With just two more wins, the Kentucky Wildcats will be national champions and debated as one of the greatest college basketball teams of all-time. One loss, however, one lousy performance against a hot-shooting team, and Kentucky’s season will be considered a disappointment. And I’m perfectly OK with that.
It’s not entirely fair, but that’s the world we live in. November tournaments in Maui and New York are fun; regular season games are intense; conference tournaments are meaningful. But college basketball seasons come down to three weeks in March. This is a credit to the design of the Tournament and how great it is, though many worry it highlights the dwindling importance of the rest of the season. Continue reading March Madness Means Everything→
Stanley Hill looked around the Hynes Athletics Center and smiled. On the visitor’s bench was Fairfield University’s men’s basketball coach Sydney Johnson. At the scorer’s table was Iona College athletics director Eugene Marshall, Jr. Both men are black. The Iona and Fairfield rosters, like so many others, are filled with black student-athletes. Hill, more so than most, notices. A lot has changed since he played college basketball.
Springfield, MA—Iona led Fairfield by six midway through the second half of Sunday’s MAAC Tournament semifinal when the Gaels’ Scott Machado attempted a three-pointer. Iona had just forced a turnover and Machado was open on the wing. He missed, just barely, and Fairfield’s three-pointer on the ensuing possession started a 16-1 run that propelled the Stags to an 85-75 victory. A basketball game—and a chance at the NCAA Tournament—can change that quickly.
By losing in its conference tournament and therefore failing to secure an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, this is Iona’s predicament. But it’s also Drexel’s. It’s Middle Tennessee’s. It could be Long Beach State’s. If college football is split between the Haves and Have-Nots, college basketball gives us the Haves and the Have They Done Enough? Continue reading Will Iona Get an NCAA Tournament Bid?→
Anthony Davis has been described as a one-man wrecking crew for his shot-blocking ability. It’s not just another cliché with the 6’10” Kentucky freshman. Through yesterday’s games, Davis’ 138 blocks were more than 303 teams. There are 32 conferences in NCAA Division I basketball (345 teams), and if Davis alone was a team, he would lead 14 conferences—including the Pac-12 and WCC—in blocked shots. Continue reading Anthony Davis: Shot-Blocking Machine→
To appreciate Scott Machado as a basketball player is to appreciate the simple: the bounce pass to a cutting forward; the chest pass to an open shooter; the awareness to seek the ball after a turnover. Sure, you’ll see lob passes for dunks and crossover dribbles and deep three-pointers. But if that is all you see, you’re missing a lot.
Manhattan coach Steve Masiello calls the Iona College senior “the best point guard in the country, bar none.” Others around the game think, at the very least, Machado belongs in the discussion: he is a finalist for the Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year Award. Scouts from more than a dozen NBA teams have visited New Rochelle’s Hynes Athletics Center to watch Machado, the nation’s leader in assists at 10.1 per game. Continue reading Scott Machado Has Eyes on MAAC Title, NBA→
When Virginia Commonwealth beat Wichita State in a BracketBusters game last February, its significance was greatly underappreciated. It was heralded as an impressive road win, sure, but who could have predicted it would propel the Rams to the Final Four? Without that victory, VCU likely would not have been selected for the Tournament and never could have made that improbable run. Continue reading BracketBusters: A Double-Edged Sword→