Spring cleaning basketball-style

May 1, 2012 — by Jonathan Young

March is the best time to be a basketball fan. The frustration of brackets being busted — mine included — coupled with the thrill of Cinderellas advancing round after round makes the NCAA March Madness tournament one of a kind. Even the non-basketball fan can be enthralled in the tournament and get caught up in the madness.

What makes the tournament so appealing to many fans is that, like the NFL Playoffs, it’s one-and-done. The nature of the tournament is that one bad game or one terrific one can cause a Goliath to fall or a Cinderella to emerge.

Watching 15th seeds Lehigh and Norfolk State unseat second seeds Duke and Missouri early, only to lose in heartbreakers later on, was just one part of this year’s roller coaster of thrills.

The Final Four pitted fourth seed Louisville against the overwhelming favorites and overall first seed Kentucky Wildcats. Nothing made the match more exciting than watching my favorite player, Kentucky forward/center Anthony Davis, dominate the competition. The unibrow was unstoppable and proved so in his 18 point, 14 rebound, five block classic en route to beating Louisville.

I was jumping out of my seat when Davis threw down an alley-oop at the end of the game as an exclamation point in the victory.

Future lottery pick, guard/forward, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist also had his “wow” moment when he got into the lane, spun off of his defender and powered down a dunk.

Another exciting matchup pitted Kansas against Ohio State and, in a furious second half comeback led by forward and projected future top five pick, Thomas Robinson, the Kansas Jayhawks were victorious. The game was really a tale of two halves, as the Ohio State Buckeyes had control of the game in the first but lost it in the second.

I was so convinced that the Buckeyes had control and would win the game that I turned off the TV to get some homework done. When I returned, the momentum on the court had shifted and the game was neck to neck in the final 10 minutes. In the end, the Jayhawks had pulled together a comeback and my expectations had been proven wrong.

The National Championship game between Kentucky and Kansas was one to remember as well as Davis once again proved himself worthy. It was incredible to see a player so young (Davis is only 19) dominate a game so thoroughly while only scoring six points. Davis controlled the game defensively by pulling down 16 rebounds, tallying six blocks and three steals.

Davis’ one block on Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor was so emphatic that I almost fell off my couch. I could almost feel the block in New Orleans from here. When Kansas guard Elijah Johnson attempted a three-point shot at the end of the game, all I could do was laugh in amazement as Davis didn’t block the shot, but bothered Johnson so much that he jumped in the air and never got the shot off, causing him to travel.

The first half was in Kentucky’s control and all I was thinking was whether this game was going to be similar to Kentucky-Louisville where Kentucky held on for the win, or like Kansas-Ohio State where Kansas made a furious comeback to emerge as victors.

In the end, the Davis-led Kentucky Wildcats managed to hold back a late Kansas push to win the school’s eighth national title. The 67-59 game was a spectacular display of what is so great about college basketball.

This is the reason I watch the tournament. It is amazing to watch a group of kids, only about three years older than I am, accomplish something of this magnitude. What a way to end March.

 

This is the reason I watch the tournament. It is amazing to watch a group of kids, only about three years older than I am, accomplish something of this magnitude. What a way to end March.