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NCAA post-mortem

     Last night was the thrilling finish to this year's NCAA Tournament.  Louisville defeated Michigan in what was-- and is-- a widely-considered high-quality basketball game.  Both teams had double-digit leads; both teams had bench players play significant roles; and to cap it off, Luke Hancock-- Louisville's sixth man-- was named Final Four Most Outstanding Player.  There were stories, too-- Kevin Ware showing up after breaking his leg a week earlier in the Midwest Regional final... Luke Hancock's father battling a serious illness... the echoes of the Fab Five of Michigan-- and they became especially loud when Chris Webber showed up in Atlanta.  People forget the original Fab Five never won a title, despite being in two title games... and this edition also came up just a few points short. 

     Some other NCAA Tournament musings...

--  This tournament needed Florida Gulf Coast.  You always need a fresh angle, and boy,. "Dunk City" was that in spades....
--  If history is a guide, Indiana fans should be happy Louisville won this year's national title.  Prior to last night, Louisville won two championships-- in 1980 and 1986.  Indiana won the national championship the year following BOTH Louisville titles.  Indiana also won a championship with the undefeated team in 1976-- and the year before, in 1975, Louisville was in the Final Four. 
--  IF indiana is to win a title next year, they have to bring a certain "X-factor" to the table.  This year's Hoosiers were loaded with talent-- but they lacked that something extra to push them over the top.  This is where Tom Crean needs to channel his inner Bob Knight... Louisville had that X-factor-- the toughness to find a way to win.  The Hoosiers had that in February, but lost it in March.  The loss to Minnesota... the loss at home to Ohio State... the loss (again) to Wisconsin... the near-loss to Temple...and the loss to Syracuse.  Talent wasn't the issue-- along with Louisville, Michigan, and maybe Ohio State, Indiana was the most talented team in the country.  The issue is toughness-- and it is exactly the reason Cody Zeller should stay at least one more year.  Does he have the talent?  Undoubtedly.  Now, he needs the toughness.... We saw it in flashes in 2012-2013, but it needs to be there consistently.  IF Zeller comes back... and IF Indiana can find the mental toughness to match its talent (Will Sheehey will be a big help in that department)... history COULD repeat itself in March of 2014.  Louisville won the title, meaning Indiana could be next...IF..........
                                                            That's my take...I'm Tom Lee.

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Topics : Sports
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Locations : AtlantaFlorida Gulf CoastIndianaLouisvilleMichiganMinnesotaSyracuseWisconsin
People : Bob KnightChris WebberCody ZellerKevin WareLuke HancockTom Crean

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04/09/2013 7:58AM
NCAA post-mortem
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