The NFL draft certainly had a lot of drama and emotion. It was a great first round for offensive linemen, who went 1-2 for the first time since 1968. Alabama had three picks in a row from 9-11. I was thrilled to see Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert go as the Bengals took him at 21. QB was not as popular as usual. EJ Manuel of Florida State was the first one to go, at #16 to Buffalo. Round two has a lot of interesting players available.
I know it is early, and it is subject to change as other player moves, transfers, etc. can happen. For the moment, here is my look at the best that college hoops has to offer for the 2013-14 campaign.
The hottest team in baseball to start the season is the Atlanta Braves. Entering Tuesday’s series opener against the Royals, the Braves sit at 11-1. They are coming off a sweep of the talented NL East rival Washington Nationals. Atlanta has a nine game win streak and there are a number of factors. Justin Upton, who came over from Arizona, is off to a terrific start, teaming up with his brother, BJ. Then there is the pitching. How about a salute to Paul Maholm, who is 3-0 and has yet to give up an earned run this season. It has been a great start for the Braves. I am a big baseball fan and I appreciate great play!
What a great national championship game! I had the thrill of calling the game from courtside for ESPN International. It was so special, the passion and emotion of the players and the fans. Congratulations to Louisville for cutting down the nets. Michigan played their hearts out but there could be only one champion. In the first half, it was Luke Hancock vs. Spike Albrecht, something out of a Hollywood movie. Then Peyton Siva and Chane Behanan took over. The quickness of Siva going to the basket was vital. Behanan was a beast on the boards as he posted a double-double in the second half alone (11 points, 11 rebounds).
It was a great way to end the season!
I cannot wait for tomorrow night’s final between Michigan and Lousiville. Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. meet Peyton Siva and Russ Smith. I think they will pretty muchneutralize each other. Louisville’s Gorgui Dieng can give Mitch McGary problerms in the paint. McGary has had three double-doubles in the tourney but he is going against a tough shot-blocker. The Cardinal bench could be a factor again. I picked the Cardinals before the season and I like them to cut down the nets.
What makes the Final Four so special? It is the fans. I had a great time Friday with the fans, signing autographs and taking pictures. It was a busy day, starting with an early morning radio show, Sportscenter, and a series of appearances for Hooters, The Rock and Allstate. I cannot wait to call my first Final Four game when I do the Louisville/Wichita State game for ESPN International.
I am at the Final Four in Atlanta and the excitement is building. I have seen a number of coaches in the hotel. I had a blast taping a segment on the Conan O’Brien show. I was on with Charles Barkley and also met legendary Hall of Famer, Hank Aaron. It was really special spending time with Conan, Sir Charles and Hammerin Hank.
I am excited about my trip to Atlanta for the Final Four. There should be excitement galore with Louisville, Wichita State, Michigan and Syracuse earning their way there. I also find it interesting that the Big Ten has gone young. Northwestern went for Chris Collins and Minnesota opted for Richard Pitino. What do they have in common besides fathers with great success in coaching over the years? Both Pitino and Collins have great passion and enthusiasm for the sport. I feel that both schools made great decisions in their coaching hires.
The Final Four is set. Michigan beat Florida and Louisville beat Duke as there was little drama in the final scores. Russ Smith and Peyton Siva dominated. Trey Burke was brilliant. Mitch McGary was tough inside once again. So we are set with Wichita State against Louisville and Michigan versus Syracuse. I cannot wait to get to Atlanta.