2006 March Madness Preview ]]> include($base_url . “/includes/header.htm”); ?>
|THE DANCE HAS YET TO BEGIN, YET THE MADNESS IS HERE! |
by Bob Acton of Sportingbet USA – now SuperBook.com –
One of the biggest issues that almost all sports teams must dealwith is not the physical demands of the game, rather the emotionalside. Case in point is the upcoming NCAA tournament where 65 teamswill be selected for the single game knockout that begins TuesdayMarch 14th.
While several teams will do battle this weekend to insure that they get that V.I.P. invitation, many schools already know they are going and now it is just a matter of what city they will be flying to and what hotel they will be staying at.
Ask any coach about the struggles he has in keeping a team focused when they already have their invitation in hand and they will all agree that it is a very difficult task, getting the lads to focus on the moment.
Yesterday we had a animal backed into the corner and death looked imminent for Gerry McNamara and his Syracuse Orangemen teammates. They were facing the vaunted Connecticut Huskies who I consider the best college basketball team in the world. A loss for the Orangemen would mean the end of McNamaras storied college career and for Connecticut this game looked like a simple tuneup for what lied ahead. Whether they won or loss the Huskies knew they had a future as a team and this can sometimes cause complacency to set in.
McNamara hit a three point bucket with a second to go in the game and then Syracuse won in overtime over a Connecticut team that shot just 30% from the floor and the players looked like they would rather be on a beach somewhere warm. This win and their other victory Wednesday over Cincinnati has assured the Orangemen of a ticket to the dance and has also assisted fellow Big East members Seton Hall and Cincinnati with their possible invites.
On the flip side you now have a Connecticut team who will need to regroup and their coach Jim Calhoun is a tyrant so that will not be a problem. A week ago the Florida State Seminoles beat Duke at home and then went on the road and bear in state rival Miami. The folks in Tallahassee were still celebrating this week and from the looks of it so were the players. Florida State looked awful yesterday in losing to a bad Wake Forest team and now that Temple has beat up on tournament bound George Washington, Florida State is going to be locked out of the dance.
Teams must stay in the moment and focus on what is in front of them and not what lies down the road!