Tag Archive | "March Madness"

B&B Big Story Banter: NCAA Bracket

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B&B Big Story Banter: NCAA Bracket

Posted on 21 March 2014 by Brett Dickinson

By: Brett Dickinson and Barry Kamen

BD: Barry, it was an exciting start to the the NCAA Tournament, where we saw a lot of upsets and overtime games.  Several mid-major teams made big strides in beating big conference NCAA tournament stalwarts, including Ohio State downed by Dayton, North Dakota State ousting Oklahoma, Harvard knocking off Cincinnati and Mercer beating DUKE!. The question is do you have confidence in any of lower seeds making a serious run and who are you predicting to be the ‘Cinderella’ of this March Madness ball?

BK: The first full day of March Madness was one for the ages. The first game (Dayton-Ohio State) provided a back-and-forth game that ended with Georgetown transfer Vee Sanford taking Aaron Craft to task to hit the game-winner with just under 4 seconds left. I watched just a fraction of the 12 hours of college basketball on Thursday, but with numerous nail-biters and 4 overtime games, my heart and wallet are the biggest winner of the tournament thus far.

What makes the tournament so enjoyable is seeing the country rally around an underdog take down the big schools. We were all captivated by George Mason’s run to the Final Four; Butler, Virginia Commonwealth, and Florida Gulf Coast have all seen their bandwagon’s grow for a few weeks in March and April. No one will soon forget Shaka Smart taking the Rams from the First Four to the Final Four, or when Sherwood Brown and “Dunk City” became the first ever #15 seed to reach the Sweet 16.

ND State BasketballMy choice for this year’s Cinderella is North Dakota State. The school boasts the best FCS football program in the country, but the Bison basketball team is proving that the school is more than just a one-sport power. After defeating #5 Oklahoma in overtime Thursday night, North Dakota State prepares for a weak #4 seed in San Diego State, who nearly blew a double digit against #13 New Mexico State. In their win versus Oklahoma, the Bison were boosted by 28 points from Lawrence Alexander, who averaged just over 10 PPG during the regular season. If North Dakota State’s stars Marshall Bjorklund (13.4 PPG) and Taylor Braun (18 PPG, 43% 3PT) play to the level which they are capable of, San Diego State and #1 Arizona should brace themselves for a difficult game and prepare an exit speech.

I mentioned a number of different mid-majors who have stolen our hearts over the years, but none have been able to get over the hump and actually win the national title (the closest that I can remember was Gordon Hayward for Butler, narrowly missing a 60 footer against Duke). There is no question that the gap between the mid-majors and the major conferences is closing. Brett, will the day come where we will see a mid-major win the national championship, and if so, how far away are we from seeing that day?

 

1990 UNLVBD: First of all, their has been a mid-major that has won a title in our lifetime (well maybe just my lifetime since you are basically still a toddler right?): UNLV in 1990.  Many don’t lump them into the conversation because they had three NBA players in their starting lineup (Larry Johnson, Greg Anthony, Stacey Augmon).  But that team came from a small school, in a small basketball conference, probably starting the whole mid-major craze.

The problem I see coming ahead for mid-majors is the NBA age limit actually helping big time programs, weakening the chances of  VCUs and Butlers and George Masons of the NCAA tournament.  Especially if the rule is changed, forcing two years of post high school, before eligibility for the draft. It would take away the key advantage that those Cinderella teams have over the big conferences; experienced rosters.  If every team is now filled with upperclassmen, all the sudden the teams with the most talent and top recruits are more likely to succeed.

Wichita StateSo I think if any team were to do it, it would have to come within the next couple seasons.  A senior filled roster, with tons of NCAA Tournament experience (with at least one run past the Sweet 16) and a strong defensive-minded coach could topple the big schools on their way to a national title.  That formula sounds eerily like this year’s undefeated Wichita State team.

I didn’t pick them in my bracket, but they are a No. 1 seed, while virtually their entire roster is intact from last season’s Final Four run. It should NOT be a surprise if they are the best team in country.  After watching the consensus favorites in their region in No. 4 Louisville struggle against Manhattan and No. 3 Duke lose to Mercer, it may be March Madness to pick against them at this point…right?

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Prediction Machine’s Bessire thinks Creighton’s McDermott has best chance to carry team to Final Four

Posted on 19 March 2014 by WNST Audio

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SLAM’s Klein thinks Wichita State has legit chance at title run

Posted on 15 March 2014 by WNST Audio

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Arena wins as CAA tourney host, even if Towson and “the FM station” didn’t

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Arena wins as CAA tourney host, even if Towson and “the FM station” didn’t

Posted on 10 March 2014 by Drew Forrester

Thoughts from the weekend…sports and stuff.

> Hats off to Towson University for a terrific basketball season (make that two in a row, actually) that came to an untimely end with yesterday’s 75-71 loss to William & Mary in the CAA semi-finals.  It’s tough to beat a team three times in one season, particularly when that team is good, which W&M is, for sure.  Easy to say now, since Towson isn’t going to get the chance, but I don’t think they would have gotten by Delaware tonight even if things would have worked out for them against the Tribe.

> The Arena’s debut as the home of the CAA tournament turned out to be a modest success, I thought.  The Saturday ticket price of $50.00 (basically an “all-day” pass) was too high, but it’s tough to sell the building on a per-game basis so a one-time price is the easiest way to do it.  They need to work on that for next year.  I thought the crowds on Saturday and Sunday were decent.  Again, for a first-time effort, I gave all of it a passing grade.  There are two years remaining on the original “deal” to bring the tournament to Baltimore — it can only get better from here. I’ll say this about Baltimore hosting the event: Inside the building, it felt like something big was going on.  Lots of pomp and circumstance.  It “looked the part”.

> As is almost always the case anytime something local is going on, WNST was the clear “radio winner” in terms of covering the CAA tournament on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  We had staffers (plural) on site all weekend, blogging, tweeting, etc.  It was a laughable ass kicking on Saturday for the Towson-JMU game.  We had FOUR folks from WNST there, live, covering the FIRST-EVER CAA tournament game in Baltimore for Towson University, while the FM station in town had ZERO people there.  They call themselves “Baltimore’s local sports leader” in station promotional spots, and then not one person from their station covered the biggest college basketball game in Charm City.  Yesterday, ONE poor soul from the FM station did venture in for the Towson-William and Mary game.  Probably got time-and-a-half.

> It will really get interesting later on this year when 105.7 and/or 1300 AM start broadcasting Towson football and basketball and WNST “out-covers” those two affiliates at the games…like we always do.  All hell’s gonna break loose over at CBS Radio when they start telling their on-air folks, “You know, now that we carry the games, the Towson Athletics people are hoping we’ll cover the teams. So…you guys really SHOULD go over to their home games and act interested.”  I bet there will be lots of weekend sore throats running through the building next Fall and Winter.  As Bart Scott once said:  ”Can’t Wait!”

> Patrick Reed won his 3rd PGA TOUR event in his last 14 starts on Sunday by capturing the biggest win of his career, the World Golf Championships event at Doral in Miami.  The top 50 players in the world were ALL in the field and Reed each of them, yet he evidently ruffled some feathers by saying in his post-round presser, “I’m a top five player in the world.”  Twitter and sports sites everywhere where aghast with Reed’s “arrogance”.  Arrogance?  He  has 3 wins in the last eight months.  He beat everyone like a drum in college at Augusta State.  He’s a stud.  What’s he supposed to say afterwards, “I was lucky”?  This is like the “Flacco/I’m the best” quote that got our quarterback in hot water two years ago.  He was asked where he felt he ranked.  He said, “I think I’m the best.”  If someone from The Sun or Baltimore Magazine or some other publication asked me to rank the sports radio hosts in Baltimore, I’d answer it by saying, “You mean, rank everyone who’s behind me?  Sure, I’ll tell you who’s #2, #3, #4, and so on.”  Patrick Reed just beat the best 50 players in the world.  I think he can place himself just about wherever he wants on his own list of top 5 players in the world.

> I attended a “Cluster Mission” at my church on Sunday evening.  It’s basically a gathering of people from four or five area churches who all sign up for a 3-night session at one of the churches.  It turns out that Immaculate Heart of Mary on Putty Hill and Loch Raven Blvd. – where I attend – hosted this first Cluster Mission with last night being the first of the three sessions.  Father Jack Mattimore was the featured Priest last night and in his discussion with all of us, he shared a story about the importance of friendship and said, “Interestingly enough, sheep don’t follow the shepherd — sheep are attracted to other sheep.  They get herded together by their desire to be with one another.  The shepherd is just there to chase any who happen to get wayward back to the flock.  Sheep follow sheep.”  He then went on to say, “So, I’d ask each of you to invite some of your “sheep” to Monday night’s Cluster Mission here at IHM.  Just invite your friends.  They might come out.  They might not.  But at least invite them and see if any want to come with you.”  So, that’s what I’m doing now.  If you’re reading this, you’re a friend.  Come on out tonight at 7pm to IHM for night two of the Cluster Mission.  It’s free.  It runs until 9pm.  They have FREE babysitting, too!  You’ll find me in there somewhere and we can talk about the Orioles afterwards.  I’m not sure if you heard or not, but they’re going to the World Series this year.

 

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