It’s over! The 2008-09 men’s college basketball season came to an end last night in snowy Detroit much the way it got rolling in December, with North Carolina dismantling Michigan State on the floor at Ford Field.
The Spartans' great run in the NCAA Tournament came to a screaming halt not even midway through the first half Monday night in a game that truly served as an uneventful finish to one of the most uneventful tournaments in recent memory.
If you are like most college basketball fans, myself included, the dramatic finishes and stunning upsets are what make the NCAA Tournament must-see television for much of March and (of course) early April.
But this year, there were few "David vs. Goliath" storylines, no surprisingly deep runs by mid-major powers, and no really great individual stories that developed. The Tar Heels simply fulfilled what many had predicted in the preseason.
Cinderella, where are you? Guess there was a shortage of glass slippers this year.
I have read everywhere about what a great career Tyler Hansbrough has had and where he ranks among the greats of the college game, and he certainly has been decorated accordingly with All-America, All-ACC, and Player of the Year honors galore. But, is there a more boring and awkward personality in the college game today?
I’m not against a player that just goes about their business game-in and game-out. I thought Tim Duncan played with as much class as anyone during his college career, and he rarely drew the ire of the opposition (unless the other team was just getting jealous of the Deacs and their stone-cold big man).
The thing is, Hansbrough isn't anything like the "Big Fundamental": His antics and contrived herky-jerky celebrations and movements border on the bizarre. When he talks to the media (which is rare), the quotes are odd and often out of place, sometimes even coming off as conceited and crude.
I never felt he had the ability to put the team on his back and carry it to victory; he's just always been a consistent performer that scored his points, got his rebounds, and did his job every day. I can respect that, but in my mind, there may never have been a more underwhelming "top" player in the college game.
Anyway, another year is in the books. Congratulations to UNC for capturing its second title in five years.
Now the waiting begins to see what underclassmen will make the jump to the professional ranks and what players will return for another shot at collegiate glory.