Sunday, April 13, 2014

Hail to the ... Huskies?

So, if you are anything like me, I would bet that you didn't have UCONN winning the national championship this year in the NCAA Tournament.

In fact, I had them winning 2 rounds, and then losing in the sweet 16.  I knew they had a pretty good team this year (but not great).  I knew they had a great player is Shabazz Napier.  I knew they had a former player (Kevin Ollie) as head coach.  And, I knew they had spent last season ineligible for the NCAA Tournament.

That's about all I knew.

So I was surprised when the Huskies won it all.  But not too surprised.  Because the college basketball NCAA Tournament is a crapshoot and a half.  Just this year there were an 8 seed and a 7 seed playing in the title not such a big story.

However, you know what a BIG story is?  How the University of Connecticut is now, PERHAPS, the most powerful men's BB program in the nation?
(Their women's team is undoubtedly the best program in the nation)

Don't believe me?

Well, since 1999. The UCONN Men have won 4 National Championships.
Duke has won 2.
North Carolina has won 2.
Kentucky has won 1
Kansas has won 1
Louisville has won 1
Michigan State has won 1
UCLA has won 0

So the University of Connecticut Huskies have won as many titles in the past 16 seasons, as Duke, North Carolina, and UCLA...COMBINED.

Not bad for a University that was once joked about on Cheers.  (Rebecca Howe mentioned that she was a graduate of the University of Connecticut...and Norm Peterson mentioned that they were big fans of their basketball team "the fighting tax accountants".)  (PS... I can't remember if he called them tax accountants or tax attorneys, or what...but I couldn't find it online...but I clearly remember the University of Connecticut joke)

In fact, when you look back at what Coach Jim Calhoun's quite remarkable.  Calhoun was hired by UCONN in 1986.  While UCONN was a member of the powerful Big East Conference, they were pretty much perennial 'cellar dwellars'.  Coach Calhoun changed all that.  In 1990, they won the Big East Tournament for the first time (Which.... by the way, I totally watched that game), and Coach Calhoun was named the National Coach of the year that time.

Coach Calhoun took UCONN from a joke to a perennial contender.
By 1999, he had won the first of 3 National Championships he would gather while running the Huskies.  Calhoun was known for being cantankerous and difficult and a general pain in the butt...but he was a great coach.  In his time at Connecticut, he would win 8 conference championships, 7 conference tournament championships...and sending 27 different players to the NBA.

Even more remarkable, when you think about it...UCONN had no tradition going for National Titles, no name recognition, no glamorous location  (It's located in Storrs, Connecticut).  Not quite the recruiting draw that it would be at places like UCLA or Duke, or heck... any of the traditional powers.

So the next time you consider the "blue bloods" of the college basketball landscape, the Kentucky Wildcats, the Kansas Jayhawks, the UCLA Bruins of the world.... You should include UCONN.  They deserve it.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

How I Met Your Series Finale

So, How I Met Your Mother ended on Monday evening, after 9 seasons.  Most of which were pretty darn good (the last one excluded). It all built up towards this the main character, Ted still had never actually "met" the 'Mother' (even though we had been introduced to her character this season).

It was.... Disappointing.

I'm not going off the deep end, and I'm not ranting and raving or upset about it.  After all, it's just a TV show.  And a pretty superficial and silly one at that.

I can kind of understand the reasoning behind the ending (Spoiler Alert...skip the Next paragraph in italics if you don't wants to know.)
In the final episode...Barney and Robin marry, Ted and the Mother meet, Barney and Robin get divorced, the Mother and Ted have 2 children but don't get married for several years (weird?), and the Mother dies...and the show ends with Ted's children imploring to go after their Aunt Robin.

According to sources, show creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, shot the final scene with the children during season 2.  So they have known for a LONG, LONG, time how they planned to end the show.  And, on some level... I understand it.  The show was continually...year after year...


The show was continually about Ted being in love with Robin.  He was in love with Robin from the first episode.  He was in love with Robin when they were dating.  He was in love with Robin when she was dating other people.  In fact, one of Ted's ex's (Victoria) flat out told him that he needed to get rid of Robin if he was going to move on.  She was right.  Over the years he was with The Mother, Robin was never around, and was traveling the world...she wasn't there.

So I get it.

And the show... WAS... Technically, called... How I MET Your Mother.  He was telling the kids how he met their Mother, and we learned she had been gone for six years already.

HOWEVER... I didn't like it.  I understand it, but I don't like it.

1.  You just spent an ENTIRE season...ridiculously, spread out over three days.  And then in the last episode, you jump forward,.. year after year roll by within minutes.
2. As mentioned, this ENTIRE season has been spent on Barney and Robin's wedding and marriage, and they were literally divorced in 10 minutes.  What a waste of a season.
3. Ted and Robin?  Really?  He let her go.  Seriously.  And actually.  In This Very Nightmare of a Season...he stood and let a metaphorical balloon of Robin go.  He let her go.  He went out of his way to help Barney marry her.
   If You Knew Ted Was Going To End Up With Robin, You Do Not Film That Scene!
4.  The Mother - We spend 8 years waiting to see a glimpse of her.  Over the course of a season, she is gradually introduced to the gang (meeting all the characters, except for Ted) and we learn that she's just like Ted...and they are a perfect match.  In fact, when he breaks the "3 days rule" to call her the day after the wedding...Lilly said "This time is different".  It was different.  And so, with this incredible character that was built up over 9 seasons, about how perfect and funny and adorable she was and we finally get to meet her...and you kill her off in a half hour?
5.  This is the equivalent of a young boy searching for a long lost pet...finally finding him, and then having him die.  You don't do that.
6. Why couldn't we have spent a little more time with the Mother?  Every single person I know who watched the show actually liked the character, and the actress who played her.
7.  Why spread the entire season out over a weekend...and then throw together that rush of a mess of a Finale.

I know that Series Finale's... especially comedy finales, are hard to do.

The Friends finale was good, but c'mon...anything that series did that ended with Ross and Rachel together would have been good.  Monica and Chandler could have died in a helicopter crash that fell on Joey and Phoebe, if Ross and Rachel would have gotten back together at the funeral, it would have been fine.

Cheers had a great final episode...but at the time, it was universally panned.

The Seinfeld finale is still hailed as a terrible episode..but was it?  Really?  I mean I catch it on re-runs every now and then...and there's alot of funny stuff in there.  I just think people didn't like the idea of them going to jail.  If they would have gotten off, and gotten to celebrate how they didn't care about other would have been liked better.

MASH had a great finale.  But that wasn't a typical sitcom.  Scrubs had a great finale (for the original scrubs...not the rebooted Med School Scrubs that they tried).

Probably my favorite of any series finale was HBO's "Six Feet Under".  Which was simply phenomenal.

Anyway, I won't care too much about the HIMYM finale, because I legitimately enjoyed the show for 8 years.  (Just not this past year).