Sports With Shook: Five things learned from the NCAA Tournament



Nick Shook

Nick Shook is a junior news major, sports columnist and the sports editor for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].

Shots were made, fouls were called, Kevin Ware’s broken leg made thousands of unprepared stomachs flip and another entertaining NCAA Tournament came to a close with Louisville emerging as champions. Here’s five things I came to learn while watching the tournament unfold.

1. Florida Gulf Coast’s run exposed America

This nation loves upsets. The United States of America was founded upon the underdog, “nobody believes in us” attitude that is still so popular today. But the irony in that is if there were a World’s Nations tournament, our nation, once the world’s least likely 16 seed — think Liberty of this season’s tournament, who qualified by winning the Big South, despite finishing with a 15-20 overall record — is now THE No. 1 overall seed. We are the only top seed, the Kentucky of the 2012 tournament, the favorite that everyone else would pick in the inaugural Nations Tournament. (Speaking of which, I am now accepting hypothetical Nations Tournament brackets. Email me them).

Considering this fact, it makes us a nation full of hypocrites! We love underdogs when we are the favorite! That’s like celebrating North Korea successfully launching a missile at our country!

Not only that, but how many of you hypocritical Americans jumped on the FGCU bandwagon and rode it until Billy Donovan’s Florida Gators detonated it with C4? Were you one of the few survivors who may have broken an ankle while frantically jumping off? Dirty frontrunners at it again!

2. Allowing your significant other to pick a bracket based strictly on mascots might actually work

My girlfriend has reached some milestones in our relationship in recent months. I convinced her to make a fantasy football team — she beat me once in a head-to-head matchup — and it continued to develop to the point where she willingly picked a bracket. Granted, she picked it based on which mascot was cooler — she thought Blue Devils (Duke) and Gators (Florida) were the coolest — but she also managed to almost correctly pick the entire south region. I’m serious, she picked Florida Gulf Coast making it to the Sweet Sixteen. The only two picks she got wrong were North Carolina over Villanova and Michigan over Florida. It’s a good thing she thought Eagles are a cool mascot, and that FGCU wasn’t some other bird, like a toucan. Froot Loops aren’t making it out of the first round in any tournament.

3. Referees have absolutely no idea what a charge and/or blocking foul is

I’m the nine millionth person to say this, but these officials have no idea which is which. Adding the restricted half-circle only made it worse, and it even caused Charles Barkley to blame Iowa State’s loss to Ohio State on a “missed” call when a charge was called on a player barreling into Buckeyes guard Aaron Craft, who had his heel above, but not on, the restricted area. Plenty of calls were missed in this tournament — Michigan guard Trey Burke’s block, err, foul on Louisville’s Peyton Siva late in the national title game — and the officiating needs to improve. But these charge/block calls were just atrocious.

4. One mid-major coach can be arrogant enough to drive you nuts

The coach in question is Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall. His aggressive personality may have been based on him trying to convince his team that they belonged — news flash: they made the Final Four, so they definitely did — but it was very off-putting to me and my father when watching the Shockers beat our Ohio State Buckeyes. The large deficit the Buckeyes battled for the entire game didn’t help, but by the middle of the second half we had both decided that if there were one man in an establishment whom we’d like to give a right hook or two, it would be him.

5. Commercial variety (or the mute button) is a must if you want to remain sane

Capital One Charles Barkley commercials. Pizza Hut commercials. Southwest Airlines commercials. That online Red Lobster commercial. They all were terribly annoying. But those AT&T commercials with the kids? Those, those were quite entertaining.

I get that the tournament is a profit machine for major corporations. But before next tournament arrives, they need to spend some more money on better marketing people.