The Coastal Carolina and Wisconsin basketball teams met with the media in Omaha, Neb., on Thursday for their pre-NCAA tournament news conferences.
There was a lot of talk about whether the Chanticleers (29-4) can become the first No. 16 seed to knock off a No. 1 as they face the vaunted Badgers (31-3). There was a lot of talk about the Chants' competitive game last year in the tournament with No. 1 seed Virginia.
All of that is recapped here in today's story: http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/2015/03/19/4854728/chanticleers-embracing-underdog.html#navlink=subnav
Senior guard Josh Cameron, a native of Racine, Wisc., was asked about playing against the Badgers. We covered that earlier this week in this feature: http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/2015/03/18/4852337/wisconsin-native-cameron-eager.html
Also, coach Cliff Ellis had this quote gem Thursday about Cameron: "He's been a pretty good Cheesehead."
Indeed he has.
Meanwhile, there was one small snippet of news to come out of the session.
Jackson to remain out
Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan confirmed that senior guard Traevon Jackson, who has missed the last 16 games with a foot injury, will not play this weekend.
"No, he's not ready yet. He really hasn't even done any possessions with us," Ryan said. "He did a few passing drills and everybody knows how big I am on passing drills, so he's done some of those, passing and cutting, some ball handling stuff, some shooting, but not any possessions."
Jackson was averaging 9.4 points per game before going down with the injury in the Badgers' loss to Rutgers on Jan. 11. They lost that game, but they've only lost one more since, so this news is not really a big factor for the matchup.
Value of NCAA tournament appearance
It goes without saying that playing in back-to-back NCAA tournaments is a big deal for Coastal Carolina.
Chanticleers athletics director Matt Hogue, meanwhile, put in perspective pretty well.
"The results and the residual from getting to the tournament is huge," Hogue said. "Obviously for a school on our trajectory where we're really in the middle of our growth spurt in so many ways from enrollment to building to capital, and we talk about this all the time, athletics is the portal, it's the national platform that can bring people to our university, that can bring people to learn about all the great things that we're doing at our school beyond just what the success is in athletics.
"When you make the NCAA tournament in basketball, probably as much as anything you will do in this business, it brings a white-hot spotlight to you. It brings attention that you just can't pay for. There's no question about it. And whatever those numbers are, into the millions, will be analyzed, but everyone understands it brings attention to your university. And what my goal is and what our entire university's goal is, is to capitalize on that in so many ways aside from athletics. If we can do that, then the whole enterprise grows and goes to another place and that's the goal. And that's one of the core reasons why athletics is in place at most institutions, to provide that impetus for other things great to happen at the school."
As for other pregame reading material, here's our feature story on coach Cliff Ellis and what this final chapter of his career has meant to his legacy: http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/2015/03/19/4854616/ellis-continues-to-augment-legacy.html
NY Times feature on Wisconsin star Frank Kaminsky: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/20/sports/ncaabasketball/wisconsins-frank-kaminsky-a-former-goofball-works-to-prove-his-doubters-wrong.html?_r=0
The Wisconsin State Journal with a feature on Badgers junior forward Sam Dekker and his role as an X-factor this weekend: http://host.madison.com/sports/college/basketball/men/march-on-junior-forward-sam-dekker-the-x-factor-for/article_83118464-9246-5c55-a834-02fce2d9f1f9.html
Tom Oates of the State Journal on why Wisconsin should handle the Chants just fine: http://host.madison.com/sports/college/basketball/men/tom-oates-if-uw-lives-up-to-its-seed-coastal/article_db3007ed-4f74-524b-af7d-fb43df031aae.html
More thoughts from Wisconsin on the matchup, via the State Journal: http://host.madison.com/sports/college/basketball/men/badgers-men-s-basketball-coastal-carolina-isn-t-to-be/article_5e322fba-7fee-5db6-bf8f-efc55e6d7751.html