A look at the biggest college basketball stories of a year that, depending on your preference, belonged to Kemba, Jimmer, Coach K, or mid-major magic. (And we can only hope that, after a scandalous November and December, the sport can produce as much positive drama in 2012's NCAA tournament as it did in 2011's.)
VCU, one of the teams in the inaugural "First Four" -- a nice way of saying it was among the last teams picked for the newly expanded field of 68 -- reeled off a string of five upsets to become the first 11-seed to reach the Final Four since George Mason, in 2006. The Rams introduced the nation to
Bearcats power forward Yancy Gates will go down as the biggest villain, for the vicious, bloodying sucker-punch he landed on Musketeers center Kenny Frease's cheek. Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin delivered an impassioned press conference full of proper perspective on the embarrassing nature of the incident ... and then suspended Gates for only six games, allowing him to return in time for the Bearcats' second Big East contest. Xavier's Tu Holloway was one of the brawl's prime verbal instigators, and showed no remorse for the fight in his own postgame remarks, which included a reference to his teammates being "gangsters." He was suspended for just one game, and equally culpable teammate Mark Lyons was held out for two. For all the trivial eligibility matters the NCAA meddles in, it lacked the jurisdiction to demand more appropriate penalties for something that truly has no place in the sport.That just seems a little wrong, doesn't it?