Lindsay Whalen: A Winner

The University of Minnesota made a great move in hiring Lindsay Whalen, as their next basketball coach.  Athletic Director Coyle, the robotic mouthpiece for University President Kaler (really the athletic director) got lucky in being able, to convince her to join the Gopher program. The funny thing is the search committee, hadn’t had a chance to meet before the hiring. Kind of shows the inefficiency, and lack of credibility, of a search committee.

The saga began in Hutchinson, MN., in 1995 when Lindsey was in 8th grade and started for the varsity. She led them to 3 consecutive conference championships, was all-state 4 consecutive years, highlighted by winning the state championship in her senior year.

She went on to the University of Minnesota, where she starred for 4 years and achieved the following:

  • All-time leading scorer, scoring average, free throws made, and %.

  • Top Five in assists, steals, 3 pointers made, 3 point %.

  • Led the Gophers to the Final Four in 2004.

  • Named Gopher MVP 4 consecutive years.

  • Avg. attendance in her freshman year, 1,087 to 9,866 her senior year.

On to the Pros, where she has spent 14 years in the WNBA, the last 7 years with the Minnesota Linx, leading them to 4 World Championships.

She is the absolute best pick they could have ever made. What it takes to be a good college coach is 1.) recruiting, and 2.) communication with your players, meaning you are current with what’s happening with the evolution of the game. She is and has been the poster child for Minnesota basketball for over 15 years. She already has some recruiting wins

With 14 years as a point guard in the WNBA, you know she has the X’s and O’s figured out.

March Madness is Mad

 

The 2018 NCAA Basketball tournament has had more upsets, than any year I remember. The other interesting fact, is for the most part, they weren’t buzzer beaters. Following are the most surprising games in the tournament, from my standpoint.

 

  • UMBC’s ( University of Maryland Baltimore County) win over Virginia featured the first win by a #16 seed, over a #1 seed. They didn’t just sneak by, they beat the#1 seed 74-54. The Retriever’s lost their magic 3 point touch,going 6 for 22 against Kansas State, and lost 50-43.

  • Chicago-Loyola, the #11 seed, had three wins over  Miami the #6 seed,  Tennessee who was the #3 seed, and Nevada, the #7 seed. The teams inspiration comes from 98 year old, Sister Jean Schmidt, the teams Chaplain, who has stated that God is for Loyola.

  • The surprising Nevada Wolf Pack (#7 seed) beat the Texas Longhorns ( #10 seed) in round 1, followed that with a last minute shot to beat Cincinnati (#2 seed) 75-73. This was one of the most entertaining games in the tournament. They came from 22 points down. in the second half, which was the second largest comeback in NCAA tournament history. ESPN had a probability factor of .o1% for Nevada to comeback from 22 down. Nevada lost to another Cinderella team, Loyola of Chicago in the Sweet Sixteen

  • How about Buffalo Bulls (# 13 seed) defeating  Arizona (# 4 seed) by over 20 points. This was Buffalos 1st ever NCAA Tourney win. They eventually succumbed to Kentucky (#5 seed).

  • Texas A& M’s (# 7 seed) run, which included a victory over North Carolina (# 2 seed).

  • Kansas State (#9 seed) reaching the Elite 8.

  • Florida State (#9 seed) reaching the Elite 8.

These are the games that make it Madness. It also shows why the game is played, because we don’t give trophies to those based on their poll ranking.

Selection Sunday Secrets

Selection Sunday is this Sunday, 3/11/2018. Always a day with great anticipation, and a chance for you to compare your bracketizing with the all-knowing NCAA Selection Committee.

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You have a good handle on whose going to be in the tournament, and approximately their seed number. However you have no idea where they will play. It seems they want to put the most teams, the longest way, from their fan base. Knowing all of this doesn’t help in your selection process.

I’m an avid fan, and can never win a pool, or fair well on the CBS Brackets. Last year I spent a good week going over all the stats, rivalries, past history, and still came in 580,000 place.

I quizzed a lot of people I know, about their strategy. My granddaughter, Maggie, beat me last year, by picking the team’s nicknames. she liked. Also beating me, were people who picked by colors, some by the seed #(that’s no fun), alphabetically, and one picked by the colleges, that were closest to their playoff city.

After all this analysis, I think it’s best if you select winners after the game is over.

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Shakopee’s Mitchell Making It In The ACC

Steffon Mitchell graduated from Shakopee High School, in Shakopee, MN, and has moved on to start for Boston College in the ACC, as a freshman. The 6-8, 222 pounder’s first season numbers are quite impressive: 31 minutes per game; 7.2 points per game; and 7.9 rebounds per game.

I first became acquainted with Steffon when he was a junior in high school, helping out at the Shakopee summer basketball camps. I would shakopeeCoach_Miller_-_Copy_mediumtake my grandson, Parker Syhre, to these camps. Parker is the son of Ryan & Ashley Syhre, avid Shakopee athletic supporters. These camps were run by the Shakopee High School, assistant varsity coach, John Miller. They had conditioning, fundamentals, and basic floor IQ. Steffon was great with the kids, and my grandson, Parker, and his friends loved him.

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While in high school, he led the Shakopee Sabers to 2 straight Minnesota High School State Tournaments. They got beat one year, in triple overtime, by Hopkins, MN, who was the eventual champion. They were coached by iconic, Hall of Fame coach, Bruce Kugath, who is in his 25th year at the helm.

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From my vantage point, it is a little hard to comprehend playing against Waconia MN High School, and the next year, against the #1 Duke, one of the most storied basketball programs, in NCAA history.

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