A crazy tournament gets even stranger, Adams leads area coaches

Published 5:29 pm Monday, March 28, 2022

Whoever came up with the term March Madness nailed it, at least for this year’s tournament The origin is up for debate and I might explain further in a future column. Google it if you can’t wait.

As if a tiny school from the New York City area that some locals don’t even know about making it to the Elite Eight is not far-fetched enough, how about Tobacco Road rivals meeting in the tournament for the first time ever?

I was hoping the Cinderella St. Peter’s Peacocks would avoid midnight and knock out the Tar Heels, but the saner side of my brain knew it wasn’t happening. Real peacocks don’t lay eggs, but this team did at exactly the wrong time.

A couple weeks back I wrote that I didn’t really care who won as long as UNC and Kansas didn’t. Serves me right, I guess. I’m still hoping that’s the case and am avoiding my Carolina-supporting friends this week. I’ve never been much for smack talk, because it always seems to come back on me. I’ll fill the week with work and start getting anxious Saturday night.

This tournament has been around in some form since 1939 when Oregon claimed the first national championship.

This year marks Carolina’s 53nd tournament appearance and Duke’s 44th. It is totally amazing to me that they’ve never played until now. They’ve been on track several times, but one or the other stumbles. In my mind it’s always been the Tar Heels, but that’s probably not accurate.

To meet in the national semi-finals in Coach K’s last year seems as totally appropriate as it is outlandish. No doubt a storybook ending to a one of a kind coaching tenure with enormously high stakes. Whether it’s a happy ending or a nightmare depends on your preferred shade of blue. For this Duke fan, a win Saturday is enough. A sixth national title would be icing on the cake, unless they face the Jayhawks. In that case they have to win.

Hats off to Northside boys coach Jared Adams for picking three of the actual final four teams. He went with UNC, Villanova and Kansas, with the Jayhawks as the champ. The only miss was Michigan St., which I took as a knock against Duke and a pro-Carolina stance.

“Not at all,” Adams insisted. “I’m an ECU guy, so I think I can be objective when it comes to them. I thought Michigan St. would play better than they did and I think Carolina is one of the best in the country when they shoot well, which they’ve done in the tournament. I still like Kansas to win it all, because they are scary when they get their transition game firing. However, Villanova is very disruptive on defense and very capable of winning. I think it’s great for the ACC to get three of the last eight and half the final four. I didn’t think Duke was hitting on all cylinders coming in, but they obviously are now. I’m looking forward to watching two great games that will probably be nail-biters.”

Southside girls coach Milton Ruffin has Kansas and Duke remaining, with the Blue Devils as the national champ.

Washington boys coach David Allewalt has Kansas left, but didn’t pick them to win it all. Likewise, Pungo Christian Academy boys coach Logan Van Staalduinen has Villanova, but not as the champs.

I appreciate all the coaches taking time to participate and may the best team win…as long as it’s wearing dark blue.