After Louisville guard Russ Smith’s team won the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, it was a little bit surprising when Smith’s father announced right after the game that his son was entering the NBA draft. It felt for whatever reason like a kneejerk sports parent move– just let the kid enjoy the moment for a while– and besides, Smith hadn’t had a great game and is a bit on the small side to boot. He was one of the best players on the best team this year, though, so it wasn’t surprising when Smith confirmed his dad’s statement the next day.
Louisville head coach Rick Pitino confirmed it too, until he didn’t. ESPN reports:
“Russ, I think, is 50-50,” [Pitino] told Sports Radio 790 in Louisville [today]. “He’s a very confused young man in terms of his decision right now. He didn’t want his dad to say that about him coming out. He wanted time to think of it.”
Yeesh. Does Pitino, who has coached at major college programs and in the NBA, think he’s helping his player with those statements? (He’s not.) Is he trying to force Smith to return to Louisville? (Maybe.) Is he showing early signs of tattoo ink poisoning? (Possibly.)
Sometimes I like to rag on the Wall Street Journal (recent examples here and here), but when their lead sportswriter comes out in agreement with an expressed opinion of mine, for the same reason, no less, you can be sure I’ll link to the article. From their NCAA tournament championship preview article today:
You will watch Monday night’s final even though there were some dodgy calls at the end of those Saturday games. Syracuse got hit with an offensive foul call in the final minute, down just two points. Now there are people who believe it was an honest-to-goodness charge and people who believe it was not a charge, arguing that the Michigan defender was not set, and the proper call would have been a block, sending the Orange to the line with a chance to tie. It was not the worst whistle or the best whistle ever—it was simply not clear. What is clear is that referees truly enjoy calling the offensive foul—it’s a showy call, with a flashy arm maneuver that looks like a dinner theater actor pointing the way to the restroom. Perhaps the solution to the pervasiveness of offensive foul calls is to make it less exciting to call. If a referee only got to slightly rub his or her temples, would ringing up a charge lose its appeal?
Read the whole article here. Watch a truly absurd officiating moment that would have lead this post had it been a charging call in a college game here.
Ten Years After was a British blues-rock band centered around guitarist Alvin Lee, who died last month. Twenty years after his team played in the national championship, Chris Webber, the central figure of Michigan’s Fab Five, hasn’t returned from an infamous timeout that is an inescapable part of his legacy. Tonight, the Wolverines are back in the national championship for the first time in exactly twenty years, and while all five members of the Fab Five will be here in Atlanta tonight, as far as we know, only four of them will be inside the Georgia Dome to watch the game.
Last night, friend-of-the-site Jalen Rose laid out the situation and made a public appeal to C-Webb:
Are you a basketball fan? Is it March Madness? Then why don’t you come down to ALDLAND’s Podcast Warehouse. We have a comprehensive podcast discussing the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight games as well as our predictions for the final weekend of college basketball before you have to watch baseball all summer (your mileage will vary on how much you enjoy that). You know what they say: come for the discussion of the Final Four, stay for the discussion of the Frozen Four. Will the nerds from Yale (pronounced Yah-Lay) win? How about the total bros from Qunnipiac? Or maybe that other school? Did you know there’s a school called UMass-Lowell? Well now you do.
Download the ALDLAND podcast at our Podcasts Page or stream it right here:
In terms of the success of pre-tournament predictions, this has to be one of the maddest Marches on record, right? Or, as you can see above, maybe it’s just me. Marcus maintains the first place position with the slimmest of leads, and with no points remaining on the board for him, he is barely clinging to that lead. Any of the top four entries could win it all, but WrckMTech has by far the best shot of winning it all, retaining three of his or her final four teams, both finals teams (the favored Louisville and Michigan), and national champion (the Cardinals). Brendan and Baddeus Thaddeus have identical brackets from this point forward, but neither of them likely are able to catch WrckMTech.
Click the image above to expand it, and review all the bloody details here.
If you’re wondering how Florida Gulf Coast University became the first 15th seed in the history of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament to advance to the Sweet 16, look no further than the ur-text of the school’s economics department: “Atlas Shrugged.”
Embedded in this long, ponderous novel — required reading for all undergraduate economics and finance majors at FGCU — is the formula for transforming your college from a bunch of trailers on a swamp into the most talked-about school in the country. It’s simple, really. All you need to do is practice what Ayn Rand called “rational self-interest.”
Don’t waste your time wooing Nobel laureates to your faculty or trying to recruit National Merit Scholars to a college they’ve never heard of. Do what any self-respecting entrepreneur would do: Devote your resources to building a first-class Division I basketball program.
It’s not going to happen overnight, but FGCU pulled it off pretty quickly. It might have happened sooner, were it not for that great bane of Rand and her acolytes: regulators. The Eagles basketball program started in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and had to apply more than once before being accepted into the National Collegiate Athletic Association — at the Division II level. Even after being granted permission to move up to Division I, the team had to wait three years before becoming eligible for postseason play.
The first weekend of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament is in the books, and half of the teams are back home hitting them, their basketball days finished until next season. First, a look at which teams made it to the Sweet Sixteen, then a check on the standings in ALDLAND’s bracket challenge. Continue reading →
In a world in which we all kid Brent Musburger for alluding to Vegas-relevant information during his football broadcasts and supposedly place restrictions on (particularly, amateur) sports gambling, should we find it odd that the primary information CBS Sports (the very network contracted with the NCAA to broadcast the tournament) features about the NCAA basketball tournament games is the betting line for each game? This is Chris Christie panache without the volume, right? Or is this just what happens when we have reason to tear our eyes away from the Worldwide Leader and discover that there are established sports media networks capable of operating without ESPN’sillogicalpretensions?
As for today’s games, we have our first pairing of traditional powerhouses, an underrepresented bunch this March, when Kansas and UNC meet this evening. Expect Florida and Minnesota to be sloppy, and Florida Gulf Coast and San Diego State to be silly.
When will we stop underseeding the Pacific Twelve? Oregon pulled one of the least surprising 12-5 upsets ever by knocking off Eddie Sutton-less Oklahoma State, while #12 Cal eked one out against #5 UNLV.
As usual, I got greedy with underdogs in the early rounds, so the dispatching of UNLV and Belmont wasn’t too kind to my ALDLAND bracket. (If you’re a junkie, you can see the updated standings here. We’ll do a deep analysis after the first two rounds are complete.)