Monday, March 12, 2012

A new era of college basketball?

College basketball has been through many different phases in the last few seasons. Post season teams have gone up by almost half in the last 5 years. In 2007, you had the 65 in the NCAA Tournament, 32 in the NIT and that was it. Now, you have 148 teams.

Shared by John Infante and a couple of others, the College Basketball Champions League would revolutionize college basketball. Teams would be competing for two championships instead of one. The NCAA Cup (like the FA Cup in English soccer) or the College Basketball Champions League (the more prestigious title). Schools that lost in these games would still play conference schedules and schedule non-conference games.

One thing I would add would be for Division II teams to be allowed to play, replacing teams that failed in the APR (Academic Progress Rate) and are ineligible to play in the post-season. This would replace the teams that failed to get a high enough score.

This would add a whole new dimension to the Division II national tournament. This tournament is 64-teams in eight regions. Every team in the division except ones on probation would have a chance to play into the tournament.

The "Final Four" in this league or maybe more teams would get to play in the NCAA Cup. At max, eight teams from D2 would be in there. This would be a magnificent opportunity for them, as the division rarely gets any publicity.

It is already a huge deal when mid-major D1 teams get to host the major schools. Usually, this happens only a few times a year.

These games would be played more often, and when played, would be big money-makers and can be some of the most exciting action of the year. This wouldn't happen every time, in fact some games might be repeats of conference games, which is OK, but it would be a lot of fun.

North Carolina at College of Charleston, January 2010

Imagine a small D2 school like Angelo State or another getting to play or host any D1 school. It would be a huge deal for these schools, giving lots of added publicity. That's just one of the benefits of a new system. College basketball's popularity would rise.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Ruby Tuesday in Grand Forks, just like "Olive Garden."

If you have been reading the Grand Forks Herald in the last couple of days, you have seen an article from Marilyn Hagerty. She is a grandmotherly type who has her main beat as a food writer. She had to write a review about the new Olive Garden in town. We love her, but you'd think Olive Garden was an amazing new restaurant.

She wrote something in late December about the new Ruby Tuesday in town. Here it is, from the December 21, 2011 Grand Forks Herald. All rights are reserved to them and to NewsBank.

Ruby Tuesday's vast menu offers many healthy choicesGrand Forks Herald (ND) - Wednesday, December 21, 2011Author: The Eatbeat ; Marilyn Hagerty

My yearning for lobster was satisfied on a recent visit to the new Ruby Tuesday restaurant. I don't need a huge amount, and the small lobster tail served with the Shellfish Trio was perfect. It was served with a lump crab cake and three jumbo shrimp.

The cost for the shellfish trio dinner is $17.99, and with it, you have a choice of two fresh sides. I chose steamed broccoli that was done just right - not that mushy stuff that often shows up in restaurants. And I had another side of grilled green beans. There was a tiny biscuit served with the meal.

The two huge menus that were set before me were, in a way, overwhelming. I suppose a person would become familiar with them after a few visits.

I chose a late-afternoon time on a Saturday in December to try out Ruby Tuesday, one of five in North Dakota and 1,200 around the country. And even at 4:15 p.m., the parking spots in front of the new restaurant were filling up. It has received a warm welcome here.

The restaurant features an inviting, long salad bar in the center aisle. There are several seating areas with booths and tables. The decor is warm and inviting with dark wood and brown tones throughout. Soft lamplight provides a cozy feeling.

Servers look professional in all-black shirts and trousers.

Ruby Tuesday features lobster specials on weekends, including a lobster tail served with petite sirloin steak ($17.99). Other specials include lobster mac and cheese and garden bar ($14.99). The "shareables" - or appetizers - include Asian dumplings and Southwestern spring rolls. There are chicken tenders and quesadillas.

I would go back and order the grilled salmon salad ($13.99) that comes with fresh greens, peas, grated Parmesan cheese and croutons - all served with tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots. The menu at Ruby Tuesday is vast, varied and full of healthful choices. At the same time, it is mind-boggling at first.

There was little to criticize in this beautiful new restaurant. The only thing I noticed was watermarks on the steak knife that came wrapped with a fork and spoon in a nice clothlike paper napkin.

One plus for the restaurant was found on the menu saying, "We don't add automatic gratuity for groups. We believe the amount you reward your server should be your choice."

Reach Hagerty at or call (701) 772-1055.

If you subscribe to NewsBank or to the Grand Forks newspaper, you can read many more articles like this. Your thoughts?