Carlos Beltran watched an Adam Wainwright curveball go past him and the Cardinals celebrated their pennant. The 2006 New York Mets would not be going to the World Series, which was sad for Mets fans, but they’d be back. This was just the beginning of a dynasty, or at least a string of playoff appearances. Except it wasn’t. The Mets haven’t been back to the playoffs since.
I keep reminding myself that all but one team goes home unhappy every season. Keep telling myself that the Michigan basketball program—with its great coach, modern facilities, and incoming talent—has a bright future. But chances like Monday night don’t come around too often. Louisville, a basketball blueblood, was playing in its first title game since 1986. Indiana has been once since 1987. Kentucky won in ’98 and didn’t get back until last year. UCLA went to the final in 1980 and has made it back just once since, despite four Final Four appearances. The list goes on.
Continue reading Louisville Beats Michigan, Wins NCAA Tournament
The ladders were in place. There were scissors, too, I imagine. But there would be no photograph of Rick Pitino or any of the Louisville players with a piece of the net, not from Madison Square Garden or Lucas Oil Stadium.
Pitino decided after winning the Big East Tournament his team would wait a few weeks to get their nylon souvenir. And so the cutting supplies went unused in Indianapolis after Louisville dispatched Duke to reach the Final Four.
A bold move, but the Cards are one win from it looking like a genius motivational ploy.
Standing in their way are the young Wolverines. Remember Kentucky last year, and how everyone made such a big deal about all those freshmen winning the national title? Michigan is younger than those Wildcats, according to KenPom.com’s measure, which uses eligibility class weighted by minutes played (a freshman has no years of experience, a sophomore has one, etc.). Michigan’s weighted experience is just .73 years; Kentucky’s was .77. Both were the sixth youngest teams in the country and the youngest, by far, in the NCAA Tournament.
Continue reading Michigan-Louisville: NCAA Championship Game Preview
Hide ya kids, hide ya wife: WuShock is going to the Final Four. I’m talking about the Wichita State Shockers’ mascot. Created in 1904 when Wichita was known as Fairmount College, a student came up with Wheatshockers as the football mascot. Not only were the football games played on a wheat field, but many of the Fairmount players paid for college by harvesting (“shocking”) wheat. (I’m sure you already knew all of this.) Wheatshockers was shortened to Shockers and the mascot itself was named WuShock in 1948.
“The school needed a mascot who gave a tough impression, with a serious, no-nonsense scowl,” according to the school’s website. There is nothing about haunting childrens’ dreams. WuShock was redesigned in 1998, which gave it a “pumped-up physique and revved-up attitude.” Oh, great, a stronger, more aggressive killing machine. In 2006, “Wu” got a facelift, which reduced the weight of its head from 12 pounds to about five, making it lighter and faster as well. How the Nebraska Cornhuskers mascot can be so friendly-looking and Wichita’s be so terrifying is beyond me.
Continue reading Final Four Preview: WuShock, Beilein vs Boeheim, More