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Boyd Bergquist’s Countdown To March Madness: T-Minus 3

EDITOR’S NOTE: Boyd Bergquist was the sports director at KETS-TV in East Tree Stump, Nebraska for almost 40 years.  Known across the “Husker State” as the voice of the Boy’s High School Basketball Tournament, Bergquist was a four-time winner of the Marv J. Butz “Golden Cob” Award For Excellence In Nebraska Broadcast Journalism. That background, along with his quick if not cliché-riddled wit and love of single-malt scotch makes Bergquist a perfect fit to be our “Question and Answer” guy,

Hey sports fans…your favorite 70s TV sports anchor here. You know, March Madness is closer than you might think. That’s why we here at Dubsism decided we would get out in front of the “Johnny Come Latelys” who slop out bracket advice two days before the tournament starts. It seems silly to say this, but there’s a lot you can learn about college basketball during the season!

This Super Bowl Sunday means there’s only three Sundays until the “big one” on which the NCAA Tournament field will be announced. After that comes the four days of filling out brackets until the tournament goes “full bore” on Thursday, March 17th. That’s why will we countdown each of those Sundays like a NASA launch, and on each of those Sundays, we’ll be offering bits of advice so you don’t end up as that person who has four B1G Ten teams in their Final Four.

We’re just trying to help you people…

Tips for T-Minus 3 Sundays…

Another “Way Too Early Sleeper” Candidate: Rutgers

Here’s a team that as it stands right now may not even get into the “Big Dance,” but if you’re looking for that “First Four” team that makes a deep run ergo UCLA and VCU from a few years back, look no further than the Scarlet Knights.

Rutgers’ Ron Harper, Jr. taking it to the Badgers

Led by Ron Harper, Jr (yes, he’s the son of former NBAer Ron Harper), this is a team getting hot at the right time. Coming into this weekend, the Scarlet Knights posted back-to-back wins over Michigan State and Ohio State. They even have a win over then #1 Purdue on their resumé. But those signature victories all came in Piscataway. The question is: Can this team win on the road?

Well, they took down Wisconsin yesterday for the first time ever in Madison…and did so by dominating the last three minutes of the game. The coming week should tell us lot about this team as they face the top two teams in the B1G Ten. First they host Illinois, then travel to West Lafayette for a rematch with Purdue.

The “Big” Next Nugget of Gonzaga Fool’s Gold:

The same school which brought you Przemek Karnowski and Kelly Olynyk now brings you another “big” who will get way too much love. This time his name is Chet Holmgren, and he’s a 7’1″ freshman. We all know seven-footers can dominate a college game. But Gonzaga has a history of producing “bigs” who produce huge numbers because they play in a conference where their only competition comes in the form of an accounting major who just happens to be 6’7″. Once they face a “big” from a “big program,” they aren’t used to not having a huge physical advantage.

Well, no matter how the field shakes out, there’s going to be more height than a redwood forest in this tournament, so keep that in mind when you’re deciding how far to ride Gonzaga in your bracket.

Still Believe In The Big 12?:

Things you will want to keep in mind come bracket-filling time…

The Big 12 has something in common with the B1G Ten. Both leagues are deeper than a bottomless cup of coffee, which means they are super-competitive top-to-bottom. But that also means the teams in both conferences spend the regular season beating the stuffing out if each other. The toll they take on each other shows come tournament time.

An extreme and unfortunate example of that happened yesterday when Baylor lost their star forward Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua to what looks to be a season-ending injury to his left leg.

The Best Team In The Best Conference Is…

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…right now, the B1G Ten is the best conference in college basketball. Despite what happened last Thursday night in Ann Arbor, the Purdue Boilermakers are the best team in that conference.

Being another deep league, even the best teams in the B1G Ten are going to have “off” days. You want to have those in February rather than a month from now.

On the up side, Purdue has depth and a roster with at least three NBA players. That’s a combination that gives them options as to how they will beat you.

Edey: Two more inches or twenty more pounds and he will qualify for his own ZIP code.

Up front, they are enormous with center Zach Edey, who is conservatively listed at 7’4″. I say he is Yao Ming’s Canadian “love child.” The guy is a three-story building in size 20-something sneakers. To go with Edey, the Boilers have 6’10” Trevion Williams who is a wide-body who puts the “power” in “power forward.”

But in the back court, Purdue has Jaden Ivey who can straight-up take it to the rack and doubles as wing-scoring threat. Along side him is Sasha Stefanovich, a 6’5″ two-guard who can drain 3s from the next county, and might even play at the next level if he can figure out how to make his own shot.

But on the down side, Purdue does have some issues you’ll want to keep an eye on as we get into tournament time.

First, they don’t really have a “true” point guard. That means the Boilers tend to run a version of “Nellie-Ball,” the Don Nelson-style offense which runs through a forward rather than the back-court. That makes them susceptible to turnovers, as was evidenced in Thursday night’s game at Michigan.

Another weakness the Boilers have is with their size up front, they can get into foul trouble early. This is actually part of the “Curse of the B1G Ten” I alluded to last week. The first part of that is the trait they share with the Big 12…the sheer depth of the league and the toll they take on each other. But the other part of that curse accentuates Purdue’s problem here…and it’s something unique to the B1G Ten.

It’s no accident that Gene Steratore called B1G Ten games like the NFL referee he also was.

While it’s not as bad as it used to be, B1G Ten referees tend “to let boys be boys.” They are much more lax on the whistle than are the official in other conferences. So, when a B1G Ten team finds itself in competitions officiated by refs from other leagues, they often find themselves in early foul trouble.

This is especially true for Purdue. While they have the best talent on the floor in the B1G Ten, they also have the worst in-game coach. Last year, J-Dub called Matt Painter the “Fredo Corleone” of college basketball, and he’s not wrong.

Painter: He’s smart…he can handle things…

You can follow that link for all his reasons for saying that. For my money, he deserves the title because he seems completely incapable of making in-game adjustments. That’s why with precious few exceptions this season, Purdue either wins comfortably…where coaching decisions have less impact… or he gets out-coached.

The bottom line for the Boilermakers: This is one of the best teams in the country, and it’s “Final Four or Bust.” This is easily the best team Painter’s ever had, but he might just be like a kid with a new train set on Christmas morning.

He can’t help but run it off the rails.


Got a question for our 70’s TY Sports Anchor? Got your own take? Nothing is “off-limits,” and no take is “too hot.” The only questions or comments Boyd Bergquist can’t handle are the one you don’t send him!


3 comments on “Boyd Bergquist’s Countdown To March Madness: T-Minus 3

  1. Pingback: Boyd Bergquist’s Countdown To March Madness: T-Minus 2 | Dubsism

  2. Pingback: Boyd Bergquist’s Countdown To March Madness: T-Minus 1 | Dubsism

  3. Pingback: Boyd Bergquist’s Countdown To March Madness: IT’S HERE!!! | Dubsism

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