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John Fanta, FOX Sports College Basketball Broadcaster

JR Sports Brief / JR
The Truth Network Radio
March 19, 2024 8:09 pm

John Fanta, FOX Sports College Basketball Broadcaster

JR Sports Brief / JR

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March 19, 2024 8:09 pm

John Fanta joined JR to preview the NCAA Tournament and discuss a few teams that could play the Cinderella role. 

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That's BetterHelp H-E-L-P dot com slash grow. Hey, it's Jim Costa from Cash the Ticket. Turnie Time is here. Mike Valenie and I are going through every matchup of the big dance over on the podcast. We're talking sides, totals, mixing a reckless parlay every now and then.

Come on, it's fun. We've got turnie trends, futures, plays, who wins the national title? Something for every better and every sports fan.

Region by region, game by game. However you want to digest it, it's there. Download Cash the Ticket today.

It's on the Odyssey app or wherever you get your podcasts. It's Jon Fanta. Jon, thank you for taking the time with Madness Upon Us. JR, Madness is Upon Us.

Yes, it's here. We get a taste of it tonight with the other first four games featuring Colorado State and Virginia. Isaiah Stevens of the Rams.

If you've never seen him play, folks, give him a watch. But I can't wait, man. It's so exciting. This is what it's all about. The madness is here.

The madness is here. And I want to say, we'll give you a big thank you. Last hour, we had Coach Mark Byington of JMU join us. And one of the first stories that he was able to tell was how things got connected between his school, JMU, and the Spartans a couple of months ago to kick the season off.

And you had an amazing article that you had also shared on Fox about this situation. What are your thoughts on JMU and what they've been able to do up until now? Yeah, a heck of a story, JR. You know, you're talking about a program that Byington, when Mark Byington took over James Madison, they were coming off a really bad year.

They were in a dark place. And Byington, as he explained to you, as you had him on, like, this is a guy who's just been a grinder, only 47 years of age, you know, was an assistant at Virginia Tech, got us, started Charleston in Virginia, and, you know, took a Georgia Southern program and really made them into a 20-win team for three consecutive years. And that's how we got the James Madison job. And when I talked with Jeff Bourne, the outgoing James Madison AD, he said, we just, we knew right away that Mark would be able to build something, even in NIL, even in the transfer age, you still have to know who you're going to get, especially at that level where you can't just simply pay for guys. And what he's done is he's got a couple of guys who are fourth and fifth year players.

And it speaks to me why they're here. You know why they stayed together. They haven't, they haven't been incoming transfers. Terrence Edwards Jr. is a guy who could have portaled, but he's been with the program four years. He's never thought about leaving. And he said, I never thought about leaving because I knew this was the best place for me because I've got a coach who cares 17 points per game, five rebounds per game, four assists per game.

Remember the name Terrence Edwards, but he also, he did a great job of identifying in the portal guys who might've been at the high major level, who weren't getting a look, who now can go to a mid-major. This is the difference between college football and basketball. TJ Bickerstaff said, I'm part of a losing Boston college program. Think about this. Boston college is playing in the NIT right now.

How many eyeballs are on it? Not many TJ Bickerstaff said, I'm going to level down in school and in conference theoretically, but it enhances my chance to make the big dance. While his former school is playing in the NIT, TJ Bickerstaff, who didn't get much of a shot at that former school, got his shot at James Madison.

And now he could be wearing Cinderella slipper on national TV on big CBS Friday night. Fox broadcaster, John Fancier is joining us here. The JR sport re-show on CBS sports radio. Everything with JMU is looking all roses right now as they get ready to take on Wisconsin. We know that you also keep up with the big East. There's a lot of controversy about who went in representing the big East, who did not go win.

We, we hear Rick Pitino making a fuss. What are your thoughts about the big East standing as it relates to this tournament? Well, the big East only got the three bids to the NCAA tournament, and it's unbelievable to think that because they were college basketball's second ranked conference.

Second strongest conference, according to the analytics, not some ranking, according to Ken Pomeroy. This is a league that had close to five quadrant one wins per team. Many of the teams that are on the bubble had five or six quad one wins. You had five teams, meaning close to half your league with five or more Q1 wins. You averaged out nine quality wins on the resume. That was second most, second most in all of college basketball. Now you could say, well, how much of that average is enhanced by UConn, Marquette and Creighton who are a one, two, and three seed respectively.

Of course, but when you have that strong of a top, you would think the middle would benefit a little bit. No, it didn't. And as a result, you know, Seton Hall, part of the first four out, St. John's didn't end up even being close despite winning six in a row and beating Creighton at home. Creighton, who's a three seed, St. John's beats them.

They add some quality to their resume, and it didn't end up amounting to much. Providence, Providence got six Q1 wins. They beat Wisconsin, who's a five seed. Providence beat Marquette. They beat Creighton twice.

They took no bad losses, no quad three, no quad four losses, and Providence is sitting at home. But for me, Seton Hall, JR, Seton Hall beat UConn, won 20 games, didn't have any terrible loss. They're the first team in the history of the Big East.

People know the days of Ewing and Mullen and Pearl and all the legends of the Big East. In the 45 year history of the Big East, we have never seen a team go over five games over 500 in the conference and miss the tournament. Seton Hall went 13 and seven in the league and did not get included in the NCAA tournament. That's a slap in the face of the Big East. It's a rough occurrence for the conference. Fortunately for the league, they've got a really strong top three in UConn.

If UConn wins a national championship, that's all anybody's going to remember. And so the Big East can redeem itself here, but to only have three, it just doesn't feel like that that does this league, which was strong analytically, full justice. They deserved at least a fourth team. Well, John, we heard Providence and St. John's, they certainly railed against the net rating system. How can this be adjusted in future years outside of, oh, let's just add more teams into the tournament? How can something like this be corrected or is there no correcting it? Well, the NCAA has to come out and say that the net is not the end all be all tool.

They have not done a good job messaging the net. Coaches are talking to me in the last 40 hours saying, I don't know what to look for. I don't know how I should schedule. Should I schedule cupcakes and win by 45, 50 points? And does that help me because I scheduled those cupcakes? How should I do this?

How should I approach it? The net has not been rolled out properly. We open it up every day. The college hoops junkies are all over it, but that doesn't mean that it's a successful metric. And to me, I just don't understand, you know, with what they preach about the net and how much and how much it matters. Don't quality wins. Doesn't the committee ask, who did you beat?

Who did you beat? And tonight Virginia is playing and you know what? They could be Colorado state, but whether or not Virginia wins the game doesn't change my stance on this. Virginia played nine quadrant one game, nine Jr.

They won two of them and they're in the field. Their net is not 25. It's not 30. It's 54. It's 54. St. John's had two more quadrant one wins, has the net of 32.

And they're the highest time major of power conference team that didn't get included in the field. Make it make sense. So what do you have to do? You've got to explain what you do look for and say, you know what the net is and everything does. You know, Charles McClellan, the committee chair and the committee works hard.

I'm not, I'm not at all tearing them down, but I am going to be critical here. Charles McClellan, the committee chair said that Michigan state made the field because of their quadrant one wins. Jr. Michigan state wins three and nine against quad one. Make it make sense. Yeah.

Well, this is what happens when you have human, what is it? 12, 12 folks there making a decision. Yeah, exactly.

You're going to get subjectivity in the room. You know, I don't know if I want to, I'm not saying I want a computer tournament. I'm not saying that at all, but we got to revise the protocol here.

We have to revise the protocol. Fox college basketball reporter, analyst, broadcaster, John Fantz is joining us here on CBS sports radio. You know, one team, and we were asked about this earlier on in the show. They, they just won the big 12. They knocked off Houston, Iowa state. We had a caller who railed against their standings in a tournament. What are your thoughts on where they stand and sitting in that same bracket as Yukon talking about Iowa state? Yes.

Here's the thing. A great year, heck of a season. The, the cyclones to me, Jr. Nobody saw this coming except them. Best defensive team in the country.

Best number one in Ken Palm. Obviously you see yourself come up, you win the big 12 tournament and you weren't even close to the one line again, make it make sense. 27 and seven in college basketball's best conference.

It's just curious. It begs curiosity on why they're stuck here in the East. They weren't even close to the one seed line. Keyshawn Gilbert has been terrific for this team. You know, he's a junior guard who transferred in from UNLV and has just totally taken his game to a different level. Taman Lipsey was the guy that TJ Osselberger pinpointed at the start of the season and said, he's got to take a leap from me. And Osselberger, the head coach of this program deserves an immense amount of credit. You know, he took over this job in 2021 and Iowa state has a standard, but it's hard in the big 12.

It really is. And he comes in, goes to a sweet 16 in year one, year two found a way in the tournament and now year three, they could be, they could be a final four dark horse. Like I'm so impressed with them. I like their draw. I've got them in the elite eight. You know, I do think we're going to get a one versus a two and we don't get that often. But I do think we're going to get there. And for the cyclones, the last time they made an elite eight was in 2000.

In the modern era, they've never made a final four. TJ Osselberger deserves national coach of the year consideration. But the funny thing is there's a guy in his same region, Dan Hurley, who's likely going to get it. Oh yeah. He's, he's trying to go back to back. John, when you think about all of the teams that are in the tournament, who are some other schools that could potentially make a run that aren't getting the same attention as like, let's say, obviously a Yukon? Well, we've got breaking news as I'm talking with you, which is great.

It's fitting. Kevin McCullar, Bill Selt, the head coach of Kansas, just announced that Kevin McCullar, his most impactful player this season, averaging 18 points. He filled it up in the assist column as well. Dynamic fifth year senior wing will miss the NCAA tournament with knee bruise.

McCullar's been out. He's missed six games in the last seven weeks, and he is going to be shut down here and not appear in the NCAA tournament. That changes that whole pod.

It really does. Because you're now talking about a situation where Kansas, I don't like their chances here to make it out of this 14 pod and get to the sweet 16. They've got Sanford, watch out for Sanford, top 15 in tempo, really good offensively. Okora Okora, A-C-H-O-R, twice.

Okora Okora is the guy that people are going to get behind here. They can really score it. They're top five in the country in bench points. McNeese, remember Will Wade?

He's back. Pass the demons, pass the firing at LSU, pass the NCAA investigation. He's got a kid named Shahada Wells and a balanced offense that can give Gonzaga some trouble.

I think we'll see drama there. I don't think Purdue's going to face Gonzaga or Kansas in the sweet 16. I think they're going to face one of those other two mid-majors.

That's just my gut. Who else could go on a run? Well, I'm going to give you a couple upset predictions to give people a chance to maybe win some cash. I like New Mexico, even though I don't think it's an upset. 11 seed New Mexico I think can make the sweet 16, if not the elite 8.

I go up to the east. I think Drake, the 10 seed, they only have to travel an hour and a half to Omaha. They will meet Washington State in the first round.

Give me Drake, the 10 seed. Don't sleep on Yale out of the ivy. Top 10 and fewest turnovers per game. They can give Auburn trouble. Auburn's tough. Auburn won the SEC tournament. I want to urge people filling out a bracket. Don't look at everything that happened in championship week and now dictate your picks around that.

It's not everything. Sometimes teams win their conference championship, but it took a lot out of them and they show up to the NCAA and they really struggle. And I like James Madison. I'm calling my shot. I think the Dukes will beat Wisconsin in Brooklyn Friday night. Wow.

Okay. There's a lot of fire behind James Madison right now. John Fanta, final question for you. Who are we looking at in Phoenix? And when we get down to Monday night, who's going to have tears in their eyes? Who's cutting down the nets? My final four, Yukon, Arizona with Caleb Love leading the wild catch there.

Kylan Boswell, Umar Ballo and company. I think Arizona plays a home state final four. Houston. They're just too good.

They're too tough. I like the way things could play out in their region. I'm going to go with Houston, although I was tempted to pick Kentucky. Watch out for Cal to make the final four.

I love the upside, but I'm going to go Houston and I'm going to go with Tennessee. Yukon and Tennessee meeting the national title game. Folks, if you haven't watched enough of Dalton connect to Tennessee, you will love him. He's like Jimmer Fredette.

He's like Doug McDermott. Yukon versus Tennessee in the final. The Huskies become the first in Florida in 06-07 to repeat as national champs. Hey, John, is somebody going to come out with a Joe Kim Noah dance at the end? Can we ignore that? Go. If somebody doesn't, I will. I mean, come on, let's go here.

I want to see it. That's what this time of year is about. There's nothing better than it. Hey, listen, I feel you. Hey, John, and if anybody wins based off your advice, I need to cut you a piece of the pie.

OK, I love it. That's what I like to hear. What's the first thing you do if you'd had more time in the day? Take a nap, read a book, talk with a friend. When you know what's important to you, it's easier to fit it into your schedule. Therapy can help you figure that out. BetterHelp offers affordable online therapy that comes to you. Start the process in minutes and switch therapists any time. Learn to make time for what makes you happy with BetterHelp. Visit BetterHelp.com slash grow today to get 10% off your first month.

That's BetterHelp H-E-L-P dot com slash grow. Hey, it's Jim Costa from Cash the Ticket. Tourney time is here. Mike Bellini and I are going through every matchup of the big dance over on the podcast. We're talking sides, totals, mix in a reckless parlay every now and then.

Come on, it's fun. We've got tourney trends, futures, plays. Who wins the national title? Something for every better and every sports fan.

Region by region, game by game. However you want to digest it, it's there. Download Cash the Ticket today. It's on the Odyssey app or wherever you get your podcasts.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-19 22:30:02 / 2024-03-19 22:37:28 / 7

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