The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / 8 Grueling Truth’s We Learned from the First Two Weeks of the 2019 NCAA Tournament

8 Grueling Truth’s We Learned from the First Two Weeks of the 2019 NCAA Tournament

The truth about this season's tournament

1) The passion and electricity of March Madness is unequaled in sports

If you have never been to an NCAA Tournament game, you should go. The passion of the fans and the teams is something you don’t really feel through the television, but in person, even if your team is not in it, you will get goosebumps. I was in Louisville on Thursday night and when Tennessee came onto the court to the strains of “Rocky Top” and a partisan crowd of Volunteer fans who rose to their feet, it was quite a sight to behold. The Purdue fans, who were desperate for their team to finally get the monkey off their backs and win a National Championship, were nothing to sneeze at either. When you enter the locker room and see the joy on these young men’s faces it is something you will never forget. On the other side, when you enter the losing team’s locker room it will make you want to cry when you see the pain these young men are in over losing out on a chance to achieve a lifelong dream.

2) One and done players do not guarantee success

Just ask Duke. When you look at the four teams left standing they are all teams that have a purpose to build a culture, not to try and hit a quick fix to win. Look at Indiana. The fans in the Hoosier state thought getting Romeo Langford would mean at least a sweet sixteen, but they spent the week wondering what the heck happened after Wichita State beat them at Assembly Hall in the NIT!

3) Defense does win championships

Texas Tech, Virginia, Michigan State, and Auburn all won because they were the better defensive team’s in the elite eight, not because they had the most talent. In all four games, it is debatable that the teams with the most talent lost all four.

4) The four Elite Eight games this weekend were the best four ever played in a given year

I watched Texas Tech play Gonzaga and thought to myself that there was no way I would see a better game this past weekend than that! Boy was I wrong! Purdue had the Carsen Edwards’ show and Virginia had Kyle Guy spraining his ankle and then heroically nailing three after three in the second half. Maybe the most impressive play was Guy’s rebound put-back in the last few minutes of the game. Then we had Auburn without one of their best players recovering from a double-digit deficit coming back to beat a team who had beaten them 80-53 just about a month ago. Michigan State then took on the NCAA’s equivalent to the Golden State Warriors and battled and fought and squeaked out a one-point win.

5) Coaching matters, just ask the Cincinnati Bearcats

Mick Cronin has made early exits in the tournament a habit at Cincinnati and this year was no different than every other year he has guided the Bearcats to the Tournament. He has know taken Marvin Lewis’ place as the biggest playoff failure in Cincinnati and unfortunately, it seems he has the job for life for some unknown reason. Get ready if you are a Bearcats fan because Xavier will be really good next year, so once again Cincinnati will be the second best team in their own city, again.

6) The NCAA is cheap or is it just Louisville

Guess what they had for the press to eat at the media buffet in Louisville before the game? Hot dogs! Yes, I said hot dogs! Maybe it was just Louisville that was cheap, I don’t know.

7) The First Four is in Dayton, and it should be

The First Four in Dayton is done right and I can see after attending the last few years why it is in Dayton. Number one, the buffet is top notch, but so are the people that run it!

8) This Final Four will be unique

Texas Tech has never been to a Final Four, Auburn has never been to a Final Four, Virginia hasn’t been since 1984 when Othello Wilson led them there. Sure Michigan State is a multiple time participant and winner, but Michigan State lost multiple important player this season and are still standing. Plus maybe Tom Izzo will yell at a kid and make him cry!

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