Tech was pretty impressive against Kansas, not least of all considering that
B.J. Elder only played 12 minutes and didn't score. The reason they won
was a huge performance by Jarrett Jack, who is growing before our very
eyes. Jack has become a tremendous player, and one who has shown an
instinct for the clutch during this tournament. He may be the best clutch
player in the Final Four.
Speaking of the Final Four, most years there is a team which seems to get
there, and you sort of know they aren't as good as the other three. That's
not the case this year. Each team really seems like a championship
team. UConn probably has the advantage, and likely the strongest team, but
that doesn't always matter.
In 1990, Duke and Tech also made the Final Four, and both played UNLV.
Tech actually had a better performance against Vegas, and was in the game up
until the last few minutes. Vegas of course blew Duke out on Monday night.
Tech was known as Lethal Weapon Three, because of Kenny Anderson, Dennis
Scott, and Brian Oliver, and they had a memorable game also against Shaquille O'
Neal's LSU team, highlighted by Dennis Scott's giving up a break for a three
Those days are long gone, of course, and Tech's new style is almost exactly
opposite of what it was under Bobby Cremins. Paul Hewitt wants to come at
you with 10 players, full speed, where Cremins wanted to stick with six, maybe
This Final Four has echoes of both '90 and '91, with the two ACC teams (in
both years, actually, since UNC went in '91 and was thoughtful enough to lose to
Kansas), and a strong favorite in UConn.
UConn is going to be the favorite, and should be, but as we have learned
through the years, being an overwhelming favorite in the Final Four doesn't
always mean that much. Georgetown, Houston, Vegas, Arkansas - the stage is
huge, and the way the game is played is different. It's almost as much
about not making mistakes as it is about anything else.
Tech, Oklahoma State, and Duke have been put in that position already and
passed their tests. UConn hasn't really, not since this tournament
started, and as we say, it's a different stage. We'll see how everyone
does soon enough.