Feature Stories Archive

Atlantic 10 Notebook

Three full months are nearly over.  The Atlantic 10 Conference has sent three teams to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last two years.  Half of the 14 conference teams are led by a coach with less than five years of A-10 experience.  Most of these coaches are just now escorting their programs into… more »

Veteran Backcourt Quietly Leading Duke

It’s hard to believe that Duke could be both overlooked and underrated.  But that might be the case this year as the Blue Devils aren’t seriously being talked about as a Final Four contender. Take note, however, of their underrated backcourt which features Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith, who are the key to the Blue… more »

A-Mason Returns

Anthony Mason Jr. returned to action on January 9  in Louisville, nearly 14 months after his college career seemingly ended. His first shot back clanged off the rim, just long.  But in truth there were days his return appeared a longshot. The return has not been completed.  His lateral movement appears cautious and the forward… more »

Big East Player Development: Part One

The Big East Conference expected to suffer a dramatic drop-off in national success this year.  The conference sent nine players to the NBA draft, and nearly every program lost multiple three-year starters. Surprisingly, the power conference lost little of its nationwide dominance.  In this edition of the Beast Report, we take a look at the… more »

Purdue 69, Wake Forest 58

Two teams filled with gold/black bedecked players tussled last Tuesday night in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.  The Purdue Boilermakers outlasted the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, 69-58 in a battle between two programs that crossed paths while seemingly headed in different directions. Despite recently sending two players to the NBA, Wake has not won an NCAA… more »

Wisconsin 73, Duke 69

Wisconsin scored a big victory for both its program and the Big Ten conference on Wednesday night. The Badgers upset No. 5 Duke 73-69 on the final day of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, all but clinching the Big Ten’s first win in the 11-year history of the event. Wisconsin’s triumph officially evened the 2009 score at… more »

Illinois 76, Clemson 74

What looked early to be the least competitive game of the entire Big Ten-ACC Challenge ended up being its most intense. Early on, the Clemson Tigers could do no wrong, as Trevor Booker showed exactly why he’s in the discussion for ACC Player of the Year.  No Illini big man was able to figure out… more »

North Carolina 89, Michigan State 82

For the third time less than a full year, the Spartans and Tar Heels battled in the national spotlight. And for the third time, the Tar Heels turned what was supposed to be a hard-fought battle into a one-team coronation with a convincing thrashing of a highly-ranked and highly-talented Spartan squad. You would think losing… more »

Maryland 80, Indiana 68

Maryland went into Bloomington, Indiana on Tuesday night and pulled out a hard-fought 80-68 victory over the Hoosiers to put the ACC on the scoreboard of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. The Terrapins trailed throughout the majority of the first half before earning a 35-33 advantage at the intermission. After a back-and-forth start to the second… more »

Professor Xavier and the X-Men

Sean Miller left Xavier in the spring, reinforcing the belief that Xavier is a launching-pad program.  The last four lead Musketeers, all wildly successful at the Cincinnati campus, moved on to bigger and better things. It’s hard to blame a guy for accepting the head coaching position at the University of Arizona where the money,… more »

Dayton Flyers, Please Adjust Your PG Situation Prior to Takeoff

Dayton’s win over Creighton, though expected, raises the national focus on the Flyers from a whimper to a murmur. Brian Gregory’s bunch of athletic anomalies got national airplay by playing in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tipoff, but they lost to Villanova and Kansas State. Forward Chris Wright, offered by Michigan State, can only… more »

Thoughts on the 2009 NCAA Tournament Bracket

This is one of the better brackets in recent memory (of course I would say that, given my projection). But top-to-bottom, Mike Slive’s Committee did a fantastic job of selection and seeding. Surprises: Boston College: A 7-seed seems a bit high for a team that lost to Harvard and Saint Louis in the non-conference portion… more »

Defense a Staple at Minnesota and Dayton

De-fense. Clap! Clap!  De-fense. Clap! Clap! Defense wins championships.  It’s a highly regarded maxim that covers all sports.  If defense is so vital and clearly intrinsic to success, then why are defensive values rarely addressed in the written word? In Minnesota, Tubby Smith brought a renewed focus on defense.  “We take away sight from the… more »

The Mid-Major Waiting Room

For Creighton and St. Mary’s, let the waiting game begin. Three mid-major schools with at least 20 wins and RPI rankings in the Top 65 are without automatic bids after experiencing embarrassing loses in their conference tournaments. With Selection Sunday only three days away, the next 72 hours for these schools are going to determine… more »

Surprising Seminoles on Verge of NCAA Berth

If you asked people at the start of the season who they thought would be challenging for the ACC’s top spot in March, their answers would probably be North Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest, and/or Clemson. What about Florida State? If you can believe it, the Seminoles, picked tenth in the ACC preseason poll, are currently… more »

Big East Report: Point Guards

The Big East is home to some of the biggest, strongest, most powerful centers in the country. But the point guards excel on more than strength. Each have a particular skill set along with one super skill. This week for the Big East Report we will take a look at the best PG in a… more »

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 »

Team Profile: 2009 Bracket Buster Announced

Sooo…I was waiting for word from the official Bracket Busters site on TV matchups before announcing this, but as that still hasn’t been published, here are the matchups for the 2009 Bracket Buster. Pending the TV announcement, Bracketography.com will continue its long-standing tradition of previewing and recapping each game with a significant influence, or possibly… more »

Luke Harangody: The Overlooked

Facing the African giant, Hasheem Thabeet, the small town kid from Indiana suckered his foe to the baseline. Lesser men had cowered when faced with Thabeet’s arms, long and fear provoking as Medusa’s snakes. From the baseline the five-inch shorter Luke Harangody evaded those frightful arms with his patented spin move, releasing the ball while… 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 »

The Fury of Philly

Every city celebrates college sports success the same way.  Initial delirious celebration gives way to naming a child after the heroes.  The in-game chants and baby-making bizarrely go hand in hand.    What separates fanbases is the way in which they handle setbacks, failures.    Big 10 fans internalize the frustration.  Burying such silly anger… more »

The Big East’s Pinnacle: Pitt

After traveling through the undulating landscape of the University of Pittsburgh, longtime fans and curious parties alike stacked the rafters of the immaculate Peterson Events Center. The buzz in the building exceeded that of a dozen beehives. People stood in the top rows eager to witness the purported preeminent college basketball team. Hundreds of animalistic… more »

What a Difference a Coach Makes

This is an article I’ve wanted to write for a long time.  It never felt quite right, though, because I’m not one to bash a sitting coach or a team publicly during a season, particularly a team that I’m fond of watching.  But it appears this story finally has a happy ending, and now seems like… 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 »

Big 12 Confidential (Pre-Conference Wrap)

Another non-conference season has come and gone, and with the exception of the Kansas vs. Michigan State game on Saturday, the rest of the conference will play their first conference games of the season this weekend. It’s hard to believe that’s true–the last couple of months have been a relative blur. North Carolina, the one… more »

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