Basketball is taking over Miss-Lou

Published 10:53 am Thursday, February 22, 2007

Do people ever go crazy from basketball overload?

Over the past two weeks of district, regional and state tournaments, I’ve seen more basketball than you can shake a stick at.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good basketball game, and I’ve enjoyed following the Miss-Lou teams in their quest for state titles — one or two of which could ultimately be successful. But coming home from Flowood Wednesday evening I found myself trying to remember which game I’d just attended.

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With a couple more weeks of high school basketball to go before we crown all our state champions, then adding March Madness on top of it, I may have to go through a deprogramming session before moving on to baseball and softball.

I’m looking forward to seeing how things finish out this season. The Huntington Hounds appear poised to come home from Flowood with a state championship trophy, and we could still see a few surprises from the likes of Vidalia, Ferriday, Wilkinson County, Jefferson County, Harrisonburg and Franklin County as they enter tournament play this week.

On the college side, March Madness is fast approaching and I am in no way prepared for it. I’m also not quite prepared for an SEC tournament where Ole Miss and Vanderbilt get byes and Kentucky and LSU find themselves at or near the bottom of the standings.

The Tigers’ meltdown since the start of SEC play has been puzzling. Losing Tyrus Thomas was obviously a huge blow, but much of the core of that Final Four team returned this season. Perhaps John Brady is losing the team. We may never know.

Elsewhere in college basketball, no one really seems willing to step up and take the mantle of this year’s dominant team. Florida seemed on the verge of doing so, but a loss at Vanderbilt and several other shaky performances cast doubt on their ability to truly take over a game.

At tournament time, the biggest things to have are a solid point guard and a strong player in the post. Florida has both, which should pay big dividends. But — and this is coming from a guy who averages getting one team right in the Final Four every year on his bracket, so take it for what it’s worth — one team to watch for may very well be the Texas Longhorns.

They have a future mega-star in Kevin Durant, who can play virtually any position for them. In addition to that star freshman, they also have a budding star in point guard D.J. Augustin. If both are on, few teams will be able to hang with them over that six-game stretch.

Basketball is taking over my life right now, but let’s just hope I can follow our area teams a few more times over the next few weeks.

Tim Cottrell is sports editor of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached by phone at 601-445-3632 or by e-mail at