Monthly Archives: March 2012

@NBA

“News and Notes directly from the NBA”.  This is the description given on the Official NBA Twitter Page. At this point, almost every league has their own twitter page, using the site to connect with fans and keep people updated and the latest scores and news. So what specifically does the NBA use their page for?

When you first go to the NBA twitter page, you see that it has a simple layout. There are no enlarged photos of some of the most well-known players, or pictures of basketballs.  Instead, it is a simple black background, with advertisements for the upcoming good games, and what channels you can find them. Just below that is sort of an “encouragement” message, asking fans to use the #NBA hash tag when talking about the current games.

The NBA page just has over 4.5 million followers, and follows just under a thousand. Personally, I think that those are both good numbers, and it’s nice to see that they are making an effort to follow a somewhat large number of people. Usually, official websites do not follow that many Twitter members. Most of the tweets provided by the NBA are game updates. They have half-time and final scores for all NBA games, and they also comment if there is an impressive play that occurs during the game. The NBA also retweets things tweeted by certain athletes, whether it be a clever or informative comment, or a picture of a certain athlete at an event.

While most people see Twitter as a social media that allows fans to connect with others that they usually wouldn’t have the opportunity, the NBA twitter pages seems to be used more in an informative way. There is nothing wrong with this, and it almost seems easier to keep it this way. If fans want to interact, it would be best to interact with the TV personalities, not the league itself. The NBA Twitter Page should keep on doing what it is doing. It is easy to navigate, it isn’t too busy, and it gives the facts, making it easy for fans to follow.

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Top Game- Winning Shots in NCAA Tournament History

There are a lot of things that occur during the NCAA Tournaments. Many people look forward to their team winning the tournament all together. It is celebrated as the greatest shot in college basketball history and arguably the greatest shot ever in sports. Here are 7 of the greatest winning shots in NCAA tournament history:

 

1.  Bryce Drew from Valparaiso in 1998, first Round Valparaiso trailing Ole Miss by two, seconds left to play, the leaning three-pointer well behind the arc gave 13 Valparaiso a 70-69 win.

2. Christian Laettner from Duke in 1992 East Regional Final Calvin Hill threw a  desperation 80-foot pass to Christian Laettner, who caught the ball, faked and put up a shot from the free-throw line as time expired.

3. U.S. (Ulysses S) Reed, unable to get the ball to any of his teammates and with time running out, took a desperation shot from beyond the mid-court line, left. The ball went in and Arkansas defending Louisville, 74-73.

4. With the game tied at 52 and four seconds to play, NC State’s Dereck Whittenburg flung a desperation heave.It was an airball, but Lorenzo Charles turned the miss into a dunk.

5. Keith Smart hit the winning jumper in the final seconds for the 74–73 win over Syracuse.

6. Tyrus Edney went with 4.8 seconds left and made a game-winning layup as the buzzer sounded, giving the Bruins a 75-74 win over Missouri.

7.  With only one second left in the game, Scott Burrell threw a full-court pass to George. George caught the pass, spun around and released as time expired for a 71-70 win.

 

 

And then there were eight…

As of Friday night, the field of 68 was cut to just eight.

The season started in November with 338 Division I basketball teams trying to become champions. For the eight teams still playing, they are only three games standing between them and the trophy.

The Midwest region will see arguably the most interesting matchup with UNC facing off against Kansas. The Tarheels squeaked by Ohio on Friday to get to the Elite Eight and possibly without Kendall Mashall at point guard (wrist), this game will show what UNC is made of.

The South region showcase the heavily favored Kentucky Wildcats against the Baylor Bears. Most analysts (and most of the country, except of course Hoosier fans) chose Kentucky to win it all a long time ago. Most people have already said it’s Kentucky’s title to lose. Let’s see if Baylor has anything to say about that.

The West region features the Florida Gators versus the Louisville Cardinals. This is probably the least talked about region. Florida is in the Elite Eight again this year, but are trying to avoid a repeat of last year’s loss to Butler. Louisville hasn’t gotten a lot of attention this year, so a Final Four appearance would be huge for this team. Rick Pitino hasn’t won a national title while at Louisville (but won one at UK, so Louisville will be wanting one soon). Could this be the year for the Cardinals?

Finally, the East region has Syracuse pinned against Ohio State. Both Syracuse and Ohio State started the season strong, but encountered a couple of bumps along the way. However, both teams found their way (at least enough to get to the Elite Eight). Now it’s time to see how good these teams really are. Syracuse was No. 1 for part of the season and Ohio State was ranked as high as No. 2.

Now, it’s time to cut the field in half. New Orleans and the Final Four await.

The Match Up: North Carolina Vs Kansas

This happens to be one of the most anticipated games of the NCAA tournament.  The elite 8 match up is one that players aspire to be a part of from the time the realize what the NCAA tournament is.  Dreams are realized in these games and the realization that there are only eight teams left playing this weekend is amazing to think about.  The tournament is designed to move fast and allow fans to get a lot of basketball in just a few weeks.  This particular game is going to be watched by a lot of people.

The game will come down to which team is the toughest and which team will execute under pressure. With that being said UNC faces a tough backcourt with the Kansas Jayhawks especially since UNC star Kendall Marshall is a game time decision due to the surgery repair from a broken wrist he suffered two games ago.  The question is, even if he does choose to play how successful will he be with that hand?  Injuries can have as much of an impact on the success of a team as any other factor.  The injury to a team late in the season can be a significant factor that people can’t predict.

College Experts say there is no way they will win this game without him and for the most part that seems to be true. They went into an overtime game with Ohio University and with Marshall playing in that same game, the game wouldn’t be close. Not only is Kendall Marshall one of the best point guards in the country; they are also missing a starting guard Dexter Strickland who is out for the year with a torn ACL. In order for North Carolina to win this game they will need a big game for forward Harrison Barnes and Tyler Zeller who has been more than capable all year.  Overall this will be a tremendous high-energy exciting game. My prediction is that Kansas will win but I can’t wait to watch the game it airs at 5 pm eastern time.

What’s a Tournament Without Some Upsets?

This years NCAA basketball tournament has been extremely exciting with a few upsets that most people thought they would never see. But what’s a tournament without some great upsets? Pretty boring if you ask me. In the south bracket we saw a very early upset over Duke by Lehigh. Leigh was a 15 seed while Duke was a 2 seed, most people thought it was more than a safe pick to choose Duke over Lehigh. This wasn’t the only upset that might have ruined many fans brackets, when Mizzou another 2 seed fell to the 15 seed Norfolk State, 84-86, most brackets didn’t seem to look so pretty anymore. And in the Midwest bracket, NC State really shook things up by making it all the way to the Sweet Sixteen as an eleven seed. This team had a break through season with 24 victories and was the start to the building of a great team but unfortunately they ended their season in the sweet sixteen with a loss to Kansas by just three points. Another sweet sixteen upset was Louisville over MSU. Louisville didn’t just beat them; they had a pretty impressive performance winning by 13 points, 57-44 against the number one seed. This year’s tournament will be remembered as one of the most competitive and toughest tournaments that March Madness has seen. 

4 Ohio Teams in Sweet Sixteen

There are certain states that are known for having multiple college basketball teams that are decent, and have well known programs, such as North Carolina with UNC and Duke, or Indiana with IU, Purdue, and Butler. The state of Ohio is usually not on this list. But for the first time in NCAA Tournament history, 4 out of the 16 remaining teams in the tournament are coming from Ohio. This means you are going to be hard-pressed to find a resident of Ohio that does not have their team to root for.

Although Ohio State may be the best-known team, there are three others vying for the chance to make it to New Orleans to play in the Final Four. These three other teams are Cincinnati, Xavier, and Ohio. Ohio State plays Cincinnati on Thursday in Boston, and both Xavier and Ohio play on Friday; Xavier against Baylor in Atlanta, and Ohio against UNC in St. Louis.

The residents of Ohio should take great pride in not only having 4 teams still in the tournament, but the fact that out of all 4 rosters combined, a total of 16 players are Ohio natives. It is always more satisfying when you are watching your team play and you know that a handful of those players are homegrown talent. This also speaks volumes of Ohio’s AAU league, showing the country that they are able to produce highly skilled, D1 players. The future is looking bright for Ohio basketball teams and their fans. 

Indiana Men’s Track & Field Team wins Big Ten Championship


This past weekend at the Big Ten tournament for Track & Field, the IU Men’s team managed to win their first title since 1992 over Minnesota by just four points. This team has been building for years and years and head coach Ron Helmer finally put together the perfect squad.

 

Individual titles included Andy Bayer in the 3000-meter run AND the mile, while Kind Butler took first in the 200-meter dash, and Darius King placed first in the high jump. But these weren’t the only guys who brought the team to a victory. Fellow teammates included Ben Hubers who placed fourth in the mile and fifth in the 5000-meter run, Andrew Poore who placed fourth in the 5000-meter, as well as Olumide Olamigoke’s second place in the triple jump and Rex Parkers seventh place in the long jump. The 4×4 team brought another four points for the team as they placed fifth running a new season record of 3:10:18.

 

Head Coach Ron Helmer was named Big Ten Men’s Coach of the year, which he was vey deserving of after such great performances at the Big Ten meet. Andy Bayer was also named the Co-Track Athlete of the Big Ten Championship after scoring a total of 26 points for the team.

 

The team will be heading to the NCAA Indoor Championships this coming weekend at Boise State in Idaho to finish up the Indoor Track Season. Shortly after the Indoor Championships, the Outdoor season will begin with hopes of two time NCAA High Jump champion, Derek Drouin returning. Who knows what kind of damage this team will do in the outdoor season.

Go Hoosiers!

IU VS Purdue

The IU v Purdue Men’s Basketball game is a rivalry game that people all over the nation look forward to each year.  With Indiana Basketball being on the comeback from three consecutive losing seasons, this  Sunday’s 6PM tipoff might be one of the most watched games of the year.  Both teams have a reason to want to win.  Purdue lost to Indiana exactly one month ago on their home court.  Indiana wants to win for the senior players who will be honored after the game today and both teams are playing for the 5 seed in the Big Ten Tournament which begins on Thursday.  Purdue has been playing some of its best basketball of the year and Indiana has had marquee wins by beating Kentucky, Ohio State and Michigan State.  The Purdue road win was one of the best wins of the year and the Boilermakers will be out for revenge on Sunday.   The senior players are the real story today.  They have been guys who persevered through a lot of rough times and stuck through the hard times.  My teammates Tom Pritchard, Verdell Jones, Matt Roth, Daniel Moore and Kory Barnett are all deserving of a lot of respect.  Coach Crean was quoted as saying, “They epitomize what happens when you really stick with it, when you work hard, when you’re dedicated, when you don’t expect things to be handed to you. I don’t know all of the Indiana tradition, but I would think that the one thing that this group has done that stays constant with the Indiana tradition is none of them were ever handed anything. They’ve had to earn everything.”   That is a strong legacy to leave behind.

From a player’s perspective, you play your last home game for the seniors.  You remember when they gave you support when you first got here, you remember how people treated us when we were not winning and you figure out a way to give them a good night on their last night in Assembly Hall.  As I am writing this there are hundreds of fans outside waiting for game time. 

Let’s go dancing

The calendar changed to March and that can only mean one thing: March Madness. It’s the most wonderful time of the year (and this is coming from someone who starts listening to Christmas music in October. Say what you will, but October is NOT too early. I’m talking to you, Mom).

March is arguably the best month in college sports.

Championship week will make or break many team’s tournament berth hopes. For almost all mid-majors, winning their conference is the only way they will get a bid.

And then there are the major conferences. The conferences that will send multiple teams, and some will be sent over a mid-major simply because they are in a major conference. C’est la vie. Actually, more like C’est la NCAA.

Either way, the Big Ten will likely send at least six teams (Michigan St., Ohio St., Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Purdue) with the possibility of Northwestern getting in. But seeing as the Wildcats are the Cubs of college basketball (except without ever making a NCAA berth, so they’ve had a rough existence, not just a rough century. Now that’s saying something), chances are pretty up in the air right now. They lost to Ohio St., but won their last game against Iowa. Let the waiting game begin.

The Big Ten will have the second most teams in the tournament. The Big East will likely be sending 10 (Notre Dame, Georgetown, Syracuse, West Virginia, Marquette, Cincinnati, Louisville, Connecticut, Seton Hall and likely South Florida). But then there are a million teams in the Big East (OK, only 16, but that’s a lottt).

But then there are teams like Murray St. and Long Beach St. that no one wants to face. Don’t let the mid-major label fool you, these are dangerous teams that can beat pretty much anyone.

Selection Sunday is in one week. We will know who will be in, but certainly not who will win. I’m secretly rooting for a Cinderella story and if that happens to be IU, I won’t complain.

Inside the Women’s Big Ten Tournament

Madness storms into Indy in full force as the women of the Big Ten head to Bankers Life Fieldhouse vying for their spot in the dance. I found myself in the background of the tournament as a member of the Big Ten Street Team. The street team is simple, a group of college kids out promoting the Big Ten, interacting with fans, and pumping up the crowd.

Ever wonder who the people are who choose the contestants that participate in the halftime contests and time out competitions? That would be me. Those people throwing T-Shirts into the crowd? Also me. In addition to the crowd interaction at games, we helped set up the pep rally for the teams and went around to promote the event to the city. 

Indianapolis has gotten into the routine of the Big Ten Tournament by this point. After five consecutive years under their belt, you could say they’ve gotten into the swing of things, and with the tourney traveling up to Chicago next year we want to make sure that the Big Ten fans remember Indianapolis and want to come back in 2014. 

One of the major things Indianapolis does to draw in the fans is create a city-fan connection. The city-fan connection is established by having local restaurants and hotels each represent Big Ten Teams to draw their fans to their business. The business in turn has drink specials, meal deals, pep rallies, and contests to involve the fans and get them to continue coming back. I, as a street team member, travel to those businesses and have trivia questions prepared with promotional items to distribute to the winners. 

Overall the tournament has been a success, and with the championship game tonight against the old dogs of Purdue and new kids of Nebraska the day is looking to be a good one!