By Jeremy Twitchell
Well, I was right.
It feels good to finally get one right, because I got spanked in the newsroom bracket competition. I think I even lost to the girl that picked her bracket based on the color of the team”s uniform.
But even if Kansas would have won, I would have been happy, because that was the most enjoyable game I”ve seen in a long time.
Whether you were yelling for Syracuse or Kansas, you have to admit that it was a good game. When the last four title games have been decided by at least ten points, this is exactly what the NCAA needed – a close game that would leave everyone talking around the water cooler for the next week.
This is one that fans can appreciate for a long time, and that Warrick block at the end of the game is one we”ll be seeing on Pontiac highlight commercials ten years from now.
Carmelo Anthony put his critics to rest with his performance. Although he was nowhere near as dominating in the second half as he was in the first, the fact that he was even out there was incredible.
After hurting his back late in the first half, it was obvious that Anthony was in pain, often barely even making it from one end of the court to the other. But any player who can play through pain like that is a true team leader, and Anthony proved his worth in the intangible aspects of the game.
But such play also happened on the other side of the ball. When Kirt Hinrich twisted his ankle, trainers practically had to drag him off the court. Even after it was taped, he hobbled until the end of the game, but didn”t let up on his effort.
Players on both teams showed what is good in athletics, particularly on the college level. They played hard, they played to win, and they congratulated each other and walked away when it was over.
Beside the players, though, I think that the referees deserve credit for making the game the best it could be. They let players bump, slap and hit each other all night long, and the result was a physical game that was a lot of fun to watch.
It felt good to finally be right, but it felt even better to just watch the game. My hat”s off to both teams and both coaches. It was all that college basketball should be.