The Washington Post

First Things First -- Tracee Hamilton talks men's Final Four

Mar 29, 2010

Raise your hand if you had West Virginia, Butler, Michigan State and Duke in your Final Four. Anyone? I want to party with YOU, cowboy. If you're like me, and got a couple right, or one, or none at all, it's do-over time. This morning, let's pick our semifinal winners and national champion. Now that the field is a whole lot smaller, we should be a whole lot smarter. Right?

Tracee: As a NU grad, I was rooting for the Big 12 to have at least one team in the Final Four, and thought there was a good shot for two, but, even with props to Butler, I think that double OT game killed KSU in the Elite 8 (and where did Butler come up with a high-school kid as coach?). Baylor/Duke - I had Duke going out in the Sweet 16 - guess I shouldn't have sold Coach K and his team short.

Morning, everyone! Let's get going.

I, too, was rooting for the Big 12. I had Baylor in my Final Four, probably partly wishful thinking. Duke knows how to handle the tournament better than most.

I keep wondering if the Butler coach will bring a tape measure to Indianapolis -- Lucas Oil Arena? -- and measure the distance to the basket. That would be so cool.

If they win it all I Win my office pool, give me some good odds on that?

I still like West Virginia and I had them in my final. They will have a scrap with MSU to get there. I think you've got a shot.

Like most "experts," you had Duke going out early. You talked about how unimpressed you were with Duke, that they just weren't that good. What do you have to say now?

I thought I had Duke losing to Baylor in the regional final, but I trashed my bracket a long time ago so I'll take your word for it. I thought I said they didn't deserve a 1 seed, based on the ACC not being all that whippy this year. I'll stick with that, too. Duke is always good in the tournament and I'm not falling down in shock over them making the Final Four, but I certainly didn't want them to. They had the easiest road of the No. 1 seeds, certainly, but I honestly thought Baylor could beat them.

Hello! Thanks for taking our quetions. I really enjoy your thoughts and feedback. There was so much negative about Duke when the bracket first came out....easy bracket side, didn't deserve number 1, predictions of a 32 or 16 loss. However, they have landed in the final four. How did they pull it off?

Oh, Duke again. Well, Duke is great in the tournament. They really handle it well. I also think they are playing better now than a month ago. Nothing wrong with improving. I thought they had the easier road but I really don't think I picked them to lose early. Now I've got to go back and check. They shoot well and they have a great floor leader and a great coach. It's not stunning.

So, if Pat Summitt's name was Patrick Summitt, would she be coaching in the NBA right now? I mean, is 1000+ victories anything to sneeze at?

Pat Summitt could coach anywhere. She's just naturally gifted. I'm not sure she'd want to coach in the NBA; she seems pretty pleased with college ball. She could certainly coach men's college basketball and part of me wishes she'd give it a try. But the women's game needs her, I think.

I think the "rise" of mid majors was inevitable one the "one and done" or maybe "two and done" phenonenon became widespread. Mid majors have pleyers who, and this is pretty bizzare, are "seniors." They are older and have a LOT of experience. I think there will come a day, very soon, where a mid major take it all.

Will it be this year? I have to admit, I'd love to see Butler win it all. They are perfectly positioned, with the home court advantage. I think it would be great to see a mid-major win it all.

I know what you mean about seniors, but my team had a senior floor leader who has won a title before, and it meant diddly squat. So it's not a guaranteed formula. But yes, to keep a team together for several years, that is key. The 2008 Jayhawks played like a team. The 2010 Jayhawks, not so much, all the time. They never seemed to find a rhythm. Ah, well...

Wow - what a mesmerizing tournament! Except for the 'Duke Regional," of course, which they could have won blindfolder. Any idea why they were given such a cakewalk? But theother regions were fascinating.

Villanova's early exit made that part of the bracket a lot less exciting. I don't know why Duke got the easiest road but I sure think they did. But they still had to win the games.

They should play the Final Four in Butler's fieldhouse, given that it was site of both the 1954 high school state championship game and the filming of the state championship game in "Hoosiers."

Yup. So awesome. Gotta dig that out and watch it again this week; that's a great movie.

I was only half right, Michigan and West Virginia... Personally I am suprised the Spartans have reached the final four given that their star player is out. Just goes to show what good coaching will do. I have definately been impressed with their program. Regarding who wins, I have to say "ANYBODY BUT DUKE". I know, not really a question but I had to say it anyway.

I was only a quarter right -- West Virginia. Baylor broke my heart. Izzo in March -- tough to pick against him. I know there's a lot of "anybody but Duke" sentiment out there. I'm rooting for Butler. What the heck.

I started a pool at the Sweet 16 round. 45 people entered and more than half of those didn't pick ONE FINAL FOUR TEAM RIGHT! Amazing! I'll pick MSU vs. WVU with WVU winning it all. BUT the team I'm rooting for is BUTLER!

That is pretty amazing! And I like your picks.

Tracee, how did women's basketball get an imbalance of talent that would make George Steinbrenner uneasy? UConn beat Temple by 43 in their second round game. IN THE FIRST HALF! (55-12) They went on to win 74-36 in the Sweet 16 and Stanford won their game 73-36.

I don't know what's wrong with women's college hoops. There is no parity, and I'm not sure why they are bothering to hold a tournament. No one is going to beat Connecticut.

And no one is going to watch these blowouts, either, so while the women's game has improved a lot, it's still basically unwatchable at times. This leads to the larger question of why women's team sports don't succeed. I'm thinking of the WNBA, which is still struggling as a league to catch on, as compared to, say, women's tennis or other individual sports.

Dont get me wrong, I love Kalin Lucas. But do you think the Spartans would have made it to the Final Four without his injury? Once that happened, the Spartans became a team and rallied around the name on the front of their jerseys instead of the back of their jerseys. Just astonishing when you think about all they have been through all year and all the injuries. Tom Izzo is amazing.....

It's always good to have a rallying point, and an injury can do that.

What do you think the hatred of Duke is based on? No one even gave them a chance to make the final four. As far as I can tell, the players on the team are what being a STUDENT-athelete is all about. They go to class, they graduate, they play great college basketball. Sure, many of them will never be NBA stars, but is that all college basketball is about? I'm just confused, please enlighten.

I don't know; we've touched on this today. I don't know where the Duke hate comes from; until I moved east I really didn't know there WAS Duke hate. Barry Svrluga went to Duke so they can't be all bad.

How cool was it to see Huggins outcoach Calipari on Saturday? My favorite part was Huggy using the 1-3-1, a defense he never coached before he got to WVU. The players taught it to him...John Beilein's last gift to the mountaineers!

Well, it was a little hard to root for either of them, since they aren't the shining lights of good in the NCAA, but I'll take Huggy Bear over Calipari anyway.

Don't know who's gonna win, but I'm taking the under. This might be the first game in 40 years where the shot clock really matters.

HA! This is true.

Having read the prosecutor's pre-sentencing report, I was surprised Arenas was not given jail. Do we know for sure the guns were unloaded? If so, why did he have to remove them from his home? And the report (properly) does not even reflect hgis going againsg the Wizards' wishes in rehabbing his knee following his first operation. Had he done so, he might not have required the second. I never bought into the image of "Gilbert the lovable goof." And I'm sorry he had a rough vhildhood, but he had one loving parent who took excellent care of him, which is one more than a lot of people have. I'm been a season ticket holder for 27 years, through thin and thinner, but my delight at Ted Leonsis's having bought the team is tempered by the fact I do not want to see Arenas, who single-handedly ruined the franchise (OK, with a bit of help from Grunfeld) in a Wizards uniform ever again. If that happens, I will never attend a home game again.

I thought jail would do him  good, even a month, and I haven't changed my mind. I can't imagine he's learned much from this but we'll see. And if he remains a Wizard after all this ... oy. I hear from a lot of ticket holders who feel the same way.

Thank you, Mike Wise and others, butI am so tired of reading about Gilbert Arenas's difficult childhood. Please. He was raised by a loving parent, had a decent life after starting off on a rough patch, and apparently everyone who met him spoiled him rotten, leading to his strong belief that rules do not apply to him. You want touch? I never knew my father. When I was 2, my mother left me on my grandmother's porch and disappeared for 7 years.. Unknown to my mother, my grandmother was away at the time; and I was discovered by the mailman 2 days later, and taken in by neighbors until she returned. Now I'm a D.C. social worker, helping teens deal with not only missing parents, but gangs, gun violence, HIV/AIDS, and the whole range of urban ills that has overtaken our inner cities. Many of these kids looked up to Arenas, so this is just another instance of their having been let down. And he gets $100 million to continue to do his own thing!

First, congrats to you for overcoming a tragic beginning to make a difference in the world. That is a great, inspiring story.

And I agree re Gilbert. All of us have hurdles in our lives. He certainly didn't corner the market on tragedy, and he's had a lot of years to rise above it, and the means to do so as well. And yet...

Is Ted Leonsis right to be freaking out now that his team is the favorite to win the Cup? If they're good, they're good...

Naw, Ted shouldn't freak out. He should enjoy this run. And speaking of the Caps, I've gotta run to practice. Sorry I didn't get to everyone's comments today; it was a full house! Join me tomorrow and we'll try again...

In This Chat
Tracee Hamilton
Tracee Hamilton has worked at the Post since 1993, toiling in office obscurity as an editor before someone said, "Hey, you've got a lot of opinons and can write a little. Why don't you become a columnist?"

Her interests range from geneology to Nordic combined to Kansas basketball. If ever there was a Jayhawk who once flew off a ski jump, she'd know where he was buried.

Her list of pet peeves is considerably longer, but includes Missouri basketball and poor subway etiquette. She welcomes dissenting opinions -- in the way Great Whites welcome open-water swimmers.

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