Monday, March 21, 2011


It’s GREAT to be a Michigan Wolverine!

I type that with some melancholy in my fingers and the knowledge that Michigan was a back of the rim shot away from tying a fading Duke team (that won’t make it past SDSU – or they might after having received a Maize and Blue wake up call, but more on that in a minute) and playing an additional period for a ticket to the Sweet 16. For a young team without a senior that no one was picking to finish higher than 11th in the Big 10, I have this to say: Fellas, You MICHIGAN MEN among Men,

You did a helluva’ job.

There is nothing more satisfying than watching a bunch of Duke crazies rubbing their worry beads with the head Devil himself sweating bullets wondering how in the hell to attack a 1-3-1 zone. With one more satisfying exception of course: Beating the same bunch of Duke Crazies.

My hatred of the Blue Devils began early but clearly peaked during the Fab 5 Era about the same time that Duke was coming into it’s own with Coach K leading the way. Maybe I'm wrong, but I saw Duke as an Eastern incarnation of Indiana with Coach K being a robotic droid of Bobby Knight that simply didn’t use the F-word. I didn’t care a whole lot for Knight, either, and it’s now a whole lot more obvious why we all should have been questioning some of Knight’s antics. He was an abusive guy that had a real problem with authority. Which kind of makes you wonder about the soft spoken Grecian formula haired guy that sits on the sidelines of Cameron arena? Can that apple have fallen that far from the original tree?

I personall don’t think it did and I have never believed that Duke is as perfect as everyone would have you believe. Think Domers version of Basketball.

So, needless to say, as I was watching yesterday, I uttered the phrase, “JEEZ, I HATE THESE GUYS!” only to hear my older daughter ask, “But Dad, I thought we hated Notre Dame?”

Ah, youth.

I explained to her this connection and as Duke got a favorable whistle with my eldest questioning the foul, I explained that sometimes you have to play against the refs, too, when you play Duke. This, she understood immediately.

“So its Michigan against the world, right Dad?” I only nodded and watched the come back begin. The Novak 3-pointer. The Hardaway 3 that closed it to 1 point. Could this be happening?

REALLY? I believe…I believe…I believe...

And to watch it fall short was tough. Incredibly tough. Tear shedding hoping that this group of overachievers could pull off the impossible and rid the world, or at least the 2011 NCAA’s of one more number 1 seed.

I know some of you don’t hate Duke. In fact, you have openly expressed the fact that you like Duke and you think Coach K does it right and you would like to see more teams do it like Coach K does it. To that I say – you are entitled to your opinion. But in my house, if you are a Michigan Fan, you simply have to hate Duke.

In happier news, the Domers went down in flaming style to FSU as did Texas, Syracuse and many other hated teams, not to mention a B-East team that has to be feeling pretty stupid still this morning, two days after a disaster.

The "Pitt-Butler 2 seconds" at the end of the game will be replayed multiple times. And not only on ESPN. It will get locker room scrutiny and chalk talks as to what and what not to do in the closing moments of any game. I chatted with several people regarding this outcome. Basketball people that all stated that the action that decides a game should not happen 94 feet away from the basket that wins the game in the final second. Well, again I say, “You’re entitled to your opinion.”

That the ref got the call right is indisputable. Pitt fouled Butler. And Butler also fouled Pitt 1 second before that putting Pitt on the line with a chance to win – another indisputable call. You can’t have one without the other. If you don’t call the last Pitt foul, than you can’t call the Butler foul. But they called them both. Each team got the same opportunity.

Michigan won a National Title in ’89 on the free throw line. I can’t be a hypocrite here and state that Rumeal shouldn’t have had a chance to win it at the line.

If you want to change the rules with 10 seconds left, change them. Otherwise, get off the referees’ backs and let them do their job. It’s not an easy job and everyone can second guess it from here to eternity. But they called both fouls right. Should they have not blown the whistle once the game was tied and let it get decided in OT? You could argue that…and that would be your opinion.

But it would be wrong.

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