Roundtable – April 7th

Monday night’s NCAA championship game was objectively one of the most entertaining ever. Was it the best NCAA Championship game of all time?

Kellan Buddy: I’d say definitely the best in the 21st century; certainly in our lifetime. Nobody thought that Jenkins would hit that three after Paige nailed it. To be honest, I feel bad for Marcus Paige; hope his amazing shot doesn’t get forgotten.

Ian Hackett: It was the best finish of all time. Paige hits an incredible, off-balance 3 to tie the game before kris Jenkins pulls up to hit a buzzer beating 3. So best finish, yes. Best game? No. 1983 NC State was great because of how monumental the upset was and I think that the Kansas-Memphis was a game for the ages. Not to mention Butler v Duke

Charlie O’Donnell: If it’s not the best of all time it’s certainly in the top 3, basketball can get a lot of hate from people who don’t like it because of the constant scoring. However, this game showcased why the final minute of basketball can be the most exciting thing in sports. Many people thought Paige’s three was the final nail in the coffin but we all have heard it ain’t over until the fat lady sings, and Jenkins made her sing like she was Aretha Franklin with that amazing buzzer beater. If you know someone who doesn’t like basketball show them this classic.

Connor Mallon: I feel there is no definitive best championship game for men’s basketball. I’d certainly put it up there in the top 5. Kansas/Memphis was a great one, and Villanova/ Georgetown as well as North Carolina/Michigan. For me Butler vs Duke was one of the best, even with Hayward missing the final shot. What made this so great was Paige getting the tying three, then Jenkins winning with a three. Both unexpected shots to make. The finish felt like something out of a movie.

Tim Sorota: I would say so. It was back and forth throughout and Nova looked like they had it won with 5 minutes to go. But UNC wouldn’t die and the game tying 3 by Marcus Paige was simply unreal. The Heels had all the momentum and for the Wildcats to hit a buzzer beater 3 when all signs turned to OT and a North Carolina title is absolutely unbelievable.

Quinn Mathies: It was close. But I cannot call it the greatest of all time personally only because I would reserve that title for a game not nearly as dominated by the whistle as this one. It certainly had one of the best endings, but the triple-OT UNC-Kansas 1957 game has this one beat.

Hank Greening: It’s hard to judge the best game ever. It’s the freshest in our minds because it happened Monday. The best of all-time though? No. I’d agree it’s the best ending, but you look at a game like Kansas-Memphis, or going way back to Texas Western vs Kentucky. Those were more well-played I’d say and more memorable and influential.

Peter Fiorentino: Not in my opinion. I think you have to give it to Texas Western when they beat Kentucky. TWU was the first team to start an all-black basketball team and win a championship, and it was under first-year head coach Don Haskins. Incredible feat for a first year coach, and the most influential team in history. Hank – same page.

Ian Hackett: Well but Peter does that make it the best game? Like the best game of basketball? Or the most influential/meaningful game? Because I think that those are separate arguments.

Peter Fiorentino: Best game too, Ian. One of the most under-appreciated teams of all time because of color, and came in to a team coached by a top-10 coach all time, and one of the best college players to ever play (Pat Riley). They took the lead in the first like 2 minutes, and never gave it up. It would be like if Syracuse beat UConn in the women’s tournament this year (kind of a stretch, but just trying to make a comparison).

Grant Becker: It’s probably not the best game of all-time. Texas Western over Kentucky is the most significant ever and when you add up all the story lines NC State over Houston is hard to top. But it is the most entertaining championship game ever. NC State and Houston both shot under 40%. Villanova and UNC were so much better than everybody else in the tournament and they couldn’t miss – despite great defense – throughout the championship game.

Are you watching the Masters this weekend? Why or why not?

Quinn Mathies: I am not because I have never personally gotten into watching golf. However, with all the local hype surrounding it from my hometown in North Carolina I will likely keep up to date with it quasi-live.

Kellan Buddy: I’m watching the *expletive* out of it… In class.

Peter Fiorentino: Kellan not sure we can post that.

Kellan Buddy: I don’t condone this behavior. Yes, I’m watching. Spieth is leading the pack of young stars and it’s been nothing but riveting golf so far.

Connor Basch: I am definitely watching the Masters. I’ll be curious to see how Spieth follows up on his last two Masters performances, but I think the biggest story right now is Jason Day. It’s not often you see a guy who’s already good get even better over the course of one year, but Day has done that and he’s red-hot already in 2016. It’ll be interesting too to see if Rory can make a race for his first Green Jacket – but I think it will be a lesser named golfer that wins at Augusta this year.

Connor Mallon: Yes, of course I’ll be watching the masters. I feel this year there is so much depth in terms of competitors trying to win. I think guys like Rory and Fowler will be fun to watch because they’re both making heavy strides to get the green jacket. Plus I feel it signifies the start of a warm weather season. Obviously in Milwaukee it isn’t like that, but it gives us hope. Nothing is better than lying your couch on Saturday and Sunday afternoon watching golf’s best compete.

Tim Sorota: Of course I’ll be watching a tradition unlike any other. Think it won’t be exciting? Watch that shot Bubba hit from the trees a few years ago.

Peter Fiorentino: I’ll watch here and there. I’m one of the few that actually thinks the absence of Tiger is good for big tournaments like the Masters. I’m excited to see if Spieth can win back-to-back Masters, and see if Lee Westwood can actually be relevant this year despite hardly playing.

Ian Hackett: Yes. There is an amateur in the field named Bryson DeChambeau whose clubs are all the same length, which allows him to have the same swing regardless of what club he is using. It’s incredibly unorthodox for such a level of golf, but he win last year’s US Amateur championship and the NCAA 2015 individual title. Plus there isn’t really a consensus favorite to win it all given the inconsistent performances some golfers have been putting out.

Hank Greening: You can put me on the same page as Kellan. American as apple pie.

Grant Becker: Of course I’ll be watching. It’s the freaking Masters.

Steph Curry is the runaway MVP. Who is the runner-up?

Connor Mallon: I’d say Russell Westbrook. Guy is putting up triple-doubles every other night and really putting OKC back out there as a contending team. The way he’s able to drive in the lane and move the ball is truly remarkable.

Quinn Mathies: The Steph Curry who missed 50% of his shots against San Antonio :^)

Ian Hackett: Either Kawhi Leonard or Westbrook. Kawhi could be the first ever player to join the 50-40-90 club (he’s at 88% from the free throw line right now) AND win DPOY. Absolutely unheard of and speaks volume of his abilities on both ends of the floor. And Russell has been the lifeline for the Thunder. Durant gets his 26-10 every game but Russell facilitates everything and is a matchup nightmare. Can’t let him and Ibaka/Adams run pick and rolls, can’t let him roll to the hoop. Your best bet is to get him to shoot from three but even then he’s a solid three-point shooter, but also he realizes what to do in that situation. Chris Paul is closely behind those two in my opinion as well.

Kellan Buddy: KOBE. BRYANT.

Grant Becker: It’s funny to me that we overlook LeBron in this conversation. The case for Russ is fair, and my god has he rounded his game out, but his regular season defense is pretty average. James is putting up 25/7/7 on a “struggling” Cavs team. Struggling? The Cavs are the #1 seed in the East, they have 56 wins and they did this all through injuries and a coaching change. The standard for LBJ’s play has been set so high that we haven’t even noticed how good he’s been this season – despite a down shooting year.

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