The college basketball season is officially in the books and we reflected on the entirety of the season on today's episode of Barstool Bench Mob. I created five categories for us to discuss - biggest winner, biggest loser, coach that impressed, coach that disappointed, and best moment. Here were my picks on the show:
Biggest Winner: The Fans - After a canceled tournament in 2020 and a bubble tournament in 2021, the sports of college basketball hadn't taken the spotlight since before COVID hit. Fortunately, the March Madness Gods did something about that. We were rewarded with a dream Final Four that included teams who have all been there before. The Coach K storyline made for phenomenal drama. It was exactly what we needed to get the sport the attention it deserves.
Biggest Loser: Chris Beard - I'll say this. Season one for Chris Beard as the new coach of Texas Longhorns was not a failure. It was a new spot with a ton of transfers. The failure comes in comparison to Chris Beard's season at Texas versus how his old school, Texas Tech, fared. His return to Lubbock was a loss from the start, the Red Raiders beat the Longhorns in Texas, too. And then throw in the fact that Texas Tech made it to the second weekend of the tournament, while Texas didn't, and that makes for a very tough opening year to remember for Coach Beard.
Coach That Impressed: Eric Musselman - There was a point earlier in the season where one may have had a reason to hop off the Muss Bus. Following a stretch that included a loss to Hofstra and an 0-3 start in SEC play, there wasn't much to be excited about for Arkansas fans. But then came a 9-game winning streak, plus wins over Auburn and Kentucky in conference play. Throw in a second straight appearance in the Elite Eight and the acquisition of three 5-star recruits next season, and the expectations have been raised once again. The Razorbacks have a real chance to be the preseason No. 1 team next season.
Coach That Disappointed: Dana Altman - Oregon was a team that had a lot of hype in the preseason, including by our guy Rico Bosco, who had the Ducks in the Final Four. But there was never a true feeling that this was going to happen once the season began. Oregon got blown out by BYU in November and failed to beat a D-I team in the Maui Invitational. The Ducks did beat UCLA and USC back-to-back in January, but also lost five out of six to close the regular season. That resulted in just the second missed tournament under Coach Altman in the last decade.
Best Moment: North Carolina beating Duke (twice) - Is there any other answer here? Anti-Duke bias aside, this season will be remembered for the regular season finale in Durham and for the Final Four game between these rivals in New Orleans. It is a part of college basketball history forever. You will never forget where you were when both of these games happened. Sorry, Marty. Just kidding - definitely not sorry.
Do you agree or disagree with these selections? Check out our entire episode of Bench Mob to hear everyone's picks on today's show.