The NCAA's varied conferences are holding their basketball tournaments this week, the prelude to "March Madness."
I rarely if ever watch a college basketball regular-season game anymore. But I'll be an expert on Gonzaga and all the rest when NCAA tournament's first round is done.
Each year, I claim I won't watch "March madness," preferring to observe the birds congregate around the feeders in our front yard. But one crazy upset will hook me, and there I'll be, spending gorgeous weekend afternoons watching bouncing basketballs.
The Wall Street Journal Wednesday morning profiled one of my favorite all-time coaches, Princeton's Peter Carril, who won or shared 13 Ivy League championships.
Carril was the first apostle of the three-point shot, as the article details. His Tigers shot the long ball at an astounding rate, allowing Princeton to compete against much more talented teams. Princeton's upset of UCLA is one of the NCAA tournament's most legendary games, and the Tigers came close to becoming the only 16th seed to knock off a one seed, hanging with John Thompson's Georgetown to the end.
The NBA has accepted Carril's three-point-heavy philosophy, especially the Golden State Warriors, whose general manager, Bob Myers, was a member of that UCLA team that fell to Princeton. With Steph Curry and Klay Thompson's three-point barrages, the Warriors won the title two years ago, leading other teams to emphasize the trey.
Traditionalists like Boston Globe sportswriter Bob Ryan shake their heads. The midlevel jumper, which Carril despised, is a dying art.
The article didn't go into the negative side of Carril's philosophy. The three-pointer means victory when the shots are falling, but cold shooting means doom. Curry recently found his long-range bombs not connecting as they once did, and the Warriors struggled.
With the NBA more and more a three-point contest, traditionalists want the three-point line moved back. It probably won't happen; hot three-point shooting is to the NBA what the home run is to baseball. And the three-pointer makes it easier for a team to come back from a big deficit.
The three-point fever has infected the college ranks too. Next week, March Madness will mean three-point madness.