college basketball

With major renovations to the downtown Times Union Center nearly complete, the city of Albany secured a long-awaited booking on Tuesday. The NCAA announced that the Division I men’s basketball tournament will return to the county-owned arena in three years for the first time since 2003.  Albany’s first- and second-round games are slated for March 19 and 21st, 2020.

It’s a big weekend for sports so we’re turning our attention to the hardwood and the ball diamond. The Final Fours of the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball tournaments are this weekend and the Major League Baseball season gets underway on Sunday.

"Coach Mac" celebrates winning the America East title.
America East Conference

The University at Albany women’s basketball team just won a record sixth-straight America East conference championship. But now, the biggest challenge of all awaits the Great Danes in the NCAA Tournament. UAlbany is heading to Storrs, Connecticut to face UConn in the first round on Saturday at 11 a.m. UConn has won 107 games and four national championships in a row. The woman in charge of figuring out a way to knock the Huskies off is first-year UAlbany coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee. “Coach Mac” tells WAMC’s Ian Pickus that she was stunned to be matched up with UConn.

Andrew Catalon
CBS

For people who wait all year for the NCAA Tournament, which kicks off this week, nothing beats the first four days, when 64 teams are in action across the U.S. It’s a basketball buffet for fans. For broadcasters, it’s a balancing act — and some really long days. Once again working the action for CBS Sports will be Andrew Catalon, who has also called NFL games, college football, golf, the Olympics, and more. Catalon is also familiar to listeners in our area from his television stints in Burlington and Albany.

UMass logo
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The University of Massachusetts says a national search for a new men’s basketball coach is already under way.

When the NCAA Tournament gets under way in earnest Thursday, most fans will be watching closely for their favorite teams, upsets by the latest Cinderellas, and buzzer-beaters.

Ian Pickus

The NCAA Tournament field was unveiled last night, and Capital Region fans rejoiced to see the University at Albany men’s basketball team in the bracket for a third straight year. But before they could enjoy Selection Sunday, the Great Danes barely survived Saturday.

Even as LeBron James make a run at his supremacy, the “greatest ever” conversation in basketball starts and ends with Michael Jordan. As Roland Lazenby makes clear in his new biography of the six-time NBA champ, Jordan has long been driven by an unrivaled competitive nature that has often damaged his personal relationships.

    

  Ed Breslin fulfills every college basketball fan’s fantasy of being an NCAA Division I coach in his new book: The Divine Nature of Basketball: My Season Inside the Ivy League. The book describes a season spent as a virtual coach in the Ivy League, shadowing head coach of Yale men’s basketball James Jones.

It’s sports journalism in the tradition of George Plimpton. But above all, it’s a celebration of basketball, of participation in life, of gifted mentors and coaches, and of the proper approach to collegiate athletics.

CBS

When you start talking about the greatest coaches in basketball history, the conversation starts and ends with one name: John Wooden, who led UCLA to 10 NCAA championships in 12 years, had a lifetime winning percentage of .804, and is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield as both a coach and player.

Siena College

When the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference moved its basketball tournament from frequent host city Albany, then-Loyola coach Jimmy Patsos was perhaps more upset than even arena and city officials. Patsos loved the downtown experience, he loved Albany’s restaurants, and he loved the knowledgeable college basketball crowds that made mid-major basketball feel like the big time each March.

Now, after nine years at Loyola, where he took the Greyhounds from a six-win season his first year all the way to the NCAA Tournament in 2012, Patsos can call his favorite MAAC city home.

Several regional college basketball teams are making runs at the NCAA tournament this week.

Today at noon in Springfield, the Marist College women’s basketball team goes for its eighth straight MAAC championship against Iona, a longtime foe that has never been able to send the Red Foxes packing in March. Top-ranked Marist is in the championship for the 10th straight year and has beaten Iona in the title game in 2007 and ’08.

On the men’s side, the Iona faces Manhattan tonight at 9.

WAMC Morning Edition Sports Update

Mar 8, 2013
Keith Allison Flickr

In the NBA, the Oklahoma City Thunder picked up their third straight win last night to pull within 2 ½ games of first-place San Antonio in the NBA's Western Conference. The Thunder downed the Knicks 95-94 in New York.

The only other NBA game last night had Denver beating the Los Angeles Clippers 109-92. It's the seventh straight win for the Nuggets and their 12th in a row in Denver. They own the league's best home mark at 27-3. The loss drops the Clippers five games off the Western Conference lead.