Brushing up on my basketball knowledge

Published 2:29 pm Wednesday, April 10, 2024

First of all, I want to say congratulations to the University of Connecticut Huskies for winning back-to-back national championships in men’s NCAA basketball. That is no small feat. Congratulations are also in order for the SEC and the University of South Carolina women’s basketball team for not only winning it all this year, but going undefeated in the process. That’s nothing to sneeze at either.

As exciting as this year’s NCAA tournament was for both the men and women, I have to admit I was really only as engaged as I was because Alabama made it as far as they did. You might not know this about Bama, but we aren’t known primarily for basketball. Okay, maybe you knew. Regardless, it took the Tide doing well to get me interested in the tournament.

When I was freshman in college at the University of Missouri (before eventually transferring to Bama), I tried to really get into basketball. The Tigers made the Elite Eight that year – way back in 2002 – and after seeing what we were working with on the football field, I had resigned myself to the idea that we were a basketball school.

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But, my first attempted foray into basketball came in high school when the other guys on the football team convinced me to try out for the hoops squad. I had played many a game of street ball with them, so I guess they figured I had a shot at the team. And maybe I did. I made it to the final round of tryouts before getting cut. But, on that final day I was penalized for being in the lane for too long, and I distinctly remember catching one of my football friends as I walked off the court and whispering, “What’s the
lane?” Needless to say, I wasn’t ready to be on the varsity team.

I’m not saying I don’t understand how basketball works. I’m just saying I’m not as proficient in the sport’s rules and history as I am in football. And even with football, I’m not quite as encyclopedic as The Post’s sports editor Ernest is, but I’m a pretty good armchair quarterback. That is to say, I can read a defense from my couch with the best of them. But, watching this year’s tour-nament has definitely helped my basketball acumen. The problem is, if Bama doesn’t do well next year, I’m likely to forget everything I learned this season.

We’ll see. Maybe I can find time to learn more during the offseason and be more prepared for March Madness next year. Unless of course Bama distracts me by getting really good at some other sport. Because, let’s face it: If the Tide become awesome at water polo, I’ll probably start following that, too.

Blake Bell is the general manager and executive editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at