Saturday, October 21

Final Four far from fantastic

College basketball … sigh.

College basketball is atrocious.

OK, maybe that’s too harsh. Let’s just say college basketball isn’t what it used to be. Nowhere near it. And if you don’t believe me, look at this year’s Final Four.


You’ve got Butler, Michigan State, West Virginia and Duke.

Butler? In the Final Four? That redefines defying the odds. That defies the basketball Gods. That … stinks.

Duke? Yes, Duke makes sense. But is it just me or does Duke make you sick as well? Doesn’t the fact that the Blue Devils get every whistle make you shake your head in disgust?

And if you haven’t seen Duke play recently, when I say every whistle, I mean every single whistle. Plus, anytime a team’s 7-foot-1-inch center is attempting to take a charge every two minutes, that is sickening. In this case, that’s Duke center Brian Zoubek.

West Virginia isn’t too bad to watch, but only for the avid college basketball fan. People who aren’t avid fans certainly aren’t familiar with the Mountaineers. But anyone who knows anything about college basketball is familiar with John Calipari, John Wall and the Kentucky Wildcats, whom West Virginia defeated in the Elite Eight.

Yet another loss for the NCAA Tournament.

And the best part about Michigan State is watching Tom Izzo repeatedly out-coach the opposition and lead his marginally talented Spartans to continued success.

For me, seeing Magic Johnson come on the court after Michigan State won was the highlight. In other words, the Spartans team isn’t exciting anyone.

And let’s not talk about Kansas or Syracuse or Villanova, all preseason favorites that turned out to be monumental disappointments. Northern Iowa over Kansas? Butler over Syracuse? Saint Mary’s over Villanova?

The problem is that people, namely the media and college basketball analysts, anoint players like Kansas’ Sherron Collins, Cole Aldrich, and Xavier Henry, Syracuse’s Wes Johnson, and Villanova’s Scottie Reynolds as these supposed “college superstars,” when really, these guys are decent at best.

I mean, no offense to Reeves Nelson, but when the Bruins played Kansas earlier this season, Aldrich, a senior, was outplayed by an undersized freshman in Nelson. And Aldrich is a projected lottery pick.

So I guess that would make Reevesy a top five pick?

While on the topic of superstars, look at this year’s Final Four: Any legit pros? Better yet, who in all of college basketball has shown that they have the ability to be a legit pro? Maybe a handful of guys, such as Wall, his Wildcat teammate DeMarcus Cousins, Ohio State’s Evan Turner, and a few others.

Anyone from Duke? Butler? Michigan State? Maybe West Virginia’s Da’sean Butler, but that’s it. And if you think Duke’s Jon Scheyer or Kyle Singler, or Butler’s Gordon Hayward have a shot at being legit, look at Adam Morrison and JJ Redick. They were amongst the best players in all of college basketball at one point in time and now they are below-average NBA players. And honestly, I’m not even sure about any of those other guys with the exception of Wall.

He’s going to be nice, no question about it.

But what happened to the guys you knew for a fact were nice? And not only were they nice, they took their team all the way? I’m talking about Carmelo and Jay Williams and Ben Gordon, guys like that.

What happened to the powerhouse being in the Final Four every year? The UCLAs, the Arizonas, UConn, UNC?

By the way, none of those teams even made the tournament this year. Meanwhile, Butler is in the Final Four.

I just can’t get over that.

College basketball is in a state of depression, ladies and gentlemen, and there’s no telling when we’ll come out of it.

In the meantime, pass the Prozac.

E-mail Watson at [email protected]

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