I have great New York story. Years ago, having dinner in the famous Italian restaurant on the Upper East Side, Campagnola’s as I was out celebrating our second NCAA run as the coach of the Manhattan Jaspers, the maitre d came over said some gentlemen at a nearby table would like to send over a bottle of wine, and would like to meet and thank you. So I naively looked at the table full of recognizable characters with pinkie rings and said
The road to the Final Four is complete after an epic March Madness filled with defining moments that gained tournament immortality. Georgia State’s R.J. Hunter hit the shot of the tournament that had his coach – and dad – Ron Hunter literally falling out of his seat. People still debate whether UCLA should have advanced due to a goaltending call against SMU. Most significantly, Kentucky is two wins away from a perfect 40-0 season, which would be the first perfect
NBA players aren’t the only ones susceptible to rookie mistakes. NBA writers and editors are, too. I spent nearly 20 years in newsrooms, and every year in late March, we received a staff-wide email warning us of April Fool’s jokes masquerading as news releases. At a later point in my career, I became the one writing these emails, cautioning the staff. Be careful. Don’t assume, no matter how innocuous the release may be. Make a phone call. If something sounds hinky, it
Editor’s Note: Whether coaching or forecasting, Bobby Gonzalez knows college basketball. He went 8-0 picking games in the Sweet Sixteen a year ago, 7-1 in that round this year and 3-1 in last weekend’s regional finals. This is not some Bozo. It’s Gonzo. He knows what he’s talking about. It was 1991 and I was standing in the crowd at the Final Four as a New York City high school coach, watching All-American Larry Johnson of the dominant, unbeaten UNLV team
Whenever I’m asked if I have been watching the NCAA Tournament, I say, “No. I haven’t.” That raises some eyebrows in my home state of Connecticut, where both genders of Huskies basketball have been winning national championships for nearly a generation and are followed religiously by the Nutmeg State’s hoops fans. But among the many reasons I don’t go mad in March is because over that same generation, the college game has become less and less of a barometer for NBA success.
The NCAA Committee really deserves to take a bow with the matchups, storylines and drama they helped provide in picking the field this year. After a very compelling and topsy-turvy first two rounds, now it’s what I like to call “big boy time.” After coaching in a few NCAA tourneys and closely following countless others, one thing I’ve learned through the years is that at this point, it’s usually safe to expect the chalk to advance. We will forever have upsets
Once upon a time, coach Bobby Gonzalez took an underdog Manhattan team to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament, where hey were national darlings and a Cinderella story. This year, the lowest seed to advance out of the first two rounds of the tourney is UCLA, and we would be hard pressed to describe them as a Cinderella in any way, shape or form … not with that school’s history. This year’s Sweet Sixteen is loaded with quality teams, from the
With the NCAA Tourament upon us, it seems like as good a time as any to remind everyone that there is a canyon between coaching in college and coaching in the NBA. There is more than a generation of evidence which clearly illustrates that any NBA team hiring a head coach directly from college is making a huge mistake. P.J. Carlesimo. Tim Floyd. Leonard Hamilton. Lon Kruger. Mike Montgomery. Jerry Tarkanian. Rick Pitino, who failed twice. Even John Calipari, who is