We're all familiar with the image: After a team captures the NCAA title in college basketball, they cut down the net, and each member gets a strip of nylon to commemorate the accomplishment. All the legendary coaches, from Jim Calhoun and Mike Krzyzewski to Bobby Knight and John Wooden, have made the climb at some point in their careers, and the tradition is such an ingrained part of college basketball that few people stop and think where it actually came from.
There's no agreed upon date for the first time a coach cut down the net, but most believe that the tradition was started by Everett Case, the legendary North Carolina State University coach. After coaching in Indiana, he brought the tradition with him to N.C. State and reportedly cut down the net with the Wolfpack for the first time in 1947 after capturing the Southern Conference title.
Over the years the participants in the tradition have changed, but the process remains largely the same. The coach is the first to make his or her way to the top of the ladder and makes a few snips to get things started before allowing each player to get his own time to soak in the victory. Cutting down the nets may seem like a simple gesture, but it has given college basketball fans some of the most memorable moments in the sport's history.
One of the most famous scenes comes from the 1983 National Championship after Jim Valvano and his underdog N.C. State team upset the heavily favored Houston Cougars in what's considered to be among the greatest title games ever played. While his image after the final buzzer - frantically looking to celebrate with players - is one that most people think of when they think of this victory, Valvano's total elation upon finally cutting down the net is also a lasting image.
College basketball changes greatly from year to year, but the one thing fans can hang their hats on is that a team will be draping the net around their necks come early April. Who will it be this year?
And for those of you who want to see this year's net cutting live and in person...we can help you out there: http://bit.ly/YELfTe
November is one of the best months of the year for sports fans. The NFL and college football are both starting to heat up while basketball and hockey are usually kicking off. November is also when college basketball teams begin their march toward the Final Four in April, and this year it looks like some historic programs will be making a push toward the title.
Indiana comes into the year after having one of its best seasons in recent memory. Last year, the Hoosiers advanced to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in 10 years, and it looked like they were moving toward returning to their glory days of the 1970s and 80s. Pollsters seem to have taken note - the Hoosiers enter the season as number one on the Associated Press Top 25.
It's easy to understand why many experts see big things from Indiana this year. Not only are they led by a great coach in Tom Crean, but they return almost all of last year's squad including seven-foot sophomore Cody Zeller, a unanimous preseason All-American. The return of Zeller, coupled with the arrival of guard Kevin Ferrell, has Indiana sitting as a good pick.
But you can never count out last year's champ Kentucky. Unlike Indiana, the Wildcats return virtually nobody from last year's team, including freshman phenom Anthony Davis (now with the New Orleans Hornets), but coach John Calipari has a new crop of young, talented stars waiting in the wings. Leading the charge is North Carolina State transfer Ryan Harrow who will run the point, but he will be joined by the likes of freshmen Nerlens Noel and Alex Poythress.
The Wildcats aren't the only team from Kentucky to enter the season with high expectations, cross-state rivals Louisville are in the mix as well. The Cardinals visited the Final Four last year under the leadership of coach Rick Pitino, and they return three starters from the team, which had one of the best defenses in the country. It certainly won't surprise anybody if Peyton Siva and Russ Smith lead the Cardinals back to the Final Four.
Last year was strange that Kentucky was the presumptive favorite and never wavered from their quest to capture the title, but that might not be the case this year. Though Indiana, Kentucky and Louisville lead the way, this year is wide open. Anybody - from Ohio State and Michigan, to Syracuse and UCLA - could end up cutting down the net come April.
NBA stats are where it is at on this blustery Monday. TNow's algorithm has popped out the five NBA matchups below as the hottest for the rest of 2012.
As exciting as the NBA regular season is, it's nothing compared to the playoffs. The NBA postseason is one of the most exciting in sports, and this year should be no different. There are a plenty of juicy storylines entering this year's playoffs, and if the regular season is any indication, anything can happen.
The question on everyone's mind is whether or not the star-studded Miami Heat can make up for last year's loss in the NBA Finals. Since Chris Bosh and LeBron James joined the heat following the 2010 season, the pressure's been on for them to win a title. It certainly looks like they've got a shot to do it, with one of the best records in the league and James having an MVP caliber season.
In the Western conference, all attention is on the Oklahoma City Thunder. Led by explosive young stars like Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the Thunder has looked like one of the best teams in the NBA all season long. They came close to reaching the Finals last year, could this be the year they break through?
Many basketball fans have also been closely following what they see as a changing of the guard in Los Angeles. The Clippers have long played second fiddle to the Lakers in the City of Angels, but with new stars like Chris Paul and the electric play of Blake Griffin, the Clippers are once again in the conversation.
Speaking of age, that's the big question looming over the heads of the 2008 champion Boston Celtics. The Big Three (Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce) are all nearing the end of their respective careers, and while Pierce is still as effective as ever, injuries have hobbled the other two. Will a cadre of untested youngsters be able to carry the storied franchise throughout the playoffs?
There are a number of other interesting questions as we head into the playoffs: Can the aging Spurs win one more? Can the New York Knicks stay hot and beat The Heat? Will Derrick Rose stay healthy enough to lead the Chicago Bulls to their first appearance in the NBA Finals since Jordan left?
The answers will start to emerge tomorrow as the Bulls and 76ers get the playoffs started at Noon on TNT. I think we can all agree that this is going to be one of the most exciting NBA post seasons in a long time.
Who do you think is going to win it all?
Grab some NBA Playoff tickets and see your team battle for a spot in the history books:
Eastern Conference 1st Round (Saturday / Sunday Tickets)
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Chicago Bulls tickets
New York Knicks vs. Miami Heat tickets
Orlando Magic vs. Indiana Pacers tickets
Atlanta Hawks vs. Boston Celtics tickets
Western Conference 1st Round (Saturday / Sunday Tickets)
Utah Jazz vs. San Antonio Spurs tickets
Dallas Mavericks vs. Oklahoma City Thunder tickets
Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers tickets
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Memphis Grizzlies tickets
From college basketball’s top 64 teams, there remain just four – all vying for the same dream, to be crowned NCAA Men’s Basketball National Champions.
We took a look at trends in ticket resale prices to gauge the excitement of college basketball fans as well as demand for Final Four tickets.
Who do you think is going to win it all?
With the start of baseball’s 2012 regular season just days away, we took a look at our exclusive ticket resale data to see which home opener tickets are most in demand and which teams have the most enthusiastic fans. Check out the full list below. Here are a couple stats that immediately jumped out at us:
- World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals Average Ticket Resale Price Up Nearly 140%
- Miami Marlins Fans Eager for a Fresh Start as their opener Average Resale Price Jumps 265%
- Mets Edge Out Yankees
- White Sox Best Cubs
- Giants Top Dodgers
How Sweet It Is!
The weekend brought a few twists and turns to the college basketball tournament. Top seeds dropped out while double-digit seeds advanced.
TicketsNow takes a look at current trends in ticket resale prices to gauge who’s hot:
East / TD Garden, Boston, MA
Wisconsin (#4) vs. Syracuse (#1)
Cincinnati (#6) vs. Ohio State (#2)
· Average Ticket Resale Price = $450
· Get-In Price - $169
· High Price - $1,200
West / US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ
Louisville (#4) vs. Michigan State (#1)
Florida (#7) vs. Marquette (#3)
· Average Ticket Resale Price = $328
· Get-In Price - $75
· High Price - $601
Midwest / Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis, MO
Ohio (#13) vs. UNC (#1)
NC State (#11) vs. Kansas (#2)
· Average Ticket Resale Price = $182
· Get-In Price - $158
· High Price - $683
South / Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA
Indiana (#4) vs. Kentucky (#1)
Xavier (#10) vs. Baylor (#3)
· Average Ticket Resale Price = $257
· Get-In Price - $175
· High Price - $800
Advancing teams will cast an interesting dynamic on Final Four ticket availability and pricing as the Tournament continues!
FINAL FOUR / Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
· Average Ticket Resale Price = $567
· Get-In Price - $142
· High Price - $4,500
*All data current as of 10am CT 03/19/12
Linsanity continues to go wild as he and the Knicks stroll into South Beach for a 7PM ET battle on TNT. This matchup is proving to be one of the hottest NBA games of the year.
We've sold more tickets for this game than any other game this season and are seeing average ticket prices hover right around $200, up 58% from season average.
And check out this tweet from CNBC's Darren Rovell-
Do you think the Knicks are contenders in the East? Will they beat the Heat? Tell us what you think in the comment section below.
And check out this cool infographic we came across that gets into some on Jeremy Lin's back-story as well as some of the Linsanity since his first start.
In celebration of Michael Jordan's B-day we wanted to share some of his best highlight videos from around the web. Enjoy, share with your friends and tell us: Do you think Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time?
1997 Finals Flu Game:
Career highlights via NBA and ESPN:
He may be the greatest basketball player ever but he has had a questionable and controversial fashion career. Check out this great tumblr blog dedicated to some of his worst outfits - http://wtfismikewearing.tumblr.com/