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Carroll’s Column: College Basketball In The Big Apple

Image Credit: Madison Square Garden/Getty Images

NEW YORK– Forget the NBA. Once March rolls around, College Basketball becomes front, and center across all the ‘Hoops’ headlines. There’s not much better in sports – universities from across the nation, vying to punch their ticket to the dance, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, better known by all as “March Madness.” And once there, anything can happen… 

We’ve seen the favorites, underdogs, as well as ‘Cinderella stories’, all stamp their mark on March Madness. Example A: St. Peters in 2022, the first 15-seed ever to reach the Elite Eight. What will be in store for us this year in the Big Apple, New York City? 

New York City may be many things, but it is not a great college sports town. This month will be different as men’s college basketball will be front and center. The NCAA Men’s Basketball East Regional will be taking place in three weeks at Madison Square Garden. The college which emerges victorious will be one of the participants in the Final Four to be held in Houston the following week. 

Next week, however, our city will host two tournaments which will determine which colleges get to participate in the NCAA Tournament. The Big East Tournament returns to the only home it has ever known, Madison Square Garden, while the Atlantic-10 will once again be holding its tournament at Barclays Center.

St. John’s Red Storm head coach Mike Anderson may be shown the door by the administration if his team does not have a deep run next week. A lot was expected from the Red Storm this season, especially after they dominated opponents outside of the Big East during the fall. Unfortunately, they will finish with a losing record against Big East teams yet again. 

Image Credit: St. Johns University/Twitter/@StJohnsBBall

The Big East Tournament will likely be the final hurrah for Patrick Ewing as the head coach of his alma mater, Georgetown University, who have been the doormats of the Big East the last two seasons. This is a big comedown for the Georgetown Hoyas, who for years were the class of the Big East. Basketball fans in the nation’s capital are joking that the Hoyas resemble another hoops team associated with their city, the Washington Generals, who are the longtime hapless foils for the Harlem Globetrotters.

The Atlantic-10, better known simply as the A-10, has long been overshadowed by the Big East Tournament because its schools are not as prominent in the world of college athletics. This year may be different as the Fordham Rams are 23-6 overall, and having their best season since 1971 when Digger Phelps was their head coach and Charlie Yelverton was their star player.

Image Credit: Fordham Men’s Basketball/Twitter/@FordhamMBB

Fordham, with first-year head coach Keith Urgo, has a real shot at winning the A-10 Tournament and receiving an automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament. 

The Ivy League Men’s Basketball Tournament will be taking place next weekend at Princeton University’s Jadwin Gymnasium. Once again, the Columbia Lions will not be taking part as they are finishing up another season in the Ivy League cellar. That has been the story under head coach Jim Engles since he became the Lions head coach in 2016. The Columbia football team, which was a national joke for years, has become respectable under head coach Al Bagnoli. There is no reason why their men’s basketball team should stink. It’s time Columbia gave Engles a pink slip. Perhaps Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is still interested in coaching Columbia. 

Streaming services can wreak havoc with one’s budget, but if you are an alumnus of a college whose sports teams are rarely on television, you can probably find them on ESPN Plus. The Disney-owned streaming service also gives coverage to sports which do not get a lot of media attention, such as lacrosse and track & field. 

Dan Schlossberg’s Newest Book – “Baseball’s Memorable Misses” – Sports Publishing

Image Credit: Amazon/Baseball’s Memorable Misses

Veteran baseball author Dan Schlossberg has just published his latest book, “Baseball’s Memorable Misses” (Sports Publishing). This soft-cover book should fascinate baseball trivia buffs who are obsessed with zeroes. For example, legendary manager Dick Williams never lost an All-Star Game where he was the skipper. Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera never gave up consecutive home runs in his first 850 games.

Mariano Rivera – Image Credit: George Napolitano/Latino Sports

Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer never surrendered a grand slam home run in his entire career. So far, neither has Jacob deGrom. 

“Shrinking” – Available on Apple TV Plus

“How I Met Your Mother” alum, Jason Segel, is now starring in Apple TV Plus’s “Shrinking,” in which he plays an LA psychologist who has been battling depression since his wife passed. Despite that downer of a plot premise, the show does have its share of humor. Harrison Ford is clearly having fun spoofing his man-of-few words movie persona. His character is Segel’s cranky boss who lets his slow burns do the talking.

You can read more of Lloyd Carroll’s columns posted weekly on The Queens Chronicle.

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