In all too familiar fashion, by the end of the first round, I found myself looking toward next year’s chase for the perfect bracket. Decades into this madness and you’d think I’d learn the fine art of “throwing in the towel”. Nonsense! Play on is what I’ll continue to do. In the meantime though, no time like a tournament for institutions of higher learning to showcase a few things I have learned along the way:
Humble beginnings don’t define where you go but they can in fact define who you become. Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield didn’t allow the lack of traditional equipment to deter him from perfecting his skillset. Aiming for milk crates in his hometown of Freeport, Bahamas proved to be more than sufficient practice. Add to that a genuinely charming personality and the world is shaping up to be Buddy’s oyster.
Even high odds aren’t a guarantee. If so, the team with premiere national recognition, a storied program and a number two seed wouldn’t have lost to a team that had many of us asking Google—“where is Middle Tennessee State University?” By now, it is probably a safe bet Michigan State’s fan base knows the answer to be Murfreesboro.
Lessons on taking the high road are best given from the high road. A path disappointingly not taken by Duke’s Coach K when chastising Oregon Dillon Brooks on taking a shot when a Duck victory was well in hand.
A. While any shot put up has a fifty-fifty chance of making it, this was undoubtedly a lucky shot.
B. As long as Blue Devil Grayson Allen is suffering from sporadic spasms which cause his feet to make contact with opponents & Coach K to provide convenient excuses for such actions….Duke’s front porch could use a good sweeping before any other porches are cleaned!
Fundamentally there are no personal grievances against the “One and Done” philosophy. However, from Oklahoma’s senior starters to AP Player of the Year Denzel Valentine of Michigan State and every senior in between, it is refreshing to see rosters reflecting a “back in the day” mentality. It seems as though we were far too quick in adopting the notion of senior status translating to a deficiency in skills. Surely, one of this year’s shining moments is the reminder that there is, in fact, more than one way to skin a cat!
And I’ve learned the ladies and gents from every basketball team, in every division, are due a well-deserved applause!