Bernstein: Last Night’s NCAA Games Worth Our Time

By Dan Bernstein–

I will be the first person to agree that the NCAA tournament isn’t what it used to be, with lesser overall talent on the floor and fewer compelling NBA prospects to watch.

So I have to also give credit where due, and last night’s slate of four games actually made for worthwhile viewing — reminiscent of those seasons when the floor was filled with players who were more than just gritty kids, hustling for their One Shining Moment before managing a car dealership or coaching at a small high school.

Using and as references, I cross-checked my own feelings about some of the players to get an idea of just how much potential pro talent was on display last night as we watched Duke, Arizona, UConn, San Diego State, BYU, Florida, Wisconsin and Butler.

My point has nothing to do with who won the games, or whom you wanted to win. Please keep that in mind, especially if you are a typically-unhinged, college sports crazy person, prone to threats of bodily harm toward the source of any perceived slight.

First, data from the two sites tells us we saw six consensus first-round NBA draft picks last night: Arizona’s Derrick Williams (’s #1 overall in 2011, #6 in DraftExpress), Duke’s Kyrie Irving (#3/#1), and Nolan Smith (#26/#22), Kemba Walker of Connecticut (#18/#8), BYU gunner Jimmer Fredette (#10/#17) and San Diego State forward Kawhi Leonard (#14/#13).

What’s more, there was another group of first-rounders that pops up on projections for the 2012 draft.’s mock board has Jeremy Lamb of Connecticut at #8 and Butler guard Shelvin Mack at #29, while Duke forward Mason Plumlee is the tenth overall pick that year per DraftExpress.

Rounding out the list are Duke’s Kyle Singler (#30/#36 for 2011), Jon Leuer of Wisconsin (#24/#47) and Florida senior swingman Chandler Parsons (#35 at

Beyond the objective – if arbitrarily selected – criteria to legitimize the action, consider the eye-test performances of the top prospects:

— Williams is clearly an above-the-rim player, ready to compete in the NBA right now. His 32 points included five three-pointers and a soaring dunk that all made scouts’ hearts palpitate. He shot 11-17 from the floor and had 13 boards against a top defensive team. It was his night.

— Irving scored 28, and showed professional strength, quickness and body control. If he returns to school next year he should have his head examined.

— Walker continued the improbable run up the draft boards that began in the EA Sports Maui Invitational and was bolstered by his domination of the Big East tournament. He played all 40 minutes and scored 36.

For a night, at least, the college game felt like something that mattered, with star players doing big things that we’ll remember as we follow them in the years to come when they play bigger, faster, better basketball.

Though some fans are fond of the quaint phrase “It’s not the name on the back of the jersey that matters, it’s the name on the front,” I tend to disagree.

Both names matter. The ones on the front are a helluva lot more interesting and significant when I care about some on the back.

bernstein 90x130 Bernstein: Last Nights NCAA Games Worth Our Time
Dan Bernstein has been the co-host of “Boers and Bernstein” since 1999. He joined the station as a reporter/anchor in 1995. The Boers and Bernstein Show airs every weekday from 1PM to 6PM on The Score, 670AM. Read more of Bernstein’s blogs here. Follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.
Listen to The Boers and Bernstein Show podcasts >>


More from Dan Bernstein
  • D. Vitale

    I guess having to drive to Oak Forest for work pushes everything up for Dan-O. Wish the A-hole would talk about something he knew about!!! Your gay!!!

    • Cameltoe Rancher

      Wow Vitale- such vinegar! What did the old boy say that makes you think that he doesn’t know what he’s “talking” about?

      Dan may be a raging jerk to many callers, but he rarely shoots off about subjects that he sounds ignorant of. Perhaps you should explain further?

      • D. Vitale

        Whaddya even no, camletoe? everyone knows that dan doesnt like colleve hoops!!! he shuld just shut his stupid trap and talk about football and hockey, and quit talkin aboyut things he dosent even like!!!

    • pulseczar

      sarcasm > CR



  • Kane

    Talk more hockey…

    • M. Night Shamalamadingdong


  • Likquid Swordz


    (sport, not Wisconsin)

    • Denver Deadite

      While I’d like more lacrosse talk, the only way it’ll happen on The Score is if there’s another tragedy or bad PR situation.

  • Bob from Accountemps

    Derrick Williams is the truth. Pac-10/12 is underexposed here in the Midwest.

    • Chris in Scottsdale

      Derrick Williams is pretty much all the conference has as far as true NBA-caliber talent at the moment. The next best player is probably Isaiah Thomas out of UWash. Three or four years ago, when you had guys like Love, Harden, and Westbrook running around, yeah… but right now Pac-10 ball is way down.

      The amazing thing to me and my friends (mostly U of A homers) was that this is probably the weakest set of U of A guards we’ve ever seen. Damon Stoudemire, Khalid Reeves, Bibby, Jason Gardner, Jerryd Bayless, Mustafa Shakur… so many have gone on to the next level – or at least gotten a strong look by pro scouts that their guards now are kind of an embarassment… and to beat Duke, whose guard tandem is obscene by comparison? Just a wild game.

  • Larry Horse's Arse

    Kudos to Mr. Pouty Pants for an excellent c.r.a.p. last evening.

    • Mr. Pouty Pants

      Hey buddy, thanks a lot. I wasn’t expecting to go so early and I was still on the road and had to pull into a parking lot really quick.

      While I agree with Dan that it may be more fun for many people to watch future NBA talent in the tournament, it’s a different game. I’m not quite stupid enough to think college basketball is “better” than the NBA but if I want to watch NBA players I’ll turn on a Bulls game. I’m still only a few years removed from going to games at Illinois and really enjoy the college game. Don’t get me wrong, I wish Illinois had players like this, so I guess I want it both ways.

      • Murphs Upper-Lip

        Yeah, nice c.r.a.p. Mr. PP – sorry ’bout yours Brewmaster, I think Goff has been itching to use his shotgun on one of the regulars… BTW, for those trying to listen to yesterdays WYC, don’t try to use the 5:00 hour, it’s effed up; go to the WYC link on the blogs, it’s all there.

        On a sports related note, HUGE stretch for the Indian starting tomorrow night. Their game against Anaheim is as close to a “must win” as you can get without actually being a “must win”, as the mighty Duck are only a point behind the “Hawk.” Quick travel day from the west coast and then onto back-to-backers against Detroit and Boston — both very much playoff teams. Come Tuesday night, this “mess of a race” in the Western conference will finally begin to give us a pretty good idea as to who is in, and who is out… Kaner.

      • Murphs Upper-Lip


      • Murphs Upper-Lip

        Huh. Couldn’t spell it out with periods on my previous post. Can’t make head or tails of what you can/cannot say on this site sometimes.

      • Murphs Upper-Lip

        “Heads” – we’re on grammar-lock-down thanks to our friend “Larry.” My bad.

  • Larry

    “First, data from the two sites tells us we saw six consensus first-round NBA draft picks last night.”

    Don’t you mean “data tell us? The word data is plural after all.

    I thought your gay was a better grammarian than that.

    • Mike Murphy

      clap clap clap

      You gottta see my guy Jack Phalen, Jack PHAAAAAAAAAAEN Cheverolet. how is everyone’s brackets doing. My’s fantastic, but I’m swami murph.

      • Fred Hubner

        say it like you mean it….

      • Mike Murphy

        Are you still tappin Anne Maxfield?

      • Fred Hubner

        Her and “Jen-Jen”, the “tiniest” of en-jens!

      • Mike Murphy

        Do you know if they are still hiring over at

      • Fred Hubner

        Of course!!! Me, George, Northy, Jessie, we’d love to have a talent like you join our team!!! This is the Future of radio!!!

    • Jay's Insulin Pump

      Larry, the word “data” is what is known as a mass noun. While the term data may refer to many pieces of information, it is treated as a collective singular noun. Other words that follow this rule are art, food, music, sand, traffic…you get the idea.

      “Larry’s trash tells us he wears adult diapers.”

      • Larry

        Opps. I mean “trashes”.

      • Peter (in Rogers Park)

        While you’re at it, which of the following two sentences is grammatically correct?

        The Miami Heat are a good team.


        The Miami Heat is a good team.

        I would also like to know if it’s possible to hybridize a colon and a question mark.


    • Jay's Insulin Pump

      And you might want to close your quotation next time. You look like an idiot calling Bernstein out for his grammar when your punctuation is clearly sub-par.

      • Larry

        What are you doing looking through my trash?

      • Jay's Insulin Pump

        I’m not. But I was.

        I believe the phrase you were looking for was “What WERE you doing looking through my trash?” You may want to check in there for your self-esteem.

      • Mike in Milwaukee

        People with the Diabetes are CRANKY!

      • R. Santo

        Leave me outta this!

  • HDsnob

    Just a quick note Kemba and UCONN didn’t play in the Preseason NIT they played in the Maui Invitational. When watching college basketball, I watch with the mind knowing its not the highest level and just enkoy it for what it is.

  • Dragline's Beer Belly

    @ D. Vitale, do you live in Des Moines? You remind me of an overly angry gentleman that called into Dan and Laurence last week. Anyway, I think that Terry should go on Craig Ferguson.

    • D. Vitale

      Scru you DBB! you woulde want to see stupid ol terry on ferguson, wouldntt you?!? if you cnt talk about college hoopz then dont say anyting atall!!!!!

      • Dragline's Beer Belly

        Sorrie!!!!! I misseed that post that said we can only talk about COLLEGE BASKETBALL!!! What are your thoughts on college bass fishing?

  • Larry

    Jeez JIP, just trying to have a few yuks this morning. Reread my 2 previous posts. I was making fun of myself, not you. Who took a whizzer in your cornflakes today?

    • Jay's Insulin Pump

      Let’s just agree that it’s the content of what’s being said that matters, and not how that content is expressed. Leave English class back at school.

      That being said, I meant no animosity towards you as a person. Instead of making a sports related comment on this sports blog, you chose to criticize Bernstein for a crime of which he was not even guilty. You opened the door, I closed it.

      Larry, you’re better than that. Don’t be one of those “Bernstink” guys.

      • Uragay

        your gay

      • Jay's Insulin Pump

        I carry my gay around in a rainbow colored fanny pack.

      • Larry

        Jay’s, you’re right. We’re way off on an tangent here. I saw what looked like a hanging curveball and I just couldn’t lay off of it.

      • Grammar police

        “an tangent” —- should be “a tangent”

      • Jay's Insulin Pump

        I know you’re a good dude. It’s nice to keep things on the positive side.

        BTW, if you’re in need of a few “yucks” just take a look at my wife…ZING!

      • Spoon

        I can haz cheezgburger in my grammarz??

  • Chet Coppock

    I guessing JIP is filling duties for Larry Horse when it comes to daily spamming of random thoughts on the blog?

  • Larry

    Stupid fat fimgers


    The more I watch UCONN’s Kemba Walker, the more I think Kemba’s going to be a big star on the NBA level. He scored 22 of his 36 points in the second half of last night’s 74-67 UCONN win over San Diego State to move within 1 game of the Final Four at the West Regional Semifinals in Anaheim. It should be quite a game watching Walker’s UCONN Huskies and Derrick Williams’ Arizona Wildcats meeting tomorrow with a trip to Houston at stake in next weekend’s Final Four and two guys sure to be drafted in the top 5 in this summer’s NBA Draft. Their respective stocks are definitely on the rise.

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