Monday, March 30, 2009
The Week That Was
And then there were four. North Carolina, Connecticut, Michigan State, and Villanova are the final four teams left in the NCAA Tournament. Obviously, I am very pleased with the Tar Heels making it back to the Final Four for the second straight season. They have a chance to right the wrong that was last season's Final Four when they came unprepared to play Kansas. The Heels were the most impressive team of the weekend, as they walloped both Gonzaga and Oklahoma. Neither game was close and the Heels seem to be hitting their stride at just the right time. A really refreshing thing to see yesterday was Danny Green playing well in the win over Oklahoma. Green had struggled for a while but seemed to break out of his funk yesterday. If he get's going that adds just one more weapon to Carolina's arsenal. Carolina was helped by Oklahoma missing 17 of 19 from three point land but some credit has to be given to Carolina's defensive effort. Carolina's weakness has always been defense, if they can play even average defense they are almost impossible to beat. Blake Griffin of Oklahoma did impress me in defeat and I think an NBA team will be very fortunate to have him next season.
Connecticut didn't rout their way to the Final Four but were in control in both of their wins over Purdue and Missouri. They let those teams hang around for a bit but it never really felt like Connecticut wasn't going to win. The recruiting violation allegations have seemingly had no affect on the Huskies. Most people seem to be leaning towards picking UCONN or Carolina to cut down the nets a week from tonight.
The last two teams were somewhat of a surprise. Michigan State dominated the overall #1 seed, Louisville (a joke, Carolina should have had that distinction) in the second half and held the Cardinals to 52 points, when two nights ago the Cardinals put up over 100 on a hapless Arizona team. Goran Suton was the big star for the Spartans and it will be interesting to watch him match up with Hasheem Thabeet on Saturday. Michigan State had to gut out a win against defending national champion Kansas to even have the chance to beat Louisiville. Michigan State will have the homecourt advantage in Detroit, although Carolina waxed them by 35 at Ford Field early in the season.
Villanova reached their first Final Four in 24 years in dramatic fashion. Local boy Scottie Reynolds hit a running jumper with .2 seconds remaining to give Villanova the win over Pittsburgh. Villanova has gotten better and better as this Tournament has progressed. In the First Round they were down 14 to American but ever since then they have been a different team. They blew out UCLA and Duke in the next two rounds and went blow for blow with #1 seed Pitt. Villanova has some size inside with Daunte Cunningham and it will be his job to try to neutralize the many bigs that Carolina can throw at a team.
I will have a full preview of the Final Four on Friday. Also, check out spartyandfriends.com on Friday as I will be writing a Final Four preview for the North Carolina Tar Heels.
One other story that got some media play but not enough in my opinion was the story of Houston Texans RB Ryan Moats. For those that didn't hear Moats was rushing his family to the hospital as his mother-in-law laid on her death bed. Rushing for obvious reasons, Moats ran a red light on his way to the hospital. Dallas police officer Robert Powell pulled Moats over and tried to detain the whole family. Moats wife ignored the officer and rushed into the hospital, hoping to get a final chance to see her dying mother. Officer Powell seemed oblivious to the urgency of the situation and kept Moats with him, even threatening to make things difficult for him. Nurses eventually came outside and informed Officer Powell that Moats mother-in-law was in the hospital dying but Officer Powell insisted on writing his stupid ticket. Moats missed his mother-in-law's last breaths all over a stupid traffic violation. The Dallas Police Department displayed some common sense, and withdrew the ticket and issued a public apology to Moats and his family. Officer Powell is on leave while the case is reviewed.
This story sickened me and fairly or unfairly is the reason why I have an issue with law enforcement. I understand that not all police officers are created equally, I had an uncle that was a police officer and I respect that they put their lives on the line every day. However, too many times I have come across and read stories of police officers on the type of power trips that Officer Powell was on. There is a time for protocol and there is a time for human decency. Officer Powell exhibited zero moral character and should be completely ashamed of himself. How a person could be so cruel and downright stupid is really beyond me.