After watching four days of the NCAA men’s basketball’s tourney, I saw lots of highs and lows.
Here are the high points:
— Wofford’s Fletcher Magee setting a career record for total 3-pointers at 509, reaching it in a first-round win over Seton Hall.
— University of Maine men’s basketball transfers Issac Vann of Virginia Commonwealth and Aaron Calixte of Oklahoma getting to play on the big stage. Calixte played in two games.
— Murray State’s Ja Morant’s outstanding triple-double of 17 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists in defeating Marquette and then scoring 28 in a loss to Florida State University.
— Watching two bigs, one who is the tallest basketball player in the game, 7-foot-6 Tacko Fall of Central Florida, and 7-4 Christ Koumadje of Florida State. Both played two games.
— No. 13 seed UC Irvine’s upset over No. 4 Kansas State in the opening round.
— No. 13 Vermont’s performance against No. 4 FSU, which featured players with great size, 7-4 and 6-10. Vermont lost the game at the foul line, missing four front ends of 1-and1s and shooting just 7of 13 from the line, but outscoring FSU from the floor, 62-45.
— Purdue’s Carson Edward’s 42 points to lead the hammering of defending NCAA champion Villanova, 87-61
— The best game was Duke’s very lucky win over No. 9 University of Central Florida on a questionable block call on UCF, an offensive put-back by Duke’s RJ Barrett on a missed foul shot on the block call, two missed easy shots by UCF at the buzzer, resulting in Duke’s 77-76 victory. Fall had fouled out and wasn’t on the floor when Barrett rebounded Williamson’s missed free throw.
Here are the lows, with some recommended solutions:
— Two-minute TV commercials on every media timeout. There are eight media timeouts, four each half at the 16-, 12-, 8-, and 4-minute marks. Plus, each team gets four 30-second timeouts and one 60-second timeout, totaling 18 possible timeouts.
A team loses a 30-second timeout if it doesn’t use one in the first half. The 30-second timeouts should be cut to two per team.
— There were no technical fouls for grasping the rim on dunks even though there were plenty of opportunities. The rule for grasping the rim should be called unless it’s done to prevent an injury. Grasping the rim would be reduced if only one point was awarded on those dunks.
— Too many players leaving their feet before the man they’re guarding with the ball leaves his feet.
— Very few teams took advantage of their bigs, who had a size advantage. There should have been more passes to the post players on the block and fewer 3-point attempts. This is on the coaches, who allow this.
— Michigan State coach Tom Izzo’s rant at one his players during a timeout crossed the line. It was unprofessional and was a bad model for high school coaches. The refs should have called an unsportsmanlike technical foul on him.
— There was an overuse of the 3-point shot. Another foot should be added to the college arc, so it’s 21 feet, 9 inches, putting it closer to the NBA distance of 23-9 and farther from the high school arc of 19-9.
— Too many ticky-tack fouls were called. Officials need to follow the advantage-disadvantage premise when deciding to call a foul.
— After reaching a career record for 3-pointers in his previous game, Wofford’s Magee goes 0 for 12 on 3-pointers in a 62-56 loss to Kentucky, setting an NCAA Tourney record for most 3-point misses in a game.
— There were too many instances of player celebrations after making an outstanding play and too many coaches yelling at their players or officials as they go up and down the sidelines, with coaches often out of the coaching box. It’s time to put those egos aside and be more positive role models for the high school game.
Hopefully, more highs than lows will occur in the upcoming Sweet 16, Elite 8 and Final 4.