Tina Kunzer-Murphy and UNLV: an athletic director’s month of misery

People have far worse problems than the ones faced by UNLV athletic director Tina Kunzer-Murphy. That said, within the theater of college athletics and the pressures of a cutthroat business, Kunzer-Murphy just endured one of the more difficult months any athletic director has ever faced. It’s not just that Marvin Menzies — formerly the coach […]

Congratulate Chris Beard. We’d all do the same

Chris Beard took a job shortly after taking a different job, a week, to be exact. People got really, really mad, which is odd, because in general, “people” would do the same thing. Beard took the head men’s basketball post at UNLV after taking Arkansas Little Rock on a fun NCAA run, punctuated best by […]

Cincinnati is the most uncomfortable big-ticket program in the country

The city of Cincinnati is uncomfortable enough in the realm of professional sports. The Reds are in rebuilding mode, and the Bengals… well, they’re the Bengals. This discomfort extends to the collegiate ranks. Let’s be clear at the outset: An uncomfortable situation is not equivalent to a rock-bottom situation. Discomfort is not purely a reflection […]

College Basketball: 5 programs which wouldn’t mind a Josh Pastner-style move

It’s the dream of athletic directors and many fans at certain college basketball programs: A coach doesn’t feel entirely comfortable at his job… so he leaves for another job. It’s a fresh start for everyone involved, and the program obtains a better-than-even chance of making an upgrade. This is what has happened at Vanderbilt, with […]

Memphis basketball is a job great coaches should covet

The story of Memphis basketball isn’t fully contained in the picture above, but a lot of the Tigers’ best moments flowed from the two men in that photo. More instructively, the prestige and cachet of the Memphis job were built by those two individuals, so that future players and coaches could attempt to take the […]

College presidents: Adopt the “Yann Hufnagel Rule”

It’s time for a Yann Hufnagel rule in college sports. So much is happening in the world of collegiate athletics in April of 2016, and while championships in basketball and hockey have been decided, the real action has occurred off the court and away from the rink. Tyler Summitt at Louisiana Tech. Baylor football. Satellite […]

UConn women’s basketball: the in-the-gym perspective

On Wednesday, we viewed UConn women’s basketball through the lens of history. Here, we’ll attempt to appreciate the Huskies and Geno Auriemma through the lens of what happens on the court — in practice and gameday situations alike. Why include practice (especially for you, Hall-of-Famer-elect Allen Iverson)? It’s where Geno Auriemma has built the foundation […]

UCLA coach John Wooden, second from left, holds the 32nd NCAA Men’s Basketbal championship trophy he received as the Bruins won their sixth NCAA basketball title after defeating Jacksonville, 80-69, at College Park, Md., March 21, 1970. UCLA’s only senior player, John Valleley, wears the net he cut down at left. At right is John Ecker (52). The official in the middle is unidentified. (AP Photo)

UConn women’s basketball: the historical perspective

No, we’re not going to spend time arguing about whether UConn women’s basketball is just as good as UCLA men’s basketball. We’re not going to spend time debating whether Geno Auriemma is just as good a basketball coach as John Wooden was. No — we’re not going down any of those routes. This isn’t a […]

HOUSTON, TEXAS – APRIL 02: Phil Booth #5 and Jalen Brunson #1 of the Villanova Wildcats react in the second half against the Oklahoma Sooners during the NCAA Men’s Final Four Semifinal at NRG Stadium on April 2, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The NCAA tournament and Final Four were great — not in totality, but in their best moments

This was not a great Final Four. The semifinal doubleheader was one of the worst of all time. This was not a great NCAA tournament from start to finish — the Sweet 16, Elite Eight, and National Semifinal rounds all left a lot to be desired. Yet, the Final Four and the NCAA tournament still […]

2016-2017 Way Too Early Preseason Top 25

Two seasons ago I had Wisconsin and Duke 1-2 in my way too early preseason top 25. Last year I pegged North Carolina as the No. 2 team, but Villanova as the No. 11 team, so clearly I have some work to do this year to redeem myself. It is very college basketball that the […]

Timeline: national championship droughts, milestones, and points of passage

It’s time for a timeline. At the end of a college basketball season — when the twists and turns of the Final Four and the national championship game easily lead bloggers (this one included) to reconsider what needs to be changed in the sport — it’s worth stepping back and considering how much history has […]

First-time national champions encounter a first-time marker of failure

A national champion will be crowned Monday night in Houston. It won’t be a first-time national champion. North Carolina enters the 2016 title game with five national crowns. Villanova doesn’t have as many, but it does have one, the immortal 1985 victory over Georgetown in Rupp Arena. This very simple fact leads to another plain […]

Villanova coach Rollie Massimino takes a victory ride with his players on the floor after Villanova defeated North Carolina in NCAA Southeast Regional finals, Sunday, March 24, 1985 in Birmingham. Players are Harold Pressley, left, and Brian Harrington. Villanova won 56-44. (AP Photo)

Villanova and North Carolina: from the gateway to the castle door

The Villanova Wildcats and North Carolina Tar Heels have met several times in recent NCAA tournament history, “recent” being defined by the start of tournament seeding in 1979: That collection of results might not elicit an exclamation or a stunned reaction. However, there’s an eye-catching fact which can be extracted from that list of meetings […]

Tom Butters, In Memoriam: The man behind Coach K

Death is part of life, and in the death of Tom Butters last Thursday, life took another poetically powerful twist on this swiftly-tilting planet. Think of certain people in the public square. Think of people dying on specific days or at specific times. Think of all the instances in which a death is fitting in […]

Indiana State played DePaul in the 1979 Final Four national semifinals. Re-seeding would have slid ISU over to a meeting with Penn. DePaul would have faced Michigan State.

5 underappreciated Final Four national semifinals

When you think of great Final Four national semifinals, a few answers immediately rise to the front of the list. 1983 Louisville-Houston, the game which in many ways took college basketball to a much higher level — literally. That aerial circus fully announced the arrival of an above-the-rim game. 1974 UCLA-North Carolina State was, quite […]