Memories from Selection Sunday
by USA TODAY Sports , USA TODAY
Selection Sunday has become one of the great annual non-sports sports events in the nation. Players and coaches wait eagerly to see where they’ll be going and who they’ll be playing, and anxiously if they are on the dreaded bubble.
Fans sit with blank bracket sheets looking to fill in the teams to get a jump on the office pool. It all unfolds on national television over the course of an hour as the 68 names are revealed.
USA TODAY Sports Weekly caught up with current and former players and coaches to learn their favorite memories of the big reveal.
John Beilein, Michigan coach:
“The ones that are the most memorable ones are the ones where you didn’t know if you were in. That would be my (second) year here. We were a bubble team. Those are tremendous memories when you see your name.
“I also had one at Richmond where we might have been one of the first four out. You have a couple of hundred people with you, and you see that last name come up, and you’re not on it. That is a humbling experience.
“Canisius hadn’t been in 35 years. Sitting and watching our name come up against Utah was so thrilling. Utah had Keith Van Horn, Mike Doleac, Andre Miller. They had three pros on the team. It was great seeing the name come up; the game didn’t turn out so well. When you’re at a midmajor and you win a tournament, it’s so exciting that (Selection Sunday) day. You know your chances of winning a first-round game are going to be so difficult. … Being part of that when your team has accomplished so much is the icing on the cake after your team has won the tournament.”
Mark Few, Gonzaga coach:
“I remember one year, Dan Dickau’s senior year (in 2001-02). It was the last time we had a big gathering. We were at a hotel. Probably had a couple thousand people. I think we lost two games that year, and right or wrong, I think people thought we’d be in the three (seed) line. They put … [For more on The Big Reveal: Coaches, former players share Selection Sunday memories, click here.]