Let us begin today, after one of the great weekends in the history of college basketball with this question: Why would anyone want to change this tournament? It is about as close to perfect as a sporting event can get -- if you forget the endless timeouts, the 20-minute halftimes and the absolutely ridiculous late night tip-offs. And still the NCAA and the WCA (Whining Coaches of America) want to change it?
To quote the great basketball maven John Patrick McEnroe Junior: You can not be serious!
If the tournament were expanded, teams such as Northern Iowa, St. Mary's and and Cornell would have fewer opportunities to create memories against Nos. 1, 2, 4 and 5 seeds. Please, for the love of basketball, let someone with a grain of sanity intervene before it's too late.
Then again, it may already be too late. For college presidents, conference commissioners and NCAA administrators, nothing starts the morning like the smell of money. Ask the ACC power brokers, who thought conference expansion was such a swell idea. That's worked out so well that over the past five seasons, the ACC has sent one fewer school to the round of 16 (Duke, North Carolina and Boston College) than the Missouri Valley (Wichita State, Bradley, Southern Illinois and now Northern Iowa.)
Read the rest of the column: A level of march madness that can't be expanded
SALEM, VA. The ball was in Alex Rubin's hands but there was nothing more he could do with it. The buzzer had just sounded, the confetti was already falling from the rafters of Salem Civic Center on Saturday afternoon and the players from Wisconsin-Stevens Point were charging the floor.
Rubin and his teammates from Williams had come into the Division III national championship game with a record of 30-1. With 11 minutes to go they led, 54-44, and appeared to be on their way to the national championship. But the Ephs went cold and the Pointers got hot. A 22-5 run gave Stevens Point a 66-59 lead with five minutes to go, and with about 1,000 fans who had made the trip from the Midwest going crazy, the Pointers held on for a 78-73 victory.
And so, a split second after classmate Blake Schultz's futile final shot had rimmed out, Rubin found himself standing helplessly with the ball in his hands. He looked at the ball for a moment and then flung it as far as he possibly could. Then, like his teammates, he collapsed in tears.
"It occurred to me that was the last buzzer I'd ever hear as a player," he said about 30 minutes later. "I knew it was the last time all seven of us [seniors] would be together as teammates." He forced a smile. "Tough moment."
If you think there is any difference at all in the emotions that run through basketball at the Division III level and the big-time level, you're right: For the players on the 404 Division III men's basketball teams, the final buzzer is almost always the final buzzer. Rubin, a Landon graduate, is majoring in psychology and Spanish. If he ever shakes hands with David Stern he will be wearing a suit, but not a baseball cap.
Click here for the rest of the column: At the Division III basketball championships, emotions run just as strong