Tuesday, April 7, 2015

And Then There Was One...

The college basketball season - at least on the male side of the court (a/k/a the "boring side" as per Mr. Auriemma) concluded last night and it did so in a manner identical to each and every season as far back as 1977, which is to say without a single undefeated Division I team.  When the Wisconsin Badgers defeated the Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday night, avenging their loss to UK in the 2014 Final Four, it ended the Cats' hoped-for 40-0 finish two wins and one loss short of their goal.  

In the week leading up to the Final Four the group with which I was most impressed was the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers.  Bob Knight's first National Championship team at IU is the last men's college basketball team to complete an undefeated season at the Division I level, finishing the 1975-76 campaign at 32-0.  One might think that given their place in history, the '76 Hoosiers might have been rooting hard against Kentucky.  Nope.  Unlike the 1972 Miami Dolphins, who allegedly gather and drink champagne every fall when the last NFL team falls from the ranks of the undefeated, the men who a lifetime ago had a perfect season were very publicly supportive of the Cats' effort to win a National Title without losing a single game.  I especially like Quinn Buckner's position on this issue, "I could never root against kids."  

Tonight in Tampa, the modern-day equivalent of Coach Wooden's dynastic UCLA Bruins of a lifetime-plus ago shall attempt to win its third consecutive National Championship and the program's tenth title, all but one of which have been earned over the course of the past fifteen seasons.   And should Geno Auriemma's Huskies defeat their now-most heated rivals from the University of Notre Dame tonight, Coach Auriemma will tie Coach Wooden with his tenth NCAA Basketball Championship.   A win tonight by the Huskies would give them a final mark of 38-1, identical on its face to that of the Kentucky men but far more significant in the only way that really matters.  

Same as it ever was...


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