A penny for your thoughts

If you have been watching the NCAA tournament this past week (honestly, I don’t blame you either way. I’m not the hugest fan of college basketball but buzzer beaters are more addictive than heroin and once I get a taste, I’m stuck), you may have noticed a familiar face on the most exciting team’s bench, the Nevada Wildcats. Former Greyhound Elijah Cooks has been on my TV about 20 times. They cut to him a bunch, after big shots and once the Wildcats completed EITHER of their huge comebacks.

Before I get into Nevada and how amazingly-entertaining both of their games were, I think something needs to be addressed. The whole 16 seed beating a one seed is really overblown. Back in the day, before one and done's, it would have been incredible, but it was bound to happen in the modern age, and frankly, I'm surprised it hasn’t happened sooner.

The college basketball product has been diluted. How many of these teams in the tournament don’t have a senior in their starting five? Interestingly, it is the smaller seeds from the schools that have to win their season tournament to get into the tournament that has most of the upperclassmen. Freshman and sophomores make stupid mistakes sometimes — it comes with maturity.

Remember Tim Duncan as a senior or Patrick Ewing? Those dudes weren’t losing to a sub-14 seed, no way, no how. They were full-grown men at that point who paid their dues.

Now back to Nevada.

Holy [REDACTED], how exciting was that last game? Nevada was down 22 points with only 11:37 left to go in the game, and they won. Their first lead in the game came with: 09 seconds left and they finished the game on 32-8 run. Overcoming a 22 point lead makes their 14-point comeback in the first game seem a little less impressive, but it isn't. Each time one of those twins hit a huge shot, they would cut to the bench and there was Cooks screaming with excitement.

Some of you might be thinking, wait, didn’t Cooks commit to Nevada to play football? Yes, he did. However, it has been reported that head coach Eric Musselman asked the football coach earlier this year if he could steal a player or two from the team to help add some depth to their line-up. Jay Norvell obliged and Cooks was chosen.

Nevada is now in the Sweet 16 and have a date with the 11-seed Loyola Chicago. The winner goes to the Elite 8 and will probably face Kentucky. Generally, I would root for Loyola-Chicago, not because I love Chicago (which I do), for two reasons. First reason, 98-year-old Sister Jean Dolores Smith. I love her and just want to see her happy. Secondly, and this is a big one, have you seen Loyola’s fan section? They look like the cheering section of a Gryffindor Quidditch match. I am nothing if not pro-Gryffindor.  

This column will come out in the paper on Friday, which means that the game will already be over by the time you read this. My prediction: Nevada over Loyola 73-68. Atascadero is into the Elite 8, Sorry Sister Jean.


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