While watching the game last night, my brother said, "If I was Painter, after the game, I'd say to Calhoun, 'nice game...good luck with the NCAA investigation.'" And while it's a pretty pointed thing to say, and some coaches would say it, Matty wouldn't and didn't. But, Mr. Classy, coach Calhoun, made sure to curse at one of the officials and point at him as he walked toward Painter. And there it is, whether it's cheating or simply being a major bag, we don't have to deal with that garbage...and the future is glaringly bright too.
One day, Matty will figure out the middle-ground between Calhoun's antics and where he is today. A place where he will let the officials know when they're doing a bad job, possibly garnering a tech, but pushing them to change the way they're calling the game. Last night, it seemed three seconds wasn't a violation for the Huskies...not one, but two UConn players would set up tents in the paint for 5-7 seconds each possession, all without one single whistle the entire game.
All that said, it didn't make a damned difference. The better, stronger, quicker team won last night and Purdue deserved to lose...but I don't see these guys winning the national title. I don't even think they'll get past Mizzou...but that's just one man's guess.
And speaking of Mizzou, they beat one of my least-favorite teams, the Memphis Tigers. And it wasn't that they beat them, they whipped them and made multiple Memphis players cry as they fouled out. That's funny to me- not that they cry, because I love the emotion of the NCAA tourney, but that this team filled with tough guys, thugs and malcontents act like toddlers who get their candy taken away when they lose to a better team. And the whipped cream atop this sundae was the "Teflon Don" Calipari himself on the edge of tears in the presser. Delicious.
But that wasn't all that was enjoyable for me last night. I vowed to root for teams not in the Big East last night...but after Purdue's loss, I was sobered, and my emotion took over. I couldn't possible root for Duke or Xavier...what the hell was I thinking.
Turns out Xavier fought valiently and lost...but Duke never really had a shot in the second half. And I don't know which one was more enjoyable from my perspective, but both were a ton of fun. Singler and K are the dynamic duo of college basketball b*tches...throw in Paulus and you've got a formidble trio of whining babies. And once again, the Blue Devils fell short of playing to their seed...and in doing so, didn't make the round of eight. Couldn't happen to a better bunch. If you had them in your round of four, you have no one to blame but yourself. Afterall, "Duke is Duke." And right now, there 12 players and a fainting coach crying their eyes out in North Carolina.
The positives on the Purdue side for last night are pretty obvious, but I'll still go over them.
First, JJ learned that he's got a bit of work to do before he can be considered one of the best big men in the nation...and is there a better way to learn? Thabeet is a gigantic man...not the most skilled offensive player, but he's strong, gets himself in good position on offense and his defensive range, due to his long arms and timing is astounding. At times, JaJuan looked alright, but most of the game, he was being taken to school. I'm almost positive that we'll be fortunate-enough to have #25 back next season, and I can't wait. Hopefully, this last game motivates him to work just as hard this off-season as he did last one.
The Ostrich was good for about a 15-minute stretch, offensively, but he was taken out of his game by great UConn defense and his lack of jumping ability in the second half. Let's all remind ourselves that this guy was playing at close to half-speed for much of this season. Now, he can take the full 12 weeks off to completely heal that cracked L5...although in the press conference he said, "Next season starts tomorrow."
While I love this attitude, I hope he gives this thing time to heal.
And lastly, Smooge disappeared yet again during the UConn game. And while he definitely was not the only Boiler to vanish in the thin, dry Arizona air, last night, he was one of the most noteworthy disappearances. From what I understand, while Smooge is a cool-acting player, he's a hard-worker...this season should serve as motivation.
So should this fact- in spite of playing an awful game, offensively, Purdue was within three points of UConn in the last 10 minutes of the game. There's much to look forward to in West Lafayette...and Purdue should thank UConn this time next year for pointing out exactly what needs to be improved upon.