Saturday, March 25, 2006

Some Great Basketball

The NCAA basketball games the past couple of nights have been ridiculously dramatic. When six out of eight games come down to the final seconds, it's hard to believe someone's not scripting them. But they're not. That's what sports has over every other cultural offering -- spontaneity and uncertainty.

Last night's Connecticut-Washington game was one of the best I've ever seen. For one thing, it had a fluid pace, with lots of offense. Even the best tourney games often don't feature that. By the end of the night, four of Washington's key players had fouled out, but still they almost managed to topple the team everyone agrees has the deepest roster of talent in the country.

Villanova was another top seed that barely survived, winning in overtime against Boston College. I needed BC to win (badly) for a couple of office pools, and you can make an argument they were robbed. (Sean Williams grabbed a rebound late in the game, and then was pulled to the floor by a Villanova player. Instead of a foul, Williams was called for traveling.) I know lots of sketchy calls occur during every game -- it's the nature of the sport -- but I was disturbed last night by how the most important calls very late in the game went to the top seeds, who needed every break to win. I'm not crying conspiracy, but just to show I'm not only talking about my selfish gambling interests -- I also "needed" UConn to win, but I ended up rooting for Washington, and late in the game, the team's best player, Brandon Roy, put up a shot that was blocked and probably should've counted because of goaltending. It wasn't called. I think the refs, however subconsciously, gave Villanova and Connecticut the benefit of the doubt down the stretch, and that's the last thing we need to give an accomplished, top-seeded team that's been largely outplayed.


Blogger Mark said...

I agree with ya, cept for one thing. The reffing in the UConn "win" was so outrageously bad, it ruined the game for me.

And, no, I'm not a Washington fan or a UConn hater.


4:44 PM  
Anonymous lfw said...

"That's what sports has over every other cultural offering -- spontaneity and uncertainty."

Hmmm. I never thought of sports as a cultural offering. And just for the record, good theatre has both of those characteristics.

11:51 AM  
Blogger JMW said...

Um, sports are a cultural offering, and theater -- which I'm not denigrating, obviously -- only has spontaneity and uncertainty within certain parameters, the same way that, say, jazz does. Which can be incredible and inspiring in ways that a sports event obviously can't, but not as unpredictable in a dramatic sense as what I'm talking about.

12:13 PM  
Anonymous lfw said...

there are no parameters in a basketball game?

it's funny, too, that you qualify unpredictable with "in a dramatic sense" in describing sports and not, well, drama. i don't mean that in a catty way-- i just mean it was genuinely funny (as in odd, not ha-ha).

i would call sports a form of entertainment rather than a cultural offering, but obviously i see why it can be viewed as a combination. even a britney spears concert can be called a cultural offering, i guess.

12:53 PM  

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