Despite “Geno”…. Final Four Fever Spreads

By Emma Gibbs

The drama surrounding the NCAA basketball Final Fours, both Men’s and Women’s, approach what promises to be a frenzied finish.

On the Men’s side Oklahoma faces Villanova, while the surprising ‘tainted’’ Orange of Syracuse University meets up with the number one-seeded Tarheels of North Carolina.

The Women’s final quartet has Washington University battling the Lady Orange of Syracuse, while the ladies of Oregon State, the same group which eliminated local sweetheart St. Bonaventure in the second round, locks up with the undefeated, top-ranked ladies from the University of Connecticut.

Of course “big-time” college competition would never be complete without controversy once again rearing its ugly head. Connecticut Women’s Coach Geno Auriemma made sure of that.

In the quarter-final round ( the so-called elite eight) Connecticut manhandled Mississippi State, crushing the Lady Bulldogs  98-38. A mismatch from the start, Connecticut lead 61 to 12 at halftime. Nonetheless, Auriemma unleashed a relentless,classless blood-letting allowing Connecticut to continue to embarrass an over-matched opponent.

Despite the lopsided halftime numbers, “Geno” saw fit to play his starters in the second half, not pulling the last of the first-five until 8:45 was left in the game. “Geno”, the only one you were entertaining was yourself.

As network television cameras panned the UConn bench, one could spot six athletes still in their warm-ups, none of whom had yet to step on the hardwood. Auriemma, what in God’s name were you thinking???

Instead of  having his players run some time off the clock, slowing down their offensive onslaught, “Geno” continued a break-neck attack combined with a pressing defense to further trash a demoralized group of Mississippi State ‘kids’.

Auriemma’s lame explanation to a  sideline network analyst reeked of arrogance. “I can’t make them just walk up and down the floor” Auriemma scoffed. Lame, lame less-than lame….

Small chance remains that Auriemma will get his “comeuppance”, his UConn team is that good. But little Geno might accomplish will cover up the “Twitter uproar”created by a Coach whose sportsmanship and common courtesy fell victim to an arrogant need to humiliate an already beaten opponent.

Let’s get back to basketball. The Lady Orange has a real chance to reach the NCAA title game. Unfortunately, Connecticut should be there waiting to finish off its undefeated season by pounding the darlings of Central New York.

On the Men’s side Oklahoma is lead by Buddy Hield, justly touted as one of college basketball’s best.

But Villanova brings to the table a position- by- position advantage which can return Nova to the NCAA title game for the first time since Rollie Massimino’s Wildcats shocked Georgetown and the College Basketball World in 1985.

The other semi-final pits the ‘Orange’ of Syracuse against the number one seeded Tarheels of North Carolina. Syracuse has survived the nine game suspension of Head Coach Jim Boeheim, a questioned advantageous seed off the “Bubble” and two improbable rallies against Gonzaga and Virginia to reach the Final Four.

The clock might well strike twelve for Cinderella, as even its stifling defense will not be enough to get the Orange past a very talented North Carolina.

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