Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

It Happens Every Autumn

September 30, 2002 Columns No Comments


It Happens Every Autumn

by Michael Ermitage


Mine team is undefeated. So is yours. Hope springs eternal in gyms from little Valparaiso to basketball giant Kansas. Why? Because October 15th is approaching. Like a seven-year old on Christmas Eve, I cannot wait. The official beginning to yet another college basketball season.

I fell in love with college hoops somewhere around 1991 right on the cusp of the “Fab Five” and Tark’s Runnin Rebels. I gave a speech on free throws that year, and included a piece on the abnormal style of Larry Johnson. You bet that’s “A” material. My love for the game, however, was dismissed in Chicago like a Jesse Jackson speech. Chicago is a professional sports town. A Bears, Bulls, Cubs, White Sox and Blackhawks town. The University of Illinois is like a cousin that you hope does well but you never really see. Northwestern University is the nerdy niece who once in a while stuns you at the family picnic when she smacks a double in the softball game. DePaul is the uncle who bores you with stories of yesteryear.

Luckily, for me, I spent my college years in Indiana. And nothing satisfies a hoops addiction like the state of Indiana. Despite the fact that a team from Indiana has not won a national championship since Bobby Knight’s Hoosiers captured the 1987 title. Despite the fact that no other team in the entire state has EVER won the title besides the Hoosiers. Well, Purdue, led by a spry John Wooden, won the 1932 championship, and Notre Dame won the 1926 and 1937 crowns, according to something called the Helms Foundation (NCAA Championships were first awarded in 1939). Despite all of that, nothing means more to Hoosiers than another hoops season born anew. And it is this spirit that all of us should embrace.

The beginning of the season clashes with its ugly cousin – college football. The national championship hunt in college football is about as formulaic as a Home Improvement episode. What are the chances that two powerhouse teams from separate Big Six conferences will end up in the championship game? Hmmmmmm. At least college basketball offers the mirage that small conference teams are included.

College football is a social activity. It is an excuse to drink at 7 a.m. Ever really look at a camera pan of a college football audience? There is always one guy sitting down, he’s had enough. Then there’s 10 sorority girls talking and you know they are much more interested in the next organized cheer than the next play. Or then there are the four guys who decided to paint their bodies because it afforded them the opportunity to take their shirts off. We all know these guys.

Next to Major League Baseball, no sport is more influenced by big dollars than college football. So, come October 15, I turn my attention to the hardwood, save a select few bowl games. And this season in college hoops will offer both the die-hard fan and the casual observer some interesting story lines. In every hoops season, there are always those story lines, and of course, that is the essence behind any sport. For so many of us, it is the journey, not the end result. Leave the national championship chase to the Dukes, the Arizonas, the Kansas’s.

Instead, turn your attention to Malibu, Calif. Yep, sun, surf and hoops. Former NBA coach Paul Westphal will have a scintillating squad this season, led by senior forward Jimmy Miggins. The Waves will certainly be worth staying up for in the East and the Midwest when Pepperdine is televised. Unfortunately, as with many good mid-major schools, the Waves lack the size and the depth to be a real national title contender.

Turn your attention to Carbondale, Ill. and head coach Bruce Weber. Weber worked under Gene Keady at Purdue for 18 years and emerged last year as one of the nation’s top mid-major coaches. He directed a senior-laden Salukis team to the Sweet 16. On his way there, he dropped Bob Knight and Texas Tech, which must have been sweet for the former Boilermaker. This season, however, will test Weber’s mettle as a coach, because he is without three seniors from last year’s squad. It is what coaches do without talent, or with young talent, or in years when everyone dismisses them – that eventually defines them.

Turn your attention to Milwaukee, Wisc. and the Marquette Golden Eagles. Some may forget that the Golden Eagles were terrific last season, topping Indiana, Cincinnati, and Gonzaga en route to a top 10 ranking. Of course, the first-round flameout to Tulsa is all that anyone remembers of 2002. Marquette’s coach Tom Crean is slowly emerging as one of the best coaches in the nation, and has one of the best players in the nation in Dwayne Wade. Wade is simply a joy to watch and is akin to the Yankees’ Alfonso Soriano in the “Oh My God that guy is athletic” category. Will Crean and Wade give Marquette back-to-back terrific seasons or will the Golden Eagles fall back into its previous position as Cincinnati’s whipping boy?

As the season progresses, many stories will emerge. Mid-majors will crack the Top 25 for the first time in school history. Number one teams will fall where no one thought they would. Star players will emerge from overseas, from tiny programs, from beyond the Top 100 recruiting lists of Bob Gibbons. It’ll be emotions up and down, disappointment and exultation, hope and despair.

It is almost that time. From Midnight Madness to One Shining Moment – its college basketball season. Embrace it.

     

Comment on this Article:







Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville

Advertisement


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

Hoopville Podcasts

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – November 9, 2017

November 10, 2017 by

The season is almost here, and we take a look at some of what to expect this coming season. We have preseason polls, conference changes, a look at some conferences and some matchups to start the season.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – October 2, 2017

October 2, 2017 by

The FBI has zeroed in on college basketball in a big way, and what has happened may be the beginning of a massive hit to the sport. We discuss what we know thus far in our latest podcast.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – August 17, 2017

August 18, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we check in with some good news from a few teams overseas after a big scare, plus a big addition for a championship contender, a conference on the rise, and a great coach thinking about a return to the bench.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – June 21, 2017

June 21, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about the NBA Draft, of course, but spend much more time on the happenings at Ohio State and Louisville and the implications starting next season.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – May 17, 2017

May 18, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we start with the NBA Draft Lottery, then talk about a big pickup for Duke, important transfers, the coaching carousel winding down and much more.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Lincoln captures Hamilton Park title

August 15, 2017 by

For the first time, a public school won the Hamilton Park Summer League, and they were led by a big effort from a junior point guard in the title game.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Boston Shootout

June 12, 2017 by

Some news and notes coming from the second and final day of action at the 2017 Boston Shootout, where the host program provided plenty of talent, but so did a program that produced a team that beat them.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Northeast Hoops Festival

April 11, 2017 by

The Northeast Hoops Festival helped bring in the new spring travel season in New England, and we have notes from some of Saturday’s action.

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.