The Final Four: Double Wides and Racehorses



I’m going to take a brief break from my usual subject matter here to complain. No, not about politics or the fact that the world is going to the dogs, entertainment-wise. This morning’s Citizen-Times had a front page article that promised to be an in-depth analysis of the North Carolina Tarheels vs. the Oregon Ducks Final Four game. But Ducks? What kind of name is that for a sports team? Why not the Marauders? Or the Visigoths? Something to strike fear in opponents’ hearts. But Tarheels isn’t much better. Who ever heard of playing roundball with sticky, bare feet? Why not…well, never mind.

But I realize readers are in a hurry, so let me give you my bottom line. Oregon will win this one with a three-ball at the buzzer.

Now I’m not claiming this because I’m a Duke fan and I wish Oregon to be my proxy, to reap the whirlwind against my home state Tarheels. All you have to do is look at the films of both teams’ Elite Eight games and carefully peruse the roster of each team, and you’ll come to the same conclusion.

Did you see Oregon run the ball against the running-est team ever, Kansas, the country’s No. 1 rated team? It looked for all the world like a tennis match, with Tyler Dorsey and Dillon Brooks piling up points without breaking a sweat, Jordan Bell vacuuming up rebounds like a souped up Hoover.



Meanwhile, UNC beat an overrated Kentucky team, and they had to resort to second teamer, Luke Maye to toss in a jumper with a fraction of a second left on the clock. Sure their big guys, Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks, are what the old Boston Celtic Tommy Heinsohn called “double-wides” because their size can plug up any passing lane, then muscle into the low post to reach out an grab someone’s errant shot. And they have possibly the best scoring duo in the ACC in Joel Berry II and Justin Jackson. But Jackson scored erratically against a lethargic Kentucky defense and Berry lost his three-ball shot the way Duke’s ballers do half the time. (Why couldn’t he have shot in such misguided fashion against the Blue Devils? Curse you, JB2!)

Don’t start trolling me, Tarheel fans; I’m going to pull for the home state, but I have to tell the truth. Oregon will run and gun, and Carolina will try to keep up, but they aren’t as well conditioned as the Ducks, their big guys needing a smoke break five minutes into the first half. Anyway, this year’s tourney has been lousy with upsets, and my ability to divine winners has been hardly better that flipping a coin.

The score: Oregon 72 – Carolina 69. See you after the game. Beer’s on you.


Visit my website here, where you’ll find more information on my books. There’s also a Facebook fan page if you can find it. On both you’ll find more on ideas and events that matter to me — and possibly to you.

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