USBWA News from Vahé Gregorian News

The Tipoff, USBWA can be counted upon in tough times

Gazing out from the city that has hosted more Final Fours (10) than anywhere else, anticipation of the NCAA Tournament is as fevered as ever – especially considering the range of teams that appear capable of winning it.

Just the same, the season is ending much the way it began: under the specter of an FBI investigation of corruption and fraud in the game.

As a source told USBWA member Pete Thamel of Yahoo in mid-February, "Hall of Fame coaches should be scared, lottery picks won't be eligible to play and almost half of the 16 teams the NCAA showed on its initial NCAA tournament show (in February) should worry about their appearance being vacated."

The Tipoff, Selection committee discussion will be ongoing

When USBWA Hall of Famer Malcolm Moran and I went to San Antonio in November to meet with the Division I men's basketball committee about the prospect of having the USBWA in the room to document the selection, brack­eting and seeding process, we were cautiously optimistic.

We also went into it knowing that this unprecedented meeting was just the start of a process.

The Tipoff, USBWA makes progress amid game's setbacks

KANSAS CITY – As we type this, basketball practice has commenced and optimism is running rampant on most campuses across the nation.

Maybe nothing illustrates that more than the scene at the University of Missouri: The Tigers went 8-24 last season but have made their fan base euphoric and are talking about being "the last team standing" because new coach Cuonzo Martin put together a top-notch recruiting class highlighted by the No. 1 prospect in the nation, Michael Porter Jr.

But the upbeat feeling that typically is pretty universal this time of year has to be tempered on campuses that might ultimately become embroiled in the FBI investigation of corruption and fraud that already led to the ouster of Rick Pitino at Louisville and has implicated assistant coaches at Arizona, Auburn, Oklahoma State and USC.

The Tipoff, Changing times make USBWA even more vital

GLENDALE, ARIZ. – When I covered the Final Four for the first time 25 years ago in Minneapolis, concepts like the Internet and even having a cell phone seemed like the stuff of science fiction.

Not that those weren't pioneering times in the business: I believe I wrote on the newfangled flip-top Tandy Radio Shack, on which you could finally see more than a few lines of type and could magically transmit your stories in less than 10 minutes – unless somebody, say, kicked out the power cord in mid-send and you had to start over.

Even back in the day, though, there was one force we could all count on: the USBWA and its heart and soul, executive director Joe Mitch.