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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Tweet of the Night: Metta World Peace Gets Weird

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mettaMetta World Peace has never been the most logical player in the NBA.

We all know he has a long history of media moments, and Sunday is just another one on the list. Early on Sunday, before the Knicks 1:00 PM game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, World Peace spoke to the media about Saturday night’s incident involving Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart. 

Tweet of the Night: Reactions To Marcus Smart Shoving A Fan

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Marcus Smart

Things were understandably heated last night between the Oklahoma State Cowboys and the Texas Tech Raiders. In what was supposed to be a simple NCAA game between the two programs, now has a controversial moment from it. Oklahoma State’s sophomore guard and projected lottery pick Marcus Smart came into conflict with a fan named Jeff Orr during tonights collegiate matchup.

In a game where Oklahoma State was trailing before ultimately losing 65-61 to Texas Tech, it was understandable why Smart would be frustrated to say the least. Unfortunately in an act of bad judgement, Smart engaged a fan that had been heckling him, resulting in Smart shoving the fan back away from him. Smart was given a technical foul for his actions, but was able to remain in the game.

Player safety is always a concern, but so is it a concern for fans as well. Officials from the NCAA and Oklahoma State University will undoubtedly review the situation to determine if any further action is necessary. Marcus Smart probably won’t be looking at any possible suspensions, but it will be interesting to see what action if any would be taking place.

Updated NBA Mock Lottery — Jayhawks will go 1 and 2; Exum 5th

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NBALottery-ping pong

As the All-Star break and Feb. 20 trade deadline draw near, it’s becoming increasingly clear to the neutral observer which teams are going to compete for the remainder of the regular season, and which teams are content on limping to the finish line.

Their hopes will then rest on securing a high lottery pick in this, the much hyped 2014 NBA draft. It’s been a while between mock drafts here at SheridanHoops since Joe Kotoch’s ‘Very Early Mock Lottery‘ was published, and we thought it was about time we revisit this freshmen- dominant cluster of NBA prospects.

As it stands now, in early February, here is how I see things panning out on the 26th of June.

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NBA Draft 2014: Very Early Mock Lottery

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NBALottery-ping pongMid-October is not synonymous with the NBA draft. Basketball fans are usually starting to notice the NBA preseason and getting ready for the start of college ball.

But unlike past years, there has been a greater focus on the 2014 NBA draft and the overwhelming star power it has. That is why “Tankapalooza” is already part of basketball lexicon.

For a long time, this next draft has been called the Andrew Wiggins Lottery, and one year prior to the 2014 draft, the tanking began when the Philadelphia 76ers unloaded Jrue Holiday to the New Orleans Pelicans for the draft rights to Nerlens Noel and the Pelicans’ first-round pick, which is top-five protected.

While the Sixers were the first team to be accused of tanking this season, they will not be the last.

For anyone in denial about NBA teams tanking, just think back to the 2002-2003 season, when the Cleveland Cavaliers were doing everything they could to land LeBron James. Coincidentally, some compare Wiggins to James in his ability and potential franchise-altering impact.

Ultimately, there will be 14 teams whose fate will be decided by ping-pong balls. Here, as we sit in late October, is how I see the lottery going:

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