I was planning on writing a baseball preview, but instead I ended up taking the better part of two weeks off as my family and I complete a move into a new house. My home computer is currently sitting in a box. Moving sucks, though the house is very nice - much bigger than our old dwelling - and DirecTV rules.
The best laid plans...well, you know. I should return in close to full force this week, and I hope to have some Frozen Four thoughts for you all before Thursday's semifinals.
A couple things before I go...
--> Joakim Noah rules. For the sake of college basketball, I hope his big heart and nonstop motor don't make their way to the NBA, even though Noah probably doesn't have any business playing another second of college basketball. I just wish I had seen more of Florida this season instead of constantly having Dick Vitale screaming about J.J. Redick while Digger Phelps flashed his stupid highlighter at me. Good for Florida that they won. Billy Donovan has really developed as a coach, and his players reflect his growth. They were easily the most poised and mature team in this tournament, despite a large number of relatively inexperienced players. That Florida was able to overcome their late-season "slump" and perform like they did in March/April is a testament to Donovan's coaching and the mental and physical maturity of his kids. Hats off to all involved.
--> I think Donovan made the best point about the tournament when he spoke to the media in Minneapolis after his team's regional final win over Villanova. When he was asked about the Final Four and the fact that no #1 seeds advanced to it, Donovan said something along the lines of "You could line up this field and play the tournament again and end up with four different teams in the Final Four". Nothing that was said about the Final Four rang more true to me. It was just one of those years. The "best teams" (Duke, Connecticut, Villanova, Memphis, Texas, UNC, etc.) all had fatal flaws. Duke wasn't very good defensively and their freshman point guard (read again: freshman point guard) played like, well, a freshman point guard. Connecticut had tons of talent, but they were too helter-skelter at times and didn't play very good defense. Villanova had no size and couldn't defend in the paint well enough. Memphis was prone to long stretches of poor offensive play, and in the end they couldn't beat UCLA despite the fact that UCLA couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. Texas couldn't find an answer to LSU's post play, and North Carolina fell victim to a more experienced, more seasoned, more poised George Mason team. It was a great tournament (though the three games in the Final Four all sucked), but it wasn't great because of the depth of great teams. It was great because the tournament was more wide-open than it's been in a long time.