Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Final Four, final words

Sitting here, trying to decide if -- based upon Michigan State's showing against North Carolina in the NCAA championship gane -- they should just award the runnerup spot to Villanova.... You go to enough NCAA Tournament games, you gather a few memories. Many of the games are over-coached, the players left to try to function while wearing handcuffs. But then there are others, games featuring explosions that you cannot forget. I can remember being at the Palestra, at the first NCAA Tournament game I ever saw in person. It was La Salle against Villanova in 1978 and it was an absolute knife fight. You can imagine what it was like in the building that day, hot, hell, a Big 5 game whose winner would head to the Sweet 16. It still might be the best first half I’ve ever seen: La Salle 49, Villanova 46. (Villanova ended up winning.) Then there was the Danny Manning championship game in 1988, Kansas against Oklahoma in Kansas City. The atmosphere was outrageous and the level of play matched the moment. It was a night when no one was going to corral the emotions or the abilities of the players on the floor. Halftime that night was 50-50.

Final Four, final words

 

Sitting here, trying to decide if -- based upon Michigan State's showing against North Carolina in the NCAA championship gane -- they should just award the runnerup spot to Villanova....
 
You go to enough NCAA Tournament games, you gather a few memories. Many of the games are over-coached, the players left to try to function while wearing handcuffs. But then there are others, games featuring explosions that you cannot forget.

I can remember being at the Palestra, at the first NCAA Tournament game I ever saw in person. It was La Salle against Villanova in 1978 and it was an absolute knife fight. You can imagine what it was like in the building that day, hot, hell, a Big 5 game whose winner would head to the Sweet 16. It still might be the best first half I’ve ever seen: La Salle 49, Villanova 46. (Villanova ended up winning.)
 
Then there was the Danny Manning championship game in 1988, Kansas against Oklahoma in Kansas City. The atmosphere was outrageous and the level of play matched the moment. It was a night when no one was going to corral the emotions or the abilities of the players on the floor. Halftime that night was 50-50.

 

 Monday night was not like that, not at all, but it was beautiful in its own way. Carolina was that good. It's 55 points in the first half against Michigan State was a championship game record. They have every piece: inside (Tyler Hansbrough), outside (Wayne Elllington), igniter (Ty Lawson).

It was a bad game but that was memorable.

Rich Hofmann Daily News Sports Columnist
About this blog
Rich Hofmann arrived at the Daily News in 1980 for a job whose status was officially designated as "full-time, temporary." A senior at Penn at the time, he was hired to fill in on the copy desk during a staff illness. The notion of him covering the Eagles or being a columnist did not exist in anyone's imagination. It was supposed to be six weeks and out, but he never left. It is only one of the reasons why so many people have concerns about him as a potential house guest. Rich has blogged the postseasons of the Flyers and Eagles. E-mail Rich at hofmanr@phillynews.com Reach Rich at hofmanr@phillynews.com.

Rich Hofmann Daily News Sports Columnist
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