When you are a college basketball fan, you've got to love the first weekend of April. There have been so many buzzer beaters and improbable success stories this tournament, which are exactly the sorts of things I love about college basketball.
It's so good to see Duke back in the NCAA finals (Don't hate them because they're successful). Class program. Class coach. Wonderful players. I would never have thought they'd make it this far this year (much to the chastisement of my daughter, who looks like a genius now that she picked them to win it all), but you take their top three and let them have a stellar night at the same time and they're nearly unstoppable.
It's equally good to see a team like Butler in the finals. Team ball. Defense oriented. It's been a long time since we saw those characteristics take a team to the top.
As a twenty year college faculty member and as a father of three college daughters, I'll reveal my true geekdom when I say that it is so much easier to root for these two programs when both post a 90% graduation success rate for their players (Butler at 90%, Duke at 92%). Indeed, the NCAA should bar teams from the tournament that can't even match their institution's overall student success rates.
As a basketball purist, I'm also loving this finals match-up because it features two teams that understand the nature of team and that actually play defense on every possession.
Can't wait for the Monday match-up. An always present powerhouse that exudes class against an upstart mid-major (and what, is their coach like 12?)--loving it.
Speaking of class and disciplined programs that play defense, understand team, and hold a hand in creating successful individuals, how about the UConn women (again, hating programs because they are successful is human nature but just isn't fair)? One name: Maya Moore, 3 time All American, pure shooter, 3.9 GPA, Rhoades Scholarship candidate. We need role models like her.