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The college basketball season is about two-thirds of the way through, and we’re that much closer to the Madness. It’s a great Saturday for me as I write this column since Syracuse doesn’t play, so my heart rate will stay at a reasonable level. In the spirit of relaxation, I now have the extra two hours vacated by the Syracuse game to take a look around the league and explore who the best players in the country are. I’ll start with point guard and move down the numbers to fill in every position in what I consider to be the Evan Griffith Completely Accurate All-Division I First Team.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a pretty big homer when it comes to sports. I strongly believe that Syracuse University basketball was hit way too hard by the NCAA Investigation in 2015 and that has hurt the program’s recruiting to this day (while the University of North Carolina faced no penalties for offering fake classes). I also believe the relocations of the Rams and Chargers to Los Angeles within a year of each other was a plot by Rams owner Stan Kroenke to keep the most popular team in the area, the Raiders, out of town when it came time for that team to move so the Rams could build a brand in the city while having “competition” from a team with an even smaller California fan base.
Everyone loves a Cinderella story. Especially in basketball. There’s no better feeling than watching some small-time program make a name for itself on the court against bigger and more well-funded competition. Just last year we had the No. 16 seed over No. 1 seed upset and a school that had an elderly nun as moral support on the bench make it to the Final Four. It’s crazy to think that the rules were almost changed to bar mid-majors from the tournament in an effort to keep postseason play more exciting. We have the Ivy League to thank for that, as No.16 seed Princeton University almost upset No. 1 Georgetown University in 1989, but ended up losing 50-49. That game alone ensured that Madness would continue, and mid-major schools would continue to get invited to the Big Dance (Scrabis got fouled by the way). Here’s some of the mid-major teams to look out for in March.
As conference play in men’s college basketball keeps moving forward, the picture starts to look a bit clearer regarding which teams have a chance to make it far in the postseason. Some teams that shined early in the season have struggled against teams from their own conference (like St. John’s University), while other teams have come on strong in recent weeks (like the University of Louisville). Which teams from the power conferences will make the NCAA Tournament and have the potential to go far?
I admittedly only have strong opinions about very few things. For example, I think that undercover traffic cops are bad for society and that the very premise undermines the idea that police should be viewed as a resource available to assist the public at any moment’s notice. I also feel strongly about college sports — I wouldn’t be writing this column if I didn’t. The fact that I feel so strongly about college sports and the way they are run brings me to the fact that the Pac-12 athletic conference is having a historically bad basketball season, and the issues spread beyond the court.
The Redshirt Senior: Ivy League Basketball Preview
Griffith’s Got Stats: What was up on Nov. 6?
It was a tough weekend for the College.
The Ivy League football title will most likely be decided next week, as undefeated Dartmouth takes on undefeated Princeton University in central New Jersey. Princeton and Dartmouth are currently ranked atop the Ivy League statistically; the teams are ranked first and second, respectively, in both total offense and total defense. Both teams will be looking to capture their first outright Ivy League football title in over 20 years; Princeton has not won the title outright since 1995, while Dartmouth hasn’t won outright since 1996 (Dartmouth split the title with Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania in 2015 and Princeton split it with Penn in 2016).
Formula Racing Team
I admittedly am a bit angry writing this column.
The college football playoff picture is slowly starting to take shape and some familiar faces are in the driver’s seat. With the season half over, teams are slowly starting to show if they have what it takes to win a national championship, or if the preseason hype was unfounded.
The announcers almost jinxed it, but I think everyone can finally say what fans in Austin, Texas have been hoping to say for a long time:
You’re a highly-recruited high school quarterback who enrolls in a southern university with a top-tier football program. You spend the first two years of your college career backing up another quarterback who leads the team to two national championship games against the same team, losing the first and winning the second. The starting quarterback declares for the NFL draft and has a very productive rookie season until he is sidelined by an ACL tear. You take over the starting job and fare well, going 12-2 as a starter and leading your team to the semifinals of the College Football Playoff, again losing to the same team from before for the third time. Before the new season starts, the undisputed best high school quarterback signs with your school, but you remain the starter. The team goes undefeated through four games, and your coach gives both quarterbacks some playing time, with both playing well. Before the fifth game of the season, your coach names the freshman the starting quarterback. Would you accept the backup role? Or would you transfer out to another school where you could potentially finish your college career as a starter and improve your draft stock?
Both the college football and NFL seasons are already in full swing and for fans of certain professional teams (mainly the Detroit Lions, the Arizona Cardinals and the Buffalo Bills), it may already be time to look ahead to April 2019 and investigate the top prospects at the collegiate level. What do the teams need and which players could fulfill these needs?
No, it isn’t basketball season yet, and yes, I can still find enough to talk about with respect to the college basketball off-season, more popularly known as football season.
Over the past few weeks, Dartmouth’s athletic teams have been busy finalizing their rosters for the upcoming season, including the addition of the new recruits from the Class of 2022. Recently, three teams have announced the additions to their incoming roster: women’s basketball, women’s soccer and women’s volleyball.
Abigail Chiu ’21 has made an immediate impact on the Dartmouth women’s tennis team since joining the team this past fall. With her doubles partner Julia Schroeder ’18, Chiu has won many victories for the Big Green this season, going 10-3 in singles and 10-7 in doubles Ivy League play and ending the doubles season on a four-game winning streak. Chiu was recently named to the first team All-Ivy for doubles with Schroeder.
Following the end of college basketball season, the NFL Draft has come and gone, giving sports pundits something else to talk about for the next few weeks. This year’s installation of the draft featured a lot of firsts, such as the first draft held at an NFL stadium, the first draft since 1999 to have five quarterbacks taken in the first round (Josh Allen, Sam Darnold, Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield and Josh Rosen) and the first draft to feature two brothers taken in the first round (Tremaine and Terrell Edmunds of Virginia Tech).