Now that March is here (and because I have always wanted to try this), this site will be devoted to discussing the love affair that I (and hopefully some guest writers) have not only for College Basketball, but sports in general. My qualifications? Except for a three-year stint on my high school’s yearbook and creating a program with one of my best friends for the 2000 conference championship basketball tilt between Munster and Andrean…none. Now, I practice law, am a four-time World Wiffle Ball Champion and Hall of Famer, and dream of having a setup in my next house that mimics Lagasse Stadium in Las Vegas.
With that introduction, the immediate reason for creating this blog is to share my thoughts on the NCAA Tournament and provide my tournament projections. I always have loved college hoops, even though growing up in the 1990s was tough as a Notre Dame basketball fan. While some have alternate teams that they root for (and I also dabbled in a UCLA phase due to Jason Kapono and the respect I had for them through their prior long rivalry with the Irish), I fell in love with Irish basketball after being lucky enough to have attended many games with my Dad (an IU grad that has switched allegiances and who I now share season tickets with).
Some great memories in the Joyce Center as a kid (despite the frequent losses) include Monty Williams’ incredible alley-oop dunk against Duke, Georgetown’s Allen Iverson dunking over one of the Ross brothers, and Ryan Hoover lighting up a Jim Harrick-led UCLA team with the brothers O’Bannon. Luckily, I was then able to spend four great years at ND and never missed a game: football AND basketball, which is rare for an ND student. My buddies and I created a stat (the TOG – “Times on Ground”) for one of the hardest working players in ND history that lived three doors down from me my freshman year, Harold Swanagan (now Director of Basketball Operations for the Irish). Now, with fifteen excellent years of Mike Brey (who once warned me to not dunk too hard on his rims in the Joyce Center before an Intramural game – I have never come within a foot of dunking) as coach, and a legitimate chance to do some damage this year in March, ND hoops is in as good a shape it has been since Digger’s days. I’ll be sharing some thoughts on the road during the first weekend of the tournament from wherever the Irish land.
Tomorrow, two of the greatest players in the 25 years that I have followed ND hoops (Jerian Grant and Pat Connaughton) play their last game at home against Clemson. My awesome wife (who will proudly be sporting her Connaughton jersey) and I will be in attendance and will loudly salute the passion and excellence that both players have exhibited in an Irish uniform. Simply put, I love college basketball and the passion that it exudes. March, the best month of the year, is here.
My brackets will be released on here, and I will provide additional insight on my Twitter page @nhansen14, including daily updates on the final teams projected to be in and out of the tournament. Hope you enjoy.