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Hey NCAA: You Are Changing the Wrong Championship! 0

Posted on March 31, 2010 by Dean Hybl
Northern Iowa v Kansas

If the NCAA Basketball Tournament expands, Northern Iowa would likely need to win two games before getting a chance at a top seed like Kansas.

I guess it is debatable as to whether sports were ever really about the fans, but in case you help out some naïve believe that fans mattered, you need look no further than decisions that are being made by the NCAA to realize that cash is king and everything else doesn’t really matter in today’s sports world.

Over the last several decades, football and basketball have developed into the marquee sports for college athletics. The Division I men’s basketball championship has evolved into “March Madness” and captivates millions of Americans in a three week love affair with office pools and Cinderella stories.

Few people like the current Division I college football championship structure of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS), but there is no denying the immense popularity of the sport.

A multitude of fans and critics have spent years calling for the NCAA to create a system for college football that is more like the playoff system used in college basketball and in football for all other divisions of college football.

Conversely, whenever it has been suggested that the NCAA basketball tournament might increase the number of teams, the debate is more divided with a majority seemly believing the status quo is working and adding to the field would cheapen the tournament and hurt the magic.

So, you can guess which championship looks like it will undergo some major revisions for next year.

Let me give you a hint, it isn’t the one that currently keeps most of the money with the “big boy” conferences.

Yes, in a greed play reminiscent of a robber going back into the bank because he forgot to take the bankers watch, the NCAA powers appear poised to increase the number of teams in the NCAA Basketball Tournament to 96. Read the rest of this entry →

Ultimate March Madness: The 20 Greatest Moments in NCAA Tournament History 10

Posted on March 17, 2010 by A.J. Foss
Christian Laettner's game-winning shot ended one of the great games in NCAA Tournament history.

Christian Laettner's game-winning shot ended one of the great games in NCAA Tournament history.

Welcome to the third and final part of the Ultimate March Madness List.
This installment features the top 20 moments in the history of the NCAA Tournament.

20. 1998 Valparaiso-Ole Miss

With 2.5 seconds left and trailing 69-67, Valpo’s Jaime Skyes throws a 60-foot pass down the length of the court that is caught by Bill Jenkins, who then passes it over to Bryce Drew (the head coach’s son), who then proceeds to drill a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give #13 seed Valparaiso an improbable 70-69 victory over the #4 seed Ole Miss Rebels in their first round game.

19. 1990 Connecticut-Clemson
With exactly one second left, Uconn guard Tate George catches a full-court pass from Scott Burrell, lands, then squares up to shoots a jumper that goes in the basket at the buzzer to give the Huskies a miraculous 71-70 win over the Clemson Tigers and send Connecticut to their first ever Elite Eight.

18. 1991 Duke-UNLV
One year after losing to UNLV 103-73 in the championship game, Duke avenges that humiliating by knocking off the undefeated and defending national champion Runnin’ Rebels 79-77 as Christian Lattener hits two free throws with 12.7 seconds left.

Duke would win the national championship two nights later as they defeated Kansas 72-65 to give coach Mike Krzyzewski his first national title after five trips to the Final Four. Read the rest of this entry →

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament: Time For Cinderella To Dance 3

Posted on March 16, 2010 by Dean Hybl
The NCAA Basketball Tournament gives small schools the chance to wear Cinderella's glass slipper.

The NCAA Basketball Tournament gives small schools the chance to wear Cinderella's glass slipper.

So how does your NCAA bracket look? If yours is anything like mine, the toughest choices have not been in picking Final Four teams, but instead in trying to predict which school will come out of nowhere to crash the party.

Almost every year at least one school that is familiar only to people within its home area code suddenly becomes a national darling thanks to an upset, or near upset, of a team with significantly more national recognition. These schools are often referred to as “Cinderella” and just to avoid the kind of confusion that occurred at my house the other night when my five-year old daughter heard a promo for the NCAA Tournament and thought it meant one of her favorite princesses was going to be playing basketball, in this case Cinderella does not have flowing blonde hair, a glass slipper or a Fairy Godmother.

Rather, the typical Cinderella of the NCAA Tournament is a school that has been playing good basketball throughout the year, but has stayed under the radar while schools from the power conferences hog the national television spotlight and spots in the national polls. One of the endearing elements of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament is that the opening rounds of the tournament are the one time each year when those power conference schools must share that spotlight with schools that aren’t so familiar to a national audience. Read the rest of this entry →

The Colonial Athletic Association: The NCAA Tournament’s Giant Slayer 1

Posted on March 06, 2010 by Dean Hybl
The 1991 NCAA Tournament win by Richmond over Syracuse marked the first time a 15 seed had ever defeated a number two seed.

The 1991 NCAA Tournament win by Richmond over Syracuse marked the first time a 15 seed had ever defeated a number two seed.

When the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament begins later this month there will be lots of talk about Cinderella’s and which previously unknown teams from obscure conferences will shatter the Final Four dreams of schools from top-tier leagues.

For more than a quarter century, schools from one mid-level conference have set the standard for crashing the dance during March Madness.

Based in the mid-Atlantic region of the East Coast, the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) has created an impressive resume of NCAA Tournament upsets.

Even before the league officially formed in 1985, some of its original members were harassing the “big boys” during the NCAA Tournament.

Between 1981 and 1983, James Madison University (as a member of the CAA predecessor the ECAC South), made three consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament and each season knocked off a big conference opponent. Their victims were all marquee programs in West Virginia, Ohio State and Georgetown.

JMU also nearly pulled off what would have gone down as one of the biggest upsets in tournament history as they gave eventual National Champion North Carolina all they could handle during the second round of the 1982 NCAA Tournament. UNC needed a controversial charge call on JMU in the final minute to pull out a 52-50 victory.

The University of Richmond (a member of the ECAC South and then a CAA member from 1985-2001) is now known as the only team in NCAA Tournament history to win games as a 12, 13, 14 and 15 seed, however, in 1984 they were a national unknown when head coach Dick Tarrant led the Spiders into the tournament. Read the rest of this entry →

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