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3/30/2007 01:41:00 PM

One Shining Moment Alternatives

Oakland Arena
We think Aerosmith's Dream On would be a perfect choice as a replacement for One Shining Moment. What's your choice?
Steve Erle/SI
We love One Shining Moment, but some may argue that you could put any slow song to a montage of tourney highlights and it would work. After all, it's the plays you want to see, not the cheesy song. So if the fine folks at CBS are listening, SIOC suggested 10 songs we would choose, including Van Halen's Right Now, Aerosmith's Dream On and The Verve's Bittersweet Symphony. Now it's your turn.

Tell us your replacement for One Shining Moment.

3/29/2007 12:01:00 PM

Is Billy Packer really that bad?

Oakland Arena
Billy Packer, seen here with Elton Brand in 1999, has been calling the Final Four since 1974. Is it time for him to step aside?
AP
While everyone has an opinion about television announcers, one thing seems nearly certain: A whole lot of people dislike Billy Packer.

Don't believe us? Check out this petition to remove Packer from the airwaves. Or this 1,500-word rant about his ineptitude. Or this official "Billy Packer Sucks" thread. Or, well, you get the idea.

But not everybody hates Packer, and I'm one of them. Yes, he's grumpy and lacks a sense of humor, but he also knows more about basketball than just about any other announcer in the college game. He has called every Final Four since 1974 and has seen everyone from Bill Walton to Michael Jordan to Grant Hill to Joakim Noah and has a perspective that a lot of us lack.

Here is our take on the rest of the coverage of the tourney – thumbs up, thumbs down-style.

Thumbs Up: Packer. And for the record, we agree with him that Reyshawn Terry is soft. And even if we didn't feel that way, we still respect how Packer took a stance against someone instead of praising everyone and everything that has anything to do with college basketball, like …

Thumbs Down: Dick Vitale. Every possible criticism of Vitale has already been said and said again (if you want to catch up, check out this and this, but we just can't get past his statement last year that every NBA team would rue the day it passed on JJ Redick in last year’s NBA Draft, especially after we watched this terrible Redick play from a Magic game last month.

Thumbs Up: Kevin Harlan and Gus Johnson. The two best play-by-play men in the tournament. They manage to keep the audience informed and entertained while giving each other space to analyze the game. Perfect.

Thumbs Down: James Brown. BORING!! I want to cut him some slack since he hadn't announced college hoops in a decade, but his call of the Florida-Oregon game was painful. Few announcers make me want to hit the mute button, but Brown did.

Who do you think deserves a thumbs up and a thumbs down?
3/27/2007 11:36:00 AM

Final Four Motivational Speakers

Oakland Arena
If we were UCLA coach Ben Howland, we'd invite Heather Locklear to deliver Saturday's pre-game speech. Which motivational speaker would you choose for the Final Four teams?
Photo by AP
Prior to last Friday night's regional semifinal game against Butler, Florida coach Billy Donovan brought in WWE legend and 16-time heavyweight champion Ric Flair to give the Gators a pre-game pep talk. We're not sure what the Flair said (though we're confident it had a lot of Whooo's and strutting around the locker room), but it must've worked, as the Gators went out and knocked off the Bulldogs, 65-57. Donovan's tactics got us thinking. If each of the Final Four teams one person to fire them up, who should it be? Here are our choices:

Florida – Hulk Hogan. Since the Gators had so much luck with one of the two greatest wrestlers of our generation, why not bring in the other one? Hogan, a Florida native, could rip off his T-shirt, flex his 24-inch pythons and spread some of Hulkamania over to the Gators. If that doesn't work, bring his daughter, Brooke, as extra incentive.

Ohio State – Archie Griffin. We all know that Ohio State is a football school and who better to bring in then the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner? Griffin could channel his inner Jim Tressel (just kidding) and remind the Buckeyes what it was once like when John Havlicek wore the scarlet and grey.

UCLA – We could say the legendary John Wooden ... or Kareem or Bill Walton, who both were enormous parts of UCLA’s dynasty. But that’s boring. We’d instead bring in UCLA alum Brooke Burke, Gabrielle Union, Heather Locklear and Bridget from The Girls Next Door. What do these women know about basketball? Not much, but I'd be motivated if I knew they were rooting for me.

Georgetown – Allen Iverson. I'm sure the Hoyas have heard enough of big John Thompson. But A.I.? We think the players wouldn't be able to get enough of him. You know he wouldn't talk about practice.

Who would you choose to be the Final Four team's motivational speakers?
3/26/2007 12:07:00 PM

What's Your Top Moment of the Tournament?

Oakland Arena
Eric Maynor's game-winning shot against Duke was our third best moment of the tournament. What's among your top three?
Photo by AP
The Final Four is set, and Saturday night can't come quick enough. But before we break down whether UCLA can stop Florida's big men or compare Georgetown's Roy Hibbert to Ohio State's Greg Oden, we want to take a look back at the tournament's first two weeks. In his weekly Monday Awards column, SIOC's David Isaacs gave us his five best and worst moments of the tournament so far. While we agree with most of his choices, he did leave out a biggie (Ron Lewis' game-tying three-pointer against Xavier).

Here is our top three moments:

3. Eric Maynor drops Duke. With 10 seconds remaining and the game tied at 77, VCU sophomore guard Eric Maynor, who was already a cult hero for scoring nine points in the final two minutes of the CAA tournament championship, drilled a jump shot with two seconds left, to lift VCU past the Dukies and putting the nation's Blue Devil haters on Cloud nine.

2. Jeff Green's controversial game-winner against Vanderbilt. The Hoyas were down by one with just seconds left, and with 7-2 Roy Hibbert fouled out, Georgetown didn't have much hope for a putback rebound. So on the game's final possession, Green made a spin move, tripped, recovered the ball and hit a miraculous off-balance game winning banker to push the Hoyas to the Eltie Eight. Did he travel? Maybe, but it was never called and Georgetown advanced.

1. Ron Lewis' three-pointer against Xavier in a second-round South Regional game. First off, the Buckeyes had no business in this game, as the Musketeers built a nine-point lead with less than three minutes remaining. But Justin Cage missed a free throw (on what could've been called a flagrant foul on Greg Oden) and gave OSU one last chance to tie the game. Lewis capitalized by hitting a three-pointer with two defenders flying at him to send it into overtime, where the Buckeyes pulled out the victory.

What's your top moment of the tournament?
3/25/2007 12:09:00 PM

Who's better: Afflalo or Collison?

Finally, the Ohio State team we all expected to see made its presence felt all over Memphis, who had no remedy for Greg Oden, Mike Conley and company as they fell to the Buckeyes, 92-76. UCLA also looks to have found its fastball just at the right time, as they easily eliminated Kansas, 68-55, in the game’s other matchup. As we look ahead to next weekend, here are some lingering questions:

After finally seeing a dominant Greg Oden performance, is there any doubt he should be the No. 1 draft pick over Kevin Durant?

We have been impressed with the guard play this tournament, and last night was no exception. The question in our mind is a simple one – who’s better: Aaron Afflalo or Darren Collison? And are either (or both) better than Ty Lawson or Mike Conley? If I were forced to rank the four, I’d go Afflalo, Conley, Collison, Lawson. What’s your rank?

What else did you take out of Saturday’s action?

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