Tonight, sadly, we put an end to the NCAA Tournament. But we end it on a good note. One of the most exciting players in the nation, Kemba Walker, leads the UConn Huskies into the Championship game against what may easily be considered the most exciting team in the nation, the Butler Bulldogs.
Both teams took exciting and interesting routes to get to this point. Some may even argue that neither team was expected to get this far. But regardless of all the prognostications it has all led to tonight’s showdown between clearly the two best teams.
Brad Stevens has coached Butler to an improbable Championship game for the second year in a row and seems to have a clear cut leader in Shelvin Mack for his now “experienced” Bulldogs to lean on.
Mack is echoed by Matt Howard who not only leads the Bulldogs in Points per Game but also in rebounds. He is clearly their low post presence and will be counted on to come up with the biggest game in his career.
On the opposite side of the court there is Player of the Year Candidate Kemba Walker who at times seems to have single-handedly led the Huskies to victories. But as UConn has reeled off an impressive 10 game winning streak in tournament play we have learned with each passing game that Kemba Walker is not alone at UConn. He has help.
The development of Jeremy Lamb and Alex Oriakhi over the tournament has taken tons of pressure off of Walker and made UConn a more potent team. More complete. More capable.
So Ranterz we ask you who will win tonight? And our poll below will let us know who the Ranterz believe will be crowned the 2011 NCAA Basketball Champions.
Rick Barnes Says He Would Have Left Tennessee if UCLA Paid Buyout
Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes could have been the next head coach for UCLA, instead of Mick Cronin, if only the Bruins were willing to open up their wallets.
Barnes says that if UCLA would have promised to pay Barnes’ $5 million buyout, he would have left Tennessee to take the job at UCLA.
“I think I would’ve been the coach at UCLA,” Barnes said (h/t ESPN). “I’ve said that to people before. I really felt at that time that’s what would happen.”
Barnes was honest and open with his decision process during the news conference, saying that he struggled with making a final decision due to financial matters.
Barnes has since agreed to a new deal with Tennessee that will pay him $4 million per year before increasing to a $6 million annual sum by the end of the contract and provide more cash for his assistants.
“I’m supposed to be at Tennessee,” Barnes said. “And it’s really above and beyond the basketball program. I’m in love with this community. I’m in love with this state. I just think we got a lot of great things going on in this town.”
“A lot of praying went into it, I can tell you that,” Barnes said. “There was a lot going on. When you get down to a situation like that, it has to make sense from a financial standpoint. Bottom line is we couldn’t work it out with the buyout.”
Barnes also informed UCLA that he would not depart Knoxville without talking to athletic director Phillip Fulmer and others in the community.
I told them point blank, ‘I’m not going to walk out of here and not meet with my team,'” Barnes said. “‘I’m not going to walk out of here and not meet with people here that have been really good to me.’ … I said, ‘You just can’t say send a plane tomorrow and we’re leaving. I’m going to make sure this is done the right way.'”
“There was one time in my mind I truly felt that’s what would happen,” Barnes said about potentially taking the UCLA offer. “It got to that point where I felt like my prayers had been answered.”
The Madness is Underway
As we inch closer to selection Sunday, many conference tournaments are underway finding teams who will automatically make the NCAA Men’s basketball. Here are the teams that currently in the tournament:
Atlantic Sun: Liberty
Big South: Gardner–Webb
Horizon: Northern Kentucky
Missouri Valley: Bradley
MEC: Fairleigh Dickinson
Ohio Valley: Murray State
Summit League: North Dakota State
Summit League: Saint Marry’s
Out of the 32 conferences with automatic bids in the tournament, 12 of them have been clinched. All the until selection Sunday the remaining 20 conferences will have their tickets punched. Who will that be? Stay tuned!
Tennessee Basketball Ranked 4th In (Early) Preseason Top 25
A school built on football lure now has a thriving basketball team to get behind. In a early CBS basketball poll, the Volunteer squad is ranked 4th in the preseason. This should bring relief to a fan base whose struggled with a lackluster football team in recent years.
Under Coach Rick Barnes (SEC Coach of the year 2017) the Vols went 26-9 last year, won a share of the regular season SEC title and reached the final of the SEC tournament. Tennessee should return most of their pivotal pieces for the 2018-19 season.
Admiral Schofield (2017-2018 ALL SEC second teamer) who tested the NBA waters has returned for his senior year to play along side Grant Williams (SEC player of the year) and Kyle Alexander. If they can stay healthy along with the supporting cast, this team has a legitimate chance to reach the final four.
According to Andy Katz, “Tennessee is the team to beat in the SEC this year,” and did I mention Coach Barnes recruiting is nothing to take lightly. Recently committed 5 star combo guard, Josiah James added his name to the class of 2019 and pushed the Vols recruiting into the top 10 nationally.
Although it’s too early to tell how this season will play out its certain the hype is warranted and reaching heights it hasn’t seen since the Bruce Pearl era.
Could it be!? Tennessee – a basketball school?
Follow the journey when the Volunteers tip off against Louisiana Lafayette on November 9th.
- NHL7 years ago
SportsRantz All-Star Snubs Roster
- MLB2 years ago
Pablo Sandoval Is Reportedly Reuniting With The San Francisco Giants
- MLB2 years ago
Mets Make The Smart Decision To Commit To Yoenis Cespedes Long-Term
- NFL2 years ago
Cameron Brate: The League’s Hot New Fantasy Tight End
- NHL2 years ago
Have a deep talk with the young prospects about drugs
- NHL2 years ago
A lot of hockey teams training wrong?
- Arizona Cardinals2 years ago
2016 NFL Season Week 14 Pick ‘Ems
- Houston Rockets2 years ago
Houston Rockets Target Donatas Motiejunas Is Being Hustled By His Agent