What’s Trending (Final Four Edition): Dallas, #cheerfortheears, Drake, and More…

Posted by Nick Fasulo (@nickfasuloSBN) on April 7th, 2014

What’s Trending is a column examining the week that was in college basketball social media. Nick Fasulo (@nickfasuloSBN) is your weekly host.

Hello, friends. There is only one college basketball game left in the 2013-14 season, and it will be played to crown a most improbable national champion and end a three-week long soap opera. Sorta like the original Dallas.

Lightning Strikes in North Texas

Great shot from Tom Fox on Final Four Eve as “North Texas” weathered a brutal thunderstorm.


Storms Have Pounded the DFW Area But That Didn’t Stop the Final Four

Cheer for the Ears

CBSSports.com‘s Matt Norlander made good after being on the losing end of a season-long bet made with Rush the Court‘s Randy McClure. Despite an early exit from the tournament, Wichita State made it to the big dance with a fat zero in the loss column. Norlander (pictured, right) didn’t think that would happen. So, as a result, he had to wear a set of bunny ears out on the town at the Final Four. He looks good. Maybe even better than NBCSports.com‘s Raphielle Johnson (left) and Rob Dauster (center).

DeAndre Daniels with the Dagger

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UConn and Cincinnati: Trading Places in the Postseason

Posted by Will Tucker on April 5th, 2014

On March 8, 2014, Cincinnati and UConn looked like two teams headed in opposite directions. Having just hung 97 points on Memphis to complete a sweep of Josh Pastner’s team, the Bearcats went on the road and clinched a share of their first conference championship since 2004. That same day, Connecticut suffered an 81-48 drubbing at the hands of Louisville – the kind of humiliating end-of-season defeat that might spell doom for a team’s postseason.

AAC Men's Basketball Championship

Mick Cronin and Kevin Ollie: diverging paths (Richard Messina / Hartford Courant)

To the Huskies’ credit, they had just beaten Cincinnati a week before, capping a 6-1 stretch that followed a road loss to the Bearcats in February. But Kevin Ollie’s team exhibited red some flags even before being massacred in Louisville. They had eclipsed 70 points during regulation only once in the past seven games. DeAndre Daniels, who in January I predicted was poised for a breakout season, scored in double figures only twice during the same time frame. UConn had been outrebounded in their previous six games by an average margin of 8.3 boards per game.

Cincinnati, conversely, looked like a physically imposing, battle-tested, and veteran squad that was prepared to usher the program beyond the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 1996. Rebounding from consecutive close losses to Louisville and UConn, All-American Sean Kilpatrick was firing on all cylinders in his subsequent two games, averaging 29 points on 68 percent shooting. Fellow seniors Justin Jackson and Titus Rubles appeared up to the task of complementing Kilpatrick in the frontcourt. And after winning the number one seed in the AAC Tournament by way of a coin flip, the Bearcats seemed destined for a rematch with de facto home team Memphis, whom they had already twice beaten soundly.

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2014 Bracket Nonsense: Win Final Four Tickets, Durant Autographed Texas Jersey, More…

Posted by rtmsf on March 16th, 2014


It’s time to play RTC 2014 Bracket Nonsense, and we’re pleased to announce that we’re going to have some outstanding prizes in the game this year. Last year we traveled to Atlanta with some memorabilia celebrating the 1977 and 2007 Final Fours that took place in the Peach State. The year before that, we went on the Road to New Orleans with a Pistol Pete Maravich jersey as our grand prize. Even before then, we went to Houston with a Clyde the Glide Cougars jersey. Prior to that it was a Hickory High School (Indiana) jacket. You get the point. We love our nostalgia and celebration of the game through retro gear. This year, we’ve done ourselves even one better. Here’s what you need to know:

We’ll have three different prize levels this year — one for each weekend — and they’re all pretty awesome.

ncaa final four 2014

Yeah, You Can Win Tickets to This Year’s Final Four

  • First Weekend Prizes: The player who gets the most Bracket Nonsense points during the Second and Third Rounds will win their choice of a vintage 1986 Louisville national championship t-shirt (pictured below) OR a pair of tickets to the 2014 Final Four. Here’s the catch on the tickets — you actually have to show up in DFW in three weeks to receive the prize. You can do whatever you want with them after that point, but you have to meet us on the ground to earn the prize. If you can’t get there, take the t-shirt and we’ll move down the list to the next highest-ranked player.
Prizes For Each Weekend of Bracket Nonsense

Prizes For Each Weekend of Bracket Nonsense

  • Second Weekend Prizes: The player who picks the most correct games during the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight rounds (using the second weekend results only) will win a 1986 Louisville Cardinals autographed basketball (pictured above). This celebrates the last time the Final Four was played in the DFW Metroplex area, nearly 30 years ago at the old Reunion Arena in Dallas when the Cards defeated Duke for its second national title. Denny Crum, Milt Wagner, Pervis Ellison… they’re all on there. This is a really neat historical keepsake.
  • Grand Prize. The player who wins RTC 2014 Bracket Nonsense with the most total points after the Championship Game will win an autographed Texas Longhorns Kevin Durant jersey (pictured above, to honor Texas, of course). The Durantula may not have had a long run in March Madness during his one season in Austin during the 2006-07 season, but he’s become one of the very best basketball players in the entire world since, and this is a fantastic piece of memorabilia that any college basketball fan would love to have in his collection.

There you have it. Some great prizes are on the line this year, and you can win something each of the next three weeks. Don’t forget to sign up before Noon ET on Thursday! Happy March Madness!

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College Basketball on the Verge Of Making Another Smart Addition to Its Season-Opening Slate

Posted by Chris Johnson on May 2nd, 2013

Chris Johnson is an RTC Columnist. He can be reached @ChrisDJohnsonn

With each passing season, college basketball moves closer and closer to staging a truly definitive opening day. The goal, for obvious reasons, is to eliminate the brushed-aside nonchalance with which the general sports populace typically treats college basketball’s opening tip. The time slot is hazardous  (The NFL is the law of the land, basically, and college football after that) and aside from a few marquee events in recent years – the Champions Classic, the Ramstein Air Base adventure, the epic aircraft carrier overindulgence of last season – the non-conference season commences in a way that captures the common fan almost exclusively in non-NFL, college football-time slots. College hoops is a fallback at that time of year, an OK-because-nothing-else-is-on ordeal. All of these ambitious season-opening endeavors comprise an attempt to make it the main attraction.

If the event comes to fruition, college basketball will have improved its often overlooked nonconference season (Ardas Photography).

If the event comes to fruition, college basketball will have improved its often overlooked non-conference season (Ardas Photography).

Another such opportunity was brought to our attention late Tuesday night by ESPN’s Jason King, who reported that event management firm bd Global is working with the American Airlines Center in Dallas to stage a headlining “multi-game event featuring some of the nation’s top teams.” The AA Center stuck its toes in the college hoops realm last season when it hosted Texas and UCLA’s ugly December 8 clunker in front of meager crowd support and only a passing glance of national media attention.

This year’s proposed event would be better theoretically, and astutely planned practically. Why? The arena just so happens to be situated a mere afternoon drive’s distance (18 miles, to be exact) away from the modern sports fiefdom known as Jerry World, the site of the 2014 Final Four. Placing this event – which could include up to four games and, in lieu of more enlightening details, should feature a large contingent of Big 12 teams – near the Final Four host site will stoke local excitement in the sport and its nearby teams well in advance of the time of year casual fans typically turn their eyeballs and acknowledge college basketball’s actual existence: March.

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