Some March Madness cliches are more wretched than others

used to rail vs clichés like “Cinderella” and “bubble teams.” Those words, though, have been used so pervasively in discussions about the NCAA Basketball Tournament that they are now as endemic to coverage as March Madness. That’s what makes English perhaps the best language on the planet; words are blended and redefined, in part, through popular usage and changes in society. (God help us, though, if charity stripe eventually makes the cut.)

Sports language has been a big part of our vernacular for more than a century. Baseball, in particular, has a strong hold on how we describe our lives. We go to bat for others, strike out when we fail, and hit a home run when we succeed. Sometimes, though, we throw a Hail Mary pass in a desperate attempt to do well. At other times, a decision or action is a slam dunk. Continue reading “Some March Madness cliches are more wretched than others”

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UMBC’s historic win in NCAA tourney generates some terrific stories – and another upset

scoring margin1
NCAA.org offered a nice analysis detailing trends in these No. 1 vs. No. 16 matchups.

So how did the country cover No. 16-seeded UMBC’s implausible, crazy victory over No. 1 Virginia? Here’s a sampling of the stories that addressed what might be the biggest upset in the NCAA basketball tournament – and the first time a No. 16 seed has ever beaten a top-seeded team. Few fans had ever heard of the school, making its second appearance in the tourney. After the historic game, they crashed UMBC’s website trying to learn more about the little team that did.

In another upset that is equally shocking, Virginia’s student-run newspaper, Cavalier Daily, did not post anything on its website, Twitter feeds for news or sports, or on Facebook. UMBC posted a story both online and offered updates on Twitter – although no social media may have been more entertaining than the tweets from UMBC Athletics.

Check out these stories

Continue reading “UMBC’s historic win in NCAA tourney generates some terrific stories – and another upset”

There’s no better way to teach sportswriting than to bring students to cover live events

postgame
EIU women’s basketball coach Matt Bollant and two of his players address the media, and my students, after a game last week. These experiences are invaluable for sports media students.

You can grill students all you want on interviewing techniques, keeping score, taking notes and writing game stories, but they won’t really learn until you throw them into live event coverage.

Everything makes sense until one has to cover a game on deadline.

Continue reading “There’s no better way to teach sportswriting than to bring students to cover live events”

College sports writers offer solid coverage of NCAA tourney

Arizona's Daily Wildcat offered significant coverage of its team's first-round game Thursday.
Arizona’s Daily Wildcat offered significant coverage of its team’s first-round game Thursday.

The Arizona Daily Wildcat offered the most comprehensive coverage among schools whose teams played in the opening round of the NCAA basketball tournament on Thursday.  The Wildcat posted a game story, a column and a notes package while most schools offered a single game story, which was certainly a challenge for staffs covering late-night games. Several school staffs relied solely on social media for its coverage – but that’s not substantial enough for today’s multimedia fan/reader. Continue reading “College sports writers offer solid coverage of NCAA tourney”