So possibly the worst National Championship Game of all time ended what was arguably the wildest/most exciting version of March Madness in the history of College Basketball on Monday Evening. Connecticut, a team that finished 9th in the Big East, going 9 and 9 overall, brought home their 3rd National Championship.
For all of the naysayers out there, the numbers do not lie. Find me a team that went 500 in Conference play that had a prayer of reaching the Final Four. Only in the Big East. And you could say, “The Big East was way overrated, UConn just got hot.” Well please find me another team that went 500 in conference play that was good enough “when hot” to bring home the National Championship, or even reach the Final Four for that matter. The Big East had 12 to 13 NCAA Tournament Caliber teams. And so what if they lacked an elite dominant team at the top. It did not seem to matter on Monday night when the National Champion came from America’s top conference. But I digress. Lets look ahead to a for key storylines that will lead into next year’s hoop season.
-Will either coach from the two National Championship participants be manning the same sidelines next year? Jim Calhoun has a major suspension coming while Brad Stevens could literally coast into whatever coaching vacancy he could even imagine. Now, generally coaches leave schools when they are forced, or the cupboard appears bear for the next year. At UConn, that is far from the case with nearly the entire team outside of Kemba returning. I can guarantee you that the Huskies will be ranked in next year’s Preseason Poll.
-That kind of leads into my next point. Have you seen a smoother freshman than Jeremy Lamb in recent memory? I realize that there have been arguably more talented players who put up far better numbers in their freshman campaign, but this guy just has a smoothness to his game that is fun to watch. Also, he was a later bloomer than a guy like Derrick Rose or Kevin Durant. But he was playing his best basketball when it mattered the most. So will Lamb stay? And if he does decide to return to school, is he the frontrunner for next year’s Big East Player of the Year and/or National Player of the Year?
-Can anyone even dream of beating Kentucky next year? As much as I hate to say it, barring something very out of the ordinary happening, Kentucky will have a team as talented as some of the lower tier NBA teams next Fall. It doesn’t even seem fair. Now if this year’s tournament taught us anything, the teams that are the best on paper do not necessarily always win. That is why they call it March Madness. But you better believe that Kentucky’s talent level, no matter who leaves for the draft this year, will be insane.
-Speaking of Kentucky, what is the deal with John Calipari? Rumors are flowing about the coach with the best hair of them all yet again. Are any of these sanctions valid? I honestly have no idea at this point, but I do know the man’s past institutions have both lost Final Four Banners since his departure. Will Kentucky be the next victim?
-How good will Ohio State be next year? I admit that I thought this year was “the year” for the Buckeyes. Kentucky put up an outstanding effort though and knocked off the best team in America. But fortunately for Buckeye Nation, things appear to be shaping up pretty well for next year’s squad. Do not be surprised to see next year’s team repeat as Big Ten Champions and maybe even dance their way into the Final Four.
-Who is next year’s version of the Jimmer Show? Somebody please tell me who the next big thing out of one of the non power conferences is going to be. I will admit, I am going to miss watching Fredette playing at the College Level. I wish him the best of luck in his professional career.
-Lastly, could 3 brothers start for Duke next year? Another Plumlee will be arriving in Blue Devil Nation in the Fall. And Marshall is arguably the most talented of the 3. Has there ever been a team that started 3 brothers, or even had 3 brothers in the main rotation?
So there you have a brief look ahead at some storylines for next season. Much more predictions and analysis will be coming at a later date.
Hope you enjoyed the 2010/2011 College Basketball Season. Could the 2011/2012 season be even better?
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.