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NCAA Tournament | All 65 Team Capsules | Win Your Pool

By Adam Stanco


NCAA Tournament Manifesto: Sharp-Shooting


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 else.


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 seven-footers.


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 (.224).


Three-point shooting 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 difference maker.


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.


Tremendous three-point 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 Success:


  1. Talent - NBA potential is no joke.

  2. Post Defense - The bigger, the better.

  3. Sharp Shooting - Simple math: three is better than two.

  4. Experience - Who has nerves of steel?

  5. Star Power - Winning is the All-American way.

  6. Guard Play - Little guys point the way.

  7. X-Factor - Fear of the unknown.


The March Manifesto is the secret to filling out your NCAA Tournament bracket.



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