If you’re alive and breathing, you know that we are in the midst of March Madness. The NCAA Tournament is likely the second biggest annual sporting event in our great country. This season’s tournament has been far from a disappointment. There have been upsets galore, precious brackets destroyed and Cinderellas to go around. Well, at least for one round.
On the latest episode of Bill Rhoden On Sports, Bill, special guest Linda Greene – Law Professor and former Athletic Board member at the University of Wisconsin, producer Pat and I talk March Madness. And we get a little deeper than just the upsets and Cinderellas, as we’re prone to do on @BROSpod.
Of course, we recap the results from the tournament’s first and second rounds, which always seem to produce heart-warming stories about mid-major college basketball programs overcoming the odds to beat a high-major program. But, as is normally the case, the traditional powerhouse, blue-blood programs bullied their way through the second round to dominate the Sweet 16.
We discuss why this is the case. Is it strictly talent and team strength? Or is the system rigged to place mid-major teams at an insurmountable disadvantage?
“Money talks,” Linda Greene bluntly reminds us.
We specifically discuss the relatively new fifth-year senior rule that allows players who have graduated, but have a year of eligibility remaining, to transfer to another school to finish his or her playing career, while taking a graduate course. While many major Division I programs have taken advantage of the rule, it no doubt hurts the mid-major programs who often have their best players purged. We hear from Michigan coach John Beilein who had an interesting take on the issue.
Players aren’t the only ones purged from the mid-major ranks, of course. Major programs annually pick from the mid-majors’ best and brightest coaches at the first sniff of success. Most recently, Stephen F. Austin coach Brad Underwood bolted for Oklahoma State hours after his team was eliminated, 1-point away from the Sweet 16. We hear Underwood’s thoughts on the rise of mid-majors prior to his announcement that he was moving on up.
We also discuss the status of the Big East conference and its future outlook, as we hear from the league’s commissioner Val Ackerman, Villanova coach Jay Wright and Gonzaga coach Mark Few.
Finally, we refocus on on-court issues and discuss this weekend’s Sweet 16 match-ups, with special emphasis on the regions Bill and I are covering.
Listen to all of this and more on the latest edition of Bill Rhoden On Sports.
Follow the Bill Rhoden On Sports podcast on Twitter @BROSpod.