It’s NCAA Or Bust ………….. Bull Dogs or U Conn Huskies ?

It’s NCAA Or Bust ………….. Bull Dogs or U Conn Huskies ?

Well tonight Brad Stevens and his Butler Bull Dogs will get a second consecutive bite of the cherry looking to be crowned the national champions in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament . In this matchup they will face off against the U Conn Huskies and perhaps the player of the tournament without a doubt in Kemba Walker ! The Huskies will have that wily veteran as coach , Jim Calhoun who’ll be looking to win his third national title overall and join a select number of coaches who’ve won multiple NCAA titles .

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Slide show for your perusal .

Reliant Stadium in Houston , Texas, will be rocking as throngs of fans in support of both teams will have this venue packed to the rafters and with there being primetime national television coverage coming courtesy of CBS the night is bound to be riveting and an exciting spectacle to watch or participate in. Both teams have proved their worth in making it this far as has been witnessed in the routes taken in them getting to the Finals . And as impressive as both teams have been , it goes without saying that there are no doubt a number of us who hadn’t expected U Conn much less Butler making it this far . I for one thought that Butler’s surprise run in last year’s tournament would be just a one off ! And given the fact that they’d lost their best player in Gordon Hayward to the NBA who’d have guessed that they’d make such a quick return to the Final Four much less the championship game , itself ?

Experience says that that the U Conn Huskies ought to prevail and given that they’ve a coaching staff led by Calhoun one could say that they have a distinct advantage . Never mind the depth and talent laden roster of this Huskies’ team . At the same it’d be naive to even dare to underestimate the resolve of this Bull Dogs’ team and the very fact that different players on the roster have repeatedly stepped up to the plate and have done what has been asked of them by Brad Stevens and his coaching staff , and that’s to win by playing stifling defense , be quick in transition as and when needed. This game I believe , the deference given to Walker as a player and whether or not Stevens will have a way of negating the player’s power and leadership qualities . As Walkers goes , then so do the U Conn Huskies as a team , albeit that he’s complemented by the play of Jeremy Lamb , Alex Oriahki and in particular Shabazz Napier .

Brad Stevens’ team are no slouches themselves given their surprise upset (71-70) of Jamie Dixon’s —– Pitt Panthers who if anything were thought to have the better team . But as they say first impressions aren’t necessarily to be taken for what they’re worth as has been witnessed by Butler’s improbable run throughout this tournament . It has been players such as Shelvin Mack , Matt Howard , Andrew Smith , Shawn Vanzant , Khyle Marshall and Ronald Nored who’ve made their presence felt during this tournament and throughout the Bull Dogs’ season .

To my mind this NCAA Tournament has been one of the more exciting ones in recent memory and even if there have been doubters as to the legitimacy of some of the participants , there’s no denying there’s more excitement to be had and witnessed here than watching the idiocy we’re told is the BCS System for determining a national champion in football ! Which to my mind is the biggest fu_king fraud going on within collegiate sports beyond the idiocy of the NCAA’s reluctance to punish certain programs who’ve knowingly transgressed their mandated rules . Who the hell actually now takes the NCAA seriously to begin with ? Only a damn idiot would still have the presence of mind to believe that they stand for what’s best in collegiate athletics !

There’s a great deal to be said about the tournament and the players we’ve had the pleasure of seeing in this NCAA Tournament. And while Kemba Walker has stood out , towering over this tournament with his play, leadership qualities and doubted skills . I wonder if those skills in particular will translate into success at the next level within the NBA ? There’s often talk that certain players are can’t miss opportunities players once they enter the NBA but to my mind that is predicated upon the environment and the team that a player finds themselves in ! I mean one merely has to look at the struggles of John Wall this season with the Washington Wizards to see what can happen . And though we’ve seen the outstanding season now being had by the Clippers’ Blake Griffin . One simply has to remember that he had a year off from the game having spent his initial rookie season sidelined by injury. Who’s to say we’d have seen that explosiveness now being witnessed had he played for the Clippers last season ? As they say ……”buyer beware ” !

I’m not about to suggest that the same fate that has befallen John Wall awaits Kember Walker should he be taken as to consensus number one pick in the 2011 NBA Draft but given what I’ve seen of teams such as the Cleveland Cavaliers , Minnesota Timberwolves , Sacramento Kings , Toronto Raptors and New Jersey Nets in the NBA Standings I’m liable to believe that Walker’s impact mightn’t be that immediate given those teams’ performances over the course of this season. God knows the gap between the elite teams and those who cling to the bottom rung is like a crevasse that’s a mile deep or wide ! .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

As a fan of the tournament have you been excited by what you’ve seen or do you feel in some way that the tournament has been something of a disappointment ? And who amongst the two remaining teams would you be happy with seeing winning the national title ? Simply leave comment as to your thoughts on this piece and anything else you feel pertinent to the NCAA Tournament . And thanks as always for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ……………..

https://tophatal.wordpress.com/

😛

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Hudson Pangan, 6, cheers while seated on the shoulders of his mother Catherine at a pep rally in support of the Butler University mens basketball team on the school’s campus in Indianapolis on Monday, April 4, 2011. Butler faces Connecticut in the NCAA Mens Final tonight in Houston. The Pangans live on the Butler campus in faculty housing and Catherine said she’s particularly excited because she is a professor of Butler Bulldog starting guard Ronald Nored. AP Photo/ Maxwell Barnes …….

(2) HOUSTON – April 3rd 2011 : Jimmer Fredette of BYU receives the 2011 Naismith Trophy Presented by AT&T from David Christopher of AT&T during the NABC Guardians of the Game Awards Program on April 3, 2011 in Houston, Texas. Joining them on stage are Eric Oberman (L) and Barry Goheen (R) of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images ……….

(3) Connecticut head coach Jim Calhoun speaks during a news conference before a practice session for the men’s NCAA Final Four college basketball championship game Sunday, April 3, 2011, in Houston. Connecticut plays Butler in the championship game Monday night. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey …………….

(4) Connecticut head coach Jim Calhoun, left, talks to Butler head coach Brad Stevens prior to taping a television interview for the men’s NCAA Final Four college basketball championship game Sunday, April 3, 2011, in Houston. Butler plays UConn in the championship game Monday night. AP Photo/Eric Gay ………….

(5) Virginia Commonwealth’s Juvonte Reddic, left, shoots over Butler’s Matt Howard during the second half of a men’s NCAA Final Four semifinal college basketball game Saturday, April 2, 2011, in Houston. AP Photo/Chris Steppig/NCAA Photos, Pool ……….

(6) Butler’s Shawn Vanzant and Virginia Commonwealth’s Darius Theus chase a loose ball during the second half of a men’s NCAA Final Four semifinal college basketball game Saturday, April 2, 2011, in Houston. AP Photo/David J. Phillip ………….

(7) Butler players Shelvin Mack, left, and Chase Stigall react after beating Virginia Commonwealth 70-62 at a men’s NCAA Final Four semifinal college basketball game Saturday, April 2, 2011, in Houston. AP Photo/David J. Phillip …………..

(8) Connecticut’s Kemba Walker speaks as his coach Jim Calhoun, left, looks on after being introduced as the winner of the Bob Cousy Award during the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class announcement, Monday, April 4, 2011, in Houston. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall …………….

(9) Connecticut’s Kemba Walker shoots as Kentucky’s DeAndre Liggins looks on during the first half of a men’s NCAA Final Four semifinal college basketball game Saturday, April 2, 2011, in Houston. AP Photo/David J. Phillip ………..

(10) Kemba Walker (15) of the Connecticut Huskies dives to save a ball from going out of bounds against the Kentucky Wildcats during the National Semifinal game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship at Reliant Stadium on April 2, 2011 in Houston, Texas. U Conn would defeat Kentucky 56-55 Photo by Pool/Getty Images ……….

(11) Alex Oriakhi (34) of the Connecticut Huskies dunks the ball against Kentucky Wildcats during the National Semifinal game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship at Reliant Stadium on April 2, 2011 in Houston, Texas. Photo by Chris Steppig-Pool/Getty Images …………

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The Verve ………………… “Bitter Sweet Symphony ”

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Keri Hilson ………. feat’g ……… Lil’ Wayne ……….”You’re Turning Me On”

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Beauty Is In The Eye Of Beholder ……..Oops We’ve Another Heavyweight Champion of The World ….

So here I am, scouring the “net” as well as US editions of several British newspapers I subscribe to ,in order to keep myself abreast of what’s happening back home in the land of my birth. Quite often I’ll also take in the BBC America network outlet for the latest business and international news. CNN and Fox News may well believe that they’re best at covering a story with in depth coverage and analysis. But in actuality they pale by comparison , when judged against the professionalism shown by the journalists of the BBC .

Best  to  be  seen  and  not  heard . Paris  Hilton  and  Tara Reid   are   getting   far too much   exposure  than  is  needed  .   Can  someone  remind them  that they need a  modicum  of  talent and  intelligence  as  well  ?  Not  unlike what   unlike what  we're  now  witnessing  within the  heavyweight   division  of  boxing .  picture  appears   courtesy  of  getty images north  america/   Julian  Proctor .........

Best to be seen and not heard ? Paris Hilton and Tara Reid are getting far too much exposure than is needed. Can someone remind them that they need a modicum of talent and intelligence as well ? Not unlike what we’re now witnessing within the heavyweight division of boxing. picture appears courtesy of getty images north america/ Julian Proctor ………..

If it’s not enough of anathema, to think that the heavyweight boxing division is now ruled by East European boxers. It’s enough to make one ask the question where’s the talent of yesteryear in terms of boxing within the division ? It was bad enough seeing the claims of one aspirant from the US bite the dust with such embarrassment. That the talk of Chris Arreola (27-1, 24 KO’s) returning to the ring , is being met without as much as excitement, as the next on screen performance of Paris Hilton or Tara Reid . Neither of whom, it can be said was all that talented to begin with, when it came to the art of acting. But then again, if you’re a testosterone driven hetero sexual male. The thespian talents of either is hardly the thing that’ll lure you to watch either of these two females.

Vitali  Klitschko   proves  his   dominance  stopping  Chris Arreola in the  tenth  round  of  their WBC heavyweight  title  fight  held  at the  Staples  Center , Los  Angeles , California , in  September .

Vitali Klitschko (right) the champion proves his dominance in stopping Chris Arreola (left),the challenger for his WBC heavyweight title fight held at the Staples Center, Los Angeles, California. Arreola was forced to retire at the end of the 10th round of the bout. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Mark J. Terrell …

Arreola , for his part has reminded us how devoid of home grown talent this country really is, when it comes to the heavyweight division of boxing. Furthermore, the excuses being made that most athletes shy away from the sport because there’s more money to be made playing in the NBA , NFL or MLB . Well, that’s akin to saying I don’t really want to get but I’ll try my hand and at something else less painful. Any sport runs the risk of an athlete being hurt at some point in their career. That’s part and parcel of being an athlete to begin with. It’s not solely about making money. It’s the thought of challenging one’s self against the obstacles placed in your way and being able to overcome it for the gains at the end of the day. Money , fame and the notoriety is just a bye product of it all.

The newly  crowned WBA heavyweight  champion of the  world  David  Haye (center  foreground) who won  the  title  with a  unanimous  decision over the  former  champion  , Nikolai Valuev of  Russia .     picture  appears  courtesy  of afp/getty images/  Shaun  Curry ............

The newly crowned WBA heavyweight champion of the world, David Haye (center foreground) who won the title with a unanimous decision over the former champion, Nikolai Valuev of Russia. picture appears courtesy of afp/getty images/ Shaun Curry ……….

Chris Arreola in his last bout challenged Vitali Klitschko (38-2-0,37 KO’s) for the WBC heavyweight title. His challenge was met with the usual customary reverence one could come to expect of a champion unwilling to let an inferior opponent try and avail themselves of something that is not rightfully theirs. He forced the challenger to retire in the tenth round of their scheduled twelve round title fight at the Staples Center , in Los Angeles, California, on the 26th September 2009.

Valuev (left) looks to defend  himself against  the  challenger  ,  Haye , in their WBA heavyweight  title   fight held  in  Nurumberg  Germany  on the  7th  November  2009.       picture appears  courtesy of  afp/getty images/ Shaun  Curry ........

Valuev (left) looks to defend himself against the challenger , Haye, in their WBA heavyweight title fight held in Nurumberg , Germany on the 7th November 2009. picture appears courtesy of afp/getty images/ Shaun Curry ………

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports and Associated Press:

Haye defeats Valuev for WBA heavyweight title

By David Hein , Associated Press Sports Writer

NUREMBERG, Germany (AP)—David Haye certainly backed up his brash prediction.

Haye used his superior quickness to surprise Nikolai Valuev, winning a majority decision on Saturday night and winning the WBA heavyweight title.

The British challenger came close to knocking down Valuev for the first time in his 16-year pro career during the final round, but had to settle for the decision. The scores were 116-112 on two of the judges’ cards, and a 114-114 draw on the other.

“The key was my speed,” Haye said. “People don’t realize I am very fast. And I have a powerful punch. I’m athletic, and if I wasn’t a boxer I would be playing football or rugby.”

The former cruiserweight titleholder won his third fight at heavyweight, despite giving up nearly a foot and 100 pounds to the tallest and heaviest champion in history.

“Everybody thought I was crazy,” Haye said, “but I knew I could make him miss.”

Haye had spent months taunting fellow heavyweight champions Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko, and even embarked on a press tour to promote a fight against Wladimir Klitschko before it was called off. Now, he’ll probably escape facing the two men considered the best in the division because his first defense of the WBA title is supposed to be against John Ruiz.

The former titleholder earned the shot by stopping Adnan Serin in the seventh round earlier in the night—and already Haye is offering another prediction.

“He’s a good fighter who is very underrated,” Haye said of the American. “He is not the most spectacular, but I don’t feel like I will struggle with him. He’s about the same size as me and I think I will knock him out.”

Valuev dropped to 50-2, and admitted that Haye was too quick for him.

“Tonight only one thing happened that I didn’t expect,” Valuev said. “It was like a marathon for me. It was like a track event. I wasn’t ready to run that much.

“The judges made their scoring and I think the last round made the difference, especially the end of it.”

Haye tried to keep Valuev on the move, opening with a left to the Russian’s chin followed by a powerful combo. Valuev struggled to catch Haye, finding him only with left jabs.

Haye said he injured his right hand hitting Valuev in the head, likely in the second round.

“It was like punching a brick wall,” Haye said.

Nicknamed “The Hayemaker,” the Brit connected with big rights and lefts to Valuev’s head to build up his points lead. Valuev finally came alive beginning in the fourth round, but in the sixth Haye landed a right-left combo and two solid lefts.

Haye continued to make Valuev work while finding holes, including a strong right followed by a left to Valuev’s face in the ninth. After another big right in the 10th, Haye wrapped up the fight by landing two left hooks that left Valuev wobbly in the 12th.

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With the  distinct  height  and  weight advantage   Valuev (left)  still  gets  caught  by  the  challenger  , David  Haye  ,  in  their  WBA  heavyweight title  bout.      picture appears courtesy of  afp photo dpp/ getty images/  Timm Schamberger  .................

Valuev covers up and is still getting caught by the challenger , David Haye , in their WBA heavyweight title bout. picture appears courtesy of afp dpp/getty images / Timm Schamberger ………

As much as it pains me to say this with regard to the sport of boxing and in particular the heavyweight division. The sport is now getting what it thoroughly deserves by way of a lack of real talent and charisma within the heavyweight scene ! For far too long the likes of promoters Don King and Bob Arum have force fed the public so much mediocre talent within the division over the last decade. That when the retirement of Lennox Lewis came about. They were essentially like a chicken running around the coop ,after its head had been severed. It suddenly occurred to them that the well had finally ran dry. And the fact that there wasn’t a decent US fighter of a known caliber , talent and charisma within the current climate-much less on the horizon. It led to a dearth of East European fighters coming center stage and challenging the US’s dominance within the division. Now, not only have they challenged it but they’re also now dominating the the division to an extent not previously seen.

Valuev seated  in his  corner  listens to  his  trainers give  him  some  much needed advice  during  his  title  defense  against the  challenger  David   Haye.    Valuev  would  suffer  the  second  loss  of  his   professional  career   losing a  unanimous  12  round   decision to   David Haye.     picture  appears   courtesy  of afp dpp/getty  images  /  Timm  Schamberger  ................

Valuev seated in his corner listens as his trainers give him some much needed advice during his title defense against the challenger David Haye. Valuev would suffer the second loss of his professional career in losing a unanimous 12 round decision to David Haye. picture appears courtesy of afp dpp /getty images/ Timm Schamberger ………

With the division being so fractured an no real intent in unifying the division. There are now three different champions who lay claim to holding a version of the heavyweight title. The IBF and WBO titles are held by Wladimir Klitschko(53-3, 47 KO’s) , the WBC title is held by Vitali Klitschko and the recent recipient of the WBA title is David Haye (23-1, 21 KO’s) of Great Britain. And though not a great deal is known about Haye . Other than the fact the he was once the undisputed cruiserweight champion. The fact of the matter is we’re now no clearer or closer now, in getting an undisputed champion within the heavyweight division.

Haye  looks to evade  a  shot  from Valuev  while on the  ropes  during  their title  bout.  The  scene  of the  event  was  the   Nurumber  Verischerung  Arena  in  the  city  of  Nurumberg , Germany.      picture appears courtesy of  Bongarts/getty images/  Alex  Grimm  ..................

Haye looks to evade a shot from Valuev while on the ropes in their title bout. The scene of the event was the Nuremberger Verischerung Arena in the city of Nurumberg , Germany. picture appears courtesy of Bongarts/ getty images/ Alex Grimm ……….

The Klitscko brother as holders 3/4 of the recognized titles have refused to fight each other. Thus, while making a complete mockery of the division. And the respective bodies of the governing organizations, for which they hold those belts seem powerless to do anything about it all . Either that, or they completely refuse to force mandatory showdown between the two brothers. And Haye for his part, as the newly crowned champion has been saying all of the right things. But one essentially knows, that saying something and then doing it , are completely two different things. He’s called out both brothers in the past , merely as a publicity gimmick. But now that he’s got a piece of the title. He’d better be ready to back up those challenges one way or another. But first Haye must make a mandatory title defense against journeyman and former title holder John Ruiz (44-8-1,30 KO’s-1 NC). The fact that the WBA think this bout is appealing to the fans. Well, it only goes to show how out of touch not only are the various governing bodies. But it also shows us that the promoters still haven’t learned a lesson at all. They’re still of the belief that these are the types of fights the fans want to see within the division. Nothing could be further from the truth at this juncture.

We know longer have the likes of either Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis or Evander Holyfield to entertain us . So instead , it’s the usual perfunctory pattern of tomato cans and buffed up meatballs we’re allegedly told is what is now for good for the heavyweight division. And that in effect to the downward spiral of the sport as a whole.

Haye’s victory over the former WBA champion Nikolai Valuev (50-2-0,34 KO’s-1 NC) was as unexpected , as it was in some ways it was not. Valuev’s primary claim to fame, is that he has been the tallest and heaviest champion in history. Hardly the credentials one would come to expect of a world champion. His skills are basically pedantic and his maneuverability in the ring has always come into question. As too has the fact that he cannot take a punch. For man who’s 7 feet tall and weighing in excess of 375 lbs, his chin is remarkably soft as porcelain. As evidenced in his bout against Haye, when he was repeatedly rocked by left hooks and upper cuts to the chin. Several times throughout the bout he became groggy and unable to keep his footing – that he came close to being knocked out by the man who as as the challenger, was a 100 lbs lighter than the champion, Valuev.

A  victorious  Haye  cannot hide his  emotions having  just  pulled off  the  shock  upset  in  defeating the  now  former  champion  Nikolai  Valuev of  Russia  for  his  WBA heavyweight title   in  Nurumberg   Germany  on  Saturday  night.     Haye  now faces  a  mandatory  defense  against  another  former  champion  in  John  Ruiz  of the  United  States.    picture appears courtesy of  afp/getty images/  Timm  Schamberger .................

Haye cannot hide his emotions having just pulled off the shock upset in defeating the now former champion , Nikolai Valuev of Russia for his WBA heavyweight title in Nurumber, Germany. Haye now faces a mandatory defense against former champion John Ruiz of the United States. picture appears courtesy of afp/getty images/ Timm Schamberger ………..

The shape of boxing and in particular the heavyweight division is in such a poor state. That to use the analogy ……”emergency is there a doctor in the house” ? Well, let’s just say that one seriously doubts that a doctor would be predisposed to resuscitating the patient. If anything, it would be far more generous to call on the services of Dr Jack Kevorkian. Too harsh an outcome ? The premise may not appear to be right but it’s better than dealing with the travesty we’re now witnessing within the sport !

WBC heavyweight rankings 1 through 10 :
1 Ray Austin (US) (28-4-4,18 KO’s)
2 Oleg Maskaev (Kazakhstan) (36-6-0,27 KO’s)
3 Odlanier Solis (Cuba) (15-0, 11 KO’s)
4 Alexander Povetkin (Russia) (17-0, 12 KO’s)
5 Kevin Johnson (US) (22-0-1, 9 KO’s)
6 James Toney (US) (72-6-3,44 KO’s – 2 no contests)
7 Manuel Quezada (US) (29-4, 18 KO’s)
8 Denis Boystov (Russia) (26-0, 21 KO's)
9 Samuel Peter (Nigeria) (32-3, 25 KO’s)
10 Tomasz Adamek (Poland) (39-1, 27 KO’s)