INDIANAPOLIS, IN – My sources at the NCAA tell me that March Madness is about to get even madder. The tournament is expanding to an unbelievable 128 teams in 2011. Schools that never came close to joining the big dance will now have a chance to compete on the biggest stage in all of college sports. Imagine the thrill of a #32 seed facing a #1 seed with the chance at an epic upset.
Getting to know some of the lesser known basketball powers will be necessary if you want to win that office pool. Who is the next Gonzaga, Butler, Northern Iowa, or George Mason?
As a public service to loyal MTM readers, I’ve spotlighted three up and comers looking to crash the big dance next year.
First off, the Napa Valley State Corkscrews. Located in the heart of California wine country, the Screws joined Division 1 in 2004 coinciding with the release of the movie Sideways, their colors a rich Pinot Noir. Head coach Jim â€œChubbyâ€ Papa leads a squad looking to rebound from an embarrassing 2-28 campaign on the heels of three consecutive 1-29 seasons. Led by junior point guard Rousseau Laverneous-McBillingsly (8.1 ppg, 2.1 apg) the Screws hope to crack next yearâ€™s expanded field. Actor Paul Giamatti has become somewhat of a benefactor/mascot for the program and vows to drink nothing but Merlot until they break the .500 mark.
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Next up, The Prog Rockers of Stuart Roberts University. Offering degrees in Catering, Event Planning, Deep Frying, Inside The Mind Of Gentle Giant, Music Appreciation, and Tailgating; the Rockers didnâ€™t even have a program until 2001. In 2007, during a recruitng trip to Amsterdam, coach Tim Oâ€™Donohue landed Dutch import Rik Smits Jr. The program took off from there and theyâ€™ve posted back to back 17-12 seasons despite running afoul of the NCAA infractions committee. They begin next season where they ended this year, on probation. Still, Coach O vows theyâ€™ll clean up their act and make a run at the big boys in 2010-11.
Finally, we have West Underwear University. Sister school to FIT and located in the Badlands of South Dakota, the Flying Skidmarks offer degree programs in Thong Design, Tattoos and Body Art, Used Undergarment Street Sales, and starting next fall they break ground on The Dennis Rodman School Of Tattoo Removal. Returning all five starters from a 13-18 team loaded with talent, head man Will Yapeonme thinks 2010-11 will be their breakout year.
There you have it; three schools worth keeping an eye on. Itâ€™s never too early to look ahead to next year.
Look for West Coast Craig tommorow.
Until next week,