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
UCONN upset Kentucky Monday night in the National Championship game, defeating the wildcats 60-54 in an up-and-down game that they led buzzer-to-buzzer. There were big shots and highlight plays made all night by NBA level talent. The game could have gone either way until UCONN wrapped things up with just under two minutes to play. The presentation, broadcast and atmosphere were A-plus. Shabazz Nappier and Ryan Boatright were phenomenal. Kentucky’s heralded freshman class flashed NBA talent. Especially James young. It was the second fantastic title
I was sitting at the famed Carnegie Deli in NYC over some matzoh ball soup with my dear friend and Jewish godfather (and also a recent basketball Hall of Fame nominee) Howard Garfinkel, who mentioned a quote from a once-famous basketball coach named Elmer Ripley. The quote dates back more than 50 years and was delivered at a coaching clinic: “The big men are all the same. It’s the guards that make the difference.” Being that I was once a proud point
With 2.3 seconds remaining and the NCAA Tournament’s last Final Four spot on the line, Kentucky’s Aaron Harrison gave us our tournament moment. A good three feet behind the 3-point line, Harrison rose with confidence over Michigan’s Chris LeVERT, an outstanding defender that was constantly impacting the game on that end of the floor all game. Swish.
As far back as I can remember, it was always “You bring your guys and I’ll bring my guys, and Let’s Have At It. This year’s Sweet 16 reminds me very much of that old axiom. As close friends and family can attest, I have always been considered a basketball savant — from a very early age as they would say Bobby is of those coaches who can beat you with his guys, then turn around and beat you with your