If, three weeks ago, you gave me 20 chances to guess which team would be cutting down the nets Monday night after the NCAA Tournament, I wouldn’t have picked Connecticut.
Hell, if you gave me THIRTY chances I wouldn’t have picked the Huskies. But that’s what me and millions of others love so much about the Tournament: You just never know.
And so Monday night, the most improbable NCAA men’s basketball champion in 29 years was crowned. Led by Shabazz Napier, the only real star the Huskies have, UConn parlayed an incredible three weeks of basketball into a title.
Truly, I’m stunned. With all the good teams in this Tournament, to think that UConn, who barely survived its opening game, an OT win against St. Joe’s, could topple teams that on paper looked so much better, is amazing.
They beat No. 2 seed Villanova in the Round of 32, then knocked off No.3 Iowa State, No. 4 Michigan State, and No. 1 Florida to get to the title game.
An incredible job by coach Kevin Ollie and Napier’s teammates, especially Ryan Boatright and DeAndre Daniels. What a crazy, crazy story, that UConn has won four NCAA title in the last 15 years.
Some other scattered thoughts from Monday’s title game:
— So happy that Satan Calipari lost. Someone on Twitter mentioned that hatred of him is the only thing that could ever bring Duke and North Carolina fans together. We all rooted against him tonight.
– Still, as much as I hate Cal, gotta give a lot of credit to his team. As usual, they fell down by a lot early, then battled back and were right there at the end.
– Looking for “One Shining Moment?” It’s right here. Solid job on it by CBS as always, though we saw hardly any buzzer-beaters and Wisconsin and Michigan State got shafted in the highlights. But the McDermott father-son hug gave me chills.
– Napier cracked me up when, in his postgame interview, he railed about the NCAA holding UConn back by not letting them in last year’s Tournament, and acting all angry. Shabazz, bubbeleh, your team wasn’t in last year’s Big Dance because UConn’s team academic performance was so poor in previous years that you were put on probation! If your team could pass Freshman English, y’all would’ve been fine!
– We take him for granted a lot, but CBS’ Jim Nantz is really, really good at calling big games. Excellent voice, knows when to get excited, and lets his analysts talk.
– Even if you’re not a big women’s basketball fan, you should check out tonight’s women’s final. Undefeated UConn against undefeated Notre Dame, in the women’s game’s hottest rivalry right now. Should definitely be a great one.
– Can’t wait till next season. Duke’s undefeated so far in 2014-15.
**Next up, you may remember a few weeks back I wrote about a fantastic HoneyMaid commercial that went viral, showing families of all kinds coming together in love.
Of course, because there’s still so much homophobia and racism in America, HoneyMaid took a whole lot of flack from right-wing groups and individuals for the ad.
So as a perfect response, they released this commercial the other day. Just picture-perfect in every way.
**Finally today, I heard this on NPR last week and thought it may be the most creative teacher punishment I’ve ever heard.
An educator in Belgium has a class full of fans of the hit HBO show “Game of Thrones.”
And to keep them in line, he’s threatened them with the ultimate cruel torture: Revealing spoilers for the upcoming episodes.
Yep, the unnamed educator apparently told the students in his math class that he’d read all the George R. Martin books in the series, and would reveal which characaters would die next if there was any more noise in the room.
The kids fell into a hush when the teacher started writing characters’ names on the board, and promised to behave.