Time To Wrap It Up

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It's time to wrap up the season with some final thoughts on the recently-concluded college basketball year.

Kentucky is the champion. I picked North Carolina at the beginning of the year. Of course, the Tar Heels were derailed with a significant injury, but I think the 'Cats would've won regardless.

I dislike the one-and-done rule. In fact, it's one of the worst rules in sports. I understand its aim - it's related to money. The NBA says it's not responsible, but we all know that established NBA players don't want 18 year olds sitting at the end of the bench collecting money they feel the veterans deserve.

I had to laugh to myself listening to the build-up to the title game. The powerful Kentucky Wildcats against the over-achieving Kansas Jayhawks? Give me a break. Kansas had a first-team All-American, a seven-foot center and a pretty talented backcourt led by another All-American in Tyshawn Taylor.

Added to this was the constant talk of John Calipari being the best coach to have not won a title. Let's get this straight - Calipari is a very good coach, and he's even better at taking advantage of the current rule structures. In college basketball, there are five to 10 difference-makers coming out of high school every year, and right now, Calipari gets half of them. His strength is that he's able to calm the egos and get his guys to play as a team.

There has been a lot of talk about parity in recent years. I can't argue the point, let's note that when the final weekend is over, the heavyweights are on top. The last five winners have been Kansas, North Carolina, Duke, Connecticut and Kentucky.

Don't ask me how Duke can lose to Lehigh or Norfolk State can beat Missouri. We all know who would win nine times if those games were played 10.

I was personally thrilled to see Robbie Hummel win the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. I know I have a lot of company in that regard. What he battled and how he handled himself in the public spotlight was truly outstanding. I so hope he has a successful professional basketball career.

The loss to Kansas will stick around for some time personally, but I doubt it will have any effect on the program going forward. If anything, the failure to finish out that game may resonate positively for several returning players. The inability to close out games kept this team from having a special season, but 22 wins is still very good.

Until we know who will enter the NBA Draft, sizing up the Big Ten for next season is pure speculation. I would think Indiana will be the preseason pick to win the league, and I'll pick Minnesota as the surprise team.

I don't have a clue where the Boilermakers shape up in the race. I'm very excited about the incoming class and the talent we have returning. Another thing that should impact the season is the trip to Italy this summer, and the new rule allowing coaches to work with players in the offseason.

One thing I don't do is project what high school players will do in their first year of college without seeing them play. For example, I knew Anthony Davis was good, but there was no way I would've projected him as a the National Player of the Year.

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