Yesterday, FAU upset Tennessee via the magic of being good at basketball and not overly-relying on bully-ball tactics. It is in style to tweet about how C-USA was disrespected during the selection process now, as it is easy to look at the Elite Eight entrant (FAU) and the NIT semis (UNT/UAB) and start to get self-righteous and know-it-all about the situation. It smells funny coming from accounts and people who paid little to no attention to C-USA during the regular season. I know — as part-time purveyor of CUSAREPORT — who pays attention and who just peruses a box score now and again. Now, everyone becomes an arm-chair expert at this time of the CBB calendar but it is still a little rich to see everyone supporting the league but not watching enough to care about all of those ESPN+ dates back during the regular season. So it goes.
All of that said, one unstated reason for not including the C-USA teams in the big dance is the drawing power of these squads. Putting a P5 school in the tournament is a little bit of a bet on some eyeballs, and attention, and that sort of thing. Stream all North Texas broadcasts, even if you aren’t watching, haha. That’s the lesson.
The Bristol Flyers have a podcast and interviewed Thomas Bell and Zach Simmons. There is a good amount of North Texas talk in the clip posted on twitter. It is good for the BRAND. And by that I mean the reputation. Guys like Bell and Simmons and Hamlet playing professionally is a great thing. Having five or ten of those guys from this era is great. For every five or ten pros, a couple will get into coaching and maybe one or two will come back and be the next great NT head man. At least that is how it works in my head.
In Football news, Var’Keys Gumms decided he will enter the portal come May 1st — the earliest he can. He thanked “North Texas University” which is the only thing I have any slight hostile feelings for. The rumors are that Oklahoma hiring Seth Littrell was the catalyst for this move. I am not a guy that is going to hold it against a player — especially an student-athlete under these current regulatory conditions — for transferring. If — again, as the rumors indicate — he is moving because he wants to test himself at a higher level and get a little NIL money, I cannot be upset at that. North Texas’ current collective situation — the LTTC and the in-the-works-I-promise-MGN-NIL — are nowhere near the level of an Oklahoma (just for example!) and that’s the name of the game. Few guys are choosing North Texas over an Oklahoma or Texas. Gumms did a lot of good for North Texas and for the coaching staff that hoped to use him it is a blow. However, it ain’t nothing they don’t have time to fix. Less cool is that Gumms went on a few podcasts and was talking up his love for UNT and the excitement about the future etc.
The men’s basketball team will have media availability today at 1pm, then Monday in Vegas. Unfortunately I can’t make either — but we are hoping to get a guest on the podcast. Checkout the podcast here.
One more bump for the forum.