Author Archive - Matthew Stevens

Perspectives on St. Mary’s NCAA Tournament Hopes

Let’s play a word game: Barring (fill in the blank), St. Mary’s will be headed back to the NCAA Tournament in 2009. Answer: An injury to Patrick Mills. St. Mary’s was rolling along as a nationally ranked team, 18-1, and in position for its second-consecutive NCAA Tournament berth even without the West Coast Conference’s automatic… more »

‘Is this heaven?’ No, It’s Northern Iowa

Not one person. Not a single head coach, sports information director, or media member voted Northern Iowa the preseason favorite to win the Missouri Valley Conference. And who could blame them? UNI had never won the regular season title in school history, and lost its top two scorers, top rebounder and best three-pointer shooter from last… more »

As a ‘Matt’er of Fact: Burying the Zags too quickly.

It was the Tuesday morning of January 6, 2009 and I was ready to write the obituary and give the introductory speech at the funeral of the 2008-09 Gonzaga basketball season. We’d been told the Zags were tougher, they could defend, they were more ready to handle the traditionally brutal gauntlet non-conference and then this… more »

A Matter of Fact: No Football, No Problem

The saying goes that football money dictates support and success in other sports. By “other sports,” we at this site mean men’s college basketball. As recently as 2007, Florida held both the basketball and football championships at one time. Fast forward to 2008 when the world on the gridiron doesn’t necessarily translate to the hardwood…. more »

A Matter of Fact: Mid-Major Tuesday

Fool me once… Congrats to Mercer Bears for pulling the upset trick in consecutive seasons and shame on us in the college basketball world who were just as gullible to watch in shock once again. After ruining the Hollywood debut of O.J. Mayo out west during Southern California’s home opener last season, Mercer loaded up… more »

EA Sports Maui Invitational: Can anyone knock off the Tar Heels?

It’s turn back the clock time (literally and figuratively) for the 2008 Maui Invitational. This event, which along with the Preseason NIT used to be the highlighted early-season television affair in college basketball, has organized a prime field for its 25th anniversary. The 2,400-seat Lahaina Civic Center will host three top 10 teams in the… more »

The Diary of a Frustrated Alum: EIU’s State of the Union

It’s a policy here at that if your alma mater is the worst team in college basketball according to the RPI, you must do a state of the union address (David Mihm doesn’t count because he went to a D-III school for which none of us could academically qualify ). I’m a good company… more »

Upsets That Went Unnoticed, Until Now!

Night after night college basketball fans think they’ve heard nothing but consistent coverage of monumental upsets. Well, not exactly. In fact, quite the opposite. Several BCS-conference schools have gotten a pass for pitiful losses either because of other newsworthy items that day or lack of overall knowledge. This is why I’m here. At least I… more »

Another Three-Letter Tourney Leaves One Three-Letter Question: Why?

In 1970, 8th-ranked Marquette rejected a berth in the NCAA Tournament because the committee placed the Golden Eagles in a region far away from their Milwaukee fan base (another issue was the 16 slots were filled by automatic qualifiers from conferences and many large private universities such as Marquette, Notre Dame and DePaul did not… more »

Upsets Abound Early in 2007-’08 Season

MILWAUKEE – As the 11th-ranked Marquette Golden Eagles take the floor for warm-ups, I couldn’t help but wonder if these highly-touted recruits were truly worried about a school with five initials. With eight minutes left in the game and IUPUI only down one (55-54), the answer was a clear “no.” It’s just ridiculous to assume… more »

2007 Preseason NIT preview

Historically the Preseason NIT field has consisted of four ranked teams in the preseason polls that will meet in New York City to attract viewers to the Worldwide Leader. That’s not the case in 2008, but for the first time in recent years, the entire field is competitively deeper and is evenly distributed across the… more »

2007 Coaching Carousel Starts Spinning

Smith out at KentuckyAt the end of the day Rick Pitino was right, sort of. In an interview with ESPN’s Mike and Mike during Championship Week, the Louisville head coach gave his opinion on Kentucky’s coaching situation. “If Kentucky fires Tubby Smith, their program will regress for the next 15 years,” Pitino said. Dick Vitale… more »

Mid-Continent Tournament Final Recap

For about 30 minutes, the game plan of Oakland head coach Greg Kampe worked.The Golden Grizzlies’ all-time leader in wins knew he had no answer for Oral Roberts forward Caleb Green, but the goal was to stop the other four guys on the floor from contributing. His biggest fear had to be ORU guard Ken… more »

Horizon League Tournament Final Recap

Anybody confused as to why Wright State’s Dashaun Wood was named Horizon League Player of the Year found out Tuesday night in his team’s biggest game.The senior guard ended the game with 27 points, nine rebounds and made the two crucial plays that allowed the Raiders to earn their second-ever NCAA Tournament berth by beating… more »

WCC Tournament Recap

#1 Gonzaga 77, #2 Santa Clara 68 For the ninth consecutive year, the Gonzaga Bulldogs (23-10, 11-3) are dancing into the NCAA Tournament after defeating Santa Clara 77-68 in the West Coast Conference Tournament final Monday night. Gonzaga, the WCC regular season champion, has persevered through early-season injuries and an indefinite suspension of star forward… more »

CAA Tournament Recap

#1 VCU 65, #6 George Mason 59 And exhale. George Mason won’t even make the 2007 NCAA Tournament but Jim Larranaga’s team found a way to scare about 20 BCS conference bubble teams into holding their breaths. Virginia Commonwealth guard Eric Maynor was the catalyst for his team’s comeback 65-59 win Monday evening. “For about… more »

Atlantic Sun Tournament Final Preview

#2 Belmont (22-9) at #1 East Tennessee State (23-8) 284 miles separates the two schools that will decide a conference tournament championship and an NCAA Tournament bid Saturday afternoon. Needless to say both programs know each other well and understand what a win would mean. “We talk about it all the time but 40 minutes… more »

Big South Tournament Final Preview

#6 VMI (14-18) at #1 Winthrop (27-4) ESPN had better make sure their camera people can follow the ball in the Big South Tournament championship game, because the pace will be nonstop action. Normally, top-seed and highly favored Winthrop (27-4, 14-0) likes to play at an up-tempo, 94-foot style that forces its opponent to test… more »

2007 Ohio Valley Tournament Recap

#2 Eastern Kentucky 63, #1 Austin Peay 62 Championship games allow for anonymous players to become stars at least for a single day. Down by one with six seconds left in the game and a NCAA Tournament berth on the line, Eastern Kentucky (21-11) got the ball to a freshman forward averaging three points per… more »

2007 Duke Blue Devils

For the last decade, the Big Dance has been all about four letters. No, not N-C-A-A. I mean D-U-K-E. When Duke showed up in a schools bracket, several other four-letter words were uttered by fans. Some have even gone so far as to joke its first two games in the last decade were the Durham… more »

Team Profile: 2007 BracketBuster Recap: Winthrop 77, Missouri State 66

Bracketography was not in the Eagles’ locker room, but allow us to speculate about the bullet points Winthrop head coach Greg Marshall listed on his pre-game blackboard: Shoot over 50 percent Make open threes Find No. 15 (Missouri State guard Blake Ahearn) at all times Take care of the ball Check, check, check and check…. more »

Team Profile: 2007 BracketBuster Recap: Hofstra 65, Holy Cross 64

The Hofstra Pride (20-8, 12-4) rode its tremendous trio of guards to victory once again. With 1.7 seconds on the clock, senior guard Carlos Rivera toed the line and knocked down two free throws to defeat the Holy Cross Crusaders 65-64 on BracketBuster Saturday. The victory gave Tom Pecora and the Pride their third consecutive… more »

Team Profile: 2007 BracketBuster Preview: Ohio at New Mexico State

Much like Old Dominion, New Mexico State couldn’t have asked for a worse matchup. Ohio isn’t even ranked in the RPI’s Top 100, and the Bobcats just suffered a brutal home loss to previously 4-17 Northern Illinois.Rick Pitino disciple Reggie Theus has done a remarkable job turning this program around after the somewhat disappointing tenure… more »

Team Profile: 2007 BracketBuster Preview: Drexel at Creighton

Bruiser Flint brings his full-court, up-tempo, high scoring squad to Omaha’s undoubtedly sold-out Qwest Center in this marquee clash, one of the two or three best in this year’s event. A fourth marquee road win of the year (in addition to Syracuse, Villanova, and St. Joseph’s) would put Drexel on the cusp of an NCAA… more »

Team Profile: 2007 BracketBuster Preview: Cal-State Fullerton at Wright State

Normally Fullerton (18-5, 8-3) fans can’t help but already concentrate on their nationally-ranked baseball program. However, with Fullerton standing just ½ game back in the Big West Conference, more people are making their way into Titan Gym.Wright State had been an afterthought for much of the season, but woke up everyone around the country by… more »

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