Grin and Barrett: The clock has struck midnight

October 24, 2008 02:44 pm
Is it March already? With the Oregon football team not having a stellar season, I’ve mentally moved on to basketball season.

As much of a college football fan I am, my first love is basketball.

The weather’s getting a little chillier and it is time to move inside.

The college basketball season has a small connection to the tale of Cinderella.

The nickname is often given to an underdog team who makes a run in the NCAA basketball tournament at the end of the season.

The other connection is at the beginning of the season.

On Oct. 5 many college campuses stay awake late to be apart of the annual tradition that is called Midnight Madness.

Unfortunately EOU is too small of a school to have an event like this, but at bigger schools it’s


  Take for instance the University of Kentucky. Here’s a school that had a miserable season last year, but had 14,000 people at an intrasquad scrimmage.

Some Wildcat fans camped

outiside Rupp Arena for three days for tickets to the game. One

gentleman from Ohio skipped work for three days and moved his car around the Kentucky campus to not get a parking violation.

In my opinion, college basketball differs from football because of the success the postseason has.

The NCAA tournament attracts more fans than the college football bowl season. Don’t believe me? How did you do in your company’s March Madness pool last season?

Heck, even college football coach Rick Neuheisel was fired because he bet in a tournament pool.

College football does not have this connection with fans. It’s called March Madness for a reason, anyone can beat anyone. No team is safe and coasts through the six-round tournament.

Fans are attracted to that Cinderella-type story. They love seeing a George Mason make it to the Final Four. Or just a Northwestern State over Tennessee first round game.

Not too many people have a connection with Northwestern State, but when CBS switches over to the end of their game, we all become the biggest Demon fans around.

Unlike college football, there is no BCS in college basketball. There may be traditions and schools that are good year after year, but a long postseason evens every team out.

I joined in the Cascade Collegiate Conference media day Tuesday and listened to coaches talk about their teams.

Each day more and more local high schools are posting their basketball schedules for this season. I’m anxious to get out and see the basketball atmosphere around the area.

So, I’ll make some bold predictions this early. I like Connecticut this season. Jim Calhoun is a great coach and returns a lot of players from an overacheiving season.

North Carolina is always a safe pick. Tyler Hansbrough does something rare and returns for his senior season.

A little more close to home, I love what’s going on at EOU. Last season the men and women each won the conference titles. This year expect the men to battle for it and the women to come close.

Ryan Looney returns four starters from last year’s team and brings in a bunch of new talent. My conference preseason favorite is Evergreen State though. Too many experienced and talented players.

On the women’s side it’s too hard to overlook Southern Oregon. But, Weissenfluh is such a talented coach, she’ll put the young Mountaineers in contention.

The NCAA opening game is Nov. 5. Until then go rent “Hoosiers,” kick back and prepare for another wild season.

Barrett Henderson is a sports writer for The Observer. Reach him by e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it