Reason # 958 Why We Love NCAA Basketball

The college basketball season is in it’s infancy, BUT already we’ve seen highlights so ground-breaking they’d make The Rock strap on a helmet, man the helm of a helicopter and save lives…..”San Andreas”….nobody, hello? 

You think Nic Cage saw that trailer as he looked up from painting a self-portrait of himself gazing dramatically in a mirror while painting a self-portrait of himself gazing EVEN MORE dramatically in a mirror……and screamed out, “Why am I not in that movie!?!?”.  I’m sure he called his agent immediately and is now signed on for “San Andres 2: The Aftermath”

Sorry, I must have been daydreaming about Nic Cage again……back on subject now.

The NCAA hoops season is under way, for the casual hoops fan out there I’m sure you haven’t noticed yet due to the constant onslaught of NFL coverage and advertisements on EVERY damn channel ALL the damn time.  If I see another Fanduel or Draft Kings advertisement, I may lose it completely and set fire to my wallet before I can “take advantage of their 200% reload-deposit promotion that’s about to run out”.

Thank god for college hoops…..here’s many reasons to start paying attention.  Oh, need I remind you that March Madness is only 3 months-ish away.

The Monmouth Bench Squad

Texas Longhorns’ Kerwin Roach

LSU’s Ben Simmons

Kansas’ Cheick Diallo

More of a reason to hate BYU

An Indiana Hoosiers Guard Named Yogi

Kentucky is still good

Syracuse is in trouble

The Big10 – ACC Challenge is GREAT

Duke Wins Again

Five-star power forward high school recruit, Brandon Ingram has decided to be a Blue Devil next season (only season), and the whole college basketball world collectively shakes their head in disgust.

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This is a smack in the face for all UNC Tarheel fans, as you can see in the above photo, Ingram played for Jerry Stackhouse’s AAU program over the past few summers and is a local North Carolina kid.  After adding up the simple basketball math, MOST college basketball recruiting pundits had him choosing to be a Tarheel instead of going to the darkside in Durham.

Even though Brandon Ingram is probably a one-and-done type player, it’s unbelievable how the rich keep getting richer lately.  Coach K just keeps winning, like a boss.

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****CONSPIRACY THEORY:  Ingram (his people) may know more than most, perhaps this move is an indication of what’s about to come down the pipeline towards UNC for various academic fraud investigations (click here)?  Maybe we should read between the lines here???

Coach Dean Smith Stays Classy

Coach Dean Smith passed away on February 7th of this year, his basketball legacy and contribution is untouchable and continues every day in the UNC Tarheel tradition as well as his amazing coaching tree that keeps on growing.

But this might be the classiest move I’ve ever seen from a coach or ANY person in a position of leadership, from the great beyond:

CBCdZXRXEAI7VNg.jpg_largeEven from heaven Coach Smith is treating his players like kings and thanking them for all their hard work.

**sidenote:  that letter is addressed to Dante Calabria!  The 1993 version of me just got really excited. Danta-Calabria

UNC breathes a sigh of relief

The nerds from Cambridge almost upset the jocks from Chapel Hill today as UNC squeaked out an undeserving win over Harvard 67-65.

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The Crimson did exactly what they always do in the NCAA tourney, just keep hanging around, controlling the game tempo until their opponent falls asleep and the nightmare ends with them losing somehow.  But it seems the no-doze finally kicked in for the Tarheels late in the game, even though they did everything they could to lose the damn thing.

Wesley Saunders  put in work for Harvard, with 26 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals.

UNC will play the winner of Arkansas (5-seed) and Wofford (12-seed) on Saturday, let’s go Terriers.

Only Game You MUST Watch This Weekend

Duke vs. North Carolina Part II – Electric Bugaloo” airs tomorrow, Saturday March 7th at 9pm Eastern Time.

Duke won the first match-up this season at Cameron Indoor Stadium in overtime 92-90 in what I called the best NCAA game of the season.  UNC will look for a little revenge and a win that would be some serious momentum heading into the ACC tourney next week.

This is MUST-SEE TV basketball tomorrow, don’t miss it!

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North Carolina VS. Duke is the Greatest Rivalry of all time

Duke defeated North Carolina in Overtime tonight 92-90 in what was hands down the best college basketball game of this season. Both teams did exactly what they can do well on the basketball court.

Duke stepped out on the floor on fire, Quinn Cook made 5 three pointers in the first half for the Blue Devils and it seemed that the guards for Coach K were about to dominate the game.

North Carolina fought hard to come back in the second half, behind Brice Johnson (18 points, 12 rebounds) and Kennedy Meeks (18 points, 7 rebounds) playing HUGE inside for the Heels keeping the game close. This game was back and forth like a Rocky Balboa/Apollo Creed 16 round fight, haymaker after haymaker was thrown but no one would go down.

Even when overtime’s final horn sounded I didn’t expect the game to end. After nerding out on Duke vs. North Carolina history and rivalry stats for 30 minutes, I compiled this list proving what we all secretly thought anyway, Duke vs North Carolina is the greatest rivalry of all time.

1.  In 88 games played, the all-time score before tonight’s game was Duke 6,787 to UNC 6,787.  So after tonight’s game, the Duke Blue Devils lead the overall series 6,879 to 6,877.  That’s 45 years of playing basketball and 2 points TOTAL is the difference. ncb_duke_unc_576

2.  North Carolina leads the overall series 133-106, with UNC’s largest victory being 37 points and Duke’s largest victory being 35 points. YSAIZERYGLMHEYE.20090211232320

3.  The last time NEITHER team was ranked when they played each other was 1955 and fans looked like this:

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4.  When Duke and North Carolina enter the game BOTH ranked in the top 25, Duke leads the series in wins with a record of 37-36 overall. unc-v-duke

5.  Coach K leads Roy Williams in national championships, 4 to 2, but UNC leads in overall titles, 5 to 4. index-3-620x615

6.  Let’s talk Head Coaches:

Roy Williams:  All stats are for active coaches, 7 Final Four appearances (2nd most all-time), 63 NCAA tournament wins (2nd most all-time), .792 winning percentage (1st all-time) and Ten 30-win seasons (2nd all-time).

Mike Krzyzewski:  All stats are for active coaches, 11 Final Four appearances (1st all-time), 82 NCAA tournament wins (1st all-time), .765 winning percentage (3rd all-time), and Thirteen 30-win seasons (1st all-time).

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ALSO, let’s not leave out Dean Smith:  11 Final Four appearances, 2 NCAA championships, .776 winning percentage, and three 30-win seasons (they played less games).

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7.  ACC Regular Season Championships:  UNC 29 (1st all-time) Duke 19 (2nd all-time) BUT, in ACC Tournament Championships: Duke 19 (1st all-time) UNC 17 (2nd all-time)

8.  Duke and UNC both have classic yet AMAZINGLY great, popular gear: 

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9.  Weird Stats and Facts:

Duke and North Carolina have only met 1 time in the post-season, the NIT in 1971 and UNC won.

The first game ever played was on January 24th, 1920.  The final score was UNC 36 – Duke 25.

AP Coach of the Year Awards:  Roy Williams – 2 (1st all-time), Mike Krzyzewski – 0 (WHAT!?!?).  Just to put that in perspective, the following men have won more AP National Coach of the Year awards than Coach K: Matt Doherty, Cliff Ellis, Kelvin Sampson, Keno Davis and Frank Haith.

First round picks in the NBA by coach:  Roy Williams – 25 players (2nd all-time), Mike Krzyzewski – 28 players (1st all-time).

First Overall # 1 Draft picks in the NBA by school:  North Carolina – 2 (James Worthy ’82, Brad Daugherty ’86), Duke – 3 (Art Heyman ’63, Elton Brand ’99, Kyrie Irving ’14).

NBA Drafted Players by school:  North Carolina – 105 players, Duke – 83 players.

10.  And as if that’s not enough to convince you:

Happy Birthday Michael Jordan

Today the greatest basketball player EVER turns 52, and I officially feel old.

Like most kids that grew up in the 80s and 90s, His Airness was my idol.  EVERY kid wanted to be him, every kid pretended they WERE HIM when they got on the blacktop at their school’s recess or in the driveway.

I remember sticking out my tongue as I drove the lane on my driveway hoop, catching god-knows-what in my mouth as I attempted a ridiculous, spinning, dipsy-do, reverse layup between my best buddies’ outstretched arms all while yelling out “Jordan” when I took the shot.  Most of the time I missed, but that wasn’t the point.

Jordan created COOL when he got in the league, he WAS the closest physical representation of Miles Davis’ BIRTH OF COOL album; calm, cool, melodic and aggressive at the same time and undeniably brilliant.

This dude wore GOLD CHAINS in the dunk contest his rookie year, JUST CAUSE HE COULD.

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MJ walked cool, talked cool, jumped cool, and the way he effortlessly flew through the air like an F-16 was truly a vision of beauty.

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Jordan was so good and so popular that kids in driveways in my neighborhood made a rule that “no one can be MJ” when we played basketball.  I’m not talking about in the form of video games, I’m talking about in REAL LIFE when we played pick-up in the driveway, NO ONE was allowed to pretend to be MJ, out of fear that somehow just by saying his name like the “Candyman”, your game would be elevated instantly and no one would be able to guard you.

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There will never be another like him, he transcended sports to a level that will NEVER be seen again.

Happy birthday to my favorite player of all time, Michael “Air” Jordan, forever Chicago Bulls #23 will be hanging in the rafters in my head and my heart.

MJ Transcending Sports Culture:

MJ’s Top Dunks of All-Time:

MJ’s Top Ten Plays/Performances of All-Time:

Here’s a quick picture gallery of MJ throughout the years just to get you through the day:

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Two of College Baketball’s Greats Passed Away This Week

Two of my favorite basketball personalities have passed away this past week, Dean Smith of the University of North Carolina and Jerry “The Shark” Tarkanian of UNLV and Fresno State.

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Jerry Tarkanian, a Naismith Hall of Fame inductee in 2013, is most famous for his time as head coach of the Running Rebels of UNLV from the early 70s until the early 90s.

Dean Smith, a Naismith Hall of Fame inductee in 1983, is most famous for his time as head coach of the Tarheels of North Carolina for 36 years.

Both men were incredible basketball coaches, racking up several National Championships and Coaching Awards, while grooming an unbelievable amount of future NBA players and Collegiate All-Americans.  The stats for both are ridiculous and beyond what any coach could imagine their career to be.

Jerry Tarkanian:

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Dean Smith:

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Tark was a BIG personality with a big heart for his players, he was the caring father figure that many athletes were lacking and the disciplinary figure that many of his athletes needed.  He believed in second chances and third chances, he believed in empathy and teaching more than just a great game to his players, but also how to be a great young man.

He more than earned his way into the Basketball Hall of Fame standing tall on a pillar of excellence at the highest collegiate level: 729 wins, a winning percentage of better than 75 percent, four Final Fours and one national title.

Even with the issues that Tark had with the NCAA and recruiting violation investigations, when you ask players that he coached or coaches that he coached against about Coach Tark, overwhelmingly there is nothing but positive comments.

Dean Smith was the opposite of Tarkanian in personality, but very much the same when it came to the love and adoration of his players and other coaches.

Smith was a humble man, a coach that stressed the unity of TEAM basketball above all other actions.  He spoke softly, but carried a huge heart and mind for the game of basketball and life.  He spoke to the man inside his players, not to just the player.

Smith coached from 1961 to 1997 and retired with 879 victories, which was the NCAA Division I men’s basketball record at that time.  Smith had the 9th highest winning percentage of any men’s college basketball coach (77.6%).  During his tenure as head coach, North Carolina won two national championships and appeared in a staggering to comprehend, 11 Final Fours.

As I wipe away my basketball tears listening to all the stories about these two mentors and leaders, I realize that even though I never met either man, I never played for Coach Smith or Coach Tarkanian directly; even though I’ve never sat in a practice listening to either of them wax poetic about the game I love and cherish, I KNOW for a fact that I learned how to be a better basketball player and a better person through their teachings.  They’re passion for teaching, coaching, mentoring, working hard and improving every day, has trickled down to EVERY single player who has ever played organized basketball.

So next time I’m playing in my old-guy rec league reliving my younger days on the court; and I receive a pass that sets me up perfectly for a jumper, I’ll make sure I point at the player who gave me the ball to thank him for the assist…….but really I’ll be pointing to Coach Smith and Coach Tarkanian for giving me much more than just a good pass.