Wisconsin-Milwaukee ineligible to play in 2015 NCAA Tournament

The APR monster has struck again.

This time, it bites the 2014 Horizon League Tournament champions square in the back.

On Wednesday evening, reports circulated online that their cumulative average between the student-athletes between the academic years 2008-09 and 2012-13 was 908.  The old NCAA threshold was 900, but was amended in 2013 to 930.

Therefore, the UWM Panthers will not only be ineligible to play in the Horizon League post-season tournament next March, but also in the 2015 NCAA Tournament.

So, one new team will gain entry during Selection Sunday 2015.  Stay tuned if any other schools are affected.


UConn accomplished another double

It started in 2004, with the Connecticut Huskies sweeping both the men’s and women’s basketball titles.

A decade ago, it was Emeka Okafor edging out Jarrett Jack and surprising Georgia Tech in the Alamodome at San Antonio for the men.  Meanwhile, Diana Taurasi put her stamp on another glorious chapter in UConn’s women’s history in helping beat then perennial title contenders in Tennessee at New Orleans.

After Monday’s tense but somewhat exciting game where Kentucky ran out of miracles in front of 79,444 fans at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas…

Tuesday night in Nashville, Stefanie Dolson would not be denied.  17 points and 16 rebounds later, her Huskies whipped Notre Dame 79-58 in helping give Coach Geno Auriemma his ninth women’s NCAA title, eclipsing former longtime Tennessee coach Pat Summitt for most women’s crowns in the history of the sport.

Storrs, Connecticut is the center of the college basketball world once again and for good reason.  They know how to play the game and both the men and women had a lot of fun doing it.

See you all in the fall.  Please do your best to make this summer an enjoyable one.

Alas, more people were watching the TNT Teamcast instead of TBS

The Sports Media Watch site reported on Tuesday afternoon these numbers:


Florida Teamcast–3.7 million viewers, 32% of cable audience

Kentucky Teamcast–4.3 million viewers, 26% of audience


Connecticut Teamcast–851,000 viewers.

Wisconsin Teamcast–1.6 million viewers.

TBS, neutral broadcast:

Game One–7.1 million

Game Two–10.4 million

I guess some viewers were confused.

Regardless, we will see if the banners get exposed a bit more compared to what was seen, with graphics so simplistic and yet, each school’s nickname was prominently displayed.

Oh well.  Beggars can’t be choosers, but I found those final numbers to be quite amazing.



UConn says once again, U CAN! 2014 National Champions

Call it whatever you want:

Either Kentucky alumnus Rex Chapman’s Twitter handle running amok before the title game or UConn not missing from the free throw line (a perfect 11 for 11), I felt overall it was the poise of 2014 Most Outstanding Player Shabazz Napier (say what you will about his choice of words to Jim Nantz before being named the MOP winner).  Also, the very gutsy plays early and often from Ryan Boatwright, DeAndre Daniels, and Niels Giffey (pronounced simply as, gi FYE) of Berlin, Germany (10 points, 5 rebounds) proved to be more than enough in the end.

Even Kentucky Coach John Calipari admitted to CBS Sports reporter Tracy Wolfson after the game that he did not want to foul, “because they couldn’t miss a free throw.”  Yes, UK had four time outs left in their hip pocket.  But by the time only 25.1 seconds remained, on this night in Arlington, Texas–simply put, Kentucky finally ran out of miracles.

The number Seven seed proved in the end to be very lucky indeed

During the first half, Kentucky started out a lethargic 5 for 16.  But just like they did throughout the 2014 Tournament, they clawed their way back as a team.  Johnathan Randle, remember from late on Saturday night when it appeared that he twisted his ankle in that celebratory melee following the missed jumper that would have given Wisconsin the win?  Randle seemed like a man amongst boys at times trying to exert every ounce of energy that he still had in his tank.  He finished with only 10 points, but James Young had some thunderous dunks (ala Clyde Drexler in the 1983 national semifinal for Houston over Louisville) as part of his game high 20 points.  Young was not supposed to start, but he did and simply had the game of his life.

The same could not be said in the case for Willie Cauley-Stein, who missed his third straight tournament game.  Greg Anthony called it right during the CBS broadcast.  He mentioned that his loss would prove in the end to be devastating and this group of “Kiddie ‘Cats” ran out of time to get Lexington championship banner number 9.  UK also missed 11 free throws, which really loomed large in the end.

And so, it was the Connecticut Huskies that earn title number four for Storrs–equaling the same number that Duke earned between 1991 and 2010.

UConn led only 35-31 at the break, but then the Huskies went ice cold.  They went scoreless for a 6 1/2 minute stretch until seconds before the under 12 minute TV time out.

However, Kentucky still trailed 41-37.  But even though the crowd grew briefly silent as instant replays caught Napier twisting like a salted pretzel with 9 minutes to play…

Kevin Ollie’s face at times looked similar to Apollo Creed in the earlier Rocky movies.  In the end, it was Napier’s courage to never give up and the great plays in helping his teammates that proved to be the final difference.

UConn’s 60-54 win was so decisive in its’ execution, but subtle in this simple fact:

No matter how aggressive Kentucky got in its’ approach to defending and rebounding, the Huskies were able to keep John Calipari’s heralded group of freshmen at arm’s length.  Even the rebounding numbers were almost dead even.

The 1992 Fab Five from Michigan has some company

Back in the days before social media, let alone the Internet itself–Duke completed its’ romp through the 1992 Tournament smashing Michigan’s glass slipper into shards winning by 20 points at the old Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis.

On Monday night, UConn blew leads of 15 in the first half and eight in the second half but still had enough determination and poise to bring Kevin Ollie to the promised land.

The former 11 year NBA journeyman joins Steve Fisher of Michigan from a quarter century ago (1989) as the only coaches to win their first six tournament games within their first two years of coaching during the Big Dance en route to the national championship.

And for the record, I began to tear up during the final verse to One Shining Moment.  (I bet most of the ladies when they read that statement are all saying a collective, “Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.”)


Before I give my final thank you’s for this very wild and crazy season, let me review how I will remember the 2013-2014 men’s college basketball season…

Kentucky may have had the hype, but John Calipari never said that this group of “Kiddie Cats” were down and out.

The media thought they were dead by Valentine’s Day.

I thought they were dead by the time Seattle scored a safety on the first play of Super Bowl XLVIII.

This year was even crazier than that…

Belmont upset North Carolina, in North Carolina.

SMU made a surprise run to the Top 25 in the polls, before becoming a victim of it.  The Mustangs missed out on being invited to the Big Dance, joining Utah State in 2004 as one of only a handful of teams that finished in the Top 25 during the final regular season poll and not claim a berth in the NCAA Tournament.  And yes, Larry Brown got to yet another championship game at MSG before falling valiantly to Richard Pitino, the younger son of the Hall of Fame Louisville coach and Minnesota for the NIT crown.

Wichita State accomplished history, and lots of it–winning every game they played reeling off a record 35 in a row before Kentucky tripped them up in their comfortable stomping grounds in St. Louis.

But no player came prepared and rewrote every script and mostly did it his way all season long…


Image courtesy of gamedayr.com

Doug McDermott of Creighton was simply amazing.

No matter what the competition dished at him every night, he answered every challenge.  By the time his Blue Jays knew after halftime in their third round game in San Antonio that they were not going to advance to the Sweet 16, McDermott finished in the top five in terms of NCAA Division One scoring history.  That to me, is pretty sweet.

But by the time the brackets came out, everyone complained about the defending champions of Louisville being a 4.  UConn was a very modest 7, and Kentucky struggled big time–but some felt that they shouldn’t have been seeded an 8.  More like a 9 or a 10, IMHO.

The final number one seed was determined in the final post-season tournament game.  It was initially going to be Virginia, but Maryland sent them packing elsewhere.  Then, it was Michigan’s turn…but old nemesis Tom Izzo struck gold again in Nap Town.  In the end, it was Arizona–who saw their undefeated streak end at Cal-Berkeley before it all came crashing down in Anaheim to Frank Kaminsky and suddenly improving Wisconsin.

Even Syracuse flirted with perfection, not once but twice.  The regular season games of the year in Pittsburgh and against Duke proved to be instant classics.

The mid-major upset party continued in the first week with Mercer dancing their way into our hearts slaying one of the giant killers in Duke, in their home state no less.  Even Stephen F. Austin ended the dreams of another mid-major in Shaka Smart and surprise 2011 Final Four entrant of VCU.

Luke Hancock of Louisville kept up his hot shooting in the final weeks, but his teammates were barely noticed in the Sweet 16 round.  As the clock struck midnight that March Friday, the same could be said for Sparty.  Michigan State could only stand there and watch as another team partied in the Garden.

In the end, Uconn’s ability to limit teams’ fast-break opportunities and their zone defense lived by the simple, tried and true mantra that football players often say:
“Bend, but don’t break.”


One hundred and nineteen blogs in this my maiden voyage of blogging all fun things in the world of men’s college basketball and I would like to say my honest and heartfelt thanks to the following people for making the “Forty Minutes of Hoops Fun” more than just a catchy URL.

First, to my “virtual class” of online friends that I enjoy emailing on a periodic basis.  To Tiffany, Kimberly, Cindy, Logann, Yasmin, and others that I might have forgotten–you mean a lot to me.  Words alone cannot express how much joy and satisfaction I get after reading some of your comments.

Maybe next season, my first big hope is that things will be even better for the blog.  Who knows?
Stick around and find out come the week of Halloween for more details.

Secondly, what a vehicle WordPress is.

It is simply incredible how the power of blogging can reach so many people.  And for that reason, count me as one of the lucky and fortunate ones that can convey their passions truthfully and with pure conviction that fun times are to be enjoyed by all who clicked on my link.

Whether it was to take a mental break from a rough day at the office or just to hear my thoughts on the brackets themselves, just like jazz legend Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong sang years ago, “What A Wonderful World”.  And I enjoyed every minute typing each and every one of my blogs.

Well, it is time to say good bye to this lovely blog for the season.

Hope to be back and better than ever come the fall.

Judging by Mother Nature keeping winter’s chills in good supply similar to John Calipari’s rants on “proceed and succeed”, I hope my thoughts and headlines kept some of you nice and toasty warm at night throughout these last five months plus.

However, I will leave you with one more link–if and only if that you wish to savor some of the most relaxing and calm music this side of the Equator.

Please kindly point your browsers to my other passion in life as I talk about the best past and present artists in the world of Brazilian jazz:


For some of you, see you in late October when the last of those leaves leave off a beautiful array of autumn colors when they leave nothing but bare trees in the end.

For the rest of you, I hope you enjoy the end of my other bracket challenge in the link above as a legend beat out a future rising star to win my second annual Fun Jazz tournament.

Unless there is any major news affecting the sport (whether it is rule changes, new announcers entering the Madness scene, or which schools will suffer the most when the NBA Draft comes and goes in late June), I am sure there will be no shortage of news online.

It is best for me to leave you with the 1990 song by the rock group Scorpion.  No matter what happens going forward, there will be always be “Winds of Change” in the world of college basketball:

It is time to lock things up and put this baby to cold storage until the new hoops season begins in early November.

Please have an enjoyable and fun summer.

I understand why some people did not care for the Teamcasts, but please hear me out a bit

16.7 million total viewers watched all three of the Turner outlets on Saturday night.

Albeit it was TBS’ maiden voyage for Super Saturday, TNT and TruTV had specific announcers tailored towards their schools.
If you ask most people, they usually associate basketball by watching it on TNT and for good reason:  They have been doing the NBA quite well for nearly a quarter century.  TBS, on the other hand has not any NBA games since the late 1980’s.

As Ernie Johnson himself said during the three-hour long pregame show is, “straight down the middle.”

Unbiased, no homerism there.

But perhaps the best commentary came out of the mouth of Sir Charles Barkley.

His words simply spoke for themselves.

Sure hope they bring it back for 2015.

And next year, maybe I will think of using some poster boards to differentiate between which school has which channel the game perspective will be airing from.

Maybe then and only then will Americans really understand.

Enjoy the game tonight.

P.S. Nice to see President Bill Clinton in Jerry Jones’ private box high above AT&T Stadium.  It was 20 years ago tonight when the First Family was in attendance at Charlotte to see his Arkansas Razorbacks win the national title over a gutsy Duke squad.  And earlier today, former Arkansas Coach Nolan Richardson was elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame along with 2002 National champion coach of Maryland, Gary Williams.

Bracketology 501: The Final Act Where The Winners Will Be Remembered Forever

Good evening for one final time to my very attentive, mostly engaging, and hopefully very interested virtual class.

(Pretending to be sounding like the one woman who hosted Romper Room back in the 20th century):

I see Tiffany, I see Patricia, and ooh–I see Cindy, Yasmin, and even Mya too.

There’s Kimberly looking oh so cute in her Easter pink dress, while she is listening intently on her i-Pad in an attempt to understand the latest of Kentucky coach John Calipari’s rants.

And guessed who else decided to stop in, my former college guy–direct from Atlanta, Georgia by way of somewhere, goodness where in Indiana–here’s Paul.

“Hi, Paul,” the ladies all say in unison.

Tiffany asks briefly as Paul gets a seat close to the front of the room:  “So, how long have you known this guy?”
Paul answered nonchalantly, “We had a class together the same year when the Fab Five of Michigan were just another team, before they gained the huge headlines in 1992.”

Matt is seen wearing a navy blue sweatshirt and mostly light blue jeans as he pretends to get sentimental–but only for about 10 seconds.

Patricia then asks another question while sitting next to Paul, “Is Big Z still mostly the same guy personality wise as you recall from those days hitting the books?”
Paul:  “He is still that same, fun-loving guy that I remember oh so very well (those last four words mentioned a lot slower than the rest of the sentence).”

Another woman named Logann wearing a delightful aqua blue dress then stuns us all by saying, “My bracket is still intact.  Too bad Big Z’s busted.”

OK, OK, enough of being in Dream World for the weekend…

It is time to focus.

(The ladies pretend to be sharing some juicy gossip about why CeLo was let go from The Voice).


Now, that we have finally arrived looking enthusiastic and happy…I have this to say:

Over 390 Division One schools have dreamed of this night.  68 schools started in this tournament three weeks ago.

And it all comes down to one game.  One game for all the marbles, or as some like to say in some media circles, all the enchiladas.  (The ladies try to hide their laughs and their brief smiles).

In other words, 99.9 percent of the schools end their season with a loss.  Only one ends it with a win, and the chance to be showered with confetti and cutting down those nets before Jim Nantz interviews with either Kevin Ollie or John Calipari.

I read an article last week from the Sports Media Watch website and it had a very interesting set of comments on why the three Turner outlets are taking things on in their own unique way.

The March 30, 2014 article simply mentioned, and I quote:

“The move of the Final Four to cable is not the result of disinterest on the part of CBS (i.e., the Final Four is not being ‘relegated’ to cable).  It is simply the case that without Turner Sports, CBS would not have any NCAA Tournament games. Under the previous TV deal, rights fees for the NCAA Tournament were set to become so onerous that CBS actually considered paying ESPN “to take the 2010 to 2013 tournaments off its hands” (New York Times, 5/4/10).  If Turner had not joined CBS in a joint bid for NCAA rights, CBS would have been unable to afford to carry the tournament, and ESPN almost certainly would be airing the Final Four next weekend (and every year until 2024).

Since Turner is the only reason CBS still has the NCAA Tournament, and since Turner is footing more than half of the bill, it only makes sense that the Turner networks would get some of the most valuable games. For CBS, a diminished role in the NCAA Tournament is far better than no role at all. CBS still has the title game six more times in this TV deal (2014, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2021 and 2023), and the entire Final Four four more times (’17, ’19, ’21 and ’23).

Article courtesy of Sports Media Watch:


College football is embracing being on cable, and maybe by 2015 an NFL playoff game will join the other three professional sports in having their biggest games only on cable.

It is a different world that we live in, way smaller and yes–more fragmented than when CBS plucked out the tournament from NBC way back in 1982.

Back in the day, I would have been truly content to go to my neighborhood Shakey’s Pizza and Buffet Restaurant (a very popular restaurant with tons of buffet options that was around the Midwest until the late 1990’s) and watch the games from 6:30 p.m. onward until my stomach was full.

We would go from game to game–sometimes in the span of as little as 20 real time minutes, as the CBS cameras would take us from one site to another in the hopes of seeing some incredible comeback or potentially a buzzer beater.  Hectic as it was from 1982 to 2010, but we all knew when the games would come on.

Nowadays, you need to have separate scrap sheets to keep track of the channel numbers that CBS, TBS, TNT, and TruTV are on your cable system.

Also, while the likes of Applebee’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, and your favorite bars rake in the most dough, but having full control of what games you wish to watch is truly a great thing.

And it really helps the most if you have at least three working TV’s and a computer with most of the bells and whistles.

Anyways, as crazy as this season has been–it will be interesting to see which coaching style will win out before we enter the Electric Iron and Steel League.

Tiffany, sporting a bright yellow dress frantically raises her hand wishing to ask a final question,

“Oh Big Z, as huge and dedicated a superfan as you are–I just wanted to know, what the heck is the Electric Iron and Steel League?”

Very simple answer, my kind Tiffany.

It is a name I made up in college similar to what you hear each November when baseball’s World Series ends when the media often mentions about the Hot Stove League.  I was just doing a little play on words, that’s all.

Well, it is the only basketball game of the night on Monday as the NBA takes its’ annual holiday from playing.

And you know what the best part about the Final Four is for me every year?  It isn’t because alcohol is not served during the games, that’s very nice to see but…

ESPN’s Dick Vitale has to convey his thoughts outside that stadium’s parking lot.

My final blog of the season will appear either late on Monday night or sometime on Tuesday afternoon.

Please have a great rest of your Sunday, and thanks so much Paul for coming in to catch up a bit on old times.  Hopefully, you won’t be catching me shedding some tears of sadness once  “One Shining Moment” plays about 15 to 20 minutes after the game has ended.

It isn’t so much tears of sadness because of the song’s lyrics being so sappy and corny…
The only reason why I tear up on that one Monday night is simply because there won’t be another game to talk about for almost seven whole months!

That’s why Monday night is so anticlimactic for Yours Truly Online.

Hope you all understand.  And thanks for supporting my blog!

Really–it honestly and truly means a lot to me, LOL to you all.

Lightning definitely struck twice for Kentucky, lowest seed title game matchup for first time in history

Heart pounding.  Tense.  Ecstasy on one end, and for the other team–ultimate heartbreak.

Rebounding was the story of the second national semfinal at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.  In front of the largest crowd ever to pay to watch a college basketball game–79,444 fans saw Kentucky run off 17 straight points from the end of the first half to the first few minutes of the second half before Wisconsin caught fire from the arc.

But just like Butler/Michigan State in 2010, Duke/Indiana in 1992, and Duke/UNLV in 1991, this game became a battle of wills.  Which team wanted to win the most?  Even without Willie Cauley-Stein out with his ankle injury that he suffered in the strangest of ways during the Regional Semfinal round, a TBS camera caught Julius Randle briefly tweaking his ankle during the first half.

However, it was not all doom and gloom for Ashley Judd and other fans representing the very vocal Big Blue Nation.  They seemed to blend in well at Jerry Jones self-proclaimed billion dollar “Palace of Dallas”, aka the home of America’s Team during the NFL season in the Dallas Cowboys.

Traevon Jackson made 2 of 3 from the free-throw line, which turned out to be the only miss Wisconsin had from the charity stripe all night.  And why, oh why was Andrew Harrison left so wide open again from the left wing?  Wisconsin could barely get a finger on him, let alone a hand.

But as most devoted Badgers fans were accustomed to seeing all season long, there was Jackson again going for the game-winning shot.  He beat Michigan at home with a 17 foot jumper.  Jackson also beat Michigan State at the buzzer.  Personally, I felt he should have driven harder to the basket and get a call ala Rumeal Robinson of Michigan getting bailed out against Seton Hall in overtime during the 1989 title game at the old Seattle Kingdome.

Instead, Jackson’s shot skimmed the upper right corner of the rim and bounced high off the rim.  Kentucky again escaped with more than their white sneakers on, 74-73.  Wisconsin only graduates two players, including spark plug Ben Brust so they will be back to try again in the rugged and expanded Big Ten when Rutgers and Maryland try to take their best punches when they fly to the Midwest next winter.

A lot of rewriting history to take place on Monday night…

For Kentucky, they become the first school to have the lowest ever margin of victory as far as point differential is concerned leading up to the championship game–at 18 points.

For Connecticut, they passed the Virginia Cavaliers of 1984 as a 7 seed to reach the championship game.  That year, the last season the tournament had only 48 teams, Virginia lost to Houston in the national semifinals.

This is also the highest combined seeds to reach the final game, 15–the previous record was 2011 in Houston, when UConn was a 3 and Butler was an 8 seed.

Besides Villanova’s nearly perfect effort to slay the giant kings in the Georgetown Hoyas during the 1985 title game, the other 8 seed to reach the final game (but their appearance was later vacated) was UCLA’s first final game appearance following the retirement of legendary Coach John Wooden in 1980, when the Bruins lost to Darrell Griffith and Louisville at old Market Square Arena in Indianapolis.

Yes, I will admit–my bracket has finally busted:(.

But I still wanted Kentucky to lose, and the last time they lost in the NCAA’s was to, you guessed it–UConn at the 2011 Final Four in Houston (the previous record setter for largest crowd to ever see a college basketball game until Monday night).

UConn is perfect “Deep in the Heart of Texas”

They won their last two titles in the Lone Star State:

2004, beating Duke and Georgia Tech in San Antonio.

2011, beating Kentucky and Butler in Houston.

Again, it will come down to rebounding–but I think UConn has learned a lot, especially after Scottie Wilbekin turned his ankle in the closing minutes back on December 2 before that wild scramble for the loose rebound before that game winning hoop by Shabazz Napier.

My final thoughts concern the media coverage on the three Turner cable channels…

TBS mostly kept a similar look and feel that we came to expect from CBS.  Even with the pregame show expanding from two to three hours, it was still an informative and fun time.

And yes, I did not really miss having Lesley Visser or Tracy Wolfson doing some taped segment honoring the Chevrolet (later Lowe’s) Player and Coach of the Year.

The only difference, but it was a subtle difference was seeing two sets of analysts inside the stadium:

The primary crew consisted of Ernie Johnson (Turner), Clark Kellogg (CBS), Kenny “The Jet” Smith (Turner), and Sir Charles Barkley (Turner).  By the way, did anyone bother to catch the gem when Barkley was at Auburn back in the day and he mentioned to an NBC camera eight of his favorite nicknames?  Barkley said that was, “one of the best moments of my life.”

The secondary crew had Greg Gumbel and Seth Davis (CBS), along with NBA analysts from Turner in Reggie Miller and the recently retired Grant Hill.

As for the launch of the Gamecasts, they were definitely lots of fun to watch:

I took turns watching mostly Florida over UConn in game one, and of course–watching Wayne Larrivee getting somewhat excited for Wisconsin during game two.  Halftime was still handled by TBS.

Each team of specific announcers gave us some cool nuggets profiling each of the school’s season capsules and digging up past players for quick interviews.

The best interview involved Gators alum Chandler Parsons.  Not only was he engaging in his talk with James Bates, but he gave off a cool fashion reminder for any of the ladies that might have been watching on TNT:  He showed off his very colorful blue and orange painted athletic shoes.  Too bad it did not come in handy during the second half though.

The best use of social media went to UConn, as many former great players from the legendary Jim Calhoun era, which included the likes of Richard “Rip” Hamilton to Kemba Walker all checked in to wish the Huskies the best of luck.

Overall, it will be interesting to see how the ratings shook out between TBS, TNT, and TruTV.  Keep in mind that TBS will again be doing the semifinals come 2015 in Indianapolis.

Monday night will be just one set of announcers, one channel, one game:

CBS with Jim Nantz covering his 30th straight Final Four (24th as play-by-play announcer), Greg Anthony, Steve Kerr, and Tracy Wolfson giving us the cool action to wrap this truly unpredictable season.

The pregame show, renamed Championship Central, sponsored by Capitol One instead of the more stoic name, Prelude To A Championship–will start at 8:30 instead of 9 p.m. Eastern time.  The final big change is that the tip time will occur 13 minutes earlier.

For many years, the tip used to be at 9:22 and later 9:23 p.m.  But following ESPN/ABC’s lead these last several seasons during the NBA Finals each June, CBS will have the title game start at a respectable time of 9:10 p.m. Eastern time.

And sometime before the clock strikes midnight will be the penultimate edition of that very sappy 1987 anthem penned by Dave Barrett, One Shining Moment–to be again sung by the late, great jazz vocalist Luther Vandross.