by Tom Weppel
And so we are down to the Final Four, after two weeks of some pretty good college basketball. North Carolina, UConn, Villanova, and Michigan State are all in Detroit, and by Monday evening, there will be only one team left standing.
I’d like to mention that in THIS college sport, the champion is determined the RIGHT way! Not by any degree of judgment or decree, unlike in college football.
If there is a prohibitive favorite, I would have to say it’s the Carolina Tar Heels. They rumbled through their Region, taking care of business as if they felt it was necessary. And while the Villanova Wildcats will assume the ‘underdog’ moniker of the remaining four, they will have a very tough time beating UNC. The other game gives us a very solid, very strong, and very tall Connecticut team that did a good job in winning the West Region. As the other #1 seed to still be alive, they have a good shot against the Michigan St. Spartans, although Tom Izzo always does a good job getting his troops ready to play.
All in all, it should be an entertaining Saturday of basketball, to be played in what will seem like a very cavernous facility in Ford Field. To see 70,000 fill that stadium to watch teams play on a basketball will be almost laughable. I wouldn’t want to be the guys who will be sitting in the upper reaches. The teams will look like ants running around on the hardwood.
I think I like the two #1’s on Saturday, with UConn and UNC in the Final. We’ll take it from there…
Meanwhile, in Memphis, TN, there are a lot of people who are not liking John Calipari nearly as much as they used to. I’m sure they feel betrayed by a guy who had done a great job for five years taking the basketball program and bringing a strong degree of success. I’m sure they now feel as if that is all gone, and they are wondering what will now happen and who is going to step in to the head coaching position Calipari is leaving.
They probably feel as if the Memphis Tiger basketball program is not looked up to anymore. In fact, they might think its looked down upon.
Calipari is leaving behind a great team. He is also leaving some kids hanging, including a number of prized high school recruits. I’ll be very interested in seeing where the kids will go now that had previously committed to Memphis.
While a lot of people have a solid right to feel bad about Calipari leaving for Kentucky, there are others who can commend him for doing the right things in making the switch. Wildcat basketball fans are certainly ecstatic, to say the least. If there is anyone who can return the Kentucky program to prominence, it would be John Calipari.
But I would also hope that someone is able to step in at Memphis and keep things rolling on a successful level.
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
After what has seemed like an eternity, Spring Training is FINALLY over, and we can start the regular season. We will see quite a bit of initial pomp and circumstance, as usual. We will also see the opening of a couple of stadiums, including the two new digs in New York City. We’ll start of this first week with the Mets place, called Citi Field. Hopefully the weather will cooperate.
There are tons of questions that will come out in consideration of all the teams playing. Eyes will be on the Philadelphia Phillies, coming off their World Series victory. There will even be some fans interested in seeing what the Tampa Bay Rays are up to. A year ago, not many cared at all about the Rays. Amazing what one season of change can do. And so off we go with six months of regular season baseball. We’ll see who will do what to start off…
NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
The race is officially on for the services of QB Jay Cutler. Anyone out there needing a pretty good Quarterback might be talking with Pat Bowlen and the Denver Broncos. The questions will be a) where will he best fit in, and b) who will give the most in return for Cutler to the Broncos. There are a number of teams that will take an obvious interest, including the Bucs, the Bears, the Jets, the Lions, and the Vikings. I’m sure there are fans of other teams out there that think they could use Cutler as well.
What Denver now has to consider is who can they (and will they) find to replace their guy. Obviously, new HC Josh McDaniels thought he could have Matt Cassell, but Cassell ended up in Kansas City instead. And so Pat Bowlen will have to find somebody to come in and do a good, if not better job than Cutler did the last few seasons. As of now, the Broncos have Chris Simms and Darrell Hackney to play QB. And so the next few weeks will certainly be interesting for Denver. We’ll see what they can come up with…
by Tom Weppel