By Adam Stanco
NCAA Tournament Manifesto:
My brother Randy and I were
praying side-by-side on the edge of my parent’s bed. Before we knew anything
about the Mets’ adoration of cocaine and long before Steve Sanders taught us
steroids and athletes don’t mix, we were fascinated by this team of brazen
ballplayers. They just seemed so much more interesting than the Red Sox. Of
course, we were children of New Yorkers and living in a suburb of Boston at
the time. Regardless of why we liked the Mets better than the Sox, we felt
nauseous as we nervously bounced on the mattress transfixed on the sixth
game of the 1986 World Series. Boston was one out away from making our bus
trip into school the following Monday nothing short of hellish.
And then… a clutch hit.
And another one.
And another one.
In the midst of our
exuberance, a Mookie Wilson grounder softly bounced through Billy Buckner’s
legs, giving the Mets one more game. A game they would cash in for a World
Series ring. Monday’s bus ride was hellish alright, but only for everyone
What does the story of the
’86 Mets have to do with the NCAA Tournament? Well, the three point shot
during tourney games is very similar to clutch hitting on baseball’s biggest
stage. After two or three in a row, the same numbing effect engulfs the
opposition. It is a tranquilizer and an even greater equalizer. After all,
two threes from sub-six footers are worth the same as three dunks from
During the first couple
rounds of the Tournament, the talent gap between opponents can be as wide as
the drawstring on Star Jones’ old sweatpants and, thus, the three point shot
takes on extra importance. David toppled Goliath with a sling-shot; the
mid-majors utilize the deep jumper.
The trifecta almost always
plays a major role whenever an underdog pulls an unexpected upset and not
always from the accuracy of the little guy. Often the reverse is true. For
example, take the 2005 field of 65, when every significant early round
shocker occurred because the favorite failed to make the three.
Alabama (9-for-23, .391) lost to Wisconsin-Milwaukee (12-21, .571), LSU
(6-for-39, .194) lost to UAB (7-for-16, .438), Kansas (1-for-11, .091) lost
to Bucknell (8-for-31, .258), and Syracuse (3-for-12, .250) lost to Vermont
(7-for-21, .333). All of those favorites combined to shoot just 19-for-85
stretches zones and forces opposing coaches to craft junk defenses. If Jimmy
Chitwood taught us anything, it is that outside shooting can be a tournament
Unmatched in confidence,
these four assassins should receive a lot of defensive attention in their
quest to reach the Final Four. Their sharp shooting single-handedly snatches
wins for their teams.
shooting is not a necessity during a team’s journey towards the Final Four,
but battling a squad on a scorching streak can surely be a road block in
getting there. In fact, a team’s failure to defend the three will make their
bus ride back to campus quite… hellish.
Secrets For NCAA Tournament
- NBA potential is no joke.
- The bigger, the better.
- Simple math: three is better than two.
- Who has nerves of steel?
- Winning is the All-American way.
- Little guys point the way.
- Fear of the unknown.
The March Manifesto is the secret
to filling out your NCAA Tournament bracket.