Tag Archives: college basketball


March Madness Brings Out Fans’ Raw Emotion, Too


My, how emotions can change from moment to moment during March Madness – not only for the players, but also for the fans!


When the TV cameraman zoomed in on Bill Murray as he stood stunned after Wisconsin’s Bronson Koenig nailed a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to defeat his Xavier team, you could almost feel the raw emotion. Just seconds before, the actor/comedian was cheering wildly.

These emotional ups and downs are an inherent part of the great sport of college basketball, especially at tournament time. The triumphs and the defeats become our own, as though we are on the team.

Even casual fans are affected by the drama. Especially those who are drawn to the underdog and get a sweet rush from witnessing the fall of a “favored” team. And those who fill out brackets at the office – choosing teams by reputation, stats, colors or mascots – hoping to beat the resident sports “expert” and win some spending money. They feel the agony and the thrills, too.

The March Madness brackets themselves are a source of emotional upheaval sometimes, especially in 2016 when 100% of the official March Madness brackets – including the NCAA Capital One, CBS and Yahoo challenges – were busted after the first two days of the tournament (thanks, Michigan State). But that disappointment was all but erased thanks to the wildly exciting games!

I just feel sorry for the people who don’t care for sports. Look what they’re missing!

I think Jim McKay said it best in the opener for Wide World of Sports: … the thrill of victory … and the agony of defeat … the human drama of athletic competition …”

Go, college basketball! Thanks for the great (emotional) ride. And, for those of you who just can’t get over your busted bracket, remember, there’s always next year!


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And with that, I’ll leave you with my most emotional moment of the 2016 tournament:

Click here to watch it on YouTube.


Sports Illustrated magazine's November 14, 2011, issue

5 Reasons Why College Basketball Is Less Stressful Than College Football

Sports Illustrated magazine's November 14, 2011, issue

Sports Illustrated magazine shared its annual college basketball preview in its Nov. 14, 2011, issue.

Michelle Ryan distills the appeal of the ying-yang balance between no-room-for-error college football and chance-for-redemption college basketball.

I get that there are still a lot of meaningful college football games left to be played, but now that I’ve put myself through (almost) an entire season’s worth of stressful weeks and Saturdays, I find myself looking forward to the calmer pace of college basketball season. By that I mean it’s easier–at least for me–to accept losing with more grace and rationale–and here are five reasons why.

  1. Less tradition. My alma mater, the University of Alabama, is a football school, meaning expectations loom larger over the program than the late coach Bear Bryant’s shadow. We love our basketball too, but we’re a little more forgiving than, say, Duke or North Carolina if we don’t win it all every year.
  2. Brackets, baby. Having a true playoff in college basketball sure helps relieve the pressure that every single game is a must win. So you win some and lose some? No biggie. As long as your team is going dancing at season’s end, you’ve still got a chance at the championship.
  3. Losing hurts less. It’s still painful, but I’ve never thrown something at the television or cried because of a loss in basketball like I have over football. No doubt because one, two or even three (or more) losses doesn’t mean the season’s over–a function of No. 2 on this list for sure.
  4. Fun-to-watch finishes. Thank the brackets for this one too. The second chances afforded by a playoff make it so much easier to appreciate the back-and-forth drama and game-winning buzzer beaters, even if your team comes up short.
  5. Cinderella stories. Once again, props to the playoff because without it we wouldn’t have those underdogs chasing their fairy-tale endings. It’s always nice to see the little guys go up against the heavy-hitters and make a deep run in the tournament, even if my team is one that may lose as a result.
Duke University men's basketball 903 Kounting signs

How Coach K’s Historic Basketball Win Is Just What We Needed

Duke University men's basketball 903 Kounting signs

Photo credit: Duke Photography

As one legendary college coach, Joe Paterno of Penn State football, is ousted amid scandal, another restores the tarnished image of college athletics.

Love him or hate him–and by him, I mean Duke’s dominance in basketball–Duke University basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski notched victory No. 903 one week ago today, surpassing coach and mentor Bob Knight for most all-time Division I wins at the college level. The moment was an emotional one, especially as teacher and student embraced at game’s end.

Even if you’re not a basketball fan or, gasp, a Duke fan, you can appreciate the milestone for the accomplishment it represents alone. But even more importantly, it arrives amid the charges of sexual abuse tied to Penn State University’s former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. Particularly disheartening are the lingering questions that still haven’t been answered, at least to the satisfaction of the court of public opinion, over who knew what, when, and why nothing was done to stop the alleged abuse.

After what seems like weeks of hearing about one tradition-rich athletic program being rocked to its core and seeing images of its embattled coach being ousted in disgrace, we needed something to restore the luster to the tarnished image of college athletics.

So on Tuesday night, when the Blue Devils topped Michigan State, 74-69, with Krzyzewski’s family and an impressive cadre of former players supporting him in the stands, Coach K’s historic moment was just what we needed.