March has finally come and gone. The excitement of the first two weekends are behind us. The clock has struck midnight for most of the Cinderella’s of the tournament. However, two remain. The University of Connecticut and University of Kentucky (seventh and eighth seeds respectively) both remain in the Final Four with Wisconsin (a two seed) and Florida (the top seed in the tournament) filling out the other two spots.
The Final Four is always surrounded with drama. Much of the conversation over the past week has been about the match ups and predictions that college basketball “experts” have been making. These are great, I mean what else are sports programs going to talk about. Baseball has barely started and no one cares about the NHL and NBA until playoff time anyway. However, many of these conversations go too far. Some of the discussions they have been holding range from the pro potential of many of these players to the critiques of the one and done system. The problem is not that these are bad talking points, because they are not. They are not the conversation to be having the week leading up to the most important weekend of the season for the sport. That’s not what the Final Four is. The Final Four is about the now.
I’d like to know as much as the next guy whether or not Shabazz Napier has the potential to succeed in the NBA. Knowing how many of Kentucky’s starting five will make the NBA is great. But that’s not what the Final Four is about. People use the Final Four to look to the future instead of valuing what they have right in front of them. Its as if when someone doesn’t make it to the NBA their college career was a waste. This isn’t the case though. Look at Billy Donavon (the head coach of the University of Florida). He didn’t even have a cup of coffee in the NBA, but he lead the Providence Friars on one of the greatest runs in NCAA tournament history with his three point shooting. Did that not count just because he didn’t succeed in the NBA? No, that run is still heralded as one of the greatest in tournament history.
As fans, we have to take off our blinders and look at what is happening right in front of us. Who cares if Shabazz Napier will succeed in the NBA? He just led his UCONN Huskies on an improbable run to the Final Four with some of the best games of his career. Kentucky needs to recruit a new starting five next season? Who cares? I get to watch them work their magic for at least two more games. Stop fretting the small things that matter in the future and just enjoy the basketball for once.
It may seem like my blog is a broken record, talking about and critiquing most things wrong that I believe are wrong with college basketball. I only do this because unfortunately, most of what I write about is occurring, and in my opinion is ruining the spirit of the sport. I could talk about the games that happened each week, talking about how each team did and what I think would happen. Unfortunately, I feel like that would get old, and most of you would not understand it. I write about these things because I think they are more interesting to the non-basketball person and that some of the things I say might be able to influence you guys to watch the sport as often as I do.