Today: Jul 17, 2024

OPED: College basketball’s grit and heart

Pat Longobardi, Sports Writer-

To end the month of January, emotions ran high in college basketball both on and off the field.

At the same time seven of the top 10 nationally ranked teams lost within the six-day ranking period, a university tried to come together during a tough time for a fellow friend and teammate. The Big East Conference was affected the most in the rankings, while Kansas University dealt with its own tough times.
In the Big East Conference, the majority of the top tier teams lost during that week. Some teams even had losing steaks, dropping them in the rankings. Most notably was that of Syracuse, losing four games in a row, and Villanova, losing three in a row.
Every team goes through this kind of thing: a specific time period where a team and its fans want to forget and move past for the sake of their season.
The teams that made the jump up included Georgetown and Notre Dame. Georgetown started off with high expectations, but hit a snag of losing games. They have currently put together a winning streak and are back atop national stardom. For Notre Dame, here is a team that not many talked about in the powerhouse of the Big East. Now, they are currently ranked number eight in the country and are quietly moving up in their conference as well. With all seniors in their starting lineup, they have a lot of experience coming on during the right time.
This time is nothing but bells of joy for lesser-ranked teams trying to make a case for national attention and a tournament bid. This is their opportunity to take of the vulnerable teams.
For Kansas, sophomore forward Thomas Robinson lost his grandparents and his mother in less than a month. What a shame for a top-ranked team to have to contain their emotions during something like this for the sake of team. However, a supportive Jayhawks nation stuck by Robinson, including getting clearance from the NCAA to help aid Robinson. I was watching ESPN, and they read Robinson’s thank you note thanking the nation for watching over him and helping him with their support. Kansas fans are some of the best in the country. Maybe I am mentioning this because it was covered so much and his first game after his mother’s funeral was televised on ESPN last Saturday. However, Kansas puts everything they have into their team with their support, setting an example just like top-ranked teams should.
This is a gut check that there is more to life than basketball. Overcoming negative times, whether with losing or in real life, is crucial for a team’s direction. The test is how teams react and move on to brighter and better things. When a team sticks together and fights to the end for each other, that is when a team finds their grit and heart

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