NCAA Tournament 2015 features battle of coaches, exciting NBA prospects

The Kentucky Wildcats are the overwhelming favorite to win the men's 2015 NCAA tournament.

The Kentucky Wildcats are the overwhelming favorite to win the men’s 2015 NCAA tournament.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

March Madness has begun in college basketball and the best is yet to come as the men’s NCAA tournament is set to begin on Tuesday. The top seeds for the tournament are Kentucky, Villanova, Duke, and Wisconsin. Despite Kentucky enjoying a perfect season on the way to the tournament, as their coach, John Calipari rightly said on Selection Sunday. “Every team is at a 0-0 entering the NCAA Tournament.”  Here are some head coaching jobs at schools that also deserve recognition this year.

John Thompson III has Georgetown back in the NCAA tournament hoping to advance for the first time in years.

John Thompson III has Georgetown back in the NCAA tournament hoping to advance for the first time in years.

Georgetown: The Hoyas have been flying under the radar all season but they have been a solid team all year. They lost a heart-breaker to Xavier in the semis of the Big East tournament. John Thompson III hopes his team has learned lessons quickly as he prepares them for a matchup against Eastern Washington on Thursday. The team will be further inspired by the improving health of Georgetown icon John Thompson Jr. who recently had surgery for a twisted intestine.

Steve Alford hopes to coach UCLA to an upset victory over SMU.

Steve Alford hopes to coach UCLA to an upset victory over SMU.

UCLA: The Bruins have been the most questioned team selected to the tournament. Meanwhile, quality teams like Temple and Richmond did not receive the invite they were hoping for. UCLA might have benefitted from playing in a historically strong conference and having a good finish to their regular season. Head coach Steve Alford will have to prepare UCLA for the tough test of the SMU Mustangs,coached by Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown.

Manhattan coach Steve Masiello has to create a game plan to help the Jaspers win their next game.

Manhattan coach Steve Masiello has to create a game plan to help the Jaspers win their next game.

Manhattan: The Jaspers have been playing the best basketball this winter in Manhattan with no apologies to the New York Knicks. The Jaspers were in the news before the season due the controversy surrounding the resume of head coach of Steve Masiello during his short-lived departure to South Florida. Now the Jaspers are on their way back to the NCAA tournament with a chance to at victory in the first round in a matchup against Hampton.

Northeastern head coach Bill Coen will need to see the Huskies have another great shooting night in order to keep their season going.

Northeastern head coach Bill Coen will need to see the Huskies have another great shooting night in order to keep their season going.

Northeastern: The Huskies ended a 24- year drought by winning the Colonial Athletic Association tournament to earn their bid into the NCAA tournament. The Huskies are a good 3-point shooting team which can help them win a game or two. Northeastern will make the most of their first appearance at the big dance since 1991. Bill Coen will have a tough challenge to come up with a game plan to slow down Notre Dame on Thursday.

Steve Lavin has a serious challenge on his hands as St. John's heads into their next game at less than full strength.

Steve Lavin has a serious challenge on his hands as St. John’s heads into their next game at less than full strength.

St. John’s: The Red Storm had a strong middle of the season that did not end well in then Big East tournament. Nonetheless, they have a chance to turn things around in the NCAA tournament if they can get fantastic perimeter play. The absence of suspended Center Chris Obekpa will force head coach Steve Lavin to dig deep in talent pool to defeat San Diego State.

Head coach Marvin Menzies will have the Aggies ready to go as the NCAA tournament approaches.

Head coach Marvin Menzies will have the Aggies ready to go as the NCAA tournament approaches.

New Mexico State: The Aggies stand out among most teams due to the size of the players in their rotation, with four being 6’8″ or taller. Their size helps them get to the free throw line often, which occasionally helps them overpower their opponents. Head coach Marvin Menzies hopes that size really does matter as they hope to upset Kansas on Friday.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and training/benefits consultant. Follow me @GloverIsGood on Twitter.com. For business inquiries contact (646)309-1938.

Men’s or Women’s NCAA basketball championship, which is more compelling?

UConn senior guard Shabazz Napier (l) and his head coach Kevin Ollie (r) hope to continue the school's winning tradition on Monday night.

UConn senior guard Shabazz Napier (l) and his head coach Kevin Ollie (r) hope to continue the school’s winning tradition on Monday night.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

On Monday night the Kentucky Wildcats will take on the Connecticut Huskies in the Men’s National Championship. On Tuesday night the Notre Dame Fighting Irish will challenge the Connecticut Lady Huskies in the Women’s National Championship. Both games have intriguing stories that are sure to make the matchups entertaining.

The Kentucky Wildcats freshman Julius Randle (l) and Aaron Harrison (r) will attempt to lead  the school to their second title in 3 years.

The Kentucky Wildcats freshman Julius Randle (l) and Aaron Harrison (r) will attempt to lead the school to their second title in 3 years.

The men’s championship features two schools that have been very successful over the past fifteen years, yet neither team made the NCAA tournament last year. Kentucky features five freshmen, led by forward Julius Randle and guard Aaron Harrison. Harrison has become known for his late game heroics in this tournament. When asked about his confidence late in games he expressed, “You can’t be scared to miss…you want to be the guy that makes all the big shots.”

Connecticut is led by senior guard Shabazz Napier, a member of the 2011 National Championship team which was led by current Bobcat Kemba Walker. Napier displayed confidence in his team as he proclaimed, “We believe in each other and continue to believe…we are going to win. That is what we do.” On the sidelines, Kentucky’s coach John Calipari will be seeking his second national title in three attempts. Meanwhile, Kevin Ollie is in only his second season as a head coach and is already demonstrating his ability to lead the Huskies through difficult situations.

Notre Dame's senior guard Kayla McBride (c) attempts to lead her school to their second ever national title on Tuesday night.

Notre Dame’s senior guard Kayla McBride (c) attempts to lead her school to their second ever national title on Tuesday night.

The women’s championship features two schools that have been among the best over the past several years. Notre Dame gained national exposure when it was led over previous years by Skylar Diggins. However, this year’s team was led by recently injured senior forward Natalie Achonwa and senior guard Kayla McBride. Both players have been members of Notre Dame teams that have defeated UConn several times over the past few season but not in the NCAA tournament. UConn is looking to repeat as champions and win a record ninth national title. Led by junior forward Breanna Stewart, the Lady Huskies are likely to be favored to win as they have championship experience and their main contributors are healthy.

Breanna Stewart will be leaned heavily upon to lead UConn to their record ninth national championship.

Breanna Stewart will be leaned heavily upon to lead UConn to their record ninth national championship.

The University of Connecticut is looking to make history as they can achieve a feat only once completed before (in 2004) in having both the men’s and women’s team win the national title in the same year. Both teams are aware of their unique opportunity. As Lady Huskies guard Bria Hartley describes, “Our men are excited for us and we’re doing the same for them…both teams worked hard this year.” Interestingly, the University of Louisville had a chance to accomplish this feat last year but was unsuccessful. Yet another intriguing reason to watch both national championship games.–OnPointPress.net

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.