It’s a very big week for college football at The Student Section, but college hoops starts on Nov. 14, and we have a season to preview. The college basketball articles you’ve seen so far at TSS have been our preseason poll segments. Lead writers Scott King — publisher of Bloguin’s Cincinnati site Bearcats Blog — and Steve Fetch of SB Nation’s Kansas site, Rock Chalk Talk, have been previewing teams in clusters of four or five.
If you go to their writer pages (achieved by clicking on their red-highlighted names in their bylines), you’ll find all the archives for the poll. Scott will post the last four teams later this week. His archive page is here. Steve’s collection of archives is here.
Scott and Steve both held down the fort at the previous iteration of Bloguin’s college basketball site, Run The Floor. They covered the 2014 NCAA Tournament before Run The Floor and football site Crystal Ball Run were rebranded into the merged, all-inclusive college sports site you see now at The Student Section.
If you followed us from Run The Floor, you know who Scott and Steve are. However, a great many of you are surely new to The Student Section as a college basketball site. It’s appropriate to introduce you to Scott and Steve, offering a small window into who they are as the basketball writers who will take you through the full season. Later this week, we’ll swing into a more topical set of roundtables with Scott and Steve on the coming campaign.
Welcome, one and all, to TSS college basketball. Get to know our lead basketball writers:
Matt Zemek, Student Section Managing Editor: Who was your favorite player growing up? Were there two or three players who competed for your foremost loyalties, or was it always a fairly clear choice?
On Twitter @BearcatsBlog
I have a few different players growing up. My dad was a big Louisville fan and had the 1986 championship game against Duke on tape. Right when I was becoming the burgeoning sports fan I am, I watched this tape numerous times in early-1990s Cincinnati. I was the only kid, maybe anywhere, pretending to be Billy Thompson, Pervis Ellison and Milt Wagner. When actual basketball was on, I fell in love with the 1992 Bearcats. Nick Van Exel was my favorite then, along with Erik Martin because of his dunks. That turned into LaZelle Durden and then Kenyon Martin as I entered my high school years. My Mount Rushmore of beloved players when growing up would be Kenyon, Durden, Billy Thompson, and Van Exel. It’s a bit of a shame that Durden has hit legal trouble in his adult life because that makes things sad.
On Twitter @13fetch
Easily my favorite player growing up was Jeff Boschee. I’m from North Dakota, so when one of our own committed to play at a big program like Kansas, needless to say I took an interest in following his career. I had always been a big basketball fan, specifically college, but never really had a favorite team. At the start, I honestly thought I was just going to follow his four years and then that would be that, but of course the year after he came in was the Drew Gooden, Nick Collison, Kirk Hinrich class, and I obviously loved to watch them play as well, so I was pretty hooked on KU basketball all because of Jeff Boschee.
Matt Zemek: In your careers as college basketball writers, who has — to this point — been your favorite player to write about?
Probably Tyshawn Taylor. Part of it was because there were a lot of arguments among the KU fan base as to whether he was good or not, and I steadfastly maintained that he was. He ended up having an All-American season his senior year. He made a lot of weird mistakes that understandably drove fans crazy, but he always gave a crap more than anyone else on the court and that’s something I always gravitated towards.
Sean Kilpatrick. I started Bearcats Blog during the 2010-’11 season. The scope isn’t incredibly wide, but Kilpatrick would have stood out no matter when. Getting to write about the rise of Kilpatrick from sixth man to starter to first team All-American was a heck of a lot of fun. He finished as Cincinnati’s second all-time leading scorer, played the most games in school history, and got UC into the tournament every year. He was a joy to watch and cover.
Matt Zemek: Very simply, what’s the best college basketball game you have ever seen?
Indiana-Duke in the 2002 NCAA tournament. I choose that one 100 percent because I was there. It was the first tournament game I had ever attended. Rupp Arena was packed to the gills with Indiana fans. The Hoosiers trailed for most of the game, only taking the lead very late. Up by four with the game seemingly in hand, the Hoosiers fouled Jay Williams when he made a three. Williams missed the free throw, Boozer missed a putback, and Duke’s tournament run ended. It was an insane experience that I haven’t forgotten.
In person it’s definitely the final KU-Missouri game in 2012. Kansas was down big in the second half before clawing all the way back to force overtime and then win. I’ll always remember the anticipation for that game; the gradual setting in of shock when Missouri jumped out to the huge lead; how quiet the place was at halftime; and how I kept insisting to my friend sitting next to me as the comeback started that we weren’t X points better than Missouri over a Y minute period of time, only to have it all come together for one of the best comebacks ever.
Obviously if we are talking about a game seen on TV, the 2008 title game with Mario Chalmers’s shot to tie it is number one.
Matt Zemek: Fill in the blank: Your biggest basketball pet peeve is _______?
I have a couple, and I think one is probably a little off the beaten path. I absolutely hate how teams get five timeouts each plus the media timeouts. It could be reduced to two per team and I wouldn’t mind. I also think the over and back and 10-second rules should be abolished. With a shot clock it doesn’t really serve any purpose and only causes confusion, specifically with the over and back rule. I also think college basketball should go by FIBA rules.
The 30,000 timeouts late in games. Especially with like three seconds left and the sequence goes timeout for an inbound play, timeout when the team breaks the huddle, timeout to adjust to that adjustment, timeout to just do it, timeout for timeout fun, timeout to tie a sneaker, timeout ……