It was a great college basketball season with so many fantastic moments and performances. Now we have to wait seven months until we tip-off the 2009-10 campaign. I can't wait, baby, let's start it sooner! I love the sport and will miss it for the next few months.
For now, I want to reflect back on the season with memories&
Let's start with North Carolina. The Tar Heels cut down the nets in Detroit thanks to incredible balance. When Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Danny Green decided to return to school instead of turning pro, that helped lock up the national title. Roy Williams joined a select group winning his second national title.
What a great way for Hansbrough to wrap up his career. He was one of the greatest college players I've seen in my 30 years calling games at ESPN. Hansbrough finished his days in Chapel Hill as a four-time All-American. He scored more points than any player in ACC history. He made more free throws than any player in Division I history. Winning a title was a fitting ending to brilliance.
Blake Griffin of Oklahoma developed into the most dominant player in college basketball. He was a double-double machine, earning National Player of the Year honors. I was also impressed with him as a person when I spoke to him before the Sooners' showdown with Texas.
What a season for Bill Self and Kansas. He earned Coach of the Year honors as the Jayhawks won the Big 12 regular-season title. Think about the talent Kansas lost from its national championship club -- Brandon Rush, Darrell Arthur and company.
Tom Izzo led Michigan State on an incredible run before the Spartans fell in the championship game. His team did a lot to lift the spirits in a region that has been besieged by hard times.
Rick Pitino and Louisville enjoyed a solid season, winning the Big East regular-season and tournament championships. The Cardinals should make some noise again in 2009-10.
The Big East was the best conference. Five teams in the Sweet 16, three teams seeded #1 in the big dance. How about a salute to commissioner Mike Tranghese, who is riding off into the sunset of retirement. You have been a class act, Michael.
John Calipari did a super job in Memphis, leading the Tigers to another perfect season in Conference USA. He did it without Derrick Rose, Chris Douglas-Roberts and Joey Dorsey. Tyreke Evans developed into the top diaper dandy in my opinion.
Speaking of Calipari, he made headlines going to Kentucky. Fans of Big Blue should be ecstatic.
Wow, what a great season & I can't believe it is over, baby!