Forgotten Heroes: 2009 NCAA Tournament All-Cover Team
Another college basketball season has ended and for the degenerate gamblers such as myself, it's time to either cash out your winnings and pay for rent, or think of ways to explain to your wife why there is 30 K missing from the baby’s college fund. Hint: blame the economy
But without degenerate gamblers no one would remember the efforts of the NCAA Tournament's true heroes such as Martynas Pocius (pictured). And for that I bring you the 2009 NCAA Tournament All-Cover team, to recognize the dedication of individuals who care about covering the spread.
G - Martynas Pocius DUKE
At least someone at Duke cares about basketball when it counts. With the majority of money on Duke to cover the 23.5 spread in the opening round against Binghamton, the guard from Lithuania hit a clutch three pointer that gave the Blue Devils a 26 point lead.
Binghamton’s useless 2 pointer at the end of the game meant nothing as Duke covered by a half a point.
F - Draymond Green MICHIGAN STATE
When thinking of Michigan State’s 2009 run most people will think of Lucas, Morgan, and Suton, but the true fans (the degenerate gamblers) will remember the efforts of Draymond Green against USC.
Up four points with 12 seconds to go, the freshman out of Saginaw missed his first free throw. Realizing that the spread was at 4.5, the jitters got out of the way and Green hit his second free throw.
The momentum generated from covering the spread no doubt played a huge part in the upsets over Louisville and UConn.
Please note no pictures were found from USC game. One word: Neglect
F - Tyler Zeller NORTH CAROLINA
Mostly known for competing with other bench players to give starters high fives during timeouts, the forgotten Ty on the 2009 UNC Championship team played a key role in UNC’s incredible 6-0 ATS run by overturning a fellow teammate’s attempt to point shave.
Against LSU in the second round the Tar Heels held an 84-70 lead. Freshman Justin Watts who averaged 0.8 points a game magically turned the ball over on a horrible pass and the Tigers were given a chance to cover the 12.5 spread.
Luckily they missed their only shot as Zeller grabbed an important rebound to ensure the UNC Cover. Plays like this are not forgotten for those who had the mortgage on UNC.
G - Orlando Mendez-Valdez WESTERN KENTUCKY
Western Kentucky covered the spread as underdogs in both games that they were involved in. They could not have done this without the 3 point shooting of Mendez-Valdez.
Shooting 7 for 10 from 3 point land against Gonzaga did not lead to a Sweet 16 birth as the Hilltoppers lost by two, but it destroyed the 11 point edge given to the Zags.
G - Eric Maynor - VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH
Ok, so there is a personal bias here as VCU destroyed the spread for me in their last two Conference Tournament games and basically paid for my next trip to Reno. Though no one can deny the efforts that the future NBA star gave in his only game in the NCAA Tournament.
As 8.5 point underdogs against UCLA, Maynor controlled the pace of the game. In the last five minutes with the Bruins up by nine, Maynor orchestrated a comeback that put the game within one point.
He missed the last shot that would have won it, but he covered the spread. What more could one ask.
COACH - Roy Williams NORTH CAROLINA
UNC coach Roy Williams not only won the National Championship, but more importantly, covered the spread in all six tournament games. Something not accomplished since 2006 when the Florida Gators went 6-0 ATS. The 2007 Florida Gators were 4-2 ATS, while last year’s champion Kansas was 5-1.