The 10 Biggest Stories From The Past Weekend

If the first weekend of every NCAA tournament creates dozens of stories — some of them super-sized, some of them bite-sized — the second weekend creates the bigger headlines. In the second weekend of each NCAA tournament, the heavyweights and brand-name schools either take their place at the Final Four table or endure a very […]

10 Facts That Will Shape The Final Four

No more conventional arenas. No more cuddly 11 seeds… well, at least not this time. No more narratives about how Kentucky’s one-and-dones had failed. It’s time to set up the Final Four in short-term and long-term historical contexts. These are the 10 Final Four facts that will shape the coming weekend’s action in Arlington, Tex. 10 […]

One Cool Cat Named Cal

Kentucky’s coaching staff and athletic director will make extra money off the performance the young Wildcats just delivered in each of the first two weekends of the 2014 NCAA tournament, culminating in Sunday’s Midwest Regional final victory over the Michigan Wolverines. It therefore seems somehow inappropriate to put the focus of the moment on a […]

No Fooling This Final Four Team

One basketball concept that surfaces from time to time is “fool’s gold.” It is unquestionably the reason the Connecticut Huskies are headed to the Final Four, while a Tom Izzo senior class at Michigan State will fail to reach college basketball’s holy grail for the first time (a span of 18 years). Within the larger […]

The New Wisconsin, The Same Bo Ryan

The Wisconsin Badgers had to win an old-school defensive slugfest on Saturday evening in Anaheim, Calif., in order to bring their gray-haired coach his first Final Four. In that sense, Bo Ryan’s team felt right at home. Yet, anyone who followed the Badgers during the course of the Big Ten season knew that this was […]

Culture Conquering Culture: Florida Dumps Its Demons

The Florida Gators — winners of 29 games in a row; owners of a perfect SEC record this season; holders of the No. 1 overall seed in the 2014 NCAA Tournament — were greatly burdened entering Saturday’s South Regional final against the Dayton Flyers. No, really, they were. It’s true that all programs would love […]

Staggering Intensity: A Night To Remember

It was a night that college basketball fans had waited for all week… and feared as well. Not allowing for the lengths of the two early games on Friday (Tennessee-Michigan and Connecticut-Iowa State), the tentative tip times for Kentucky-Louisville and Michigan State-Virginia were 9:45 p.m. and 9:57 p.m. Eastern. That’s a 12-minute stagger, which is […]

The Side Of Fortune: Michigan Earned It

The final 32 seconds of Friday night’s Midwest Regional semifinal between the Michigan Wolverines and the Tennessee Volunteers just kept spinning sideways. When the spinning stopped, Michigan was able to say that its first 37 minutes of quality were not undone by the final three. The Wolverines gained the kind of win that, in the […]

A World Of Expectations

Life isn’t fair. Sports are often cruel. Public verdicts can and do carry a finality that doesn’t allow for rationalization or the measured acceptance expressed in the statement, “Well, we still had a really good season in spite of…” No, on Saturday, March 29, 2014, the Florida Gators will just have to take on the […]

Wisconsin-Baylor: The Shedding Of Reputations

In a one-way-traffic mismatch that never pointed to any remote hint of parity, it’s hard to write about the particulars of combat, such as they were. The Baylor Bears were as flat as tortillas in Anaheim, Calif., while the Wisconsin Badgers blended crisp execution with productive thrusts of energy on the glass. Baylor’s zone defense […]

The 10 Best Tickets In Sweet 16 History

It’s a bit easier to identify the best individual games in the history of the Sweet 16. Arizona-Oklahoma State in 2005 in suburban Chicago. Oklahoma-Iowa in Seattle’s Kingdome in 1987. Washington-Connecticut in 1998, enhanced by Sean McDonough’s amazing call of the final sequence. Here’s a different discussion, though, with the Sweet 16 set to begin […]

The 5 Biggest Sweet 16 Upsets Involving No. 1 Seeds

In the Sweet 16, the difference in seed lines generally shrinks, so in a very real sense, upsets are not supposed to be as earth-shaking as they are in earlier rounds. Yet, seeing a takedown of a top seed by a 4 or 5 that’s: A) way too small in the paint; B) not nearly […]

10 NCAA Tournament Facts That Might Surprise You

After all the action from the past weekend, what facts remain in place, and what new facts have emerged? Plenty, of course… but let’s start with 10. 10 – GONZAGA’S RELENTLESS, MODEST CONSISTENCY Given Gonzaga’s national brand, you would think that the Zags have made the Sweet 16 more than twice over the past 13 […]

5 Simple Ways To Improve College Basketball

After being inundated with hoops for four straight days on the first weekend of the NCAA tournament, Americans arrive at some basic points of agreement about college basketball. The serious hoophead and the casual sports fan might not follow college basketball with the same level of intensity from November through early April, but at this […]

The 10 Biggest Stories Of The NCAA Tournament

Can you take 10 big stories from 52 games, 48 of which were played in a span of 84 hours? Sure, you can. You just have to be choosy, and you have to bundle a few stories together. Your mileage may vary, but broadly speaking, these were the 10 top stories from one of the […]