The college basketball season just ended, but that doesn’t mean it’s too soon to look ahead to next year. For the first time since 2012, a program other than UConn will enter the season as defending champs. Is South Carolina the early favorite to repeat? Find out in my latest story for Excelle Sports.
If the Final Four coaches were to play a game of two-on-two this weekend in Glendale, it wouldn’t be great basketball. Semifinal opponents Gonzaga and South Carolina are coached by guys who did not play in college, Mark Few and Frank Martin. North Carolina’s Roy Williams played just one year on UNC’s JV squad, while Oregon coach Dana Altman played at a junior college in Nebraska and Division II Eastern New Mexico. “I didn’t have many highlights as a player,” Altman said Monday on a conference call. “I was awful. I would have sure hated to coach me, that’s for sure.”
Contrary to what many believe, the University of Connecticut women’s basketball program does not simply attract the nation’s best players, show up for games, and dominate. There is a lot more to UConn’s incredible winning streak, which stands at 111 heading into Friday’s Final Four. To gain some perspective and insight as to how the Huskies do it, I spoke with players and coaches who have been a part of other long winning streaks (UCLA basketball, Mount Union football, UNC soccer, and more) in a story for Excelle Sports.
Teams just don’t do what Michigan did this season. The Wolverines, seemingly overnight, became an excellent basketball team. The Big Ten Tournament champs were one shot away from the Elite Eight. In a story for UM Hoops, I reflect on the season—how Michigan turned things around and the lessons learned from covering this team on a regular basis.
Some feel NCAA Tournament results determine a conference’s value. To use this year as an example, many people think the Big Ten having three teams in the Sweet 16 proves the conference was underrated this season. Others disagree, believing the ACC is still elite despite just one league team still remaining. In this debate, which I wrote about for CBS Local, everyone is right.
There are many talented young players still competing in the NCAA Tournament, and I wrote about two of them for CBS Local: Oregon’s Tyler Dorsey and South Carolina’s Chris Silva. The sophomores played important roles in helping their teams advance to the Sweet 16 and will be counted on again. Dorsey and the Ducks take on Michigan on Thursday night, while Silva’s South Carolina squad plays Baylor on Friday.
Michigan was playing really well before plane trouble marked the beginning of a championship run through the Big Ten Tournament. Now in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, the Wolverines believe they can beat Oregon and keep the good vibes going. I wrote about Michigan’s mentality and more in a story for UM Hoops.