Sunday, March 11, 2007

Hoops skips the madness for rational NBA analysis

With selection Sunday in the books, and the field of 65 in the brackets, focus now shifts to overall number one seed Florida's attempt to be the first school since the Duke Blue Devils of 1991-1992 to win back-to-back NCAA basketball championships.

While one could say the Gators caught a few breaks in terms of their tournament opponents last year, Duke's two-year run was peppered with epic wins over the premier programs of the day, and punctuated by 1991's surprise Final Four victory over the undefeated defending champion UNLV Running Rebels -- a team well into the argument for the greatest of all-time -- and 1992's title game dismantling of Michigan's nascent Fab Five.

The tiger that never roared during that golden age of NCAA hoops were the Bayou Bengals of LSU. The Dale Brown coached squad should have had three years of thirty point-a-game Pete Maravich remix Chris Jackson leading twin nimble seven-foot, 300 plus pounders Shaquille O'Neal and Stanley Roberts in what had the potential to be the most unique and potent lineup in college basketball history. Those who were there remember Roberts was the better of the big men when he and Shaq played together as freshmen.

Unfortunately for that plan Jackson went pro with two years of eligibility left, and, after only one year in Baton Rogue, Roberts suspiciously slipped to Europe and the professional dollar. With the rest of the would-be finest collegiate triumvirate ever departed, Shaq racked up the individual accolades, but LSU always fell well short at tournament time.

Chris Jackson became Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf and Stanley Roberts became overweight and drug addicted. Despite flashes of brilliance, neither made much of an impact in the Association. Shaq, of course, became the most dominant pro player of his generation.

Hoops McCann thinks college basketball is an amateur game which entertains those with amateur minds. As the peons embrace the madness of March, Hoops has been busy pondering the rejuvenation of grown-up Shaquille O'Neal. He talks Big Aristotle and Sir Anthony Hopkins in his latest dispatch.


Anonymous said...

On Saturday afternoon a maƮtre d' stood between my party of three and an underground tasting of cast strength scotch. He insisted -- regardless of their esthetic merits -- that sneakers were sneakers. While casually dropping my association with the JSB did not impress the gate-keeping Austrian, it did bring Hamilton Hearst in to the equation.

He sauntered over clad in a custom cut English blazer, surrounded by an almost visible aura of superiority. He informed the establishment that we were welcome at his table. As luck would have it, Mr. Hearst is fan of the JSB as well as the pending NCAA tournament. Several hours later Hamilton had learned that I’m no bracketologist, and know even less about either the politics of country clubs or sailing. I learned that nouveau riche ruin a golfing establishment.

Say what you will about his Weekly Standard politics or unapologetic biases, it's hard not to like the cut of Mr. Hearst's well-tanned jib. Particularly when he's dropping knowledge about the distillation process, or offering a ride to the big dance on the ‘Half Moon’, his personal G5.

JT said...

By Hamilton Hearst do you mean HamiltonBHearst the curmudgeonly country club snob and acerbic golf message board provocateur? If so, I am honored such a notorious and divisive internet figure is a fan of The JSB.