The Madness is upon us. With the college tournament brackets under way and high school tournaments playing out all over the country, what basketball fan would ever want this to end? And with the fantastic finishes and the endless debates about seeding and snubs, why should it ever change? We love the drama. We love the highs and the lows. It arguably makes college basketball in March the best three weeks of any athletic competition. Continue reading
Baylor University has had a rough year. With the dismissal of a highly successful football coach and a number of administrators above him, the school has been hit with a tidal wave of bad publicity and intense media scrutiny for an outspoken Christian institution that was supposed to do better. The Baylor I know however, is full of wonderful people and is relentless in its mission to provide Christian education for spiritual difference-makers who will impact the world. As all of us who are fans and alums watched the school change course with the football program (in what appears to be a very positive way!), Scott Drew kept plugging away, as we examined in Men of Faith Coaching in the Big Dance. Through all of the turmoil, his Baylor Men’s Basketball team went from preseason unknown this season to the top of the basketball rankings achieving the school’s first-ever #1 ranking. Alas, as happens with many teams new to the pressure of the position, the Bears walked into a deadly trap in their first game at the top when they met Bob Huggins’ group from West Virginia who took them down with an aggressive press that has transformed the Mountaineers into the most feared defensive team in the country.
While Baylor fans revelled in the few days of positive acclaim, most of us know that midseason rankings mean very little and that learning how to handle adversity and working hard to make adjustments is critical in having success at the end of the year. I’ll keep my eye on the Bears, but the wisdom I’m learning from what transpired in Morgantown has more to do with a Huggins’ approach to defense that strikes fear into opponents and keeps the Mountaineers consistently in the hunt. Continue reading
I’ve written before that during the college basketball season I merely keep an eye on events in professional basketball. I watch an occasional quarter or two of my hometown Bucks and I’ll look in on teams with coaches I respect like Popovich, Stevens, Rivers,and Kerr, but most of my attention stays focused on college basketball and the high school games of my son and of our recruits. But occasionally something from the pro game will strike me and jog my brain or stir my heart. In these days of ESPN saturation, you may have heard about it and it probably flew right by, but I wanted to revisit what happened last week when Klay Thompson went off and scored a record 60 points in 29 minutes against the Indiana Pacers. Thompson certainly owned the spotlight, but Warriors’ coach Steve Kerr is the one who left an impression – an impression that can be helpful for all of us! Continue reading