Monday, March 31, 2008

Chalk Talk; Shooting Cats; Packer

Thank god for Davidson, or the 2nd weekend of hoops could have been quite boring with 4 number one seeds winning out for the first time EVER. While all #1's could have been bad for this past weekend, in that no big upsets to enjoy, it certainly sets up what could be the most exciting final four in a long time. On the surface you'd have to say UNC and Memphis should be favored because they just playing great, BUT, Kevin Love can really change a game, and it isn't that Kansas played bad yesterday, it was that they were playing an exceptional team. I'm really looking forward to the semi's.

Prop's to Tyler Hansbrough. In a game where he was outsized and early looked like he might get out-played, he stepped up big-time. It was probably the most impressive outing I've seen in his 3 years. Unlike most State and Duke fans I know, I really like this Carolina team. Go Heels.

Speaking of Davidson, I'm not sure there is much else to say that hasn't been said. That was a very good team, with an amazing player. They came within 1 shot of making the final four. That shot didn't go, but this has been quite a good run and I hope it pays dividends at Davidson for a long time. My hope is this puts them on the map nationally allowing them to schedule much like Gonzaga does, and also really let's them aim higher recruiting wise.

For all of my friends who hate Billy Packer (and it seems they all do for some reason), interesting article about Packer getting ready to call his 100th Final Four game.

Really neat read about Packer and his many ventures. He also is dead on about something I think a lot will agree with:

He is less amiable, however, when it comes to the decline of American basketball. He pegs the turning point at 1992 and the juxtaposition of the Olympic Dream Team with the arrival at Michigan of the ill-fated Fab Five.

The Dream Team, Packer said, "was made up of guys who went through the natural maturation process and learned how to play the game. They had incredibly competitive drive as a team. The same year, Duke won the national championship with a junior and senior team that was very focused.

"The Fab Five began the new era. They came in with all this hype and never won anything. How can you be the Fab Five and never win a Big 10 championship? Plus, they were on the take. It was not 'what I can do for the game.' It's 'what can the game do for me.'"

The 'and-one' factor

Packer said modern players are devoted to what he describes as "and-one basketball — a game that is non-competitive except for one thing: You are showing your entertainment value with the ball in your hands."

"Our modern athlete does not know how to compete as part of a team. He knows how to exhibit singular basketball skills with great athleticism, but he doesn't know how to play."

That's why Packer rolls his eyes at the notion that recent teams — for example, Duke's teams of the late 1990s -- could rank among the best ever.

"Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry Lucas and Bill Walton all played as seniors," he said. "Do you think they would have lost any sleep the night before they played Elton Brand, a 6-5 sophomore, at the center position? Please. Jerry West and Oscar Robertson played in the NCAA final as seniors. Do you think they would have worried about O.J. Mayo?"


Anonymous said...

Nice article. Still do not like him.

Anonymous said...

I never thought much about the beginning of downfall of American Hoops, but Packer is right on... Would much rather listen to Packer on a cranky day than Vitale on any day

Ken White said...

I think I've figured out the people that hate Packer. They are almost exclusively the same people that HATE Carolina, no matter what. These people used to use players as the reason they couldn't stand Carolina. From JR Reed to Rasheed, Carolina had a run of players that were easy to hate.

But, when you look at this set of kids, much like the kids during the Montross era, you just can't hate them. But a certain number of fans just flat out hate carolina no matter what. They currently blame it on the way some carolina fans behave, and I guess I'll buy that. But these people will pull for almost anyone over carolina, even though they proclaim they are ACC fans.

I had never really figured it out, but it is this same set of people who absolutely hate packer. I've never really noticed Packer was any more partial to Carolina than any others, but maybe he is and that has encouraged them to come to the conclusion that Packer is an idiot.

Anonymous said...

Some people that love Carolina hate him too.

Ken White said...

For those that really like Vitale and really hate Packer, there must be some common thread or characteristic. I'd love to know what it is.

Anonymous said...

Stupidity or insanity, take your choice…

Anonymous said...

Vitale makes people love college basketball, because he has great passion. Packer is a passionate colassal prick!

Ken White said...

Not sure why, but I still like him. I thought he called a great Finals last night. However, his age does show from time to time. Nothing irritates me more than someone calling a game getting rules wrong. Late in the overtime when memphis was inbounding the ball after a Kansas basket, Rose was letting the ball bounce up the court without touching it so the clock wouldn't start. Packer started getting excited saying he needed to grab it, then he kind of caught himself and stopped, so I was thinking he was going to get it right. But of course, he then went on to mention the 5 second call. Long ago, the 5 count to get a ball inbounds didn't stop until the ball was touched, but that was seriously long ago, feels like at least 10 years.

I also know that we have some advantages over the commentators because we are watching on TV, and while they have a monitor, their eyes are typically focussed on the floor, where at times they don't see as much as we do. But it took Packer like 3 times down the floor to pick up the box and 1.

While I'm talking about the game, there were two interesting things I saw. There was a ball knocked out of bounds late that was obviously out off Kansas, and the Ref called it out off Kansas, as a Memphis kid was walking to get it, doing that typical thing of waiting for the call and not touching the ball until after the whistle. Only thing is, I'm about 95% sure the whistle came before the ball actually landed out of boundes, and about 95% sure the memphis guy touched it before it was really out of bounds.

The other thing is the Memphis 3 that was changed to a 2. I didn't get to see it enough times, the camera angle wasn't perfect, but I'd almost be willing to bet that because his front foot came off the floor a tiny fraction of a second before his back foot, that really was a 3. Not positive, but I'd bet it was.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. Packer called a decent final. He should, he gets a fortune from CBS. Memphis choking made it better TV. With or without Pecker I mean Packer.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. Packer called a decent final. He should, he gets a fortune from CBS. Memphis choking made it better TV. With or without Pecker I mean Packer.