March 27, 2007


Sizing Up the Final Four: Dan Shanoff's Bracket Isn't in Great Shape, But He's Still Savoring March Madness (DAN SHANOFF, 3/27/07, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL)

As with the Monday morning after the tournament field was announced, the biggest storyline is Florida's chance to become the first team to repeat as champs since Duke in 1992. Simply returning to the Final Four with the same five starters as last year is historically notable.

Blocking Florida's path is the team the Gators beat last year in the national-title game: UCLA.

The question is this: Was the Bruins' loss to the Gators a year ago a template for another defeat this year -- or will UCLA find a decisive edge in the opportunity for a little payback?

In the other semifinal, Georgetown will take on Ohio State.

Twenty-five years after the Hoyas' reputation was secured with a trip to the national-title game (a loss to North Carolina, belatedly avenged Sunday in the most exciting game of the tournament so far), Georgetown is playing the best of any of the Final Four teams:
• Their coach, John Thompson III, is the son of legendary Hoyas coach "Big John" Thompson.

• Their key reserve, Patrick Ewing Jr., is another eponymous kid of a famous Hoyas legend.

• Their star, Jeff Green, is the most complete forward in college basketball.

• Their retro-aggressive Hoyas defense and modified "Princeton" offense is the toughest Xs and Os match-up of the Final Foursome.

• Their ongoing motivation derives from having lost in the final seconds to Florida a year ago in the Sweet 16.

In short: There's a reason Georgetown was the "trendiest" choice to make the Final Four.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 27, 2007 8:07 AM

Agreed. Tough for a casual fan like me to find someone to cheer for when the final four are pretty much chalk and with no dog in the fight. No problem rooting against Florida and Georgetown. Guess it's going to be Ohio State due to Big Ten affiliation.

Posted by: Rick T. at March 27, 2007 8:21 AM

I'm supporting Georgetown. Gotta go with the protege of Pete Carril.

Noah is getting pretty annoying. I was rooting for him last season, mostly because my brother-in-law coached him early in his high school career when Noah was at PolyPrep in Brooklyn.

I was back there when Fla won the SEC tourney a few weeks ago, and when Noah was on screen blabbering at the end, my brother in law turned and said, "what an idiot." My sister noted that they had run into Noah at a Brooklyn watering-hole a few months before, and that he'd been having an relatively erudite (for a college kid) conversation on international politics. "Why does he have to act all ghetto when the cameras are pointed at him," was her comment.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at March 27, 2007 8:40 AM