PAC 12 Basketball Rises From the Ashes

The year is over; all the brackets are done. The big question is, "How did you do?" In a contest of 68 people I finished 58th. Last year I picked Virginia, one year too early. This year I picked Gonzaga. I thought that I was going to do well, but I lost to people who pick by the team's mascots. Thinking back, after all these years, I cannot remember ever winning one of the bracket contests. But I still believe that I will win next year. The final games were excellent. Many of them came down to one last shot, one last foul, one last miss. A radio host last week was lamenting how bad NCAA basketball has become; impossible to watch. Well, the last games put that to rest. You could make a good case for so many teams to win: Auburn, Texas Tech, Belmont, Wofford, and other teams who have never won, a category that includes Virginia. Virginia’s coach, Tony Bennett, is outstanding and they deserved to win. He is 49 and looks 25. I followed his dad when he won titles at University of Wisconsin at Green Bay and the University of Wisconsin. Makes me feel old, because when I played against Green Bay, they were a two year extension school of the UW. While at UWGB, Tony set a record for 3 point shooting, 49.7% and won the Naismith Award for Best Player under 6 foot. He played a few years in the NBA and then around the world. He followed his dad as coach at Washington State and then he went on to Virginia. This could be the first of many championships as he coaches tough defense. His defense is called, pack the line and it was designed by his father. You force the ball into the middle of the floor which helps close passing lanes and there is more weak side help. One expert said that it is like a boa constrictor choking out an opponent. In a few years we will be hoping that someone beats UVA because they will be winning many times. Bennett has already won the Hank Iba coaching award (three times), the only other person who has done that was John Wooden. Can you imagine what these two years of winning will do to UVA recruiting? Great story about Tony’s life in Wikipedia. Worth a read. See you next year for another MM.

Elite Eight

Our local conference had four teams in the ELITE EIGHT. Unbelievable. And UCLA is still playing as I write this. Also, in the ELITE EIGHT there was only one school located east of the Mississippi.

In the last NCAA Tourney the Pac 12 had one team in the Sweet Sixteen and none in the Elite Eight. The West shall rise again.

UCLA is one of only two teams that have gone from the play-in game to the Final Four. (Virginia Commonwealth University).

UCLA is a 14 point underdog to Gonzaga and +2500 to win it all. That might be an interesting bet.

The over-under is 146. Note in their last game, UCLA and Michigan scored 100 points and Gonzaga and USC notched 151. Just saying.

In the Go Blue and Go Bruins game there was a held ball called late. The ball went to Michigan. How did they determine this? At the start of the game one team will control the jump ball. The other team is then given the arrow of possession. And it alternates for the rest of the game through the half. If there is overtime, there is a new jump ball and the same method is used to determine who gets the next ball.

I have also seen the arrow consulted when a ball is wedged in between the basket supports.

Go Bruins.

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