Casual Wiseman sleepyhoya delivers his weekly opus, this time while heroically recovering from surgery:
Once again laid up by a bad hip, I've spent a lot of time watching college basketball over the past ten days. College basketball is without a doubt the best sport to watch both on TV and in person. The idea of having all that, and a bunch of painkillers, is almost too good to be true.
I've seen Kentucky play three times over the past two weeks. Maybe it's the painkillers, but in two of three of those games, it's hard to see how Georgetown could even keep it close. Kentucky starts five guys who will be stars in the NBA. Anthony Davis is a beast. Terrence Jones was a beast last year until everyone saw him play next to Davis. Kidd-Gilchrist, Lamb...the list goes on...could all be making big time contributions in the NBA -- right now. It's just hard to see how a normal college team, doesn't cheat, can stand a chance. Matched up against the Hoyas, even a resurgent Henry Sims is no match for Davis and the same goes all down the line. Yet, they lost. Indiana beat them last weekend with a team that has less talent, in my opinion, than the Hoyas. So why do teams with vastly superior talent lose to inferior teams?
More after The Jump:That brings me to the second part of this post - last minute Christmas shopping ideas. In addition to watching a lot of basketball, being laid up for a bit has allowed me to catch up on some reading. If you're looking for a last minute idea, I'd highly recommend picking up Harvey Araton's "When the Garden Was Eden." The book remembers the three year stretch when the NY Knicks and Madison Square Garden were at the center of the universe. Two championships, the Willis Reed game, Clyde Frazier's new definition of cool and number 22's toughness. There was also a US Senator thrown in there somewhere.
In addition to being a great present, it also answered the question posed above --why do inferior teams win championships, how can Indiana beat vastly superior Kentucky? Araton really breaks down what you need to be a winner. A great coach, Red Holzman did it better than anyone for a very long time. Team chemistry, it's not about raw talent but the ability to share the ball and to make everyone better. The Knicks defined the value of the extra pass, something we've heard JTIII talk a lot about.
The Knicks also we're just as committed on defense and the boards as they were to offensive statistics. In fact, no one on that team put up big numbers offensively. And remember, the trademark chant from the audience was never about dunks, or no look passes. The chant was DEFENSE.
So as we get ready for the holidays, buy the book...it's a great read. And when you get to chapter 3, start letting the delusion train take off. Teams that have less talent but are committed to a system can win at the highest levels. JTIII's system is built on the same foundation - defense, extra pass, team chemistry, as were the great Knicks team.
The Phone Booth is no Madison Square Garden, but with the right team and the right meds, we just might get there someday.