Posts tagged with Ncaa Tournament 2013

Why KU-Carolina won’t happen

Let me start out by saying that the whole idea for this blog entry was born from the simple belief, of this writer at least, that North Carolina coach Roy Williams is a good person.

Having grown up in Lawrence and hung around with his son, Scott, I know this to be true. He’s a kind, compassionate, genuine man with an intense love of basketball and a highly competitive spirit.

Fans of Kansas University basketball know this, whether they’ve spent the past 10 seasons rooting against him or not. As the old saying goes, or at least went, Ol’ Roy had more desire to win in his little finger than all of the Kansas basketball fans in the world combined. Before the divorce, KU fans loved that about him. As time goes by and more distance is put between his 15 seasons in Lawrence and the present day, I think KU fans will slowly begin to remember that.

The scene at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., on Thursday certainly made that seem possible. With thousands of KU fans in the stands waiting for the Jayhawks, Williams was cheered when UNC took the floor for its open practice session.

So what does any of this have to with Caronlina’s first-round match-up against Villanova on Friday at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.? That, too, is simple. It’s my contention that the basketball gods simply are not that cruel to put one man through losing to his former school on the biggest stage in the world twice in the past 12 months and three times in the past five years. It was cruel enough of the committee to put the potential match-up out there, but the gods will intervene.

Roy left. He did what he had to do for himself and his family. And, truth be told, had most of you been in his position, you would’ve done the same thing, whether you’re willing to admit it or not.

But he has paid his debt to the Jayhawk Nation. After getting drubbed by Kansas in the national semifinals in 2008, Williams stuck around for the title game against Memphis and wore a Jayhawk sticker on his shirt. For that he was crushed by the UNC fans, and when the two schools met again in last year’s Elite Eight in St. Louis, he had to relive the whole experience while suffering through another heartbreaking loss to his former school at the same time.

Every time he's been asked, Williams has had nothing but positive, heart-felt things to say about KU and his time here.

So when is enough enough?

North Carolina, which enters the game as a four-point favorite, may have more talent than Villanova. The Tar Heels may be a bit under-seeded — third in the ACC and a berth in the conference tournament title game usually gets you more than an 8 seed — and may have the luxury of having at least a few players who have experienced the NCAA Tournament and its intense pressure in much bigger games and venues. But I don’t think they’ll win.

Forget just playing the hunch, though. Villanova has real talent. Freshman point guard Ryan Arcidiacono was a unanimous selection on the Big East’s all-rookie squad and the Wildcats have a size advantage inside, led by senior forward Mouphtaou Yarou (6-foot-10, 255 pounds) and sophomore bruiser JayVaughn Pinkston (6-7, 260). In addition, the Wildcats are the better defensive team, are better free-throw shooters and have a more quality wins. Forget about the 20-13 overall record. In the past 59 days alone, ‘Nova knocked off Louisville and Syracuse in back-to-back games and also snagged victories over Marquette and Georgetown. That’s victories over a No. 1, 2, 3 and 4 seed in this year’s NCAA Tournament and 11 total games (4-7) against NCAA Tournament teams. UNC? Not a single victory against a team currently in the Top 25.

I think Villanova wins. I think Roy goes home sad. But, when it’s all said and done, I don’t think it hurts as bad as losing to Kansas — again.


“Expert Picks” interesting to read but how much do they mean to you?

For the most part, it seems that fans of Kansas University basketball are a pretty superstitious bunch.

Whether that's derived from the great tradition at the school that dates back decades or the recent success, it seems that “signs” are everywhere and can be taken from just about anything, especially during March.

There are, of course, reasons behind many of the superstitions and they seem to straddle both sides of the fence. Some fans like when KU gets a No. 1 seed and is considered one of the favorites. Others prefer the Jayhawks to be the under-the-radar bunch with less attention and therefore less pressure placed on them.

And then, of course, you've got the thousands of fans who wear the same gameday shirts, sit in the same seats or watch the games at the same establishments, all in the name of keeping the peace.

With that in mind, I couldn't help but wonder how being picked by the experts to reach the Final Four makes most KU fans feel. Nervous? Excited? Proud? Satisfied?

Earlier today, I saw an Insider column titled “Experts Final Four Picks” and naturally I was compelled to click on it. It's always fun to see who other people are picking and why, regardless of whether they're named Dick Vitale and Digger Phelps or Donald Duck and Dave Grohl.

It's not that I'm searching for the answers. I'm a firm believer that nobody out there has even the slightest clue how things are going to go, and that's what makes the Big Dance so wonderful and so captivating every year no matter where it's played or which teams are playing. Besides, I've got my own bracket, thank you very much, and I feel pretty good about how it looks — at least today.

But, still, it's interesting to see what others are thinking and saying about the four teams who will advance to Atlanta. Here's a quick rundown of the “Experts Picks” from

As you can see, two of the five included Kansas. My question to you is this: Does that make you feel better, worse or the same about the Jayhawks' chances?

(PS: I'm still searching the web for more “expert picks” and will add them to the bottom of this list as I find them so check back often.)

Jay Bilas
Final Four: Louisville, Ohio State, VCU, Indiana
Title: Louisville over Indiana

John Gasaway
Final Four: Louisville, Ohio State, Kansas, Indiana
Title: Louisville over Indiana

Seth Greenberg
Final Four: Louisville, Gonzaga, Kansas, Indiana
Title: Louisville over Indiana

Joe Lunardi
Final Four: Louisville, Gonzaga, Florida, Miami
Title: Louisville over Florida

Ken Pomeroy
Final Four: Louisville, New Mexico, Florida, Miami
Title: Florida over Louisville

Garry Parish
Final Four: Louisville, Wisconsin, VCU, Indiana
Title: Louisville over Indiana

Gregg Doyel
Final Four: Louisville, Ohio State, Michigan, Indiana
Title: Ohio State over Michigan

Jeff Goodman
Final Four: Louisville, Gonzaga, Florida, Indiana
Title: Louisville over Indiana

Dennis Dodd
Final Four: Louisville, New Mexico, Georgetown, Miami
Title: Louisville over Miami

Yahoo! Sports

Greg Anthony
Final Four: Louisville, Gonzaga, Georgetown, Miami
Title: Louisville over Miami

Pat Forde
Final Four: Louisville, Ohio State, Georgetown, Indiana
Title: Louisville over Indiana