Photo by Autumn Walter |CIGAR|
As a tip of the cap to one of the greatest to do this, I try something new this evening. Bill Reynolds has been a columnist for the Providence Journal for 30 plus years and in each Sunday Journal he pens, “For What It’s Worth,” a column with small snippets on what is going on in the sports world.
Granted the Providence Journal would technically be a competitor to The Good Five Cent Cigar, I prefer to use their sports writers as a model to learn from and improve as a sports journalist. Reynolds has been a staple in New England sports media. Let’s give this a try.
Since the University of Rhode Island men’s basketball team is in Pittsburgh competing in the NCAA tournament let’s stick to all things Rhody and the rest of the NCAA tournament.
- How about those Rhode Island Rams? URI will head to back-to-back NCAA round of 32 appearances for the first time in program history.
- Fatts Russell was born for March. 15 points off the bench for the Rams and he gained enough of Dan Hurley’s trust to play meaningful minutes on defense against Trae Young. Russell is electric. Fearless. He truthfully believes he’s the best player on the court. That’s impressive.
- E.C. Matthews deserved at least one more game in a Rhode Island uniform. Some argue he’s fragile, some say he’s inconsistent. News flash, he was the first domino to fall in the Hurley rebuild of the URI basketball program. How do two more games sound, Elbert?
- What is next for Rhode Island? A matchup with college basketball royalty and the Duke University Blue Devils. The storylines have been beaten like a dead horse, but when you have high school basketball greatest coach, Bob Hurley Sr., and college basketball’s greatest coach, Mike Krzyzewski, roped into the same story it tends to be that way.
- Duke might as well be the NBA All-Rookie team minus a year. Marvin Bagley III, Trevon Duval and Wendell Carter, Jr. are just the tip of the iceberg.
- Duke is long. Cyril Langevine, don’t forget your “A” game tomorrow.
- Rhode Island won’t be the favorite tomorrow according to Vegas or to college hoops experts, but the fans will be rooting for the Rams. Not just Rhode Island fans, but the country. Duke basketball is the New England Patriots of college hoops.
- My guess, Dan Hurley will not be taking the University of Pittsburgh head coaching vacancy at the end of the season. As Jeff Goodman of ESPN reported this morning, eight Pitt student athletes will receive their release from the program to transfer elsewhere. Better get to the local Pittsburgh YMCA’s and Boy’s and Girl’s Clubs to find a starting five for next year.
- The Pac 12 is gone from the NCAA tournament after just the first day of the round of 64. Bummer. Just kidding. I couldn’t care less.
- UCLA and Arizona State University (Sorry, Hurley family), both fell in the play-in games in Dayton, while emotionally depleted Arizona fell to Nate Oats and the University of Buffalo Bulls in the round of 64.
- 89-68 was the final. Positive for Buffalo? Wow, what a win, onto play Kentucky in the round of 32. Negative? Oats’ name will be thrown around for high profile coaching jobs.
- Oats is E.C. Matthews’s high school head coach from their time at Romulus in Michigan. Full circle.
- Oats also took over for Bob Hurley as the head coach of Buffalo. Really full circle.
- Embarrassed. That’s about the only word to describe Arizona basketball. Controversy, one-and-done players and a first round exit have left the program in disarray. This doesn’t help the university of the Pac 12.
My final point for today: this is fun. Plain and simple. March Madness is the greatest spectacle in sports. Just enjoy the ride.