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yoco :: College Basketball
(a sports weblog) news and commentary on men's college basketball and the ncaa tournament

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Saturday, December 04, 2004

Research assistants

would be a wonderful addition to the Washington Post sports pages. From today's article by Eris Prisbell on college "basketball's mid-major debate."

During Nevada-Las Vegas's heyday in the early 1990s, players were celebrities, driving glittering cars and comprising one of the best teams in history. A few years later, John Calipari knew his U-Mass. team had arrived on the national scene when he watched on television as Maryland fans chanted "We want U-Mass.!" several days before the Terrapins met the highly ranked Minutemen.

Both UNLV and U-Mass. reached the Final Four during the past 15 years. Yet both competed in conferences -- the Big West and Atlantic 10, respectively -- regarded as "mid-major." The term has been part of the sports's vernacular since at least the late 1980s and vaguely refers to teams or conferences that don't possess the same resources, talent base or offer the same exposure as the nation's top six conferences.

Eric's language -- "since at least" the late 1980's -- covered his bases. But the term "mid-major" has been in use for at least an additional decade. You'd think that the Washington Post would at the absolute minimum check the paper's own archives. From an article published by the Post on November 30th, 1977.

Catholic's Jack Kvancz was particularly delighted yesterday, still sky high hours after a 66-61 upset over Howard.

"Last year we didn't beat a single area team," he chirped, "and now we have a chance to beat two of 'em in three days. If we do, maybe I'll retire for the rest of the year.

"We just had a great, exhilarating game against Howard," bubbled the scrappy Kvancz. "Our gym was packed, everybody screaming. It was everything that basketball's about at the level of our program. For a game between two 'mid-majors,' or whatever you'd call us, it had anything you could ask for."