Bernucca: You Can Have the NCAA Tournament

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sportsWICHITAstate_t640I don’t like the NCAA Tournament.

I don’t like that college basketball’s regular season provides little postseason incentive. I don’t like that the coach is a bigger personality than the players. I don’t like that the games are played on neutral courts. I don’t like that one bad game or bad call or bad break can end a team’s season. I don’t like that “close” becomes a synonym for “well-played.” And I don’t like that poor play determines the outcome much more often than great play.

Most of all, I don’t like how I’m supposed to just accept that it’s fantastic and wonderful and beautiful, when it’s actually substandard basketball in a flawed format that tells me less and less every year about the game I love, which is the NBA.

I’m not trolling here. As anyone who knows me will tell you, I’ve truly felt this way for a while. Part of it is admittedly a lingering distaste developed over more than a decade of working on a sports news desk and spending countless hours having to plan, preview, write, edit, update and package all of the words and numbers associated with the NCAA Tournament.

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SH Blog: Jackson likely to accept position with Knicks; Embiid could be done for season; Bynum makes Pacers debut

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Phil_Jackson_3The narrative is only slightly different today, but that much more impactful.

According to ESPN’s Chris Broussard, the New York Knicks are expected to finalize a deal with Phil Jackson to bring the legendary head coach into the organization in a major front office role:

“Everything is pretty much done,” the source said. “There are just some little things here and there that need to be worked out, but the Knicks are very confident that this is essentially done.” 

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SH Blog: Fredette signs with Chicago; Bynum wants to play

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I mentioned last weekend that I’ve been watching old NBA games on YouTube, and while Karl Malone, for obvious name-related reasons, is probably never going to be surpassed as my all-time favorite basketball player, Hakeem Olajuwon is making it pretty close.

I mean, look at this:

SH Blog: Thunder and Clippers Acquire New Pieces; Bulls Closing in on Jimmer; Gasol vents on blog

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grangerFor those who were surprised at teams on the cusp of a who did not make a deadline move to bolster their chances, it is because they had their eyes keenly on the waiver wire.

On Friday afternoon both the Los Angeles Clippers — looking like a real threat in the West — and the Oklahoma City Thunder — the team to beat in the West — picked up veteran wings to strengthen their rotations, locker rooms and title chances. 

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Bernucca: Feeling the Heat, Pacers Had To Make a Move

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Lance StephensonAll season, the Indiana Pacers have maintained that homecourt advantage for the Eastern Conference playoffs, and their chemistry will give them a great chance to dethrone the two-time NBA champion Miami Heat.

Are both slipping away?

In the last two weeks, Indiana’s grip on the East’s best record has loosened considerably. And the Pacers’  big move at Thursday’s trading deadline, acquiring Evan Turner, illustrated that their belief in chemistry may have been overstated.

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