Kansas, Michigan State, Duke, Kentucky. It was arrange of like a Final Four, given a teams and a coaches and a fuzz of McDonalds and Parade All-Americans who for some reason chose not to attend Georgia or Georgia Tech.
Kentucky, Duke, Michigan State, Kansas. (Sounds good in any order, doesn’t it?) It was arrange of like a Final Four, solely though a determining third diversion and a fact that it’s November, not April, and that substantially not adequate people in Atlanta were unequivocally profitable attention.
Despite a marquee value of a teams, coaches and players, this “Champions Classic” didn’t emanate poignant hum on a Atlanta sports landscape in a past few days, smothered by all things Bulldogs, Falcons and … well, did we see that David Ross hermetic with a Red Sox?
What’s it going to take for college basketball to be picked adult on internal radar?
“It would positively assistance if Tech and Georgia were on some-more of a inhabitant scale,” pronounced former Georgia Tech manager Bobby Cremins, who was among those in assemblage Tuesday night during a Georgia Dome.
The Dome’s basketball setup was nearby filled (close to 30,000 fans). Fortunately, Kentucky would move half a state’s race with a group even if it was personification a diversion on a easterly seashore of Bulgaria.
The initial diversion was a treat: Michigan State 67, Kansas 64. A great, maladroit leap expostulate by ensure Keith Appling in a final seconds hermetic a win for a Spartans.
“Let’s make this brief and honeyed so we can go watch a other good game,” Michigan State manager Tom Izzo said, alluding to Kentucky-Duke.
Five months from now, a Georgia Dome will horde a Final Four. The contingency preference during slightest one of these teams entrance behind here. When asked if this being a horde venue that will top Mar Madness had come adult during all during preparations for Tuesday night’s game, Izzo laughed.
“That would be removing a small bit forward of us right now,” he said. “We have to yield before we walk. Some years I’ve used that [as motivation], though not this year.”
This fledgling contest brought together a champions from 4 of a nation’s premier college basketball programs, led by 4 of a sport’s marquee coaches (Mike Krzyzewski, John Calipari, Izzo, Bill Self). This is as good as college basketball gets, during slightest until a discussion and NCAA tournaments. Duke, Kentucky, Michigan State, and Kansas have total for 19 inhabitant championships and 52 Final Four appearances.
Maybe Georgia and Georgia Tech never get to that level. OK, roughly positively Georgia and Georgia Tech never get to that level. But is it so vast to consider college basketball can matter in Atlanta?
Dick Vitale, ESPN’s longtime college hoops analyst, agreed, saying: “It depends what Georgia Tech and Georgia do. That plays a good role. It’s a unusual city to horde a tournament. The restaurants, a hotels, a airfield — they have all a parts. But you’ve got to keep a players (in state). For there to spin basketball insanity here like in other places, we have to win big. And when we win big, that’s when we get those players.”
Imagine if a impact if a Bulldogs or Yellow Jackets landed players such as Appling. He done a 3-point shot with a notation remaining to give Michigan State a 65-61 lead. He incited a round over a subsequent time down a court, though done justification with his late-game heroics.
“Very, really well-coached,” Izzo cracked. “First time this year Keith listened to me. The left-hand layup was superb.”
These are a chosen of college hoops. Conversely, Georgia’s many new NCAA contest win came in 2002, and a module has won dual contest games given reaching a informal semifinals in 1996. Tech has won dual contest games in a past 8 years. Georgia State has one NCAA tourney win in a story (2001). Everybody else in a state — bupkis.
Maybe some day it will turn.
Maybe one day it won’t take an all-blue-clad throng to fill a venue like this.
By Jeff Schultz
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