Friday, March 21, 2014

New dance same song

UAlbany gets handled by another supposedly “top-tier” basketball squad. AGAIN. I know the Florida Gators are ranked #1, but college b-ball is an apartment complex, and I didn’t see anything historically great yesterday. The final score of 67-55 appears respectable, just like last year’s final against Duke “appeared” respectable. But when it mattered the hometown Gators seized control and kept the Danes distant. The outcome was never in doubt. It never is with the Danes at the Dance. But they’re so happy just to be there. As I’m writing this, I’m listening to 104.5, and they’re airing a rowdy congrats to “Will Brown and the boys” for winning a play-in game and then being ritualistically dumped in round one. UAlbany is a sparring partner every year.

This is why UAlbany will never be a major player, even though the school has the endowment, facilities, and enrollment to make that happen. They are ensconced in second rate. Why is Syracuse SO MUCH better than UAlbany in all sports every year? ‘Cuse is basically in the middle of New York State’s Siberia. It may be private, I get that, but it’s not that much more impressive than UAlbany, all things considered. If Albany is going to get bullied into this basketball racket, let’s go all in, and put this place on the map.

I'm UAlbany alum. I once imagined my school reaching the national levels of a Michigan, or U Conn, or even a Florida. They sure have excelled in other areas i.e. Nano-technologies. Maybe that was highly-wishful thinking on my part. Maybe the Danes aren’t wired to compete on the court or the field. They have a great Lacrosse team, but lacrosse is lacrosse. UAlbany isn’t even the top basketball factory in its own back yard. That’s Siena, even though they're smaller than UAlbany’s broom closet.

Like I asked last year: When does feeling good about getting there end? Why shouldn’t UAlbany make the Dance? All they had to do was run through the America East Conference. They won a great game against Vermont, and there were some nice moments, I get that, but blah-blah-blah. Coach Will Brown has done a good job during his tenure. I can’t argue. He did “technically” win a tourney game, albeit a play-in, but I think we’ve seen what he can do. He gets there, gets beat. His teams are always struck by the bright lights. Why not make a run at a big name who can seriously recruit across the grid. Why won’t a stud come to the Capital Region for the right coinage and control? UAlbany looked like a high school squad on that court yesterday. They were never going to win that game. Let’s step this program up and start playing for some national pop.

Several top-seeded teams got threatened this week by “no-names.” Manhattan almost dumped Louisville. Manhattan has 3,000 kids; UAlbany has 20,000. Who cares about close but no cigar? There’s dozens of close but no cigars. UAlbany perennially cracks the Big Dance and finishes their business before the bus even cools down. This from the TIMES UNION, “UAlbany is scheduled to fly home on a chartered flight (provided by the NCAA) on Friday. The plane will leave Orlando at noon and arrive in Albany around 2:30 p.m. The Danes should be back on campus between 3 and 3:30.” What else is new? They’ll be watching the “real tournament” the same place I’ll be watching it: On the couch. The school has only qualified for the Dance four times in the Will Brown era, and are *1-4 in doing so. That would get a guy at Siena canned. (* won play-in game.)

Am I saying UAlbany should’ve been the first #16 to trump a #1? Of course not. This is larger than just one game. But I ask this: Why’s UAlbany only a #16? And if it’s always going to these low seeds, why can't the Danes ever be a Cinderella? When I was in high school, Gonzaga was always the Bracket-Busting team, the dangerous #15 or #16. Last year they were a #1. It can happen. You can move up (and down) in the world of NCAA Hoops. Mercer just dumped the mighty Duke. UAlbany's been Division I for a while now. At some point celebrating 64th place loses its luster.

So, yeah, congrats and blah-blah-blah

Read More:

Brian Huba: UAlbany Class of 2003

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