Monday, March 30, 2009

UVa Hires Washington State's Tony Bennett

UVa announced the hiring, today, of Tony Bennett as the new basketball coach. Bennett has been the coach at Washington State the past three years; this year Washington St. went to the NIT but the past two years they had gone to the NCAA tournament.

I just got off the phone with Tuck and he's optimistic that it's a good hire (though he says it may be related to an enormous plunge (even when compared to comparable schools) in the value of UVa's endowment during the course of the past year).

Bennett is young (39) and should be hungry, and according to the Daily Progress his style is disciplined and focused on defense (a disciplined UVa team? I will believe it when I see it).

Match-ups for the Final Four, which is this coming Saturday/Monday:
  • Villanova (3) vs. UNC (1)
  • Michigan State (2) vs. UConn (1)
Wilbon has an article in Sunday's Post (here) in which he worries that the tournament is becoming too predictable, with high-ranking teams dominating each of the past two years ("the NCAA tournament grew from nice little niche sporting event to a cultural festival because people were drawn to upsets like 15th-seeded Hampton beating No. 2 seed Iowa State in 2001, like 14th-seeded Weber State beating No. 3 seed North Carolina in 1999").

Wilbon's concern is misguided -- this year's tournament did lack in upsets during the first two rounds, but there were a bunch of close games/great finishes, and the fact that a #2 and a #3 made it to the Final Four means that, at the very least, twelve teams (seeds 1-3 in each region) have a legit chance at making it to the Final Four -- this in stark contrast to the pathetic excuse for a postseason that is college football's BCS.

Fun that we got to see two of the Final Four teams last weekend in Philadelphia. I had a hunch after watching UConn absolutely destroy A&M that they'd have a shot, but I think I discounted Villanova's chances after they struggled against American. At this point I like UConn over Villanova in the final.

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