1. I would rather have an appendectomy without anesthetic than root for AACC. Thank you Louisville! Why didn't you do that last year, Kansas?
2. What I take away from the tournament as a whole is the role of three point shooting. There are many reasons why teams win or lose but what struck me this year was the ability to shoot or defend the perimeter. Harvard shot 44% from long; New Mexico 21%. WSU hit five threes in a row against Gonzaga and was blistering in the first half against us. We hit 50% against ISU and AZ and won on threes; and laid bricks in our last game. MI beat KS because of late threes; Lville beat WSU because Henderson and Hancock got hot. The Cardinals won the title because they shot threes better than they shot layups.
I think this is partly true because players are better shooters than they used to be and because three is worth more than two so it is a strategy. But I think it also laziness on the part of offenses and defenses. It is easier to step back than try to break down a defense. And for all the talk of the Buckeyes' great perimeter defense the scarlet and grey were not very good at it, sagging off of guys who were out there to bomb away, not recovering quickly enough. I know that defense takes huge amounts of energy and a team needs to gamble on what to give up but IMHO what the Buckeyes need to work on most for next year is really defending the line.
3. In looking at next year I'm not understanding why scUM is getting so little love. They are not likely to lose all their team, just Burke and Hardaway. And while those are big losses OSU lost a POY and was better the next year; lost Diebler and Lighty and went to the Final Four; Sullinger and Buford and went to the Elite Eight. MI has a lot more waiting to fill in the holes than OSU did, with Albrecht and LeVerte already ready to take over point; and a cast of freshmen and sophomores who are going to be murder next year. MI also has 5 seniors and while 2 might be walk-ons that's three spots guaranteed to open plus as many more as leave early. If Beilein recruits for 2014 the way he has the last two years as painful as it is to say it the Wolverines are going to be next year what IN was supposed to be this year (I'd take McGary over Zeller).
4. I grossly underestimated OSU this year. I looked at the returning parts and the single part coming in and saw trouble. Matta got maximum return from this roster, methinks. Unless new recruits prove better as froshes than recent ones have (Craft and Sully excepted) I don't see a #8 team next year. The talk is that Ross will seamlessly replace Tank but though Q's performance statistically was on par with Thomas' this year he was not doing it as the focus of every team's defensive plan and was not doing it for 30+ minutes per game. Unless he can fill Thomas' shoes or unless points come from new players next year's squad is going to be scoring challenged.
We also absolutely need to upgrade at center. We got no offense from that spot; the guys we put there fouled too much and intimidated too little. Williams without Ravenel is going to be that much weaker. Is Williams going to finally become a player? Will McDonald decide that he wants playing time? Will a new guy be the answer? I can't see us as Top 10 or even Top 20 unless and until we get answers.
5. The forgotten art of team basketball. The Buckeyes need to learn the patience and togetherness on offense that they learned on defense. We had four games that literally came down to the final shot. Only against AZ did the ball go to a proven scorer who had been open. Two of those games ended in losses. Too often I watched Buckeyes grab a rebound inside and then try to force shots against traffic, too often with bad results (Louisville did that far too much last night too). Just because you have the ball does not mean you should be shooting. Twice in the closing minutes of the Shockers game Thomas grabbed a rebound and then tried to bring the ball upcourt himself, I assume because he was afraid that if he gave it up he would not get it back, and twice he got stripped. No, Tank, No!!! Get the ball to someone who is open, or to Craft or Scott and reset the offense. I was not troubled as much by the long shots we took early against WSU because most of them were open looks we should have made - what troubled me more was the forces inside against three defenders. The same way Sullinger kept trying without success to break down Withey last year. The team will be stronger if they support their teammates and work with team strengths, keeping in mind that if something is not working find something else to do. Kenpom liked our offense - I probably saw more of it than he did and I think it needs to be more efficient still.