Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

Time to Play Catch up

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A lot has happend in the last 10 days – the Men’s Final Four has been set, the other post-season tournaments are nearing completion, coaches are being fired and hired, and the McDonald’s All American Game has kicked off game week festivities.  Let’s catch up on what has happened since my last post, starting with the Men’s NCAA Championship.

North Carolina, Michigan St., Connecticut, Villanova. These four teams are the last four standing in the Men’s NCAA Tournament.  Over the last 10 days, we have seen some great college basketball games (Pitt vs. Xavier, Sienna vs. Ohio St., etc.) and some blowouts (Connecticut vs. Texas A&M, Louisville vs. Arizona, etc.)  In the end, the Big East leads the way with two teams in the final four, followed by pre-season title favorite North Carolina from the ACC and perennial Big Ten power, Michigan St.  The coming weekend should be very exciting, especially since Michigan St. will be able to play in front of the home town fans – fans that have endured tremendous hardships as a result of the sagging economy.  Regardless of the outcome, the personal relationship the Spartans have with the fans will be unmatched by any of the other participants.

Baylor, San Diego St., Penn St., Notre Dame. One will win the 2009 NIT.  ESPN2 will broadcast both semi-final games tomorrow night and ESPN will broadcast the championship game on Thursday, April 2nd.  Seeing Baylor and Notre Dame on the cusp of a championship is not surprising given their high pre-season expectations.  However, no one thought it would be an NIT championship.

UTEP, Oregon St., Old Dominon, Bradley. One team will win the second CBI Tournament and another will win the inagural College Insider Tournament (CIT).  UTEP vs. Oregon St. will be a best of 3 final while Old Dominion vs. Bradley will be a traditional, single game final.  HDNet will carry the CBI final and Fox College Sports will carry the CIT final.

Gillispie, Grant, Bennett, Calipari. This time of year not only concludes the college basketball season, but it also leads to various firings and hirings around the nation.  Of the four names I listed, the only one that doesn’t fit with the others is Gillispie.  Billy Gillispie was let go by Kentucky after only two seasons coaching the Wildcats.  Kentucky is one of the premier jobs in the nation, but is it worth all the drama?

Anthony Grant was just hired by Alabama to be their new head coach and Tony Bennett is leaving Washington St. to take over the Virginia Cavaliers.  The move for Grant is a big one, as he leaves a very good VCU program to re-make a struggling SEC team.

John Calipari is in the news as well.  He is rumored to be leaving Memphis for Kentucky.

Prep stars invade Miami. Once again, it’s time for the annual McDonald’s All-American game.  Players have been in Miami, this year’s host city, since March 28th.  In addition to game preparation, all players visit the local Ronald McDonald House.  This visit occurred yesterday and is always a moving experience for all involved.  Tuesday is media day and Lance Stephenson is scheduled to make his college decision.  His final list includes Kansas, St. John’s, and Maryland.  The JamFest took place tonight and the game itself will tip-off Wednesday at 7 pm CST on ESPN.  For more information, check out the official McDonald’s All American blog.

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