March 28th, 2016
I leave Friday for Houston where I will be blogging for the paper on the Final Four. And what a Final Four it will be.
Clearly, the Tarheels are the favorite. With their combination of strong guards and a talented frontcourt, can anybody slow them down. I doubt it. My Orange are the biggest surprise, and they showed what great pressure defense they can play when they need to. Their 2-3 zone is hard to crack, but UNC can both shoot the ball from beyond the arc and have the ability to get the ball inside where the zone is vulnerable. Rebounding could be a key, and although the Orange are athletic, I give the edge to the Heels. It will be a tough one for me, having graduated from Syracuse and being close to the UNC program, so the good news is one of my teams will be in the Final game.
The other game should be very competitive. Can one man defeat a team. We will see. Oklahoma relies on the best player in the country. Buddy Hield has been unbelievable . He may be the best shooter besides Stephen Curry in all of basketball. Villanova has gotten the NCAA monkey off its back and is playing very good defensive basketball. No stars, but a very solid all- around team. Oklahoma destroyed the Wildcats here in Honolulu back in November, but I think this one will be a 4-5 point game. I am going with the Sooners.
Houston is not my favorite place for a Final Four. The city is so spread out, and the Stadium is miles from hotels, etc so there are not a lot of activities nearby that bring out the fans, etc. Most of the activities will take place near the Convention Center and it will be a 20-30 minute commute to the Stadium. Also, unless you sit with the rich boosters or the sponsors, you are better off watching the games on TV. With a media pass, we will see where they put me this year. I have been very lucky the past few years.
I have also been invited to a few special events including a roundtable with NCAA officials to discuss the state of college basketball. Its been a very interesting year and the conversation should be very informative.
Meanwhile back on the ranch, the Bows have" signed" a new freshman guard ( or at least they have a commitment), and I expect the coaches will be out in force after Houston. And for those who were speculating that Eran might be going to a WCC school, so far those jobs have been taken by others ( yeh!). And how about Jamie Dixon. He leaves his 10 year contract at Pitt to return to his alma mater, TCU. Yes, Pitt is a tough job in a great Conference, but TCU? Jamie will struggle to win there, but I guess his heart is in Fort Worth.