Wow, was that ever an outstanding National Championship Game. I had a few prevailing thoughts as I watched this epic game.
As I was sitting and watching this game, just after the under-8 minute timeout this game had the feel of being a 1-possessoin game where both teams were hitting big shots and valuing each possession. In reality North Carolina was trailing by a 6-8 point cushion for most of that time but that really didn't deter from the tension that was mounting. Even before the Marcus Paige three and then the Kris Jenkins game-winner, I was thinking about what a great game this was and where it might be ranked in the pantheon of great NCAA Tournament games.
Then Paige hit his shot! That was a really difficult shot and one that is sadly not going to be given it's just due. But it is quickly forgotten by the shot Kris Jenkins hit. Just a really simple but beautiful play that was executed well and put Jenkins forever in the memories of college basketball fans around the country.
It is hard to feel too terribly bad for North Carolina. It isn't like this was their first chance at a National Title and they may never get back there again. Roy Williams has rings, the fan base has experienced winning that final game several times. It is difficult for the players, just like it is for several other teams who thought they'd be cutting down the nets this year. I have a ton of respect for Roy William as a coach and I admire North Carolina, but I don't feel all that bad for them.
Lastly...in the world of college hoops where one-and-dones so often grab the headlines and everyone assumes that the Kentucky model is what wins in today's environment, I'd like to point out that having experience is still really valuable. North Carolina was lead by Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson...seniors, along with Joel Berry who is a sophomore. Nova's top players were Josh Hart, Jenkins and Ryan Arcidiacono. Junior, junior and senior respectively. Getting really good players who aren't quite good enough to leave early is really the best formula for success, then supplementing them with lottery-talent (if you can). Last year's Duke team had Jalil Okafor, Justise Winslow and Tyus Jones but Quinn Cook (SR) and Amile Jefferson (JR) were also critical components to that team. UConn in the previous year was led by seniors and juniors. North Carolina this year and Wisconsin last year as runner-ups who were led by upper-classmen. Anyway, teams that have talent, experience and are playing their best basketball in late-March can go a long way. (duh, I know)
- MUST CLICK LINK OF THE DAY - This link has videos of the final shot narrated by an array of different sources (Tar Heel announcers, Nova announcers, Spanish announcers, Russian announcers, etc). It's pretty entertaining. I think I like the panoramic imagery the best.
- ESPN's way too early Top 25. Brennan has Duke as next year's early favorite (much like my 2017 projected bracket).
- 2019 Final Four Minneapolis, check out their Facebook page.
- Tar Heel Blog is speechless...I would be too.
- Crying Jordan Memes...these are pretty damn funny.
- Here was the final play as Jay Wright drew it up.
- Time for coaching changes! Keep track here.
- You like One Shining Moment? How about every One Shining Moment since 1987!! I'll leave you with the 1997 video. (visual evidence...it really did happen, but barely any airtime for your Gophers)