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Around the Hardwoods with Wild Bill

The VHSL state basketball finals came to an end Saturday night with no shortage of drama throughout the day. Hidden Valley closed out the tournament in Saturday’s last game as the Titans watched in disbelief as Potomac Falls reserve Pete Simoneau, in the game due to a late-game injury to a starter, buried a last-second bomb to defeat Hidden Valley 58-55.

Congratulations go out to the Titan team, its fans, assistants and head coach Troy Wells. Hidden Valley executed a game plan to perfection which gave them the opportunity to fall but one shot short of the victory against a very talented Potomac Falls team.

Likewise, hats off to Hidden Valley manager Ben Ratliff, who was the inspiration of the Titans throughout the season. Appropriately, Ratliff, who has Down’s Syndrome, went to the free throw line after the final was over and with the Hidden Valley players lining both sides of the lane, proudly swished the shot as cheers rang out and high-fives slapped together throughout the Siegel Center. Undoubtably, from this writer’s standpoint, the best shot of the tournament.

Now to the college ranks where I’m prepared to eat crow whether its baked, fried or broiled. My prediction of VA Tech making the big dance blew up like a cheap microwave Sunday night and I’m fully prepared for some good-natured kidding before I start ranting and offer the last word.

The term “March Madness” has suddenly established its true basis as the NCAA selection committee apparently emerged from an asylum to pick some of the teams that were selected for this year’s tournament. I had plenty of other media backing on this one as the criticism is rampant and justified.

Last week I said the guys on the selection committee want us to think they’re geniuses. Sorry, I left out the word unqualified.

Also, I noted that hopefully, on the selection show, some clown wouldn’t be pointing out the seeds with a baton and accordion accompanist, akin to Lawrence Welk. After watching Committee Chairman Gene Smith ramble on like a kabuki dance, I think an accordion full of bubbles and a wax figure of Welky may have sounded more plausible. You know- a voice saying these seeds are ah-one and ah-two.


Old Dominion wasn’t sent to Albequerque like I predicted only fools would do. They saved the New Mexico trip for Hampton University instead, located a few miles down the road from ODU.

Now, for the Tech debacle. I still think the Hokies deserved to be in, which makes more sense than the committee having no idea why they were left out. However, I’m giving the committee the benefit of the doubt – they probably thought UAB was the Crimson Tide and this was the BCS football selections.

As for Tech’s response to the hilarity, the theories were intriguing. Seth Greenberg thought it might be a conspiracy but I don’t believe in conspiracy theories such as the JFK shooting or how Bush got elected.

Frankly, I think anyone with good judgement should like the Tech dance team clad in the tight, black outfits thus making the Hokies even better prime-time TV hoops material.

But, when Tech AD Jim Weaver was quizzed on whether the Hokies should continue to improve its schedule, given the fact that strength of non-conference foes is the underlying culprit, Weaver offered an excuse. “I don’t think we need more (quality opponents).” Weaver said.

Who is he kidding? Tech could play in-state opponents like ODU, George Mason, VCU or Richmond. Instead they schedule Longwood, South Carolina Upstate and UNC-Greensboro to impress. ODU coach Blaine Taylor has said that if you listed the top three college basketball teams in Virginia, Tech and UVA wouldn’t be among the three. This year Taylor is right on target and, the aforementioned four teams are all going dancing as a result

By next week we’ll sort out the imposters and the field will be trimmed to sixteen. And, I’ll break out the leather for the Wild One’s spring training opener. Do you want to be an umpire? Check back to see if you can make the right call from the diamond.

Meantime, keep sending your inquiries to: [email protected]

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