April 4, 2011
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Random thoughts on the morning after the Madness died…
Yes. The Madness came to an end yesterday with Butler’s victory over this year’s Cinderella, VCU – Virginia Commonwealth University. The Rams had a great run. Take that back. They had a remarkable run. Remember, their invitation to the Dance included an asterisk: “First Round Game Required.” Here’s what I take away from VCU’s performance: It’s absolutely great for the game and great for the championship. I mean, seriously, do we really want to see the same four or five or six teams each year when the brackets is only four lines big?
And, regarding Butler, I’m no expert, but I’m inclinded to think that program’s success is a by-product of a string of very good head coaches and assistant coaches – Todd Lickliter included — and, perhaps more importantly, the combination of more top level talent available than ever before in the history of the game paired with years of experience in a program and a system, e.g. the Bulldog program isn’t a “one-and-doner.” Just my two cents, though, and I am, admittedly, wandering out of my area of expertise.
Oh, yeah. The other game? Connecticut defeated Kentucky. No Cinderella’s in that one. Just two powerhouse programs that, unfortunately for fans of college basketball, have the attention of the NCAA for reasons not related to the fun and frivolity of their visit to Houston and this year’s Final Four.
The 4,724 commercials for Lowe’s home improvement stores that we’ve watched during the past three weeks have, in fact, revved me up for some yard work. They’ve also made me anxious to chase the little white ball. (The 2,768 promo spots for The Masters have undoubtedly contributed to that yearning.) You and I both know which will happen first.
There’s a good possibility that a Daniel and a Daniels will be among the starting four in the Rick Kaczenski’s defensive line when the Hawkeyes open their 2011 season next Labor Day weekend against Tennessee Tech. That won’t be a problem for the Hawkeye Radio Network’s Gary Dolphin and Ed Podolak – yes, like all Hawk fans, I’m planning on Eddie being in the booth for the opener. However, it’s a fair bet that it will be a little tricky for a few of the visiting team’s radio talent and the television play-by-play guys.
P>That Daniel-Daniels challenge for some of the media speaks to one of the beauties I’ve talked about before: The revolving door that is college athletics. New names dot the roster and the starting lineup every year. Some are brand new, some we’ve heard a little bit about. Then, of course, there are the guys who are working back from a season-ending injury like talented senior linebacker Tyler Nielson, who you can read about HERE. And, when you done reading, check out the exclusive free video and photo galleries HERE.
I spent an hour or so at Duane Banks Field yesterday watching the Hawkeyes entertain the Michigan State Spartans. The sun was shining, the grass was more Kentucky bluegrass green than winter yellow, and the grandstand was busy. Made me wonder just how much fun it would be if the college baseball season wasn’t so short for us northerners.
Later today my son will be coming by for dinner and I’ll use that get-together to do again this year what I’ve done for probably the past five or so: I’ll offer him Tiger and I’ll take the field at Augusta. A number cruncher would likely say it’s a wise decision. My head agrees. My gut – this year – however, tells me the Tiger may once again roar…and roar loud.
Larissa Libby’s GymHawks competed last night in NCAA Regional competition in the Pacific time zone with the final results not available until after my deadline for “Randoms.” You can click HERE, however, to learn how her talented squad fared.
Lastly, if you didn’t find a night or two during the last four years to get to the Arena to watch Kachine Alexander, it’s official. You missed out on something pretty darn special. Click Kachine Alexander, it’s official. You missed out on something pretty darn special. Click HERE.