Avid basketball fan and friend of the RandBall blog Lindsay Whalen checks in with her takes on what has happened and what to expect in the NCAA men's hoops tourney. Lindsay, you have the floor:
Two times in one month RandBall is letting me rant and rave on his blog. Big things must be happening in the Twin Cities.
I'm sure everyone in Minnesota has been talking about the Joe Mauer signing the past couple of days. I watched the press conference Monday night. I thought everyone at the front table did a really good job and you could tell each side got what they wanted. It didn't seem like there was ever any chance of him not signing. Great day for the Twins and Twins fans on Monday -- the best catcher and best player right now in the American League is going to play at Target Field for 9 more seasons. Mauer will get 184 million over 8 seasons ... Good for him! It's an amazing accomplishment to be good enough to earn that kind of salary.
All of those hours of hard work and determination do pay off! It should be a fun summer watching the Twins.
The Men's NCAA Tournament has definitely exceeded my expectations. The Northern Iowa win over Kansas has to be the signature game from this tournament and season. Ali Farokhmanesh's 3-point basket with over 30 seconds on the shot clock under a minute to play had everyone watching yelling, "NO!!!;" and then, "YES!!!;" all in the time it took for him to shoot it and then swish it. What a clutch, clutch shot that was. Apparently a 9 seed was a little high for UNI. But the team I think can make the Final 4 as a high seed is Cornell. I was so impressed with the way they dominated Wisconsin that -- and I know it will be tough to get past Kentucky -- I really think they can get in the Final 4. They have
the inside presence and some great shooting in Witman on the outside. How good was he in that Wisconsin game by the way? He was the Ivy League Player of the Year and an over 2,000-point scorer so we know he has those things on his resume. But I just enjoy his demeanor on the court and his jumper, too; quick release and elevation on each shot and they never look like they're going to miss. And he rarely did in the first two rounds. I am rooting for them this weekend!
That being said I picked Kansas to win it all and I had Villanova in my Final 4 in a few brackets. So those aren't looking very good at all. In one bracket I do have Syracuse winning it all over West Virginia, so I think I am still alive there as long as those two teams keep on winning. But those are Big East teams so there could be trouble ahead for them.
Big East? ACC? Where were those "power" conferences this tournament. The Big East gets 8 teams into the tournament and only 2 are still in it after the first weekend. Overall disappointing showings from them this March. The ACC didn't have much fire power other than Duke, but historically speaking a poor showing for the ACC. I feel bad for Kalin Lucas of Michigan State; a torn achilles. I have to knock on wood every time I see someone go down with that injury. Just a tough way to end a season and career for him. I guess the buzzer-beater win helps a little! I think they're going to lose to Northern Iowa, though. Can't wait for the games Thursday again!
Well, I have to get to practice. We start our semi-finals this weekend in the Czech League playoffs here in the Czech Republic. Only 7 weeks 'till the Lynx season!