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.

The NBA could achieve talent, economic parity, if it embraces the NFL’s draft model

 

 

Andrew Wiggins (l) and Jabari Parker (r) are the two highest ranked prospects for the 2013-14 NBA draft if they declare themselves eligible for the next NBA season.

Andrew Wiggins (l) and Jabari Parker (r) are the two highest -ranked prospects for the 2013-14 NBA draft if they declare themselves eligible for the next NBA season.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The popularity of the National Football League (NFL) has grown over the past twenty years, while the National Basketball Association (NBA) has seen peaks and valleys in its television interest, fan loyalty and attendance. The NFL has been able to generate greater parity and excitement for its teams in more small market cities compared to the NBA equivalent because star players from college football teams are guaranteed to go to the NFL teams that performed the worst in the previous season but the opposite is true in the NBA.

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck was drafted #1 overall in the 2012 draft.

Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck was drafted #1 overall in the 2012 draft.

The NFL draft model ensures that the team with the worst record in the league will receive the first pick. There is also a provision that precludes a team from receiving that coveted first pick in consecutive years. On the other hand, the NBA has a draft lottery that gives a weighted chance at the first pick in the draft according to the records of the teams that did not make the playoffs. The team with the worst record has, at best, a twenty-five percent chance at procuring the top choice in the draft. The small market teams in the NBA would greatly benefit from the NFL draft model as it would give them a better chance to land big name players from college. This would then grow their fan bases.

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was drafted #1 overall in the 2011 NFL draft.

Carolina Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton was drafted #1 overall in the 2011 NFL draft.

The NFL has seen small-market teams with terrible seasons rebound quickly with the selection of the right players in the draft. In conjunction with other moves in free agency, this results in quick improvements. The Carolina Panthers drafted Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton with the first pick in the 2011 draft and the team is having its best success in several seasons this year. The Indianapolis Colts drafted second generation NFL quarterback Andrew Luck first overall in 2012 and made the playoffs the very next season. These players were big names in college and helped create excitement for the fans of their respective teams while improving the performance of those teams as well.

The New Orleans franchise drafted Anthony Davis with the #1 overall pick in the 2011-12 NBA draft.

The New Orleans franchise drafted Anthony Davis with the #1 overall pick in the 2011-12 NBA draft.

Conversely, in the NBA, the Cleveland Cavaliers won the draft lottery for the third time in ten seasons and picked Anthony Bennett first overall last season. The New Orleans Pelicans (Hornets at the time) selected Anthony Davis with the first pick in the 2011-12 draft. Those teams have yet to see their teams improve to playoff material, yet but many believe that those teams have bright futures. The challenge for the NBA is to have small market teams land stars that can help generate widespread interest which would eventually translate to more money for those franchises.

The Oklahoma City Thunder were able to draft Kevin Durant (l) and Russell Westbrook (r) in consecutive seasons; moves that helped turn their franchise into perennial title contenders.

The Oklahoma City Thunder drafted Kevin Durant (l) and Russell Westbrook (r) in consecutive seasons, moves that helped turn their franchise into perennial title contenders.

The Oklahoma City Thunder organization is the most referenced small market team, loaded with young stars through the draft in the NBA. The challenge for other NBA teams is to land young exciting players that become top-tier talent that can eventually transform a team to a title contender. Small market teams in the NBA have an additional challenge of retaining young stars they initially draft. Some of the biggest stars in the NBA change teams in pursuit of a championship. Parity in the NBA is difficult because many small market teams struggle in putting together consistent winning teams while retaining their drafted stars.

Troy Polumalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers is one of many stars from small market teams, on and off the field, for the NFL.

Troy Polumalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers is one of many stars from small market teams, on and off the field, for the NFL.

The other challenge is few small market teams draft big name stars. The Sacramento Kings, Milwaukee Bucks, Charlotte Bobcats, and Toronto Raptors stand out as teams that are in small markets, have struggled on the court, and have had a difficult time landing stars that can help their teams become playoff contenders. The NFL has big name stars in many small markets, which helps keep interest for those teams, even if they struggle with those stars on their team. Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers’ quarterback), Adrian Peterson (Minnesota Vikings’ running back), Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers’ quarterback), and Troy Polamalu (Pittsburgh Steelers’ safety) are just a handful of NFL stars from small market cities that are regularly featured in commercials. All of these players were also drafted by their current team.

The NBA would have a better chance of achieving the parity it desires if the rules in the NBA draft are changed to decide the order of the draft, based on records. A provision that would help guard against teams intentionally losing games to get the best draft pick is to prevent teams from having the top three picks in consecutive seasons. The potential for landing top-tier talent will always be alluring through the draft because of the potential to have a young star transform a franchise to a winner. The potential draft class for the NBA includes two of the most hyped freshmen in college basketball in years: Andrew Wiggins (Kansas) and Jabari Parker (Duke). It would be phenomenal for the NBA if the best player in the draft had a chance to transform the worst team in the NBA into an exciting championship winner.–OnPointPress.net.

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and management training consultant.