College basketball madness comes early for some

By Ryan Reszel

While some might argue that “March Madness” does not truly begin until Selection Sunday, when Greg Gumbel and company announce the pairings of the NCAA’s top 65 teams, several signs indicate the madness is already upon us. In the spirit of the tournament, I present the Final Four craziest college basketball occurrences in recent weeks.

Marquette’s schedule

Although most teams gear up for tournament competition by playing conference opponents, the Marquette Golden Eagles decided to take a different approach.

Tuesday night, MU will host the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles at the Bradley Center. Yes, that’s right. Florida Gulf Coast University. Somebody please stop the insanity.

Nothing screams, “Give me a higher seed,” quite like playing a 10-20 team from the Atlantic Sun Conference at home in March.

Cupcakes are nothing new for the Golden Eagles – who seem to believe the longer a team’s name is, the more impressive a 40-point victory will look to the selection committee. At least most of the time they have the common sense to devour their pastries in November and December.

MU is already in the tournament. Beating FGCU is not going to bump them from a No. 4 seed to a No. 3 seed. In the history of the world there have been some bad ideas. Napoleon’s invasion of Russia, the Ford Pinto and the Chia pet represent just a few. But Marquette playing Florida Gulf Coast in March takes the cake, or cupcake if you will.

Michigan State’s offense

Thursday night at the Kohl Center the Spartans looked like one-year-olds trying to feed themselves mashed peas. Try as they might, nothing was going in, and the end result looked pretty messy.

Senior point guard Drew Neitzel had a season-low three points on 1-of-10 shooting. Leading scorer Raymar Morgan only tallied seven points, and MSU scored 42 as a team.

Sunday afternoon against Indiana, MSU looked like a totally different team. The Spartans scored 17 more points in the first half than they did the entire game against Wisconsin. Neitzel and Morgan combined for 37. Overall, Michigan State made more than 60 percent of its shots and cruised to a victory.

Bob Knight’s contract

The former head coach at Indiana and Texas Tech once said the profession of journalism was “one step above prostitution.” Well, Mr. Knight, I hope you don’t sell yourself short at ESPN.

Obviously, the winningest coach in college basketball history is not going to be traveling to press conferences across the country fishing for quotes.

Nevertheless, it is crazy to think of the man with more freakouts than working for the “Worldwide leader in sports.” Personally, I’ll be looking forward to the first time he throws a chair at Doug Gottlieb.

Northwestern’s win

For those of you who missed it the Wildcats finally won a Big Ten game after 20 consecutive losses. The 62-60 victory over Michigan won’t save head coach Bill Carmody’s job. But a win over Wisconsin might.