A helpless victim of March Madness, I examined last week a quartet of Web sites created by fans of major college basketball teams. Now that we know the 64 teams playing in the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament that begins today, perhaps we should do just a little more site-seeing among the lesser-known schools.
With a couple of breaks, tiny Mount St. Mary's College of Emmitsburg, Md., known as the Mount, could be this tournament's Valparaiso. Except, of course, Valpo, last year's Cinderella team, is back in the brackets again this year.
Still, under head coach Jim Phelan, the Mountaineers could prove formidable. Especially if they shimmy past Michigan State in the first round.
From the school's Web site: Seeded sixth in their conference tournament, the Mount surprised everybody and beat Central Connecticut State in the finals, giving Phelan his 800th win.
Winthrop University seems to be a clean little college with a clean little site. On its pages, we learn that Winthrop was founded in 1886 as a female teachers college in Rock Hill, S.C., just south of Charlotte, N.C. The school went coed in 1974 and today has more than 5,000 students.
On the cool Frequently Asked Questions page we discover that every dorm room is wired and contains a MicroFridge, a combo microwave and refrigerator. Here's a telling factoid: The campus is 100 acres; the sports and recreational area is 450 acres!
The men's basketball team, under the guidance of first-year coach Gregg Marshall, ended the season 21-7 and won the Big South Conference championship over rivals such as Liberty and Radford. The Eagles were led by 6-7 senior forward Heson Groves, who scored 10.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. The average home attendance was 1,318.
Today wee Winthrop takes on awesome Auburn in the first round.
The students at Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y., are planning to gather at the school's sports arena to watch their men's basketball team play against Arkansas in the first round today.
The Siena Saints won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference by beating St. Peter's 82-67. Overall the team was 25-5. Marcus Faison, a 6-5 junior guard from North Carolina, led all scorers with 14.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.
The little Franciscan school from central New York will be playing in Denver.
When radio icon Don Imus saw that Samford University was in the tournament, he figured it had to be a misprint for Stanford. Thanks to Samford's spiffy Web site, we can learn all about the small Baptist university in Birmingham, Ala.
The school was chartered in 1841 and moved to Birmingham in 1887. Today the school has an endowment of $215 million. With nearly 4,500 students, it is Alabama's largest private university.
In the men's college basketball pages, we see that the Samford Bulldogs had their best season in school history this year. They were 24-5. The Bulldogs are legendary three-point shooters and have one of the best overall shooting percentages in the country.
Samford takes on St. John's today.
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