Weekend One of the Men’s NCAA Tournament in in the books !
OF THREE ROUNDS AND GLASS SLIPPERS
Here’s an interesting statistic as we run down the first three rounds of men’s NCAA basketball tournament action. A total of ten Big East teams were in the dance, if you count this season’s Big East and the Big East as it will be configured around the “Catholic Seven” next year. Only three of them are still alive, Marquette just barely, by a total of three points in two games. Only one of the three Big East holdovers who will be part of the new football league after next season made the tournament. Cincinnati was gone in the round of 64. Gone are the days. With the tournament on center stage you may have missed the ongoing conference realignment that has now victimized the Colonial Athletic Association. Local fans will painfully remember George Mason. The school has called a press conference for today to announce it will step up to the Atlantic Ten on July 1st. With all the recent reconfiguration surrounding basketball can the next moves from the ACC and Big Ten be far behind? Those local fans I just mentioned can only hope. The man who’s most done his homework for the NCAA tournament is Andy Enfield. A former investment banker who put millions of dollars aside for retirement so he could live a life long dream, coach a college basketball team, he’s certainly made the most of it. Enfield has taken a team from a school that didn’t exist 20 years ago, and only attained division one status a half decade ago, not becoming tournament eligible until three years ago, all the way to the Sweet 16 in it’s first tournament appearance. His Florida Gulf Coast Eagles are the first 15 seed ever to win two games in the NCAA tournament, knocking out 2nd seed Georgetown and 7th seed San Diego State in South Region action. His homework diligence is on display not only when his team shows it’s prepared for just about every move of the opposition, he also has them focused on their own game, evidenced every time they transition to defense. On the flip side, the guy least prepared for the NCAA tournament is CBS studio contributor Charles Barkley, who is substituting broad generalities for any meaningful analysis. Fortunately for Barkley he’s accompanied by a cast of “Sir Charles” lap dogs who quickly offer forced chuckles for his every attempt at humor to cover up his lack of working knowlege. Too many commercials, not enough basketball prep. Credit the LaSalle Explorers, a Cinderella story of their own, coming out of the “First Four” to advance to the Sweet 16, with the biggest favor anyone has done for the viewing audience. Yesterday they eliminated Mississippi, which means we don’t have to spend the rest of the tournament listening to Barkley howl “It’s Marshall time”, everytime Ole Miss is mentioned, a reference to Marshall Henderson, who’s penchant for calling attention to himself quickly caught Barkley’s attention. Not that Marshall is the primary mover behind the Mississippi program, though he did do jail time for purchasing drugs with counterfiet money, then violated parole after being released to make Mississippi the fourth college he attended. You really can’t blame Charles. If that isn’t a lot to like in a college basketball player, what is? With my weekly check up on how things are going in the world of tournament hoops, I’m Scott Gray.