The Duke National Championship seemed right, yes. The Atlantic Coast Conference is a perennial power conference, loaded from top to bottom. Strictly by the numbers, two of the nation’s supposed four-best teams that made the trip to Minneapolis hailed from the east coast league.
In the end, by definition, the better team did win.
As stated above, I don’t believe that people around the nation who may or may not be tired of seeing a dark shade of blue cutting down nets has anything to do with the individual players. Nor does it have anything to do with discrediting the hard work of individuals such as Shane Battier, Jason Williams or the countless other Devil names.
Instead, I think it is the “Dallas Cowboy” syndrome. What was so great about seeing Maryland in the Final Four? Well, it was a team that hasn’t been able to pitch a tent in the Final Four venue for the past ten years.
Why do teams like Gonzaga, Butler, and Hampton who all pulled upsets in the “Big Dance” garner the fan support while teams like Duke, Carolina, and Stanford find themselves hearing boos? It’s simple. It’s the same principle that Duke faced when they dethroned UNLV—people like upsets; people like underdogs.
The mention of officiating brings up a good point. Yes, people are quick to jump on the back of the black-and-whited-striped whistle blowers and blame them for success and failures. However, as in the case of Monday night’s championship game, I don’t think that should be the primary focus.
Rather, the focus should be placed on the fact that this was the National Championship. The hundreds of corporate sponsors and their guests deserved a better officiated game—oops, did I say that? What I meant was that the two teams who fought so hard to get to Monday night deserved a better officiated game.
Duke in fact did earn their title…with a little help from the guys wearing stripes.
And what about the crock that is post-game honors and awards? Shane Battier has earned every title and award he has received this season. “Who’s your daddy? Battier,” indeed. However, the act of naming him the championship game’s MVP seemed a little scripted to me.
What about Mike Dunleavy, Jr.? What about this kid who scored nine points in 46 seconds to break the game open? In my opinion, he, not Mr. Battier, was the most valuable player for the Dookies, baby.
However, as impressive as “Boneleavy” was in the championship game, how was he named to the All-NCAA Tournament team? He had one good game the entire tournament, and that was the last one. I suppose that’s how it is justified. I justify it as saying, “out of sight, out of mind” –voters remember the most recent actions and that’s it. He deserved MVP of the game, not the tournament.
And finally, mega-negative props to the multitude of Duke fans here on campus, even though I consider many of them friends. Dark-blue shirts and hats with the familiar “D” logo littered the damp scenery around Cullowhee.
Did I miss something or don’t our student fees and, oh, tuition go to a public institution nestled in a valley between the Great Smoky and Blue Ridge Mountains and not to a over-priced lawyer/divinity school in the urban jungle of Durham?
That’s what I thought.
Why, then, is there such a bond there that they feel they can parade around shouting, “We won, We won…We’re National Champs!” Where were these vocal students when the Catamount basketball team ended up the regular season by beating the eventual conference champion, UNC Greensboro in the Ramsey Center?
Oh, perhaps they had distance learning homework that is e-mailed to a professor at Duke…yeah, right.
As a wise man named Crumpler once said, he came to Cullowhee and had his “ACC sins washed away by the purple and gold Catamount.” What I’m getting at is WCU will never move beyond the middle of the Southern Conference when those who should be the most concerned about the athletics—the students—are more concerned with how other schools are doing.
I’ll finish with this; the only thing that can be derived from the melee that is NCAA National Championship is that now, strictly by the numbers, Coach “K” is a better coach than Dean Smith. Yes, K may only have a court while Dean has a Dome…But K has three national titles hanging over his court.