Author Kyle Whelliston

1474 entries (1401-1474 shown)

Game 7-069/070: Metro Atlantic First Round

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Tourney Central 3/6/2011 (Day 6)

Congratulations to the first three champions of Hoops Nation for 2011. Morehead State won its second OVC championship in three years. UNC Asheville, the school with the second-lowest athletic budget in Division I ($3.2 million) will represent the Big South after upending regular season champions Coastal Carolina...

Game 7-071/072/073/074: America East Quarterfinals

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Tourney Central 3/7/2011 (Day 7)

Congratulations to Indiana State. The No. 3 Sycamores will be taking TreeFever all the way to the NCAA Tournament after beating both top seeds in the Missouri Valley. Missouri State wasn't the only team forced into using an NIT card. George Mason was taken out 79-63 by VCU in the Colonial semifinals. Metro Atlantic...

Game 7-075/076: Metro Atlantic Semifinals

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Game 7-077: America East Semifinal

In the aftermath of yet another top seed crash on Severance Sunday (Vermont), No. 2 Boston University fights homestanding Hartford for the right to host the championship game. Turnovers vs. missed shots, and eye-popping per-possession numbers aren't quite what they seem. Dinner is served, and the Bowtie Brotherhood...

Stardate 120-20110307: Don't Be a Stranger

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Last week, I went to a late regular-season matchup between Rhode Island and George Washington. These days when I go to games, I sit in the front row wearing a suit and sneakers at a desk, with a touchscreen computer for dispatching short bursts of information to the internet. This implies...

Tourney Central 3/8/2011 (Day 8)

Congratulations to the newest champions of Hoops Nation. On Monday night, Old Dominion defended its Colonial Athletic Association tourney title with a win over death-rival VCU. In the SoCon, Wofford won its second-ever and second straight automatic bid by defeating Charleston. Saint Peter's, the No. 5 seed in...

Game 7-078: Metro Atlantic Championship

It's a title game. Scissors, nets, ladders, and trophies too. Serious ESPN2 airtime for Bally. Memories of MAAC hair: Mike Frensley and the ponytail, and Ricky Soliver Mohawk Night at Iona. The Journey medley from "Glee" fails to inspire, we attempt to extend the legend of James Naismith to Ben Franklin proportions,...

Tourney Central 3/9/2011 (Day 9)

Three more champions on Tuesday, and we salute them. Two are familiar NCAA names. Oakland repeated as Badlands champions, and 2010 national runners-up Butler shook off a regular season of ups and downs by reclaiming the top spot in the Horizon League. But Championship Fortnight had its first eternal highlight...

Game 7-079: Princeton at Penn

The final conference regular season game in the country, one of the most ancient and storied rivalries in Hoops Nation. A lot on the line, too. Princeton wins to force an Ivy playoff against Harvard at Yale on Saturday. The final college game for five Quaker seniors, the first class since the Jack McCloskey...

Tourney Central 3/10/2011 (Day 10)

Congratulations to Northern Colorado, who just needed seven years to go from new Division I independent to the NCAA tournament as members of the Big Sky -- the Bears overcame the conference champions from Montana for the title. Back east, Long Island won the Northeast Conference championship in an overtime thriller...

Game 7-080: Northeast Championship

A classic championship game in the Northeast Conference, as Long Island defeated two-time defending champions Robert Morris in overtime. LIU would be one of the greatest programs in the history of college basketball in an alternate timeline. And that it was a team entirely made up of players from outside the...

Tourney Central 3/11/2011 (Day 11)

There were no championship games on the tenth day of Championship Fortnight, but there was a full set of seed upsets that transformed brackets. The biggest one came in Conference USA, where No. 8 East Carolina stunned regular season champions UAB in overtime. It was a day for luck No. 7 seeds. Texas-San Antonio...

Mid-Majority Chat Block, Episode 717

Mid-Majority Chat Block, Episode 717 It's been a crazy week: storming the court, driving through a snowstorm, and seeing lots and lots of games up close. We are half-alive and fully excited about being in Atlantic City this weekend for the grand finale of Championship Fortnight, and to see the Atlantic One crowned....

Game 7-081/082/083/084: Mid-American Quarterfinals

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Tourney Central 3/12/2011 (Day 12)

A hearty 'Ray' for Bucknell, winners of the Patriot League for the first time since the mid-decade golden years. It was the beginning of the final chapter of Championship Fortnight 2011, a weekend that will conclude all remaining business before Selection Sunday. There are no fewer than 10 games on Saturday with...

Game 7-085/086: Atlantic 14 Quarterfinals

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Game 7-087/088: Atlantic 14 Semifinals

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Tourney Central 3/13/2011 (Day 13)

On the penultimate day of Championship Fortnight, more hoisted nets, climbed ladders, cut nets and commemorative ballcaps than on any other day of the year. Congratulations to the winners of automatic bids in ten conferences on Saturday. Utah State backed up its regular season championship with a tourney title....

Champions Of Hoops Nation 2011

If college basketball has taught us anything, it's that there's nothing that becomes irrelevant more suddenly than Championship Fortnight. Once the NCAA Tournament bracket is released, the previous two weeks slip into history... very quickly. But one thing that has to be remembered: the teams that won these tourneys...

Game 7-089: Atlantic 14 Championship

After ten days, six leagues, 21 games, over 2,000 miles and two all-night drives, Championship Fortnight is at an end for us. It all culminates in the Atlantic 14 title game, and Spider destiny. Butt thieves, halftime Atlantic City style, why we don't hate Joe Lunardi, cake, rocking the all-tourney team vote,...

As-You-Go Bracket, As-You-Go! (clap, clap)

DAYTON -- So let's get the so-called expertise out of the way first. Utah State and Belmont are way underseeded, as in "duh." Saint Mary's and Harvard would have been given at-large bids if the selection committee was made up of poets. But that's not the way it works. The reasons for all of the above can be...

Game 7-090: NCAA First Four, Game 1

It's a day of first firsts. The first day of the 2011 NCAA Tournament, the first night of the 68-team future, the first First Four, the first this. This now is not like the past 10 years of the Play-In Game, when tickets were ten bucks and fathers could afford to bring their sons out to the arena. The First...

Game 7-091: NCAA First Four, Game 2

During a blowout, you need blowout material. In this case, a lot of talk about formal wear, Doctor Who and the All-Bowtie Team would have to suffice. Meanwhile, on the floor, UAB took a long and hard road to make it to the NCAA Tournament, overcoming past mistakes and a badly-timed loss to qualify for one of...

Game 7-092: NCAA First Four, Game 3

It's the second day of the inaugural First Four, and the kind of matchup Dayton is used to: between a SWAC No. 4 seed and a Southland No. 7. Bally lands the greatest temp job in the world: guarding Gus Johnson's gametime snacks. (He's a big fan of Whoppers... count it!) An unconscious performance by a man who...

Game 7-093: NCAA First Four, Game 4

All in for VCU. It's the NCAA Tournament, and it's the return of eight versus five. As for 11 and 12 seeds playing in to the Big Bracket, we now have two games' worth of visual evidence, and it takes a lot of BLAPP to get through these games. Also: Google searches for "orange basketball doll" skyrocket, Bally...

The NCAA Tournament Diff: Round of 64 Day 1

CLEVELAND -- We'd be remiss if we didn't give you The Diff. Especially considering where we are this weekend! We do this every season during the NCAA Tournament: We sidestep the boilerplate game previews and give you the only numbers that really matter. For the games involving teams in Other 25 conferences,...

Loss and Delay

CLEVELAND -- Good morning. As usual at the NCAA Tournament, I am surrounded by people typing. I know exactly what they're typing about, because I get to read it, all of it, within hours of the moment when they hit "send." I also get to hear them talk with each other about what they're going to write, bouncing...

The NCAA Tournament Diff: Round of 64 Day 2

CLEVELAND -- Something's missing at the Q this weekend. "The Diff," the "statistic" from the Gund Arena days that tells viewers the difference between the number of points the two teams have scored in plus/minus format, was blacked out on the hardwired media room scoreboard by the NCAA. It was removed from the...

Game 7-094: NCAA Round of 64, East Region 8/9

Getty Images> TMM360 Mason never wore white during the 2006 run. They also didn't awesome have glowing Kryptonite Nikes. They certainly weren't mercurial like this, didn't trade offense for defense like this. They didn't make a habit of tuning out Coach L when things aren't going well, or act vulnerable to...

Game 7-095: NCAA Round of 64, East Region 1/16

While the teams in this Tournament dream of replicating the feat that the Harvard women's team once pulled off, we're not getting any closer to seeing one of the 60th through 68th teams take out one of the top four. Until then, anyone who uses the word "parity" in the context of men's college basketball will...

Game 7-096: NCAA Round of 64, East Region 6/11

Hello, Xavier!! Our recently excepted friends were here in Cleveland with us, and Bally had trouble seeing over the mascot's hat from our seats in the front row corner. As the Musketeers gear up for another run, it's yet another opportunity to discuss the difference between "mid-majors" and "Basketball Schools,"...

Game 7-097: NCAA Round of 64, East Region 3/14

Thousands of Big Blue fans -- the real Big Blue -- made the trip up from Terre Haute to spend all night in Quicken Loans Arena and watch their Valley champs go down to Big Orange. And they all stayed to the very end (12:44 AM ET)... that's #TreeFever. As the action unfolds, we contemplate the bleak/uncertain/nowhere-to-go-but-up...

The NCAA Tournament Diff: Round of 32 Day 1

CLEVELAND -- From 26 at the start of the week, there are only six teams left from the Other 25 conferences. Three games of local interest today, and while we're assured of one from our side of the Line to move forward, we cannot have more than three of the four advance. It happens. In this case, it's the Atlantic...

Game 7-098: NIT Second Round

There is one National Championship. Everything else is just low-rated cable programming. Lose the wrong game at the wrong time, and you end up here -- in basketball purgatory. At the Wolstein Center in Cleveland, there is a long green curtain that separates backstage from the arena, which is a few armchairs...

The NCAA Tournament Diff: Round of 32 Day 2

This, March 20, 2011, is CAA Sunday. We're not talking about the Creative Artists Agency or the Canadian Auto Association, it's all about the Colonial Mother____ing Athetic Association. Three bids are fantastic and all, but the NCAA Tournament is about backing those bids up with NCAA Tournament victories. This...

Game 7-099: NCAA Round of 32, Southwest Region 3/11

On Saturday night, we left Cleveland and headed west to Chicago to catch back up with the VCU Rams, the first PIG team to win a Round of 64 game. And we saw them become the first PIG team to go to the Sweet Sixteen. It was an instance of a very rare type of upset: the kind where the lower-seeded team transcends...

The Gap Is Where We Live

CHICAGO -- In 1979, the NCAA expanded its men's basketball tournament from 32 to 40. One reason was to accomodate automatic bids for conferences like the Sun Belt and Southland -- fallout from the governing body's football subdivision split that "protected" mid-size schools from 76-0 gridiron poundings by the...

Redrawing the Red Line

CHICAGO -- It may be a week from now, and it may be two weeks from now, but this is certain: no matter what, the Epilogue is coming. Judging from the outlines and drafts, this season's final post will be the longest yet. There's a lot of complicated information about the future to package as a download, and getting...

Mid-Majority Chat Block, Episode 718

Mid-Majority Chat Block, Episode 718 In this week between 32 and 16, only Butler, Richmond and VCU remain. What do they have to do to continue on and keep their lights lit? And what of all the fallen teams around Hoops Nation, what's next for them? New coaches, new players, or old patterns? Come chat about...

Mid-Majority Chat Block, Episode 719

Mid-Majority Chat Block, Episode 719 Yee-haw! We are in San Antonio, Texas. So are VCU and Richmond. The weather is great, the Alamodome is weird, and we're ready to chat this afternoon on a special date but a regular time (4 PM ET). Come by and talk about the three remaining teams, the Butler-Wisconsin tilt...

Butler, The Way, and the Curse of Dick Bennett

SAN ANTONIO -- A single basketball play is made up of two opposing strategies hatched by two opposing coaches, ten free-agent entities of varying skill and experience levels who can choose to fall in with the chosen plan or not, hundreds of in-the-moment decision points by players and game officials, thousands...

Something Good's Going To Happen

SAN ANTONIO -- The power of a first impression comes from how forcefully it floods the vacuum of the unknown, how it fills a blank slate so completely. Before actual experience with a place and the people there, it's just another dot on a map. My first contact with Richmond, Virginia came in March of 2004, in...

What 100 Means Now

SAN ANTONIO -- In March of 2005, during the original 100 Games Project, I felt like it couldn't hurt to ask. I called up Brian McCann, the sports information director at Cleveland State, a school that was organizing an NCAA subregional at the Wolstein Center. I explained that I ran a website about college basketball...

Mid-Majority Chat Block, Episode 720

Mid-Majority Chat Block, Episode 720 Butler is back in the Elite Eight, there is no Curse of Dick Bennett (although he certainly wouldn't have approved of Wisconsin's performance last night), and the only thing surprising about it is a.) the lack of general public shock and b.) that this video has only been watched...

Game 7-100: NCAA Sweet 16, Southwest Semifinal #1

The distance between the Round of 32 and the Sweet Sixteen is so long, the possibilities so tantalizing. The hopes of an upstart No. 12 seed become outsized, and an Atlantic One's dreams can grow to No. 1 seed size. But when facing the top team in the region, dreams can die quickly. In San Antonio, Kansas dropped...

Game 7-101: NCAA Sweet 16, Southwest Semifinal #2

30fps There is no feeling in the world like wanting something to happen so badly that's right there in front of you but out of your direct control. There's no better feeling that seeing it actually happen, again and again. That is what having your favorite team on an NCAA Tournament run feels like. VCU goes...

Game 7-102: NCAA Southeast Region Final

It started with a crazy idea. Since VCU and Butler were in the Elite Eight, with the sites just 550 miles away and nine hours from each other in San Antonio and New Orleans, why not go to both? After VCU's presser ended at around 12:30 am Central time on Saturday morning, we saddled up and drove all night across...

Game 7-103: NCAA Southwest Region Final

After a second overnight drive, a second reward: a second member of the Other 25 in the Final Four. Virginia Commonwealth, one of the last teams in the door with the selection committee, goes from First Four to Final Four -- giving every single school that plays in that event in the future a template of hope....

Don't Know Mind

SAN ANTONIO -- All media is local, and it's been that way since the beginning: the rumor mill, the town crier, the news bulletin printed on a hand-cranked press. The more technology is involved, the wider a message's potential reach. Distribution networks, moving pictures, automation, and any tool too expensive...

Unsung Hero

DALLAS -- A tribute: I would never be able to do this 100 Games thing without Bally, my stuffed basketball. This is his fourth season with me, his fourth NCAA Tournament, and he's got his second Final Four coming up. He's been in thousands of photos and logged tens of thousands of miles. Bally is the kind of...

The Low Point

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- On the evening of February 15, 2011, the Siegel Center at Virginia Commonwealth University was packed to capacity, but the home fans were solemn and silent. The visiting team from George Mason had jumped out to a 34-19 halftime lead. The Patriot guards had rained down three-pointers on a...

"Star Power"

Last year, around this time, we talked about the need for The Document, a comprehensive encapsulation of current glory that could be properly referenced and recalled later. It's one thing to offer a rote retelling of events, but it's more important and more difficult to be able to remember how it felt. And words...

Commonwealth

CHICAGO -- Outside the art deco-inspired and quickly-aging United Center is a statue of Michael Jordan, eternally suspended in flight above a roiling sea of overmatched defenders. Underneath, an inscription: "The Best There Ever Was, The Best There Ever Will Be." On the grey afternoon of Sunday, March 21, before...

The Beautiful

AP HARTFORD, Conn. -- I remember my first fixed game. It was five seasons ago. In the final minute of a body-bag guarantee matchup in an ACC arena, with the home team up by 14, a player on the home team broke away for a transition layup. But before he could rise to the hoop, players on the bench yelled out....

The Mid-Majority Interview: Ron5Robot

At some point around the #ALLCAPSGAME, a big shiny Robot began appearing at Butler's Horizon League contests games. A Ron5Robot! Ron5Robot is a tribute to Ronald Nored, the Bulldogs' exceedingly unselfish Secretary of Defense, whose battered legs contain surgically implanted metal rods, making No. 5 not exactly...

The Mid-Majority Interview: Chris "Pav" Crowley

By now, most TMM readers are familiar with Chris "Pavarotti" Crowley, the self-described "that VCU guy" and the Rowdiest Ram of all. He's been a mainstay at Rams basketball games, through thick and thin, with his gold shirt and ever-present horn-helmet ever since his days as a student and a team manager, (and...

The Night Before the Final Four

HOUSTON -- For the record, Jack Swiger said "Houston, we've had a problem." A present-perfect report of the recent past, not an implication of overwhelm -- as per the endlessly repeated "we have" or "we've got" misquote. Big difference between the bottom of the valley and the first steps out of it. We've all...

There's a Basketball Game Today at 6:09 PM ET

SAB HOUSTON -- For the past five months and one day, I've been very careful about making as few forward-looking statements as possible -- except when specifically hired to. This business, this "sports writing," is filthy with predictions about future events that we writers have no control over, and the best...

Game 7-104: NCAA National Semifinal

VCU from the Colonial, Butler from the Horizon League. Bulldogs and Rams. Black and gold against @ButlerBlue2. It was nothing less than the unprecedented, unbelievable Mid-Major National Championship. There are many retellings of this, and there will be more as time goes by, but we're proud to unspool the narrative...

Rebirth Of The Cool

AP HOUSTON -- In the early morning of January 20, 2009, after watching South Carolina State and Howard play a MEAC regular season game, I slept for two hours, grabbed my stuffed basketball, and made my way through the spaghetti tangle of Beltways and Metro lines to be on the Washington Mall to witness the inauguration...

This Is Tomorrow

HOUSTON -- Win or lose, this is it. Today, April 4, is the 154th and final day of The Mid-Majority's Season 7. As of this writing, the ultimate final result remains unknown. We do know two things: there is a basketball game tonight at 9:23 p.m. ET, Butler will fight hard for all of us and each of us, and the...

Epilogue, The Seventh: The Complete Circle

I. I Believe That We Will WinHOUSTON, April 5 -- When Adam Walsh was in his twenties, he climbed up the coaching ladder through the juco and small-college ranks as an assistant. All throughout, he had the following bullet point at the top of his résumé, under Career Goals: To be a Division I head...

Game 7-105: NCAA National Championship

TheNational Here's where the story ends. @midmajority Game Tweets20:52Nored Island! http://plixi.com/p/8960563620:53Star of the show. @ButlerBlue2 http://plixi.com/p/8960554120:54Hink looks angry. http://plixi.com/p/8960536020:55Credentials. http://plixi.com/p/8960524020:55This sign said VCU on Saturday. AOUEOU...

Prologue: All of Us vs. Each of Us

CHICAGO, October 30 -- About a year ago, George Mason head coach Jim Larranaga called. "Thanks for writing that nice article about our 2006 team," went the voicemail. Five months later, on the morning of the National Championship game, over breakfast in the lobby of the downtown Hilton in Houston, I took the opportunity...

800 Games Project: Guidelines

Please at least give a passing scan to the essentials of AP Style, use ten instead of 10, use proper capitalization, familiarize yourself with the concept of Chicago second references, and so on. You will be making your editor's life easier, and ensuring that your recap...

How We Used To Live

CHICAGO -- The truest of all the true things written about The Palestra, The Mid-Majority's true and ancestral haunted home, is this: "It's a basketball echo chamber where every sound is amplified, where 100 people sound like a thousand, where a thousand sound like 10,000, and where 10,000 sound like nothing...

Mid-Majority Season 8 Closing Ceremony Chat

Mid-Majority Season 9 Opening Chat and Draft

I Let My Teammates Down

CHICAGO, Nov. 5 - In January 2006, I had the opportunity to spend a Sunday hanging out with Southern Illinois equipment manager Alvy Armstrong. These were the types of days I appreciated most when I was on the road, killing myself slowly by zipping from game to game: meeting people whose names were generally unknown,...

You, Me and Rick

CHICAGO, December 2 -- The World Wide Web in 2004 was a far different world than the one we know now, but it held an eye-glint reflection of things to come. Real-time conversations among strangers were only possible in "Java applets," the term "sports blog" hadn't been coined yet, and "meme" was still a word found...

Epilogue, The Ninth: Only Love Can Break Your Heart

I. Bucharest, Romania - February 9, 2013 Admission was free. I didn't think I'd have to squeeze into a first-row baseline corner a full half-hour beforehand, though. This was a country with a basketball legacy summed up in a single gentle-giant folk hero, one who wore his freakish height on his jersey during...

Epilogue, The Tenth: Finisterre

Thinking over the last decade, two key dates come to mind. August 23, 2004: a dry, mild Monday evening after a hot afternoon. I'm sitting outside Wellington Station, the MBTA Orange Line stop in Medford, just north of Boston.

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One Beautiful Season

1BS weaved the history of mid-major college basketball together with stories from the 2009-10 season, culminating in Butler's epic run to the National Championship game. Now it's available as a free download: PDF in the original 592-page book layout with all photos and graphics, or ePub format for electronic reading devices.