The Final Four for 2010 has been decided, and it’s surprising, to say the least–we have West Va. from the East, Michigan State from the Midwest, Duke from the South and Butler from the West.
If anyone penned in all four of those schools for their pre-tournament Final Four, I want to hire you know as my personal stock picker for the next ten years. And I want to run Monte Carlo Simulations of how you did it for the next six months.
Seriously, let’s recap this all.
EAST REGION – West Virginia’s Mountaineers defeated the Kentucky Wildcats (apologies to the talented Ashley Judd) 73-66 in the Regional Final. Although a good, close game, the Mountaineers kept a small lead and kept it up until the final minutes, staving off any Kentucky runs right up until the end. It was pretty much all she wrote when Kentucky’s John Wall fouled out with under a minute left.
My pre-tournament bracket picks were pretty good in this region, and I did pick West Virginia to come out of this region pre-tournament. My pre-sweet sixteen picks didn’t do quite as well. I picked Kentucky over Cornell and West Virginia over Washington, but I picked Kentucky over West Virginia once I knew what the tournament results had been up to that point. This is like switching from door 1 to door 2 once you’ve been shown door 3 (or is it?). I was wrong to switch horses in midstream obviously. Let’s see how many cliches I can add in this blog.
John Calipari is an incomparable coach, but now we have to admit Bob Huggins to the Pantheon, since he’s now taken multiple schools to the Final Four as well.
Another terrific moment was when Jerry West’s son appeared on the floor for the Mountaineers in the final moments. West Virginia hasn’t been to the Final Four since the spring of 1959, when the incomparable Jerry West was their guard and led them to within one point of the national title against the Cal Bears, losing 71-70 to Darrall Imhoff & the rest of the Cal Bears.
I did ok with my picks in this bracket; I had West Virginia winning the East in my pre-tournament bracket. I changed it to Kentucky in my pre-sweet sixteen bracket; that was clearly wrong, but I still have West Virginia going to the Final Four in my pre-tournament bracket.
In fact, my pre-tournament bracket has West Virginia beating whoever came out of the South (I thought it would be Louisville) and then beating whoever came out of the other side of the brackets in the final (I thought it would be Pitt) to win the whole thing.
So right now, facing Duke in the semi-final, and then either Michigan State or Butler in the final, my pre-tournament pick of West Virginia to win it all is looking pretty good.
So right now I stand at least a 25% per cent chance of having picked the tournament winner in advance of the tournament.
Admittedly, I went with the strongest #2 seed, and the Big East winner, but hey, I love West Virginia, and hey, John Denver wrote a song for them. Plus some of us in the East have actually hiked the Appalachian Trail…and we love Jerry West & Hod Rod Hundley!
Jerry West’s story & West Virginia’s story in 1958-59 is really the Hoosiers story. According to his wiki-bio:
Jerry Alan West was born into a poor household in Cheylan, West Virginia. West was a shy, introverted boy, who grew up in a poor family and whose father was so drained after work that he could not play with his children. He was so small and frail that he needed vitamin injections from his doctor and was kept apart from children’s sports, to prevent him from getting seriously hurt. Growing up, his main distraction was shooting at a basketball hoop that a neighbor had nailed to his storage shed. West spent years shooting baskets from every possible angle, ignoring mud in the backyard, his mother’s lashes when he came home hours late for dinner, and playing with gloves when the ground was covered with snow. [citations omitted]….
West attended East Bank, West Virginia, High School from 1952–56. During his first year, he was mostly benched by his coach Duke Shaver due to his lack of height. However, Shaver emphasized the importance of conditioning and defense, lessons which the teenager appreciated. Soon, West became the captain of the freshman team and, during the summer of 1953, he grew to 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m), a very welcomed growth spurt. [citations omitted]….
Eventually becoming the team’s starting small forward, West quickly established himself as one of the finest West Virginian high school players of his generation. He was named All-State from 1953–56 and then All-American in 1956 when he was named West Virginia Player of the Year, becoming the state’s first high-school player to score more than 900 points in a season, averaging 32.2 points per game. West’s midrange jump shot became his trademark and he often used it to hit high-pressure baskets. West led East Bank to a state championship on March 24 that year, prompting East Bank High School to change its name to “West Bank High School” every year on March 24 in honor of their basketball prodigy, until its closure in 1999. [citations omitted]….
More than 60 universities showed interest in West. He chose West Virginia University, which is located in Morgantown, West Virginia. In his freshman year (1956–57), West was a member of the WVU freshman squad which won a flawless 17–0 record over the entire season. In his first varsity year under head coach Fred Schaus, West scored 17.8 points per game and averaged 11.1 rebounds; he started in all 28 games, while shooting 49.6% from the field and 73.2% from the free throw line. These performances earned him a multitude of honors, among them an All-American Third Team call-up; First Team All-Southern Conference; Southern Conference Tournament Most Valuable Player Award and First Team honors; Chuck Taylor-Converse Second-team All-American honors; and Associated Press and United Press International Third-team All-American honors. The Mountaineers went 26–2 that year, ending the season with an 89–84 loss to Manhattan College in post-season, tournament play. [citations omitted]….
The next season 1958–59 was even more successful. West scored 26.6 points per game and grabbed 12.3 rebounds. He tied the NCAA five-game tournament record of 160 points (32.0 points per game) and led all scorers and rebounders in every West Virginia game, including getting 28 points and 11 rebounds in a 71–70 loss to California in the final. West was named Most Outstanding Player of that year’s Final Four. He was named also All-American; Southern Conference Player and Athlete of the Year; Southern Conference Tournament MVP and Southern Conference Player of the Year and Athlete of the Year. Later, he was named to be a member of the U.S. Pan American Games basketball team which won the gold medal. [citations omitted]….
As a testament to his toughness, West once had his nose broken against Kentucky. Despite intense pain and only being capable of breathing though his mouth, he scored 19 second-half points and led WVU to an upset win over the Kentucky “Wildcats”. [citations omitted]….
In West’s final collegiate season (the 1959–60 season) West averaged several career highs, such as scoring 29.3 points per game, a 134 season-assists, 16.5 rebounds per game, and a shooting average of 50.4% from the field, 76.6% from the free throw line. He was honored again with several awards: a call-up to the All-American selection, and voted Southern Conference MVP. West’s best performance was a 40-point, 16-rebound game against Virginia. Moreover, during that final year, he scored 30 double-doubles and fifteen 30-point games. For a WVU “Mountaineer” career, West totaled 2,309 points and 1,240 rebounds. He averaged 24.8 points per game and 13.3 rebounds. West currently holds 12 WVU all-time records. [citations omitted]….
Uh, let’s look at those numbers again. Jerry West AVERAGED a double-double, doing better than 25 ppg and 12 rebounds pg his junior year, and nearly 30 ppg and better than 16 rebounds pg his senior year, and for his career, averaged @ 25 ppg and better than 13 rebounds pg.
Can anyone say “Charles Barkley”? And this is from a guy that was six feet tall…
Parenthetically, here’s the AP 1958 All-American team:
Oscar Robertson – Cincinnati
Jerry West – West Virginia
Bob Boozer – Kansas State
Bailey Howell – Mississippi State
Johnny Cox – Kentucky
Just to show you how long ago 1959 was, Bailey Howell didn’t play in the NCAA tournament because Mississippi State, the SEC champion, boycotted the tournament due to the fact that “Negroes”, a word we don’t use anymore because it is insulting and degrading, were allegedly playing in the tournament.
That’s why Kentucky, the SEC runner-up, played in the 1959 NCAA tournament. That was the ugly world of 1959, in which the South was resisting what would become a decades long struggle over civil rights and desegregation which spilled over into the sports world including the NCAA tournament.
Sometimes nostalgia is a funny thing. We forget the awful things about the past, like segregation and the Old South, and only the good things, like Jerry West and Oscar Robertson.
Here’s he 1957 AP All-American team:
Wilt Chamberlain – Kansas
Oscar Robertson – Cincinnati
Elgin Baylor – Seattle
Guy Rodgers – Temple
Don Hennon- Pitt
I love this because you know, Jerry West was actually playing that year. Also, hey, Guy Rodgers is a legend at Temple, and hey, I’m a Philly guy. Rodgers played with Wilt on the old Philly Warriors before they moved to SF/Golden State (really the east bay, which now is pretty cool). If you put West on this team and dropped Hennon, you’d actually have an All-American team where all five guys actually logged more than ten years each in the NBA, and four of the five are not only in the NBA Hall of Fame, but are among the top fifty NBA players all-time. I mean, this are PANTHEON Hall of Famers. And, the LA Lakers, as we will see, had three of them on their team in the late 60s early 70s, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and Wilt Chamberlain–that team reached multiple NBA Finals, set a consecutive winning games streak and won and NBA Title.
If you’re from Philly, you remember Jerry West, Darrall Imhoff, West Virginia, Cal and the Lakers for several reasons. First, in 1965, Wilt Chamberlain was almost traded to the LA Lakers. Second, after the 1967-68 season, when the Celtics came back from 3-1 down to beat the Sixers 4-3 in the Eastern Conference Finals and humiliate Wilt and the Sixers, who had won the World Championship the year before, Wilt demanded a larger salary and a piece of ownership of the 76ers in a contract holdout situation from Sixers ownership. So Wilt was trying to be Michael Jordan like 42 years ago. “Be Like Mike?” or “Like Wilt?”
This standoff resulted in Wilt being traded to the LA Lakers in the off-season, for Darrall Imhoff, Archie Clark, and Jerry Chambers. This eventually resulted in an NBA Championship for the LA Lakers, who despite having Elgin Baylor and Jerry West, kept losing to the Celtics in the finals year after year, particularly 1968 after the Celtics beat the Sixers, they whipped the Lakers with Baylor and West. This also eventually led to the dismemberment of the Sixers, who would bottom out in 1973 with a 9-73 record, featuring team MVP Freddie “Mad Dog” Carter” and a 75 year old Hal Greer sitting mostly on the bench.
Wilt was the missing piece. This also led to the construction of Wilt’s famous LA custom house, which unfortunately has now burned down, but where he alleged had many of the 20,000 highly personal transactions detailed in his autobiography. It also allowed him to become a permanent guest at the Playboy Mansion during the 1970s, an era during which HIV was completely unknown and recreational drug use was completely and perfectly legal in California, especially among NBA players on their days off. Also, for some unknown reason, blow dried hair was ubiquitous among California girls, especially among the three known colloquially as “Charlie’s Angels”.
No discussion of West Virginia would be complete without mentioning HOT ROD HUNDLEY, who was the great West Virginia player before Jerry West, and who played with Jerry West for several years on the LA Lakers before retiring and becoming a succesful NBA and college TV broadcaster. For many of us, HOT ROD HUNDLEY was the original color basketball broadcaster. No one talked quite like he did. Plus, who had a nickname like “Hot Rod?” It was pretty cool. And by the way, he’s still around!
According to his wiki-bio;
Rodney Clark “Hot Rod” Hundley (born 26 October 1934 in Charleston, West Virginia) is a former professional basketball player and television broadcaster. Hundley’s life has revolved around the game of basketball. His love and talent for the game led him to achieve honors in high school and most notably during his college years. At West Virginia University Hundley played to packed crowds at the Old Field House. His dribbling antics and daredevil maneuvers on the floor led to his popular nickname “Hot Rod” Hundley. He has most recently been known as the sports announcer for the Utah Jazz.
A native of Charleston, West Virginia, Hundley’s talent for the game was evident during his youth. At Charleston High School he averaged 30 points per game, breaking the state’s four-year scoring record in just three years. He scored 45 points in the WV-Kentucky high school All-Star game. He was named a high school All-American and was offered scholarships to many of the nation’s major universities.
Hundley played for WVU from 1954 to 1957. The Mountaineers made their first NCAA appearance and three total appearances between 1955 and 1957. During his junior year, Hundley averaged 26.6 points and 13.1 rebounds per game. He scored more than 40 points per game six times, which led to the Mountaineers scoring over 100 points in nine games. The Mountaineers were ranked No. 20 in the nation in 1955 and No. 4 in 1956. Hundley holds a varsity school record with 54 points in a single game against Furman and holds a freshmen team record of 62 points against Ohio University.
Hundley was the fourth player in NCAA history to score more than 2,000 points during his career–and he did it in three years, because freshman then could not play varsity basketball. He averaged 24.5 points and 10.6 rebounds per game for three seasons and finished his collegiate career with 2,180 points. He was a two-time, first team All-American and currently holds eight school records. He also remains the only Mountaineer to be drafted first overall in a NBA Draft. Once on a trip back to West Virginia to play in a charity game at the WVU Coliseum, constructed more than 10 years after Hundley left WVU, Rod was said to have replied to NBA Hall of Famer and fellow WVU alumnus Jerry West: “I built this building.” West retorted, “Yeah but I paid it off.” [citations omitted].
Hundley was also memorable in school history for his on-court antics. He was famous for dribbling the ball behind his back, spinning the ball on his finger, rolling it down his arm, and even going around his back. He also often took hook shots at the free throw line and also would hang off the rim waiting for a lob pass from a teammate.[citations omitted].
In January 2010 WVU retired his number 33, making he and Jerry West the only players in school history to be awarded the honor.
As you can see, the “flashy” play of today’s NBA stars was not invented by Allen Iverson or LeBron James. Before there was Air Jordan, AI, Magic or any of these modern stars, there was “Hod Rod Hundley” of West Virginia, who was literally a magician with the basketball. Flashy and entertaining, he was the real deal, averaging a double-double in college ball.
So this is the proud legacy of West Virginia Basketball–Hod Rod Hundley and Jerry West. They were giants.
Today, they are joined by a new set of giants–the 2010 West Virginia Mountaineers, who return to the final four after 51 years.
The only person who remembers their last appearance is Sen. Byrd of West Virginia, who of course was still in the Senate back then. iI’m pretty sure Byrd ran against JFK for president in 1960, or helped him win the West Virginia primary that year, whatever.
Oh, and there was no internet in 1959. Gas was cheap. Smoking and drinking were good for you. Driving and drinking were very good for you. Women only loved men, not each other. Finally, if you’re not sure what the world was like back then, check out the past seasons of MAD MEN, or the upcoming season of MAD MEN.
Hopefully some of those MAD MEN episodes will feature replays of JERRY WEST and HOD ROD HUNDLEY playing for the LA LAKERS from 1962.
Ok, enough of the East Region. Of course, up until 1959, the East Regional was the only one that mattered in College Hoops. That’s another thing that’s changed. That, and the NIT used to be as important as the NCAA in those days.
SOUTH REGIONAL – Duke defeats Baylor 78-71. Until this year, Baylor had one prior moment of Final Four glory — in 1948 they lost the NCAA final to Kentucky (then coached by the legendary Adolph Rupp) 58-42. That was a pretty good Kentucky team, led by Alex Groza, Ralph Beard and Wallace “Wah-Wah” Jones. They won again in 1949, so Baylor was losing to a dynasty. That appearance was achieved under Baylor coach Bill Henderson, who made a couple of other NCAA tourney appearances and won four SWC titles through 1950. It would not be until 1988 that Baylor would again see an NCAA bracket again, 38 years later, and forty years after their NCAA finals appearance. After that single one and out in 1988, it was ANOTHER twenty years before Baylor again appeared in the NCAA, in 2008–this time sixty years after their NCAA finals appearance, this time under coach Scott Drew, and again they were one and out–but the program had turned around–it has had 20 wins each of the last three years. So this year is no accident. Sixty-two years after the glory of 1948, the Baylor Bears very nearly got back to the Final Four. (except that in 1948, there were only two regions, West and East, so it was actually a Final Two back then).
Duke, on the other hand, has been good at this for a while, as they have had Coach K for a long time, and I’m pretty cool with guys whose last names are “K” and impossible to spell, and also are big bobby knight acolytes. Also, if you’re like me, you’re usually surrounded by annoying Duke fans, or “Dookies”, everywhere you go. They are like tribbles, harmless but annoying, because there are so damn many of them.
Their favorite haunts are Washington DC, Boston, SF, LA, and any other yuppie/affluent areas. They are impossibly affluent, pleasant and polite, but when they root for Duke, they become drunkenly crazed and passionate, leaving their office personae at the door. The female of the species may even make a mistake in judgment and flirt with you or worse, go home with you after such an emotionally draining experience as rooting for her home “Dookies”. Consequently, many single men will take advantage of final four time to impersonate Duke alums to infiltrate Duke Alumni basketball rallies in order to scam on Dookie female alums. While I condemn this strategy, it has been known, like arbitrage, to have a calculated return.
There was no way Duke was going to blow this game. Coach K is too crafty and Duke had a good team. Also, the SEC no longer boycotts the SEC on racial grounds, since there is allegedly a “New South,” although Duke does start a suspiciously large amount of white players (two or more) for a #1 seed.
My pre-tournament pre-bracket picks were totally busted. I was right with my pre-sweet sixteen picks, as I correctly had Duke winning over Purdue and Baylor winning over St. Mary’s, and Duke coming out of the Regional.
PREDICTION DUKE V WEST VIRGINIA: WEST VIRGINIA: I STICK WITH MY PRE-TOURNAMENT PICK, WEST VIRGINIA. MY LAST HOPE!
WEST REGIONAL – Syracuse & Kansas State, the #1 and #2 seeds, respectively expire, and the Butler did it! Yes, the Butler Bulldogs. If any of you had Butler, the #5 seed, in your pre-tournament bracket, coming out of this powerhouse bracket, i’d like to see written evidence of it. I sure didn’t. My West bracket pre-tournament had Syracuse and Pitt coming out, with Pitt beating Syracuse. The only thing I had right there was that Syracuse would lose to a lower seed, but it was Butler, not Pitt, which fell early on. My pre-sweet sixteen picks were even worse, as I had Syracuse beating Butler (Butler beat Syracuse easily), Kansas State beating Xavier (K State struggled to overcome Xavier in double overtime) and K State beating Butler in the Regional Final (again, Butler won the Regional Final 63-56).
Butler now has the nation’s longest winning streak.
Butler has a little history, too, like West Virginia. Under their legendary coach Tony Hinkle (1927-1970), Butler had a 558-394 winning record, a .586 winning percentage, over 41 years, as an independent and in the MAC conference. Butler and Hinkle won the conference title, got to the NIT several times, got to the NCAA once (where they won twice before being eliminated, in 1962.
This is quite notable because in the first round of the 1962 NCAA tournament, Butler defeated Bowling Green 56-55. Bowling Green had a little fellow playing center for them named NATE THURMOND, a dominant seven footer who would later terrorize the NBA for years. At Bowling Green, Thurmond averaged @ 17 ppg and 17 rebounds pg for his career; he would later play 12 seasons in the NBA, achieve the NBA Hall of Fame, and average a double-double for his career in the NBA, 15 ppg and 15 rebounds per game, as well as about 3 blocked shots a game from the time they kept that stat, although it had to be more in his prime.
Here’s what the wiki bio says about Nate “the Great” Thurmond:
Nathaniel “Nate” Thurmond (born July 25, 1941, in Akron, Ohio) is a retired American basketball player, feared and praised by legends including Bob Pettit, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Wilt Chamberlain. His nickname during his playing years was “Nate the Great”.
He played in high school with another future NBA star, Gus Johnson, at Akron Central. Their powerful team went undefeated before losing to Middletown, led by Jerry Lucas, in the Ohio state high school playoffs. Passing on a scholarship offer to Ohio State, to avoid becoming Lucas’s backup there, the 6’11” Thurmond chose Bowling Green. He was named a first-team All-American by The Sporting News in 1963, and was drafted by the San Francisco Warriors later that year.
With the Warriors, Thurmond was an aggressive rebounder-defender who played at the forward position opposite superstar Wilt Chamberlain or was his backup at center. Despite playing on the same team as the dominant Chamberlain, Thurmond made an impact and was named to the NBA All-Rookie Team in 1964.
When Chamberlain was traded back to Philadelphia’s new franchise, the Philadelphia 76ers, Thurmond became the All-Star starting center Chamberlain said he could be. Among his many accomplishments, Thurmond still holds the regular season record for rebounds in a quarter with 18. He averaged 21.3 and 22.0 rebounds per game in the 1966-67 and 1967-68 seasons — season averages exceeded by only Bill Russell and Chamberlain in NBA history. Thurmond placed second to Chamberlain in the MVP balloting in the 1966-67 season, and averaged over 20 points per game each season from 1967-68 through 1971-72, and played in seven NBA All-Star Games while with the Warriors. However, while star players like Rick Barry and Jerry Lucas came and went, the Warriors were unable to win a championship with Thurmond at center. Thurmond was also an excellent passing center and was well known as the best screen setter in the league for many years.
A DIGRESSION ABOUT INDIANA BASKETBALL FOR ALL YOU HOOSIERS LOVERS
Another thing I love about Butler is that after Hinkle retired in 1970, they hired a guy named GEORGE THEOFANIS to coach the team. It’s tough to suceed a legend. This was George’s awful task.
Now George was a terrible college basketball coach at Butler for seven or so seasons. The best he did was 14-12 in two consecutive seasons, the rest of the time he had losing seasons.
George’s successor wasn’t much better. Butler wouldn’t get back to the NCAA again until 19t97, 35 years after their magical dance of 1962. But since 1997, Butler has turned it around, winning or tying for 9 conference titles and consistently averaging twenty wins a year, and averaging thirty wins a year the last three years, and appearing in the NCAA 9 of the last 14 years, achieving a top 20 or higher rating in the polls at least four of those years, and and winning one or more NCAA tournament games in five of those 9 years. Impressive stuff. Butler has never, however, been to the Final Four. The closest they got was 1962, when they lost the regional semfinal to Kentucky, and again in 2003 and 2007 when they lost regional semifinals. So this is impressive.
What’s important about George Theofanis, and really about Butler in general, is his link to Indianapolis and Indiana basketball history.
As we know the Final Four will be in INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA. If any place on earth other than Philly or Springfield, MA has a claim to be the cradle of basketball, it has to be INDIANA AND INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA.
Also, in case you didn’t know it, up through 1968, 1) there were no divisions in Indiana HS basketball, meaning no class A, AA, AAA or AAAA–big schools played against small ones in the same bracket–and 2) the high school championship was played annually at the Butler Fieldhouse, Butler University, Indianapolis (became Hinkle Fieldhouse in 1965-66) (renamed for famed Coach Hinkle of Butler, see above).
So you can see that the final round for the Indiana HS basketball championship in Hoosiers must actually have been played at the Butler Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, IN. That’s a pretty famous scene in the movie, when the kids walk in with coach Gene Hackman and they see how big the Fieldhouse is. And Butler is a big part of it.
George Theofanis may have been the model for the movie Hoosiers, or certainly could have been. He was the high school basketball coach from 1966-69 at a small high school known as SHORTRIDGE HIGH SCHOOL, which was located in Indianapolis, Indiana.
According to the wiki-history of Shortridge:
In a state where basketball is king, Shortridge had its moment in the sun in the 1967-68 season. The Blue Devils won their way to the final game of the Indiana State championship, only to lose by eight points.
Shortridge HS is the stuff that dreams are made of.
The late Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. was a graduate of Shortridge HS. Of his HS Vonnegut stated:
“It’s my dream of America with great public schools. I thought we should be the envy of the world with our public schools. And I went to such a public school. So I knew that such a school was possible. Shortridge High School in Indianapolis produced not only me, but the head writer on the I LOVE LUCY show (Madelyn Pugh). And, my God, we had a daily paper, we had a debating team, had a fencing team. We had a chorus, a jazz band, a serious orchestra. And all this with a Great Depression going on. And I wanted everybody to have such a school.”
source: id, citing interview with the author at
According again to the wiki bio, “The academic excellence and unique social ambience of the school in the 1950s were described in the novel Going All The Way by Shortridge alumnus Dan Wakefield (published in 1970 and adapted to film in 1997).” Id. at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shortridge_High_School.
I really like Dan Wakefield because he was the creator of “James at 15,” which was a TV show that ran only a little over one years in the 1970s, but which I believe was the progenitor of about 90% of current TV targeted to younger viewing audiences. Famously, Wakefield quit the show over the fact that NBC censored words in the script dealing with the issue of “birth control” in a script dealing with James’ first sexual experiences at the age of 15 going on sixteen with a swedish exchange student (this show aired from 1977-78).
By the way, after James lost his virginity, the title of the show was changed from “James at 15” to “James at 16.” You had to like the 70s.
The show was really, really popular, but the network killed it off because it thought it was too controversial, in a word.
“Kevin Williamson, the creator of Dawson’s Creek, cited this show [James at 15] as a major influence on him and named it as an inspiration for his show: “‘Dawson’s Creek’ came out of my desire to do ‘James at 15’ for the ’90s. It was very provocative and way ahead of its time.” [citations omitted]. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_at_15, citing Kinney Littlefield. “Drama’s creator is addiction to adolescence: ‘Scream’ screenwriter Kevin Williamson translates teen angst to the tube with `Dawson’s Creek,’ The Orange County Register, January 18, 1998, page F9.
Novelist Booth Tarkington also went to Shortridge High School, as did Mary Beard, the historian who with her fellow Indiana native and historian-husband Charles Beard published the influential “An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States” (1913) and its succeeding editions.
So it was Butler basketball coach George Theofanis, who in 1968 coached this little icon of a high school in Indianapolis, Shortridge HS, to within 8 points of the Indiana HS basketball championship.
And here’s another trivia fact: Theofanis and Shortridge HS on their run in 1968 beat a one man wrecking machine named GEORGE McGINNIS who played for WASHINGTON HS on their way to the finals. That would be the same GEORGE McGINNNIS who later was a fine college player and excellent ABA-NBA pro, and played with Dr. J and the Sixers on the 1976-77 NBA Finals team that took a 2-0 lead before falling to Bill Walton and the Portland Trailblazers in six games.
If this all sounds like a movie, that’s because it really is like a movie. Only it really happened. According to one site, George Theofanis is “[a] legend in Indiana basketball circles [and] he is a member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.” http://avon-hs.schoolfusion.us/modules/cms/pages.phtml?pageid=27360.
Will Butler repeat history this year? Will they be the NCAA version of Hoosiers? Will they influence basketball the way Indiana has influenced not only basketball, but history, literature, movies, television and our very vision of life? I for one can’t wait to see.
MIDWEST REGION – I had Kansas coming out of this region in my pre-tournament picks, and just about all my brackets were busted. Out of my pre-sweet sixteen picks, I correctly picked Michigan State over UNI, but mistakenly picked Ohio State over Tennessee, and then compounded that error by picking Tennessee over the Spartans.
Well, the Spartans have won, they are in the Final Four again, despite losing Kalin Lucas, and all I can say is next weekend, someone will be dining in hell. FOR WE ARE SPARTANS!!!!!
So my picks? I like Butler over the Spartans. But it will be a hellish match. And a hoosierish match.
And I like W.Va. over Duke.
And in the finals, I like W. Va. over Butler.
–ART KYRIAZIS, PHILLY 3/29/2010