Monday, February 22, 2010

bracketbuster and fortune

In the Madness of March I write about the value to an institution of getting an NCAA tournament bid. This past weekend, ESPN televised a basketball marathon designed to provide exposure to teams that otherwise might not get attention when the tournament committee decides to invite participants.

My university Northeastern, plays in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). We are a very well coached team with players that play hard throughout the contests. We were pitted against Louisiana Tech in the bracketbuster game.

Northeastern will automatically be invited to participate in the NCAA tournament if it wins the CAA tournament in early March. That is a tall order since the games are played in Richmond with three top combatants all within a two hour drive of the arena. Northeastern is a 12 hour ride from the arena and therefore nearly all games during the tournament will be against opponents who will have what amounts to a home court advantage.

But even if we were to lose the CAA tournament we might have gotten a bid had we won the bracketbuster game last weekend. Here's what happened. With less than a minute left and the score tied one of our players got called for a questionable charging violation giving the ball to the opponent. With 27 seconds left the opponent, LA Tech, threw up a prayer to beat the shot clock. It was off line. Way off line. So much so that it banked in for three points. The shooter could not have banked the shot in if he had tried to do so twenty times. But this off line shot went in and Northeastern could not tie the game in the remaining seconds.

I am typically a proponent of the maxim, "you make your own luck." I think it applies to both sport and life. However, in this case, this was just luck. A lousy shot that was forced by excellent defense, banked in, busting our chances of being placed in a bracket unless we win three away games in three nights in early March.

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