What a weekend of college basketball. I mean, 2 overtime games, Tech edging out Gonzaga and Duke finally, mercifully not getting the benefit of the doubt, or the help from the refs. I was pretty much glued to all 4 of the games this weekend.
Let’s break it down.
First off, the Texas Tech-Gonzaga game was the "worst" of the bunch, and that was a solid basketball game. Tech still played that suffocating defense, Culver stepped up in a big way, so big he could be on his way to MOP if he keeps this up, and Tech wins the title. But Gonzaga did hit some shots, and they made it close to the end. They were even in it with less than 10 seconds left in the game. But, Tech found a way to win again, and I feel like they have a good shot to make it to the championship game. They are a solid, complete team.
Then we had the 2 overtime games. First off, what more could Carsen Edwards do? The kid seemingly hit every shot that he took against Virginia. I mean, Purdue finished that game with 75 or 76 points, and he had 42 of them. He went total supernova. He nearly willed that team to a win. But, that kid on Virginia, Diakite, hit a beautiful floater to push the game to overtime. From there on out, Purdue just lost gas. No one other than Edwards even hit double figures. Ryan Cline was ice cold. Eifert looked scared to shoot. Haarms might be the softest 7'3 big man in the country. And every other player on that team just pulled zero weight. Edwards couldn't do it alone. But man did Virginia turn it on when needed. They looked a bit off on offense all tourney. But, Diakite took over down low. Ty Jerome ran that offense perfectly. All Kyle Guy had to do was sprain his ankle to hit some threes, and when DeAndre Hunter needed to do his thing, he did it. He was so good on defense too. That kid can play. This has been a very solid turnaround after what happened to Virginia last year.
Then we had the Kentucky-Auburn overtime game. While not nearly as fun and entertaining as Purdue-Virginia, but still, an overtime game in the Elite eight nonetheless. Kentucky had their shot. They could've won. But, they struggled mightily at the free throw line. They went ice cold in overtime, not scoring a single point until there was about three minutes left. And Auburn, well, when they hit threes at the clip they're hitting them right now, they can beat anyone anytime. They are crushing from three, blocking shots and getting steals. That's how they have won all year. And they did that all their way to their first final four ever, going Tech as first timers. And at this point, it doesn't seem to matter that they can't rebound because they are more than making up for it at three. This team is dangerous. I kind of wish I had stuck with them like I did in my first tournament preview. They look really good right now, especially on offense.
Then we had the game of games. The one where Duke finally got their comeuppance. The one where Coach K couldn't get the refs to bail him out. The one where he decided to not give his best player, Zion Williamson, the ball for the last 2 minutes of the game. He counted on the wrong star freshman to win him that game yesterday, and he picked wrong. When will Coach K finally get the heat for his teams getting beat far too early? Everyone jumped on John Calipari when Kentucky got beat, but everyone else blames RJ Barrett or Zion or Cam Reddish. Or they say that Michigan State got lucky. No one ever blames Coach K, and like I said, Zion didn't touch the ball in the last 2 minutes of the game. That's on him. Coach K chose to do that, and he chose wrong. While I'm at it, and I still fully believe that Michigan State should be banned from all major college sports for what they did for years and years and years, they outplayed and out coached Duke yesterday. They covered Zion better than any other team has all year. They shut down Barrett. His numbers were very, very hollow. Tre Jones couldn't stop Cassius Winston. Winston clowned him all game. And where on Earth was Cam Reddish? I simply do not get why he is considered a lottery pick. I forgot about him at times during that game yesterday, and that is not a good sign. But MSU won that game. Don't get it twisted. They won. They beat Duke. They beat Coach K. They ended the college careers of Zion and Barrett. They did that. And while I despise them, it is always good to see Duke, and mainly Coach K, not live up to the hype. The fact that these kids were compared to the Fab Five is laughable. At least Michigan made two title games. And don't give me the whole, "that never really happened". Duke, and Coach K, cheat just as much as any other college basketball team, they are just better at hiding it.
I know that CBS is pissed right now. But, I actually kind of like this Final Four. I'm going to stay with my Texas Tech-Virginia rock fight final, and I'm sticking with Virginia to win. They're out to prove that last year was a total fluke, and with the way they hit shots Saturday, I see them hanging the banner at season's end. Now lets hope the Final Four and title game are as much fun as this past weekend.
Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing, the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast, and the greatest basketball writer on the internet.
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