Greivis Vasquez was named a 2nd team All-American by the AP the other day. On the 1st team were Kentucky’s John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins along with Ohio State’s Evan Turner, Syracuse’s Wesley Johnson and Villanova’s Scottie Reynolds. I’ve written before that Wall may be a better professional prospect but Vasquez clearly had a better season. I think the choice between Vasquez and Reynolds would probably be a close call but, as you would expect, I would pick Vasquez. If the AP team was named in January I think Reynolds would be the clear choice but he really was a dud in the postseason. In watching the Gary Williams show on Comcast Sports I found out that Vasquez also made history by being the first foreign born player to ever win ACC Player of the Year.
Boston College may have just killed their basketball program. Al Skinner is out as head coach of the Eagles and is reportedly interviewing with St. Johns for their head coach position. Skinner may not have been the most dynamic personality and he never seemed to recruit elite players but he had a decent eye for spotting undervalued talent and getting the most out of his players. Skinner recruited Tyrese Rice (rated 2-stars by Scout), Sean Williams out of Texas, Craig Smith (rated 3 stars by Scout) and ACC Player of the Year Jared Dudley (rated 3 stars by Scout). Three of those players are in the NBA. That is a pretty damn good track record for any coach. Skinner’s 247 wins are most in school history and his 7 NCAA Tournament appearances are four more than the next highest coach in Boston College history. Prior to Skinner arriving in 1998 Boston College had only 7 NCAA appearances since 1980. I suppose because Skinner’s teams were not that exciting to watch and Boston College has the worst basketball fanbase of any ACC school outside of Miami that you could see this coming. Even if Skinner doesn’t end up at St, Johns there are a host of schools that would love to hire him. Great news for Maryland and the rest of the ACC but likely a disaster for Boston College.
The Duke Blue Devils are back in the Final Four again and are probably the favorites to win it all. If Duke can get by West Virginia, which won’t be a cake walk, then you have to expect that they will be able to handle the pair of 5 seeds that are still standing on the other side of the title game. I think this year’s NCAA Tournament proved what some were saying, that this is one of the weakest fields in recent memory. Only two of the 1 seeds made it past the Sweet 16 and only Duke remains at the final four. Even worse only two of the 2 seeds made it past the Sweet 16 and only one 3 seed made it past the first weekend. Whatever team ends up winning on Monday they will probably be the weakest champion in a long time, maybe decades, but they will still be NCAA Champions.
Give Michigan State credit, I thought they were good but they were better than that. Summers and Lucious proved they were not just one game wonders. Draymond Green has been a fantastic player for Tom Izzo in this tournament. What an asset to have a big man who can shoot and handle the ball the way he can. With Kalin Lucas out for the tournament Green’s play has been a major factor to make up for some weak ball handling. Their experience and poise, keep in mind this group played in the title game last season, has gotten them past some scrappy foes. Tennessee had the talent to beat them but the Spartans were a much smarter and better coached squad. That told the tale. For all the heroics though keep in mind this Michigan State team finished the season ranked 12th in the nation.
Their run makes the loss by Maryland both more and less bitter. Less because they are proving just how deep and talented a team Izzo has, but more bitter because a Final Four birth would have been a real possibility for Maryland had that 3-point shot not fallen.
I’m going to go with Duke over Michigan State in the title game. West Virginia will battle the Blue Devils hard but Duke has the offensive firepower that Bob Huggins lacks. I don’t see Duke getting dominated on the rebounding front this time. Like last season I think the Spartans will have expended all their efforts to get to the title game and will be flat going up against Duke. Give Coach K his fourth, and most unlikely, title.