into a better, more cohesive team after Chris Jones was gone, replaced by Quentin Snider.
The Badgers turned into a better, more cohesive team after Traevon Jackson was hurt, replaced by Bronson Koenig.
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Hard to comprehend that the Blue Devils/ Badgers battle will be anything but a nailbiter.
Great coaching. Great talent. Great teamwork.
I believe — and hope — that experience trumps precociousness.
Duke is younger than Kentucky, albeit better. But Wisconsin matches up well. Kaminsky vs. Okaor. Koenig vs. Jones. Dekker vs. Winslow. Gosser vs. Cook. Etc, etc.
None of which is fair really. Or, to be frank, that astute. Because these are two TEAMS, with two incredible coaches.
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Sheboygan Sam Dekker.
Sounds like a big band leader from the 1930s.
Apropos. Because the Badgers, long in the tooth, seriously Caucasian, play old school ball.
Tonight they play Duke, younger than the Cats, a team as one might hear back in those days, “they ain’t chopped liver.”
— Seedy K