Early reports indicate that the celebrations in Durham last night were peaceful ones. Mayhem did not ensure after Duke survived Butler to win its 4th NCAA Championship. Have Duke fans become so accustomed to winning that they have no interest in flipping cars, looting stores, and indiscriminately lighting objects on fire? We haven’t yet been able to find details of any arrests. Perhaps some will trickle out this afternoon. The game itself was splendid. If you’re looking to rank it among the best of the last 30 years, Duke 61, Butler 59 certainly has to be near the top. Did it trump Syracuse over Kansas in 2003? What about Kansas beating Memphis in overtime in 2008? Do you have to go all the way back to Keith Smart beating Syracuse in 1987?
A classic, for sure. If Gordon Hayward’s halfcourt heave falls after Duke’s Brian Zoubek purposely clanged a free throw, the game probably ends up being one of the best games in the history of the sport.
Kyle Singler, who got leveled by a Matt Howard screen on that final shot by Hayward, was named the MOP.
Tuesday Morning Point Guard musings …
* Nantz and Kellogg were forgettable. Neither was particularly insightful throughout the game. We enjoy their work as a team, but the chemistry isn’t quite there yet (this was only their 2nd Final Four together. Can you imagine Billy Packer calling that game? The Horizon League vs. the ACC?). Nantz’s final line – “Duke is the king of the dance, 2010″ seemed corny.
* We took a few shots at One Shining Moment last night, and after watching it again this morning, nothing has changed. It’s still a letdown.
* It is somewhat fitting that the last 65-team tournament was a classic rife with upsets. Will the 96-team monstrosity be nearly as exciting next year?
* Heard Digger Phelps sounding off last night about how this Final Four was an indictment on 1-and-done players, and that you win by recruiting kids who are going to stay 2-3-4 years. Not a novel concept, obviously, but will he change his tune if Hayward and Singler opt early for the NBA? We maintain that the playing field is being leveled not because of the exodus to the NBA, but rather the growth of the sport at the AAU level. There’s much more talent to go around, and that means you’re going to see many more kids at the mid-major (and perhaps even low-major) level who could play in the Big East, ACC, etc. Said kids – take Ronald Nored of Butler, for example – are going to take some time to come around offensively, but if you can get a defensive-minded coach who can get recruit just enough offense – Cornell and Butler are prime examples – you’re going to be a Sweet 16-caliber team. This in turn leads to less room for error among the high majors. Do you take a chance on a potential 1-and-done kid (or an academic risk with exceptional talent), or look for a program guy who can be a role player for 3-4 years?