05 April 2011

UConn smothers Butler in snooze fest

Zzzzzzzzzzz. CBS must have been terribly disappointed by the showcase game of this year's March Madness. UConn's dogged defense combined with Butler's utter ineptitude to shoot a ball through a small orange cylinder en route to Jim Calhoun's third championship.

What a shame that a dislikable man like Calhoun got to celebrate his ill-gotten title while Brad Stevens and his undermanned, large-hearted squad sat in the bowels of Reliant Stadium to ponder through tears the whatifs for a second straight year on championship night. There is no justice in the real world.

In the end UConn managed to salvage some honor for the big least while the less heralded teams in Butler and VCU demonstrated once again that good basketball is played outside the limited windows afforded by the ESPNs and CBSs of the broadcasting world. No conference really separated itself through play in the NCAAs nor could the NIT be used to corrobate any partisan arguments as Witchita St passed through that bracket like a hot knife through butter to the NIT title.

So that closes another chapter of men's college basketball. For Northwestern it was a season of what ifs. Northwestern had an NCAAs-worthy team this year but for the injury bug hamstringing the campaign. Next year the big question is how will Northwestern withstand the significant loss of its iron man and Mr Everything point guard Juice Thompson. It won't be easy.

The glass half full types can point to an improving Alex Marcotullio which is overblown but still provides some basis for hope. There is also the prospect of a healthy JerShon Cobb who has a smooth game but has to grow his game through improved decision making and three point shooting if the major downside of Juice's absence is to be mitigated. Finally there are two PG recruits coming into the fold this fall in local favorite David Sobolewski and Trey Demps.

It is difficult to say what the two freshman will bring to the table given differences between the high school and Big Ten level. Demps looks to have an explosiveness to his game that could give NU an extra dimension next year so long as he is able of picking up NU's nuanced offense and defense which is no small task. Sobolewski looks to be a facilitator who would be a capable man off the bench to hold the line while others get a blow.

Aside from avoiding more major injuries the five hole is the other key to success next season. Luka gets too little credit for improvements to his game, and we fully expect his game to take another step forward next year in his senior season. Anything we get from Davide is gravy, and if this year is any indication there should be at least a handful of games in which he steps into the spotlight.

A hearty thanks from carmodycourt to Juice, Mike Cappoci, Jeff Ryan, and Ivan Peljusic. You have been great representatives of Northwestern University which is something that is often overlooked but is much appreciated by your fellow students and alumni. Best of luck in the future and put that Northwestern degree to good use!