River City is rocking with the VCU and University of Richmond men’s basketball teams into the NCAA tourney’s Sweet Sixteen this weekend. We were the only city in the country to have two teams in the second round and now we’re up there with LA and Philly as the only cities ever to  have two teams in the Sweet 16. I would say I predicted it, but for the first time in decades I didn’t fill out a bracket this year. It has been lots of fun to watch.

The fact that I’ve taught English comp at both schools has absolutely no bearing on this tournament, especially since the only bball player I taught left after a semester, homesick, missing out on the 2007 run in the NCAA’s, but I still feel qualified (as a former college hoops player who sat on the bench pretty convincingly for 1 year back in the day) to comment on a couple things:

1) Those in the Richmond metro area who have been clamoring to get their mailing addresses changed from Richmond to Henrico or South Chesterfield or North Chesterfield–you sure bout that? There are no teams from those localities in the Sweet Sixteen, fyi.

2) To Coach Shaka Smart at VCU and Coach Chris Mooney at UR, both of whom are getting plenty of well-deserved attention from the media and big-league leagues after their impressive runs, please don’t jump!  Take a page from Mark Few at Gonzaga and bloom where you are planted. You know you love RVA!!!  Build something special right here at universities that will show loyalty to you. Previous VCU coach Anthony Grant is at Alabama now. His team is in the NIT. Had he stayed at VCU, maybe he’d be heading to San Antonio for the Sweet Sixteen. How long will Alabama keep him if he doesn’t get to the NCAA pronto? Jeff Capel is gone from Oklahoma.  Jerry Wainwright from UR didn’t last at DePaul very long.  The longer you two stay in Richmond, the sooner the NCAA will see what parity looks like. The A-10 and CAA can compete with those other, supposedly better, leagues as long as we get and keep coaches of your caliber. Just ask USC, Georgetown, Villanova, Vandy, and Purdue.  Yes, the UVA coach coaches in the ACC. Big whoop. Literally–they get whooped all the time and they aren’t playing any post-season ball. 

3) The NY Times had an article about us today and could not resist throwing in  near the beginning something about the statues on Monument Ave. Really? Never seen anyone play basketball there. Was that necessary?  According to the paper, the two schools are connected by that street. Um, not true.  It’s laziness at the least to characterize our city only by that stretch of street. Give it a rest when it’s not the least bit relevant, she says to no one in particular.

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