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5 Things: Final Four Edition

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Or should it be 4 Things: Final Four Edition? Better read it anyway to be safe!

NCAA Basketball: Big 12 Conference Tournament-Texas vs Iowa State Amy Kontras-USA TODAY Sports

Like: The Final Four

Dislike & Also Like (Sometimes): The NCAA Tournament

Let’s get one thing straight: I want nothing more in my life to see our beloved Cyclone football hoist that crystal ball during the second week in January once in my life. Football is much more important to this university for a variety of reasons, but I didn’t play football for the entirety of my life like I did with basketball. So, this year’s Final Four is, once again, incomplete for most of you reading this article. But, what this year’s tournament has provided has been a contrast in program success.

We have Loyola, Michigan, Kansas, and Villanova. Kansas and Nova are the obvious perennial winners who have enjoyed boatloads of success. They recruit one-and-done’s and 4 year foundation players to complete a nice blend of talent, topped off by coaches that, uh, know what they’re doing:

Meanwhile, on the other side we have *presses finger to ear* *looks at producer* LOY-OLA Chicago (and also Michigan). One of those teams is a slightly bigger surprise than the other.

The fact that Loyola is in the Final Four as an 11 seed really is awesome. It’s fun to root for the underdog, it allows fans from teams that are not as, we’ll just say, “qualified” to adopt a team for the tourney and cheer them on. It’s just fun. But in the back of my mind every time they have come inches away from being sent upstate to the family farm, so to speak, I just shake my head and wonder why any of our best teams haven’t been able to do the same thing.

See here’s the thing about the tournament that is so frustrating: It really is a terrible way to determine who the “best” team really is. How many times in the last 10 years can you look at a finished bracket and say “Yep, that (Blue Blood X who was the best team all year) really wasn’t the best team in the country.”

“But Sean, they didn’t win so they aren’t the best team in the country.”

Our (arguably) best team from the past however many years —after a dream run through the Big 12 Tournament, no less— lost to the 3rd best team from the state of Alabama that year (no, I’m not gonna actually look that up).

But see, the thing is, the very thing that makes me despise the Tournament in so many ways is the same thing that keeps my eyes glued to the TV every March: It’s absolutely insane. You could even say it’s *takes off sunglasses* MADNESS

Like: Lindell testing NBA Draft waters

So Lindell is making himself available for the draft this year, huh? Let’s break it down, shall we?

Concerned Fan: Sean, our best player is going to the draft?! What is going on?

Sean: Well you see, Lindell didn’t hire an agent, and thus remains eligible to come back to school if he doesn’t receive the evaluation he wants to.

CF: But isn’t this bad, even if he does end up leaving?

Sean: In the short term, maybe. But here’s something to consider for the long term: recruits are always looking for different things in a school. Maybe it’s playing time right away, maybe the player is looking to follow in a family member’s footsteps, or maybe the guy has his heart set on winning the CIB. But pretty much all top recruits have one thing in common: They want to play professional basketball. If Lindell does leave, and that is a pretty big if, hopefully he is the first of many in the next few years to take their talents to Ames and eventually the NBA.

CF: So how likely is it that he does leave?

Sean: That’s a great question, Concerned Fan! It’s not likely. Here on this Big Board he is ranked as the 92nd best prospect in the draft. Now this is one ranking from one site but the point still stands that he’s not exactly a first round prospect at the moment. Here is a more in-depth breakdown of what scouts think about him as a prospect. The short version is that he’s an explosive athlete with potential, but is undersized and isn’t comfortable enough to play point guard... yet.

Check back with me in a year and we’ll see what happens (spoiler alert: I bet he leaves).

Dislike: This Tweet

Well, no one ever said Kansas fans, er, sorry, I mean the:

*Walks to mountaintop*

*Clears throat*

14 TIME BACK TO BACK TO BACK... TO BACK BIG 12 CHAMPION NUMBER 1 SEEDED BUT ALSO CRIMINALLY UNDERRATED BECAUSE NO ONE BELIEVES IN US KANSAS JAYHAWK FANS were rational. I guess I should’ve mentioned that Loyola isn’t the only Cinderella story in this year’s tournament.

Picks:

Loyola over Michigan

NCAA over Billy Preston

Happy March, everyone!