SPORTS ADDICT: Rolling with the punches…
SPORTS ADDICT: Rolling with the punches…
By Denton Ramsey / Managing Editor
Okay, so to say that my columns have been welcomed with open arms would be stretching things.
In all actuality, I have received quite a bit of angry responses to my recent column about Texas Tech coach Bob Knight and comments he made about the Baylor Bear basketball program under coach Scott Drew.
So far, I’ve just been rolling with the punches.
And I plan to keep dodging as many as I can.
Here’s the thing, though, a column is meant as an opinion piece.
Throw the facts out the window – a column is meant to voice one individual opinion on a given issue.
Now, to attack my career as a journalist and as a sportswriter is taking things too far.
I personally believe I do both a fair and accurate job as a sportswriter.
In addition, trust me – I spend plenty of time watching SportsCenter and other sporting events.
To claim I have absolutely no knowledge of the sports I cover is just as ludicrous as Knight saying Baylor’s basketball team hasn’t improved.
And yes, I know he didn’t say that, but that’s what he was implying.
Success is about more than just a win-loss column, as I have stated in prior articles.
Baylor is improving, and in addition to being slammed on “checking my facts,” here’s another fact that you Ramsey-bashers forgot to mention – one of Baylor’s four victories this season in the Big 12 came in a win over Bob Knight’s Red Raiders.
Also, if Texas Tech is so good, then how did Kansas State blow them out in the second round of the Big 12 Tourney (after a first-round bye)?
That’s right – blown out.
And I’d expect about the same for the Red Raiders in the second round, if not the first round, of this year’s NCAA Tourney.
Obviously, I was correct on this call as we said bye-bye Bobby in round one.
Granted, before the letters start pouring in, I understand that my Blue Devils fell in round one action as well.
But Duke’s loss has nothing to do with my comments on Knight’s Red Raiders.
And the Blue Devil’s loss definitely has nothing to do with a coaching collapse on coach Krzyzewski’s part.
More like a free-throw collapse.
Let’s talk about the NCAA Tourney for a moment or two.
It hurts – bad – knowing my Blue Devils will be out on the golf course rather than out on the hardwood over the remainder of the month.
As a loyal fan for many, many years, I have gotten used to seeing Duke advance to the Sweet 16 year-in and year-out.
Nine straight years to be exact.
Here’s the thing, though – it takes more that just talent to win a championship.
I read a column by Houston Chronicle sportswriter Richard Justice in Thursday’s newspaper and believe he had many good points when discussing this very issue.
Justice talks about “mental toughness” and goes on to explain, “No team succeeds in the playoffs without it.”
This is true.
Justice was talking about my hometown Houston Rockets, but the same could be said about the Duke Blue Devils.
Sophomores Josh McRoberts and Greg Paulus have got to be two of the best players currently playing NCAA basketball.
Mix that with a phenomenal coaching staff and an amazing backcourt of freshman, and you’re looking at one of the best programs talent-wise in the nation.
But, as stated earlier, it takes more than just raw talent to win a title.
And that is where the “mental toughness” aspect comes into the picture.
Duke’s loss to VCU in round one on Thursday night had nothing to do with poor coaching.
However, it had a lot to do with poor decision-making and pitiful shooting from the charity stripe.
And, we (Duke) had no “mental toughness” down the final stretch.
Life goes on, and March Madness moves on as well.
My only hope now is that the little baby Tar Heels fall on their faces.
I was hoping the Texas Longhorns would do some damage this weekend and reach the Sweet 16, but I was wrong.
With my Blue Devils out of the picture, it was time to rub some burnt orange into the image – but it didn’t last long.
That’s just the way this month of madness goes.
And don’t worry – in the future, I’ll try to be better about checking my facts and will try my best to be fair and accurate.
Until next week, and as always, Sic’ ‘Em Bears!
Managing Editor Denton Ramsey may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org