It's the morning after now and George Mason is still in the Final Four.
When I awoke this morning I actually had one of those moments in which you ask yourself if the events from the previous day actually ocurred, or if you merely dreamt them. But it's all true. George Mason really did beat UConn and it really is heading to the promised land. Unfortunately, that bit about me and Scarlett Johanssen and the hot tub was only in my head. Oh, well.
This is simply weird. The words "George Mason" just seem out of place everytime I see mention of the Final Four now.
I can't speak for the days before I followed, but this is easily the most improbable tourney run in my lifetime. Perhaps it's fitting that the Final Four is in Indianapolis because George Mason is a bit like the Hickory Huskies in Hoosiers
, except the Patriots don't wear shorts so tight they'd make a stripper blush and I doubt they have any horribly alcoholic assistant coaches, although I couldn't blame them if they howled at the moon last night.
George Mason is about as deep as Hickory, too, which I believe only suited up seven players, plus the short blonde kid who only counted as half a person, really. Yesterday, Jim Larranaga's last substitution came with more than ten minutes to play in the second half. The Patriots' starters were rolling, in a groove, and, apparently, they weren't tiring, so why mess with a good thing?
Thank God for TV timeouts.
Apparently, if you'e a mid-major trying to make a deep tourney run, it helps to have a guy with possible NFL aspirations. When Kent St made a surprise trip to the Elite Eight in 2002, it had Antonio Gates. George Mason has Jai Lewis, who has NFL teams interested and cetainly has the body to explain why. The dude is a bus but has a deceptively smooth offensive game. He should give Florida breakout start Joakim Noah plenty of trouble.
In fact, at this point, there is no reason to believe George Mason can't win it all. Hey, why not? It's not like they snuck through a bracket that was weakened by upsets. They caught no breaks. They took a tough road. Michigan St, North Carolina, Wichita St, and UConn. How many teams in the country could have beaten those four teams in a stretch of nine days? Crazy.
Yesterday, George Masoon didn't crumble when it was down 12 points or when it was down nine at the half and it looked like the game was getting away from them. And when UConn made a furious comeback to send it to overtime, Mason didn't crumble or look as though they thought they blew their chance. No, they regrouped and beat UConn again. It was clinical.
Is George Mason on a magical run? Yeah, sure. However, don't discount the truth that the Patriots are simply good. Damn good. Can they win it all? I'd like to see it.
Will this Cinderella story have a happy ending? Who knows? All I do know is that it's fairly safe to assume that any neutral fan will be cheering for George Mason this weekend. The Patriots are everybody's darling. Unless you have some predisposed connection to Florida, UCLA, or LSU (or you're still alive in a pool), and you're not pulling for George Mason, I'd suggest you see a heart specialist immediately because you're heart is cold, cold, cold and that can't be healthy.
How out of it is Billy Packer? At one point Jim Nantz was talking about the music of Noah's father, Yannick, and Packer asked him if he had any "tapes" of it.
Tapes? Is Packer still stuck in 1989? Somebody send this fossill out to pasture already.
All season long, Villanova amazed with the way it continued to win without Curtis Sumpter, its one dominant big man. Well, yesterday it caught up to the Wildcats. Listen, I love some deadly three-point shooting as much as the next guy, but when you become dependant on the trey as much as Villanova did yesterday, you're in trouble.
As I suspected, Memphis crumbled when confronted with a slow-down, possession-by-possession game with UCLA. Dumb team. When the chips were on the line, the Tigers turned into a typical John Calipari mess, meaning four dudes stand around while one dude tries to create something, and when it fails, Calipari flails his arms and becomes increasingly pouty. Memphis is very athletic, but very not smart.
I think Joey Dorsey just missed another layup.
As for UCLA, I don't understand the backlash I have heard because the Bruins play so-called ugly basketball. Who cares? They win. That's the point, right? If they don't earn any style points in the process, so what? If you were expecting a Ben Howland team to play pretty, flowing basketball, guess again. Was UCLA's game with Memphis ugly? Sure. But there is nothing ugly about holding a high-flying, fast-breaking team like Memphis to 45 points. In fact, I'd say that's kind of beautiful.
That said, I don't think I want to see Jordan Farmar win a title. Nothing against the guy, but he just comes off like every frat boy punk I ever sneered at a party for high-fiving his buddies over a good-looking chick, wearing clothes fresh from the mall, and calling you his "bro." Maybe he's a nice guy, but I'll be pulling for LSU, thank you very much.
With George Mason stealing hearts, the feel-good aspect of LSU's success has been overlooked. Nearly every contributor for the Tigers was born and raised right there in the Baton Rouge area. It's nice to see some local kids bringing joy to a state that can use it at the moment more than any other.
Question: How goood will Glen Davis be in the NBA? How about Tryus Thomas? With the Bulls having some very high draft picks coming up, I've become consumed with this topic.
By the way, as you read my meaningless ramblings on college hoops, I should point out that I selected not one of the Final Four teams. Not one. I have been severely humbled.