UConn are national champions. I remember 1999 when they first won it and was rooting for them and Khalid El-Amin and Rip Hamiliton because I hated Duke. They’ve always had some fun teams. All five of their championship-winning squads had some fun dudes. The 2004 squad had Emeka Okafor and Ben Gordon. The 2011 squad had Kemba Walker. The 2014 squad had Shabazz Napier. And now this one, with Adama Sanogo, and these guys. UConn and Texas looked like dominant forces throughout the tournament. Miami jumped up and beat Texas, but UConn whooped up on the Hurricanes like they did everyone else.
There are hundreds of teams in this division, and it is hard to pay attention to every detail. UConn had shown they were very good until a weird January wherein they lost 5 of their 8 games. Outside of that they were doing this all season. Congratulations
In other news, North Texas doesn’t want to disrupt the Masters to do a little celebratin’.
North Texas won the tournament on Thursday of last week. There was some travel and the Final Four and someone needed to schedule a venue or something — I get that it isn’t as easy as anyone would like it to be. Still, this could have been done Saturday in the Square. Grab whatever players were willing to hold up the trophy and celebrate. We all knew Grant couldn’t be there because he was at Nordstrom buying red blazers. Have a 2-hour party leading into the Final Four or something.
As it stands, it is some mid-day celebration after announcing the coaches. Why? To capitalize on the “built-in audience.” God forbid that little old North Texas take up more than one day in the media cycle. Hey! the basketball won the NIT! We are partying!. Hey! come out on Wednesday to talk to the coaches! Hey! Come out for other stuff!.
It doesn’t have to be an elevator pitch!
It also doesn’t need to be the AD or the department. If *YOU* want to throw a party to celebrate it, do it! Host a happy hour. Invite people to wear their gear and give them 10% off drinks or something. You don’t need permission to have a good time.
Meanwhile, Tylor Perry is transferring. Well also going pro. Well he’s hedging his bets. He tweeted a graphic thanking UNT and announcing he is declaring for the draft AND entering the transfer portal. He is graduating in May so he will be a graduate transfer and certainly a positive for whichever team he joins. The same questions that have followed him his whole career — size, athleticism etc — will be asked of him again. But I imagine he will do a great job answering those as he did here. The C-USA POY, NIT MOP can hoop, y’all. There is a rumor that he will go to Texas Tech. I am sure Grant McCasland will take him (again) but I am not sure what their roster looks like.
Oh, Abou Ousmane also is transferring. The three-year big man had a nice career in Denton, and won a lot while impressing a lot of folks. He has good feet, nice touch around the rim, and has worked hard to get in great shape. He started the season strong, but finished with some struggles and did not compete in the NIT, although the squad called and celebrated with him on the floor.
The best of luck to both men.
The women’s final four was big success. I’ve long held that you cannot compare women’s hoops to men’s directly as women have not been able to play for as long. The dominance of UConn women’s hoops in the past two decades always reminded me of the 60s run for UCLA in men’s hoops. The skill level and athlete ability for the 90s women’s hoops was not there, but it has exploded as women are afforded more opportunity. You see someone hooping and start developing your game to mimic theirs. Suddenly a skill that took a person 20-years to master is second-nature in the hands of a 10-year old. That’s how you move the game. Men have been hooping for years longer and afforded more opportunities to do so for longer. Clark and Reese balling today will look quaint in 20 years when the next generation of hoopers puts them to shame. It all builds on each other. I mean, that is what happened in men’s hoops. You know how people like to dog Mike Jordan for hooping on scrubs? Well that was peak basketball until everyone relentlessly improved on all aspects of it. Women’s hoops looked equally garbage-like compared to the modern game. That’s growth.
Anyway, there is still a lot of growth available. Women’s hoops lags in attendance at pretty much every program not named South Carolina, Iowa, LSU, et al. While everyone wants to boost attendance for the mens’ squad, the same attention can be paid to the women’s squad. Show up.
I refuse to get involved in the Embrace Debate topics about taunting. I do think it is kind of weak to chase someone down to taunt them. Talk your noise, but following a person around the court talking noise is how you get punched in the mouth from where I am from so I am not a fan. That said, if you want to keep someone quiet? Beat them.