College basketball comes to an end with Monday’s national championship game. One of the participants will be Texas Tech, which speaks to the capabilities of a Red Raiders team which reached the title game with an impressive string of victories.
After opening NCAA tournament . . .
Michigan, a No. 2 seed, fared even worse against Tech, managing just 44 points in a 63-44 loss. The Raiders then followed with wins over No. 1 seed Gonzaa and a No. 2 seed in Michigan State, which put just 51 points on the scoreboard.
Suffice it to say, Texas Tech has been a strong finisher. The Red-Raiders won nine-straight before losing to West Virginia in the Big 12 tourney finals. That makes one loss over the last 15 games.
There will probably be some serious money thrown at Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard, so it will be interesting to see if he remains in Lubbock, where he has many ties. However, the Red Raiders got him two weeks after he had signed on as the new UNLV head coach in 2016.
Of course, Buffalo had just signed Nate Oats to a contract extension shortly before he left to take over the reins at Alabama. Once again, UB took the internal option of replacement, selecting associate head coach Jim Whitesell to take over.
Ohio, meanwhile, has a former Bobcat returning as its new head coach. Jeff Boals is the 19th head coach in program history.
It’s also the time of year when players sometimes make a move -- or not!
Akron forward Daniel Utomi is said to be a very attractive grad-transfer target for some very big schools - several of which were part of this year’s NCAA tourney.
Eugene German of Northern Illinois and Nike Sibande of Miami have declared for the NBA draft, although a return is still an option.
As much as basketball has dominated the spotlight in recent weeks, MAC football programs have been laboring in the background.
It’s important stuff … just ask any coach!
With the departure of seniors, many younger and less experienced players will be trying to make some kind of positive impression prior to fall camp. Injured players from last year may be able to show their progress. In some cases, transfer and/or JUCO’s may provide a glimpse of how they can fit into their new program’s schemes.
As they do things now, the spring process is often spread out over weeks. That window of time typically includes all kinds of weather in MAC country, so the past decade’s push for indoor facilities has yielded tons of dividends across many areas of spring football.
Schools handle their spring finale in different ways -- anything from spring games to special public practice exhibitions. For football started fans, it's a welcome peak of things to come.
Speaking of football, the NFL draft begins Thursday, April 25 with Round 1. Two more rounds take place Friday, while the rest are on Saturday. A number of MAC players are looking forward to draft calls. Many others will be involved in the free agent period that follows.