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Spring term is winding down for most; I’m working my TA job at the moment, and I don’t remember what week it is. My mind keeps drifting back to college basketball and the lost postseason. Ivy League basketball doesn’t get a lot of credit as a mid-major league, so I wanted to do my best to explain the history of some programs by comparing them to major conference schools.
In my last column, I looked to the past as a form of comfort; now, I want to look to the future as a way to find some excitement within the monotony of quarantine. I’ve been passing my time a few ways this term — the golf courses opened back up too (thanks Cuomo!) — including following college basketball news to try to get a better idea of how the landscape might turn out next year. Here’s my real quick Ivy League prediction:
I’ve had a lot of time to think recently.
Some words that have been tossed around this college basketball season include “parity” and “chaos,” and the take that there isn’t a “top team” in this season and how that is ruining the game. While this season has been known for its upsets, with the first seven weeks of the AP Poll having seen five different number 1 teams (Michigan State, Kentucky, Duke, Louisville and Kansas) and top 10 teams losing a total of 11 games against unranked opponents in the first half of December, the absence of a dominant team and the resulting chaos does not make for a poor season.
Happy winter everyone, it’s good to be back. Some quick hits from around the country: The Big Ten is a bloodbath, and I can easily see the conference sending more than 10 teams to the NCAA Tournament; the ACC might only send three teams to the tournament in a down year; and San Diego State University is the lone remaining undefeated team in college basketball — and it doesn’t seem like the Aztecs will lose any time soon. Some early bracket busters for March to watch for: Northern Iowa University, Brigham Young University and East Tennessee State University.
The new year means new beginnings and a desire to transform oneself for the better. Some people go to the gym for a week or two, some people make an effort to be nicer to others and some people make an effort to put down the bottle. College basketball in 2019 was all about the big stars. Duke University was in the top five of the AP poll last year due to Zion Williamson’s heroics, and Carsen Edwards went on a scoring streak for Purdue University in the NCAA Tournament that ultimately fell at the hands of eventual national champions the University of Virginia. So how did the college basketball world change from last season to this season?
There’s been a little more than one week of action in the college basketball world, but that one week has been enough to completely divert my attention away from the college football season. The University of Georgia is somehow ranked in the top four of the College Football Playoff rankings? Eh. Chase Young’s suspension has been reduced to only two games? Not that much of a big deal. There’s been enough time to evaluate many of these teams, but before I start my rambling…
Nov. 5 marked the start of the college basketball season, objectively the greatest sports season in America.
It’s never too early to start thinking about basketball season. While professional basketball is already in the full swing of preseason and is caught up in a scandal with China, the infinitely more exciting college basketball season has something even better: ongoing scandals!
Homecoming weekend has come and gone, and I wanted to take a moment to reflect on how perfect the weather was that weekend. As far as I can remember as a sixth-year (yeah I’m old), this is the only time Homecoming has aligned so perfectly with the changing leaves. It’s important to take a moment to reflect on what’s important to you and take time to ensure your mental health is in order. I recently caught up with an old friend of mine in the Class of 2018 who made it up for Homecoming, and it was refreshing to have a conversation with her outside the realm of the Dartmouth bubble. Take the time you need to ensure that you’re happy — that’s all that’s important.
We’re four weeks into the 2019 National Football League season and the narratives are already popping up around the media. After all, four data points is more than enough to make definitive statements regarding the state of a team this year, right? Nothing is ever set in stone. For example, the Los Angeles Rams were undefeated going into Sunday with a win against the 2018 NFC runner-up New Orleans Saints; the Rams would lose 55-40 at home against the 1-2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Kansas City Chiefs were undefeated and putting up massive points going into Sunday. They would barely beat the often-overlooked Detroit Lions (now 2-1-1) in a game where Pat Mahomes threw zero touchdown passes. The Miami Dolphins even had the lead at one point against the Los Angeles Chargers. Anything can happen!
Week 4 of the NFL season has just come to a close and like last year, there are some teams in the league that, for all intents and purposes, are starting to phone it in and look toward the 2020 NFL draft. I wrote about this last year and some of the players I wrote about have looked like I expected (Deebo Samuel with the San Francisco 49ers) while some have looked worse than expected (Greg Little with the Carolina Panthers). Let’s take a deep dive.
Happy job-hunting season! If anyone turned to the sports section to try to get away from resume reviews and cover letter writing, you’re out of luck because I’m writing this to put off doing the same thing. In the spirit of the season, I wanted to take a look at some of the players in the National Football League who had a non-standard career path and found success in the league. The path to success is not a straight line and your self-worth is not related to the perceived success of others.
Welcome back to campus; hopefully everyone had a refreshing and rewarding summer. After taking the last year off to evaluate my contract with The Dartmouth sports section, I’ve decided to return on a one-year deal to serve as a veteran presence in the locker room. Speaking outside of sports for a moment, part of my reasoning for returning to writing going into graduate study was to keep up with the skill before my time at Dartmouth ends. I spent the summer as an intern in a business role but spent time on the job writing and creating content for that business. Expression is rewarding and something that may go away in my adult life if I’m not diligent about keeping it up.
The Redshirt Senior: Nobody’s Perfect, but Don’t Pick Duke
Oh, hi March.
Welcome back to The Redshirt Senior, boys and girls. In this week’s news, Nike stock drops $1.1 billion, the University of North Carolina traveled down Tobacco Road and beat its most hated rival on the road, and the NBA is considering lowering the draft age to 18. All of this, believe it or not, originates from one incident.
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.