Author Daniel Spewak

37 entries

The Palace Below the Red Line

On the edge of the Saint Louis University campus sits a palace. A basketball team plays in this palace, which cost $80 million to build and has promotional signs for season tickets plastered all over it. Once you pass the Market Street exit on Interstate 64 (or, as the locals call it, "Highway 40"), the palace's...

The Calm Before the Storm

About two hours before Wednesday night's tip-off between 19 Creighton and Missouri State, I entered JQH Arena and saw a flash of one of my favorite scenes in the movie "Hoosiers." In preparation for the state championship, Coach Dale brings his small-town Hickory team to the luxurious Hinkle Fieldhouse in that...

The First Thursday of March

The first Thursday of March is my favorite day of the year. It's the day Arch Madness starts, the tournament I've attended for 10 straight seasons. On this particular Thursday, I settled into my seat at the Scottrade Center with a big, bright smile. It was the same smile I had on my face in fifth grade when...

A 10-Year Anniversary

It was March 7, 2003, and my 12th birthday was just five days away. As an early birthday present, my dad and I jumped in the car and drove downtown to watch Drake and Illinois State play in the opening round of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. I think my dad wanted to relive his the glory days by watching...

The End of an Era

Even though his Missouri State team trailed the frustratingly meticulous Evansville Aces from the opening tip, you had the sense Kyle Weems would not lose this game. As the second half wore on and he began to face his own mortality, the senior began to heat up. He launched threes from NBA range. He took the ball...

One Play-- Or Was it 22?

"In a game that is that close... All it takes is one really good play." That's what Northern Iowa coach Ben Jacobson had to say after his season ended in a loss to Illinois State. A philosophical quote from a philosophical man. But he's not talking about a buzzer-beater. Not in the least bit. In fact, Illinois...

Under the Red Line Upset

From the outside, every team in the Missouri Valley is an underdog. When Gregg Marshall claims he wants to stay at Wichita State, for example, the national media simply cannot comprehend his thought process. Surely, every coach in college basketball would jump at a chance to leave a conference under the Red Line,...

The Mysterious Case of Evansville

For 10 years, I have attended Arch Madness in St. Louis and learned something about new about the Missouri Valley Conference. For example, I learned two years ago that if I was going to criticize how obnoxious the Missouri State fans were acting behind me, I should probably make sure the man I was venting to wasn't...

That Moment The Dream Slips Away

That moment was happening, and all I wanted to do was stop it and never let it go. I wanted to freeze time and never let it end. I looked across the court at the Ohio fan section, mesmerized by the sheer passion I could feel 50 feet away. These people in green had grown louder and louder after each three-pointer...

Trust

All I needed was some gas. After aimlessly weaving through one-way streets in downtown Omaha in desperate search of an on-ramp to the freeway, I finally hopped on the interstate-- in the wrong direction, of course. It took about a half-hour, but I eventually navigated the city's ridiculously confusing highway...

So You're Saying There's a Chance

Seven months ago, Missouri got Norfolked. Southern Illinois-Edwardsville only wishes it could one day have that chance. Saturday was a historic day, although not a soul among the 10,000 strong at Mizzou Arena had any idea why. For the first time in school history, the Cougars played a Division I basketball game...

The Marathon Day

This was not the first basketball game I watched on Tuesday. It was the tenth. After the conclusion of -- prepare yourself -- West Virginia/Gonzaga, Davidson/New Mexico, Houston Baptist/Hawaii, Stony Brook/Rider, Northern Illinois/Valparaiso, Harvard/Massachusetts, Temple/Kent State, Detroit/St. John's and Butler/Xavier,...

Talking Trash

I don't often feel the urge to punch people in the face. In fact, I actively pride myself in being the kind of mild-mannered person who never lets anything irritate him. Never too happy, never too sad, never too high, never too low, I let most anything roll off my shoulders. On Saturday, I wanted to punch a lot...

Anger Issues

I have many faults. I eat popcorn at an extraordinarily alarming rate, I easily forget things, and I haven't been inside a library in at least 18 months. I procrastinate. I have two speeding tickets to my name. I have eight times as many parking tickets. Most are unpaid and will probably lead to a short prison...

When Good Guys Go Bad

How corrupt this game is above the Red Line. Right? Less than two days after the dismissal of star point guard Michael Dixon, Missouri used a guarantee game against Appalachian State to take out its anger. Senior forward Laurence Bowers had as many points at halftime as the entire Mountaineers' squad (21-21),...

Hidden Talent

The afternoon begins well for Robert Covington. His first three-pointer swishes. His second one does, too. Before the first media timeout, Robert Covington looks like the best player on the floor. He is 6-foot-9 and physically imposing, even from the top row of Mizzou Arena. Very few fans know much about Covington,...

Family Affair

His name is Snoop, but you only know that because a strong feminine voice behind you is screaming it on every possession. Stay with him, Snoop! Watch weakside, Snoop! There you go, Snoop! It's OK, Snoop! When she's not yelling, the woman is explaining Snoop's life story. His brother, Skyler, has a two-year-old...

The Little Guy

I am not a little guy. The last time I visited the doctor, I measured at right around six feet tall, or at least close enough that I have no moral problem rounding up to this threshold at every possible opportunity. I may have technically checked in at about 5-foot-11 and three quarters, but even that number places...

Missing Rick Majerus

The only physical reminder of the late Rick Majerus sits high atop the rafters at Chaifetz Arena, a simple, blue-and-white banner commemorating his 517 career victories. There is nothing glamorous about it. It sums up Majerus' contributions to college basketball from a purely utilitarian perspective: He won...

My Hero, In Front of Me

As a teenager, I read only one genre. Sports. No Harry Potter. No Lord of the Rings. If I was going to read something, it was going to be real, dammit, not a story about magicians or hobbits. My favorite book of all-time is "Season on the Brink" by John Feinstein, detailing Bobby Knight's 1985-86 Indiana basketball...

From John Wooden to Nate Wolters

Nothing screams "I'm a sophisticated person!" like appreciating an old building. We all love old buildings. When we walk through the doors of old buildings, we romanticize them, perch them on a heavenly pedestal and long nostalgically for the good 'ole days, back when things were pure and right. Back when the...

What If God Was One Of Us

If there's one thing Missourians hate more than the stigma of leading the nation in meth labs per square mile, it's the Kansas Jayhawks. And if there's one thing Missourians love more than arguing among themselves about whether St. Louis or Kansas City is better, it's seeing the Kansas Jayhawks lose to a 14 seed...

The Night McDermott Went Crazy

You know those nights when you glance up at the scoreboard, notice somebody's scored an absurd amount of points and then ask the dude next to you, "when the hell did he score all those points? " Friday night was not one of those nights. Doug McDermott had 11 points at halftime, right on pace for his 22.6 average....

Rebuilding Project: Complete

I recently decided to rank the 25 best college basketball games I've ever attended in person throughout my lifetime. If your first reaction to that statement is, "that's weird," then you're wrong. It's awesome. I've been thinking lately how fortunate I've been over the past several years to attend some pretty...

Those Darn Kids

Kids these days. The worst, right? No respect for authority. No maturity. Always need something handed to them, don't know the meaning of hard work, never had to fight for anything in their lives. They play too many video games. They don't read enough books. They are too overweight. They don't vote. They watch...

The First Thursday in March, Part 2

Exactly one year ago, Drake and Bradley faced each other in the play-in round of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. These play-in games always occur on Thursday night. More precisely, they occur on the first Thursday of every March, since that's when the league holds Arch Madness. Last year, I wrote this...

Barry Hinson, The Madman

One of the most rewarding parts about traveling the country for the Mid-Majority is the opportunity to see teams on multiple occasions. I envy my teammate, Ray Curren, for the amount of basketball games he's seen this season. I haven't approached his record, but I've been to several different venues in the Midwest....

See Ya Later, Creighton

Creighton is so greedy. In a sport that pays its coaches millions and millions of dollars and agrees to enormously expensive television deals with giant conglomerates and networks, it's so greedy for Creighton University to want to make money and move to a better league. It's so greedy for them to do what's best...

Watch Out For Troy Taylor

Troy Taylor is six feet tall. "But probably not even that," the Evansville fan behind press row says to me. "He's about 5-11 and a half." He is a foot shorter than his rebounding average. Think about that for a second. Let's give him the benefit of the doubt and call him 6'0''. He averages 7.0 rebounds per game...

Inside The Mind of Gregg Marshall

Gregg Marshall appears to keep himself in reasonable physical shape. He is not overweight at all. In fact, he looks like he could play a pick-up game against his managers and not be absolutely terrible at basketball. However, I have a major concern about his health. Marshall has a drinking problem, but not the...

Stoic No More

A few days before Thanksgiving, right in the midst of ESPN's Feast Week, I turned on the television to watch a basketball game. Typical me. Ignoring family members to watch a bunch of college kids dribbling a basketball and aimlessly throwing it toward a net. On this particular afternoon, I was watching a bunch...

Giving Up? Try Again

"You've already quit," Greg Lansing tells his Indiana State team in the first half. I think the score was 29-11. Or something to that nature. Top-seeded Creighton, which lost to the Sycamores by double digits earlier in the year, was throwing down the hammer in this Missouri Valley semifinal game. The Bluejays...

Men Can Cry

I don't necessarily love post-game press conferences. They're tedious, boring and usually filled with questions that have no relevance on the game. But they are a requirement in my line of work as a journalist, so I attend them. The worst press conferences are during tournament settings with the losing team....

The End of an Era

I hate nostalgia. It is the most powerful human emotion, but I hate it. It is the only emotion capable of connecting you to your past, but I hate it. Nostalgia makes me sad, because it makes me remember that nothing is ever the same and that time cannot stop, reverse or fast-forward. There's no such thing as...

The Bright Lights Of The NCAA Tournament

The NCAA Tournament can make you famous. It made Bryce Drew into a folk hero. It probably made Stephen Curry millions of dollars in NBA Draft money. For the first time all season, March Madness combines Our Game with The Game, catapulting mid-major stars onto the national scene in front of viewers across the...

The Life He's Chosen

I knew exactly what I was going to write for this recap. I'd had 39 minutes and 32 seconds of game time to figure it out, and it was going to be a deep, thoughtful piece on Bob McKillop's lifestyle choice to stay at Davidson and why he's the pinnacle of American happiness. His Davidson team had pulled away from...

Dunk City and Belief

"We are the music makers. And we are the dreamers of dreams."- Willy Wonka PHILADELPHIA - It always ends in a loss. Those words are gospel around here, drummed into our consciousness for most of the last decade. It is our masochistic creed, a prophecy that comes to its proper fruition every March (and thanks...

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David & Goliath: A Love Story

A new underdog book about disadvantage, survival, justice and probabilities by Kyle Whelliston, coming late 2019 Q2.