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March Madness Memory No. 2

In the spirit of March Madness…I will be counting down my Top 5 favorite moments of the tournament all week long…the shot that made him great…or so we thought

God I love that play. I can watch it again and again, year after year, and never get sick of it.

PREVIOUSLY

3. Bryce Drew 3ptr puts Valpo on the map

4. Northwestern St. 3ptr beats Iowa at the buzzer

5. Chris Webber’s timeout

My Crappy NCAA Men’s Tournament Picks

You already know how I feel about picking brackets and March Madness in general…so let me forewarn you: Pray you don’t have anything that resembles the following:

MIDWEST REGION

WEST REGION

EAST REGION

SOUTH REGION

FINAL FOUR

GO BRUINS!!!

March Madness Memory No. 3

In the spirit of March Madness…I will be counting down my Top 5 favorite moments of the tournament all week long…#3, it’s all about the Drews…coach Homer Drew’s son Bryce…the shot that makes you remember the name Valparaiso

I’ll never forget that one.

PREVIOUSLY

4. Northwestern St. 3ptr beats Iowa at the buzzer

5. Chris Webber’s timeout

Oregon AD Pat Kilkenny Rules

There aren’t many occassions when I hear or read of an event that makes me say, damn, that was cool. But reading about what Oregon’s Athletic Director Pat Kilkenny did on Tuesday, I have to say “Damn, that was cool.”

55 members of Oregon’s student spirit group, the Pit Crew, camped out all night to get NCAA tournament tickets to watch their Oregon Ducks play in Spokane. Much to their delight, AD Pat Kilkenny showed up with his wife and treated the students to coffee and muffins. The couple had a much better surprise in store for the students:

Then came the announcement that the tickets ($56 per ticket, per game) were taken care of. Same goes for the bus, an idea [Pit Crew President Robert] Griesinger said he’d been pushing various people to consider for some time. Kilkenny, he said, called him one up one day and said he’d make it happen — and he did. [Kilkenny said] “If they’re anything like I was when I was in college, they’re broke.”

What an awesome thing to do. Who actually follows up on a lofty promise like that? I was never one of the fans that camped out for tickets — probably because I had a media pass to most games, but I couldn’t even imagine what sort of treat that must’ve been.

Pat Kilkenny, I will never forget you and your generous action. Congratulations on stepping up and delivering.

March Madness Memory No. 4

In the spirit of March Madness…I will be counting down my Top 5 favorite moments of the tournament all week long…#4 Northwestern St. who? A 14 seed? Beating a 3 seed? Surely you caunt be serious?

Just when you thought their dreams were crushed, Northwestern St. got the ball back and knocked down the game winner. Poor Iowa.

PREVIOUSLY

5. Chris Webber’s timeout

ESPN Crashes the Tourney Party

ESPN’s choice of interviews following CBS’s selection show on Sunday was quite interesting. While CBS had television feeds piped into teams celebrating because they had just been selected to play in the big dance, ESPN took the counter-view.

One by one they filed in for interviews. Head coaches for three of the eight teams appearing on ESPN’s list of biggest at-large snubs were interviewed. If you were watching, you saw Bob Huggins of Kansas St., Jim Boeheim of Syracuse, and Bruiser Flint of Drexel all state their case as to why they got robbed of a bid.

Considering the fact that CBS holds the television rights to the tournament, it’s not a huge surprise that ESPN initially took a counter-approach. I do have to give kudos to ESPN for their post-tournament selection coverage. I thought it was great TV; I’d much rather hear an interview with a pissed off coach of a team that feels it got jobbed than an interview with a coach excited that his program will be making a first round exit.

Once they got done with the snub interviews, they moved on with true tournament analysis — it was an excellent hour of tournament programming.

Ben Howland is into CBS Conspiracy Theories

On Sunday following the CBS tourney selection show, UCLA coach Ben Howland went on a media blitz to promote DirecTV’s NCAA package. First he hit ESPN, then ESPNEWS, then ESPN2. This is no surprise for anyone who watches sports shows regularly; players and coaches frequently make the rounds pimping a product. But what Coach Howland said during his ESPNEWS interview was quite interesting.

First, you must understand that in the first round UCLA plays Weber St. where Howland played as a collegian, in the second round UCLA might play Gonzaga whom they beat in a sweet 16 thriller last year and who gave Howland his first coaching job, and in the sweet 16 UCLA is projected to play #3 seed Pitt, where Howland coached prior to UCLA (and he remains best friends with their current head coach Jamie Dixon). Anchor Robert Flores (and yes, I must watch a lot of ESPNEWS to know all the anchors by name) asked Howland about all the subplots in the West regional that involve him emotionally. Here was Howland’s response:

I think that CBS pays a lot of money for the rights to the NCAA tournament and they want their money’s worth and so they’re going to have matchups that create even more interest, so that’s the bottom line.

Howland had similar words for the LA Daily News

“I’m not surprised by it. I don’t chuckle, but I’m not surprised by it,” Howland said. “CBS is paying a lot of money to telecast the NCAA Tournament, about $700 to $800 million a year over the lifetime of the deal … so, of course, if good TV is available, it’s going to be more commanding to viewership.”

Howland’s response to the question answers what many fans have speculated for a long time. In a business sense, CBS wants to heighten the excitement surrounding their games by creating emotional storylines in order to increase ratings. As a fan, you want objectivity in the selection of the draw so that the path to the championship is as equal for all teams as possible.

This marks the second year in a row that UCLA and Pitt have been paired in the same region (coincidence?). Additionally, UCLA’s path to the Elite 8 seems more difficult than most other teams. Gonzaga who was in the top 25 for a good part of the year is a 10th seed in UCLA’s pod. Pitt is the 3 seed scheduled to play UCLA in the sweet 16. Seems a little tougher, and more coincidental than most.

I guess bottom line, even if teams were “coincidentally” placed in the same bracket, the truth is the same for all 65 teams, win six (or in the case of the play-in teams win seven) games, and you’re the national champ — there’s no confusion about that.

(Chest Bump for Michael David Smith of Football Outsiders and AOL Fanhouse)