Advertisers for this year’s NCAA Tournament decided to delight fans with highlights of famous game-ending shots to inspire viewers to buy their products. The idea that cars or insurance are somehow associated with Christian Laettner’s buzzer-beater against Kentucky is ludicrous. But the advertisements did make for nice conversation pieces during breaks in the game and for that, we thank them.
Perhaps if the commercial makers had a better sense of humor, they would have provided advertisements with highlights of some of the most famous blowouts of all time. At least shots of UNLV’s 103-72 mafia-style execution of Duke in the 1990 championship game would have offered an ironic backdrop to what turned out to be one of the most unexciting games of the tournament.
On Saturday, Kansas stoned Marquette 94-61 and almost had the Eagles doubled up going into halftime in a game in which the winning coach, Roy Williams, will be offered North Carolina head coaching position. Marquette seemed to be running for cover instead of trying to get back in transition against a blazingly quick Kansas team. Down 15 points 10 minutes into the game, the Eagles lied down and died, leading to a humiliating-surrender surpassed only by the French in 1940.
Speaking of Germans, guard Kirk Hinrich continues to look like the all-American he was supposed to be while leading the Kansas fast break and dropping in 18 points. Meanwhile, Dwyane Wade, who many believe to be the best college player to enter next year’s NBA Draft, could muster just 19 points, 10 less than he had in a win against Kentucky a week earlier.
“What everyone should focus on is how successful this team was this season,” said Marquette assistant coach Jeff Strohm in an effort to boast about a performance that he should be ashamed of. “This was real.”
But fans watching the first Final Four game did have a few things to get excited about. Movie trailers for “The Matrix Reloaded” and “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” were shown multiple times. So even if fans couldn’t get exited about the idea of Marquette coming back, they could eagerly await the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Keanu Reeves to blockbuster roles. Unfortunately, that could not outdo the pain of having to repeatedly watch promos for CBS’s sitcom, “My Big Fat Greek Life,” or trailers for “Malibu’s Most Wanted,” which appears to somehow outdo the Marquette game in level of suckiness.
If you weren’t too blown away from Hash Bash to make it to the second game of the evening, you would have seen Syracuse and Kansas go at it until freshmen Carmelo Anthony and Gerry McNamara declared that they have next, en route to 52 combined points.
This Final Four weekend marks the 10th anniversary of the Fab Five’s last win together – an 81-79 overtime win over Kentucky to put them into the championship game in which they would run out of timeouts.
Ten years later, we may know the truth about the secret going-ons of the Michigan basketball program, and regardless of what Mary Sue Coleman has to say, the day still resides as a proud day in Michigan athletic history. And who knows, maybe 10 years from now, we will find out how Jim Boeheim landed a recruit that carried him to the NCAA championship game also. But by then, Anthony will be an NBA star, and we will have sat through another Terminator movie or two.