Basketball, Sports

Tip-Off Madness: Basketball for a good cause

Coaches vs. Cancer held its annual Tip-Off Madness at the Boston College Club Tuesday night. The event raises money each year for cancer research with guest speakers and a silent auction. 

Coaches vs. Cancer is a collaboration between the National Association of Basketball Coaches and the American Cancer Society.

Bob Ryan, a former sports columnist of the Boston Globe, announced to the crowd that $13,000 was raised on Tuesday night, all of which will go toward cancer research.. 

“We can change the odds [against cancer] and fight back together,” Ryan said.

The American Cancer Society has over 1.5 million volunteers looking for breakthroughs in cancer research. They also have a 24/7/365 live hotline and are always looking to create cancer awareness. 

The guest speaker of the night was Joe Lunardi, ESPN bracketologist who predicts the 64 team field for the NCAA Tournament each year and updates his bracket each week during the college basketball season. Many guests at the event asked Lunardi during the cocktail hour if he thought their team was good enough this year to be in the top 64, since Lunardi is the expert in that department. 

It was clear the audience was engaged because of Lunardi’s basketball knowledge and personality. Lunardi is an expert on an event that rules the sports world for four weeks and that sports fans become obsessed with.

“The average bid to the tournament last year was $1.8 million,” Lunardi said.

Lunardi also said the night was about something much more than basketball.

 “Thank you for what you’re doing with Coaches vs Cancer.”

Coaches in attendance Tuesday included Joe Jones of Boston University, Jim Christian of Boston College, Tommy Amaker of Harvard University, Matt McCall of University of Massachusetts Amherst, Pat Duqquette of University of Massachusetts Lowell, Brett Nelson of College of Holy Cross, and Bill Coen of Northeastern University.

The coaches took part in a round table discussion led by Jeff Goodman, a Stadium basketball insider. Goodman asked questions to the coaches in front of the crowd ranging from the status of their teams to if they hope the NCAA Tournament will expand its amount of teams.

“You’re not going to find a better group of people and how they conduct themselves,” Goodman said about the coaches.

An early topic of discussion was the length of the college basketball season today and that it keeps getting longer and longer. Many coaches echoed similar thoughts that the season has become too strung out and that it is not good for the health of their players because more games are being played with not enough off time.  The season kicks off on Nov. 5 and teams who play in the postseason may be playing very well into March. This year, the season opener is between Northeastern and BU, who will square off in a game which was described as a “tortue fest” by Coen. 

Jones spoke highly of who he considers his three best players and leaders when asked by Goodman: senior Max Mahoney, junior Javante McCoy and sophomore Walter White. 

“If we can get some help around those guys we have a chance,” Jones said

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