Fun for a while
Last updated 3/29/2023 at 10:05am
So we are down to our final two weeks of college basketball. I’m kind of a basketball junky. I love the high school playoffs and tournaments followed by the college conference tournaments and then of course March Madness. While many people will follow their team and could care less about watching any other team I love to watch the different teams, players and coaching styles.
I’m not sure why but I can be watching a game and immediately start wanting one of the teams to win. It can be anything from not liking the coach, conference the team plays in or pick any strange reason that you want I want team A to beat team B or I’m just rooting for an upset.
I’m glad that I’m not a gambler. I’m not crazy enough to start researching why this team will find a way to win late in the game and will cover the point spread. Betting on college kids is not right in my opinion. I have no idea if the team’s leading scorer is hobbled by a sore ankle or may have flu symptoms or just broke up with their significant other.
Anyway I am just a fan of basketball and have been for a very long time. As far as the local teams are concerned we didn’t have a ton of luck on the women’s side. The Gonzaga women were throttled by Ole Miss. The good news is that they have their entire team returning at this point in time. Ole Miss was pretty good since they defeated No. 1 seed Stanford on their home court on Sunday.
The WSU women were one and done losing to Florida Gulf Coast on Saturday. Building a program takes a lot of steps. It isn’t an overnight success. Breaking through to win the Pac 12 tournament was a big step but is just a step. Knowing what it feels like to work that hard and finally achieve what many thought was unachievable is a great starting point. The team also knows that winning a conference tournament championship doesn’t win games in the NCAA tournament. You still have to play against talented teams and match their talent and desire.
The Eastern Washington Eagles defeated the WSU men in the NIT opener in Pullman rallying from a nine point deficit to earn the school’s first NIT victory in the first round. On Sunday, the Eagles made their way to Stillwater, Oklahoma to play the Oklahoma State Cowboys. OSU just missed out on a NCAA tournament bid and are seeded No. 1 on this side of the bracket. As a Big 12 team that has a lot of talent, the Cowboys were able to defend the Eagles well and hold Big Sky MVP Steele Venters to a mere two points. In tournaments the focus is in stopping the opponent’s best scorer and OSU certainly did that to perfection. The Big Sky regular season champion Eagles lose one senior off of this team and hopefully the transfer portal won’t entice any of the rest of the team to move on.
As far as the other local team is concerned lets follow up on them in a week or so. I believe I mentioned that there wasn’t a real clear favorite to win the NCAA men’s championship this year which may mean that there is a lot of parity in college basketball. Now I can tell you that a fair amount of teams utilized the transfer portal to build their teams. This also means that teams that lost players needed to also get a transfer or two to fill out their rosters and hopefully get players that fit into the team concept.
There were a few teams that had to rebuild from the bottom up. Teams that had single digit victories a few years ago needed to find players willing to buy in and build a winning attitude with hard work. Fairleigh Dickenson was able to do that and would pull off the most remarkable upset in tournament history by beating No, 1 seed Purdue. This win shocked the basketball world and for a couple of days they were the talk of March Madness. Sunday night Florida Atlantic would burst the Knights’ bubble and will move onto the Sweet Sixteen. No one will forget this upset, especially Purdue.
This tournament is full of highs and lows and one and done is brutal emotionally for those that were on the losing side. It’s fun while it lasts but it’s over way too soon.
— Dale Anderson is a sports columnist from Ritzville. To contact him, email [email protected].