Welcome mid-major basketball fans! It's my pleasure to welcome you to the new Mid-Major Madness, I hope you'll stay for a while and invite some friends. I know it's been a while since things have been active around these parts but with the blessings of the higher ups I fully intend to change that and with your help turn this into a thriving community to discuss, debate and discover the world of college basketball outside the Big Six Conferences, where frankly things are more fun anyway.
Follow along after the jump for a little bit about myself and what to expect moving forward from this here blog.
First I supposed introductions would be appropriate. My name is Joey Whelan, I'm a sports anchor/reporter at KFYR-TV in Bismarck, North Dakota - or in simpler terms I'm sandwiched somewhere between the Big Sky Conference and the Summit League. I've been writing about basketball for nearly five years (though sometimes it seems longer) ending up at such outlets as SLAM Magazine, DraftExpress and currently contribute to several blogs in the TrueHoop Network. In those capacities I cover the NBA, a world of basketball that is wide open to everyone, names we all know, teams we've all heard of. The beauty of mid-major basketball is that to the casual fan they don't exist beyond the 12-5 upset come March. But unbeknown to the masses, this world is very much alive and thriving year-round, like an underground speakeasy that only a select few know about. It's that very reason that I settled on what should be an easily recognized photo for this maiden post. As soon as Gordon Hayward's last second heave missed the mark setting off an on court celebration by Duke, the mid-major world slowly began to fade from clarity. The Butler Bulldogs may have captured the nation's imagination, but as soon as the dream died it was back to the quagmire of the unknown.
Now a bit of a confession on my part: I went to an ACC school, the University of Maryland in fact. I covered the Terrapins for four years as a radio announcer and video journalist, but secretly, much to the chagrin of my friends I was obsessed with mid-major basketball. I detested the nights that I was forced to watch middling contests between the Maryland's and Virginia Tech's of the world when I could have been witness to the more appealing match-ups of George Mason vs. VCU, Wichita State vs. Creighton or Gonzaga vs. St. Mary's. In four years of student coverage in College Park my favorite memory wasn't a 2009 Maryland upset of North Carolina, but rather covering the 2008 CAA Tournament as a freelance blogger. So while my roots may lie in BCS territory, I hope that you'll think of me as a mid-major fan trapped in the body of an ACC grad.
The challenge of a blog like this one is the sheer range of the coverage - 26 conferences (plus a handful of independent schools) is daunting to say the least. That's where you the readers enter the picture. While I fully intend to bring you the best coverage I am capable of on both a wide and narrow scope as it pertains to mid-major basketball, I'm not arrogant enough to believe that I can cover every story in enough detail to satisfy the most die hard fan of every team. Fan posts are encouraged. Suggestions for the site's coverage are always welcome. Most importantly of all, don't think of this as a strict case of me talking at all of you through the medium of the written word, but rather a means of facilitating what I hope will be a long and fruitful relationship here at Mid-Major Madness.
Thanks for reading and check back first thing Friday morning as we officially hit the ground running at MMM!