This is the time that basketball junkies live for! They get to fill out their brackets and plug in every way they can. Computer. Twitter. Multiple televisions. Smart phones. Did I leave any media out?
But here is the thing. There are some bad things going on right now in college basketball too. I don’t want to be Debbie Downer but while others are writing about the great games and the amazing finishes, I feel it is my civic duty to point out some of the headlines that are taking away from the on the court theatrics.
Word out of Georgia Tech has Glen Rice Jr. being kicked off the Yellow Jackets team. A week ago, the son of the former University of Michigan standout was charged in a shooting incident outside an Atlanta nightclub. Despite leading GT in scoring and rebounding this season, Jr. was a Rambling Wreck off the court. Various disciplinary incidents resulted in Rice not playing for the Jackets after February 17.
Now let’s go south to the U. Miami’s leading scorer Durand Scott was suspended right before their ACC tournament game against FSU. Scott has been tied to the Hurricane Nevin scandal. The timing of this suspension couldn’t have been worse and the Canes lost to FSU 82-71. The defeat cost Miami a birth in the Big Dance.
From South Florida let’s jump north to Syracuse. The Orange started their season with a scandal and they will finish it with another. First Bernie Fine, an assistant for the New York university was fired for inappropriate behavior ala Jerry Sandusky. Now news has broken that Fab Melo will not play in the NCAA Tournament. First of all, fantastic name. I don’t think there has been a name that great in basketball since World B. Free and he had to change his name to be that cool. My apologies to Metta World Peace, not cool.
The absence of Melo, the sophomore sensation, will probably seal the fate of the Orange in this tournament. With him, they were expected to vie for the whole thing, without him, they will probably be simply another what-if footnote.
The reason for his suspension is suspect too. The only explanation given: due to University policy and federal student privacy laws, no further details can be provided at this time.
Three college athletes. Three seasons ended prematurely. Three teams rocked. Three programs left scratching their heads.
One suspended before the end of the season.
One suspended before the end of a tournament.
One suspended before the start of THE tournament.
When the NCAA Tournament was dubbed March Madness, I don’t think the moniker was meant to embody the ugly in college basketball.
March Madness. It’s a shame that it’s now a double entendre.