For Villanova and Oklahoma, Plan A isn’t wrong, but Plan B must be ready

The Villanova Wildcats and the Oklahoma Sooners both arrive at the championship-making stage of the 2015-2016 college basketball season at a point in basketball history when the Golden State Warriors and the Splash Brothers are redefining the pro game. Jump shooting — 3-point jump shooting, to be precise — is in. How’s it GOINK, Phil […]

Jim Boeheim’s gift to Roy Williams

On Selection Sunday, Jim Boeheim received a gift from the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee. He made very good use of it, leading the Syracuse Orange to the 2016 Final Four this weekend in Houston. Boeheim also turned his own gift into a present for the very coach he’ll face in Saturday’s second national […]

Cole Field House’s “other” Final Four: not Texas Western, but UCLA and 3 outsiders

Cole Field House, on the campus of the University of Maryland in College Park, deserves a moment — more precisely, a moment beyond its most famous moment. Wednesday night, some Americans watched ESPN’s rebroadcast of the 1966 NCAA national championship game in which Texas Western’s all-black starting five beat Kentucky’s all-white team, forever changing college […]

A “conventional” Final Four: 20 years ago, we didn’t need a dome

Has it been 20 full years since the Final Four was last played in a conventional arena? Does it feel longer or shorter since that moment passed through our lives? The American sports fan has become so conditioned to expect a Final Four in a huge football dome that the days of “normal” Final Fours […]

The past weekend of women’s college basketball said a lot. All of it was good.

Women’s college basketball will always have a relatively difficult time piercing the national sports news cycle during the men’s NCAA tournament. That’s not a criticism, that’s reality. For one thing, the first night of the women’s Sweet 16 is held on the second night of the men’s Sweet 16. The scheduling change for the women […]

East Region notebook

The North Carolina Tar Heels won the East Region, offering the least surprising final outcome of any of the four regions. Oklahoma would likely occupy second place among the four regional champions in terms of meeting the bracket expectations of most fans and pundits, but Carolina clearly rates first. Indiana had no answer for UNC’s […]

Midwest Region notebook

Sweet Jesus — what else is there to say about the Midwest Region after THAT? What’s THAT? Sunday, of course. Easter witnessed a resurrection almost as improbable as Texas A&M’s Palm Sunday escape from Northern Iowa the week before — and in a certain sense, Syracuse’s surge past Virginia was more shocking to the senses. […]

A history of Final Four appearances: the starving class

We’ve looked at Final Four appearances solely through the lens of the SEC, but what about the Power 5 conferences in general? The bluebloods and old-money powers are schools you know about. What can be said of the Power 5 schools at the other end of the spectrum? Not a single Final Four school this […]

In the 2016 NCAA Tournament garden, here’s where the seeds landed

The Final Four is set, with seeds 2, 2, 10 and 1 headed for Houston. The paths of the various regions offer cause for an update of seeding histories in the Big Dance. Consider this a trip through the NCAA tournament garden over time… The West Region once again featured a 2 seed in the […]

West Region Notebook

The West Region, won by Oklahoma over Oregon in Saturday’s final, offered an enduring reminder of a central NCAA tournament bracket truth: A well-placed 2 seed often trumps a 1 seed. A review of the final appears here. Oklahoma could have been a 2 seed in the Midwest with Virginia. It could have been a […]

South Region Notebook

The South Region witnessed a ferocious Elite Eight game on Saturday, as Villanova subdued Kansas in a street fight to make the second Final Four of the Jay Wright era. Instant reaction at partner site The Comeback can be found here. An on-site report by Michael Grant of The Comeback can be found here. Those two pieces […]

Sweet 16 Notebook: Friday’s winning teams

After Thursday’s utter absence of drama, Friday’s heavyweights had to be on guard in the Sweet 16. No problem, said Virginia and North Carolina. The Cavaliers and Tar Heels moved within one step of a 1981 Final Four national semifinal reunion. Meanwhile, Notre Dame and Syracuse both scored surprising victories against the run of play […]