By TERRY LYONS
Fifth in a Series
NEW YORK – The challenge of naming the 2017 “DIGGIES” for NCAA College basketball is not finding 64 worthy Twitter accounts, but in weeding through the hundreds of options for each team preparing for the upcoming NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, otherwise known as “March Madness.”
In general, there are no fewer than two and as many as a dozen or more “feeds” associated with each team and they are most frequently among the following:
- School account
- Athletic Department account
- Men’s Basketball Team account
- Head Coach account (disappointing results to be seen by clicking HERE)
- Student Newspaper account
- Various media and/or beat-writers’ accounts
- Multiple Fan accounts, registering “above the bar” of interest
To compile the 2017 DIGGIES for March Madness, we’ve sifted through hundreds of the Twitter feeds and many lists previously compiled and have selected the following 68 winners. (Feel free to tweet or post your suggestions to our Twitter or Facebook to note possible oversights or to lobby for your favorite Twitter feeds for next March).
Link to this Story is HERE
Twitter List link is HERE
And, here we go…. Drum Roll – PUHLEEZE.
Our “Play-In” accounts:
@marchmadness – Official account for th tournament, run by the NCAA
@marchmadnesstv – Official account for all television information, provided by partners CBS Sports and Turner Sports
@ESPNCBB – Official account for ESPN’s college basketball coverage
@FinalFour – The official account for this year’s “Road to Phoenix,” the destination for March Madness.
Our “First Round” of 32 great accounts:
@OneShiningMoment – Twitter account for composer David Barrett who gets an entire year’s worth of exposure in a few March weeks every year.
@TheACC – Well, because it’s the ACC.
@CBSSportsCBB – A terrific resource for the entire tourney.
@Coach_Collins – Chris Collins is the coach of Northwestern and he’ll have some journalism students following his official account.
@CDortch – Editor of the College Basketball Blue Ribbon guide.
@BasketballTimes – Longtime bible magazine for college hoops and “Old-Skool” coverage. They need to up the twitter campaign.
@TeamCoachBuzz – Coach Buzz Williams does a nice job, on and off the court.
@TurnerSportsEJ – Official account for studio host extraordinaire Ernie Johnson Jr.
@NCAAwbb – Let’s be sure to give the women’s tourney our love and attention. Some serious hoops being played, for sure.
@NovaMBB – If you’re not following the defending (and possibly the repeat) champions Villanova Wildcats, you’re nowhere.
@DavidWorlock – Account for NCAA Director of Media Coordination and Stats, a media coordinator for March Madness.
@EdGraney – Columnists/reporter for the Las VegasReview-Journal and president of the US Basketball writers, the association for college hoops reporters.
@br_cbb – Bleacher Report does a nice job across all of their sports and college hoops is on the high side of that coverage.
@BIGEASTMBB – The BIG EAST sent its magnificent seven teams to the Dance, so let’s see what they have to say?
@NUMensBBall – Northwestern U made the tourney. Worthy of a follow, right?
@richarddeitsch – SI’s Richard Deitsch covers sports business with a relentless Zone Defense that would make Jim Boeheim proud.
@BillWalton – One of the greatest college basketball players of all-time, tweets his thoughts in a calmer, gentler manner than his on-air persona.
@DaggumRoy – Follow Daggum Roy … Trust us. It’ll make you laugh as long as UNC goes down the Road to the Final Four.
@DailyDoseofHoops – A NY-based account following college hoops.
@UCLAMBB – We’re picking and choosing only a few official MBB accounts, and by doing so, tipping our hand as indicator of bracket picks.
@CoachOtz – South Dakota State’s head coach has a twitter persona like no other coach in the tourney. Give him a shot.
@usabasketball – The official account for USA Basketball keeps an eye on all things hoops. It’s a MUST FOLLOW.
@NABC1927 – Official account of the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
@YahooSports – The overall account for all of Yahoo Sports but heavy CBB in the next month
@USBWA – Official account for the college basketball writers.
@jasonrmcintyre – Reporter for The Big Lead, a USA Today affiliate.
@ZO2_ – Lonzo Ball is getting lots of attention, as is his father.
@ZonaZooOfficial – Check it out. It’s the official student section for Arizona and a lead to others of its kind.
@LukeWinn – Senior reporter for Sports Illustrated
@Alexander_wolff – If it’s about college hoops, Alex is our lifeline call. He isn’t a heavy tweeter, though, but should be.
@Rivals – Stay on this account for recruiting news in CBB and NCAAF too.
(We’re happy to assist in the planning!)
Our “Sweet 16” accounts:
@DickieV – What would college hoops coverage be without Dick Vitale? C’mon baby? He’s a prime time tweeter.
@SIPeteThamel – Terrific coverage all year long and it shines at this time of year.
@GreggDoyleStar – Gregg Doyle covers sports for the Indianapolis Star where college hoops is king.
@YahooForde – Pat Forde writes for Yahoo and covers college
@SethOnHoops – Former coach Seth Greenberg has become must watch tv for college hoops fans, so you might as well follow too.
@DukeMBB – Love ’em or hate ’em, Duke is college hoop.
@UKCoachCalipari – Coach Cal’s official account has more followers than all the other tourney coaches COMBINED!
@RealJayWilliams – The “real” Jay Williams does a REAL good job.
@ESPNDanaOneil – College hoops reporter for ESPN, a good one at that.
@MarkelleF – Possibly the “No. 1” pick of the upcoming NBA Draft. Follow along.
@VUCoachJWright – Might be the best coach in the shooting match and Villanova has the banner to prove it from last season (maybe this, too?)
@CoachBillSelf – The Kansas head coach is second to Coach Cal in followers, a mere 1.4 million behind his UK rival. (Where’s Pitino?)
@JeffEisenberg – College basketball writer for Yahoo Sports.
@NicoleAuerbach – USA Today reporter for college basketball.
@DanWetzel – Columnist for Yahoo does an extraordinary job at NCAA MBB tourney.
@TSNMike – Account for longtime Sporting News college basketball writer Mike DeCourcy.
Our “Elite Eight” twitter accounts that deserve special mention:
@adorbalelacey – Lacey’s Legacy – Jay Bilas follows one account. It’s this one and that’s good enough for us. MUST FOLLOW.
@CoachesvsCancer – Official account for the NABC and a truly worthy effort against the terrible disease. MUST FOLLOW.
@JoshHart_3 – The star of the Villanova Wildcats does a nice job with his account.
@GaryParrishCBS – Account of CBS Sports reporter Gary Parrish
@HoopsWeiss – If his nickname is hoops, you better damn well follow his account, right? Let’s just say Dickie Weiss is college basketball and his Philly roots provide reports and perspective for all fans, young and old.
@AdamZagoria – Zags Blog and his reporting for SNY (New York) has provided news and recruiting info to a new generation of college hoops fans.
@si_ncaabb – Sports Illustrated’s official college basketball account.
@SethDavisHoops – TV commentator Seth Davis does a great job of covering college hoops all year for CBS and SI.
Our “Final Four” twitter favorites:
@jaybilas – Official account for former duke player and current tv commentator, for our money, Jay is the best in the business.
@ESPNandykatz – Official account for ESPN college basketball reporter Andy Katz, who remains in the Final Four if for only getting President Obama to do his “NCAA Brackets” on national television, possibly the coolest bracket selection of all-time.
@GoodmanESPN – Jeff Goodman, the College Basketball Insider for ESPN does as good a job covering collegiate basketball as any reporter covering any sport.
@ESPNLunardi – If you haven’t been following ESPN’s “Bracketologist,” you haven’t been following March Madness.
Honorable mention: @DanMuller Dan Muller of Illinois State, left as a wallflower when the dance cards were issued.
Digital Sports Desk previously has selected our “DIGGIES”
- “Best Sports Twitter Accounts to Follow”
- “Must Follow NFL Twitter Accounts for Super Bowl”
- “Must Attend Sports Business Conferences”
- “Must Follow NBA Twitter Accounts for NBA All-Star”
- This LIST for the ’17 March Madness Must Follow twitter accounts
By TERRY LYONS, Editor-in-Chief, Digital Sports Desk
BOSTON – This weekend, the annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference is being staged here in Boston once again. It tips-off a spring season of sports business seminars that focus on the latest trends in the sporting, sports business, sports technology and eSports industry. The agenda is packed with a sports media and business “Dream Team” panels and the topics of conversation, combined with the networking opportunities create one of the best labs in the industry.
Digital Sports Desk is proud to attend many of the conferences and report (+ Tweet) on the news generated from many of the panel discussions and presentations. All-in-all, there are no “bad” conferences or presentations, as you can certainly learn from everyone. That said, some are better than others, of course, and we’re going to list the sports business and marketing conferences that stand-out the most.
Our recommendations, forever to be known as “The DIGGIES” (De-Jeez):
The Gran-Daddy of ’em all? The annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston is the largest and most amazing of the many sports conferences held each year. Dubbed “Dork-A-Palooza” by some combination of Boston Sports Guy/gone ESPN gone/The Ringer Bill Simmons and/or Dallas Mavericks team owner Mark Cuban, the SSAC attracts “A-List” speakers and panelists, such as NBA Commissioner Adam Silver – doing a popular “One-on-One,” dubbed “Silver on Silver with pundit Nate Silver. It will surely be compared to a memorable panel chaired by moderator of two years past (Malcolm Gladwell).
Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey and Jessica Gelman, formerly of the New England Patriots, now running the Kraft Analytics Group (KAGR) as CEO, are the original organizers and hosts. They do a great job and attract team GMs, former players (Shane Battier on the roster this year and last) and a ton of others (see Nate Silver – but don’t ask him to handicap a horse race or an election.
ESPN has a considerable influence and its writers and talent are frequently on stage for the seminar, and that is almost always a good thing.
The location, here in Boston (at the Boston Hynes Convention Hall (Hynes is near Copley, as it’s not at the Seaport this year because of a golfing exhibit) is a tremendous site and easily accessible via Logan Airport or the Amtrak service to Back Bay). Note: It sells out quickly, so don’t wait.
A listing of our other faves:
Sports Business Journal: The talented and dedicated folks from the SBJ/SBD run a half-dozen or so of the best conferences on the planet, including the World Congress of Sports (April 19-20, 2017 in Dana Point, Calif) which coincides with the annual 40-Under-40 awards.
The two conferences where we learn and certainly always enjoy the most are these:
The Neulion Sports Media & Technology Conference (usually in NYC, but was held in Manhattan Beach, Calif in fall of 2016)
The Momentum Sports Marketing Symposium, held in NYC this past November 9-10.
We were unable to attend out in sunny Manhattan Beach but did make the trip to New York and covered one particularly great panel with retiring Boston Red Sox slugger David “Big Papi” Ortiz and his agent, Alex Radetsky who were both wonderful, insightful and entertaining as they mapped out the past year (after Ortiz decided to retire) but paved the way many years ago, as Radetsky helped his client prepare for the future. Very refreshing.
SBJ also does conferences on the world of motorsports, the annual college fest, as noted above, a terrific “Game Changers” conference focusing the massive and growing impact of women in the sports industry, an AXS sports facilities and ticketing forum and their own “Grand Daddy” of ‘em all in the annual Sports Business Awards ceremony – the OSCARs of the sports world. (May 24, 2017).
SXSW: This event is all the rage and the SXSW Sports track is an agenda for everyone seeking insight from everything from the ancient and beautiful game to virtual reality trends. MLS Commissioner Don Garber and NBA Hall of Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson are on the proposed agenda for the March 2017 gathering amidst the coolness of SXSW in Austin, Texas.
Leaders in Sport – This conference is also known as, just LEADERS, is European based but puts on a terrific conference in NYC, this year dubbed The Sports Business Summit and scheduled for the Times Center in Times Square, March 21-22, 2017. Prior to the big seminar, the group will stage an event in London on January 12, coinciding with the NBA London Games, They’ll also do a version in June 2017 in Beijing.
One of the new kids on the block is HASHTAG SPORTS, a conference that began last year at Brooklyn’s Expo Center with a special networking event at nearby Barclay’s Center. It will re-locate to Times Square in Manhattan from June 26-29th of 2017. The organizers are expecting some 1,500+ attendees. It’s worth a look. Visit: https://hashtagsports.com/#
Cynopsis Sports does a small but impactful sports business summit yearly in New York. From panel discussions on the future of sports, to content distribution, to keynotes by industry leaders, Cynopsis always does a great job on an interesting, forward-looking agenda in a small and congenial atmosphere.
Lastly, a rather impromptu sports panel crept up on us this past year, and it was scheduled perfectly adjacent to the SBJs Sports Marketing symposium last November, that being the National Sports Marketing’s “Reaching Millennials Through Sports” panel which included a presentation by Simon Wardle of Octagon. The event was held at the Paley Center in NYC and was incredibly succinct and informative. I noted to its organizers that it was the best panel of the year. Visit: http://sportsmarketingnetwork.com/chapters/nyc.shtml
NEW YORK – (Special to Digital Sports Desk by The Sports Xchange) – No, we aren’t talking about the Washington, D.C., political scene. We’re talking about baseball. And while it comes nowhere close to what’s going down in the nation’s capital, it still is very real: Witness the tug-of-war between ownership and the Major League Baseball Players Association unfolding over rule changes to speed the pace of play in the game.
Commissioner Rob Manfred pulled back the curtain on it on Tuesday as he took questions on the state of the game from the media while touring the Cactus League in Phoenix. It wasn’t more than two minutes before he said, “Unfortunately, it appears there won’t be any meaningful change for the 2017 season due to a lack of cooperation from the MLBPA.”
As he begins his third season as commissioner, this is perhaps the most forceful Manfred has been. Ownership and the union were able to reach a collective bargaining agreement in the fall, so the sides are able to negotiate. However, clearly there are some residual feelings from the interaction.
Manfred — and thus ownership — wants to take measures to speed the pace of games. He said that home runs are up 32 percent since 1980 and strikeouts are up 67 percent, so balls in play are at a record low.
“I’ve tried to be clear that our game is fundamentally sound, and it does not need to be fixed,” he said. “At the same time, I think it’s a mistake to stick our head in the sand and ignore the fact that our game has changed and continues to change.”
Here are some of the ideas Manfred endorses: a 20-second pitch clock that has worked effectively to improve pace in the minor leagues, and altering penalties for violations of it; limiting the number of trips to the mound; issuing intentional walks without throwing pitches; and altering the strike zone in a way that pitchers must throw more hittable pitches.
MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said last weekend that the union favors making no changes, instead preferring to educate fans about the nuances of the game. Manfred said he rejects that idea and is prepared, under what he said are the terms of the CBA, to implement changes unilaterally for the 2018 season (some interpret this as “executive order”).
“I’m firmly convinced that our fans, both our avid fans and casual fans, want us to respond to and manage the change that’s going on in the game,” he said. “I’m certain that our job as stewards of the game is to be responsive to fans.”
If it is a curiosity that the players’ union is so resistant to changes that ownership wants, consider for a moment the MLBPA’s perception of things. Since agreeing on the CBA, the players have experienced an offseason of free agency that was not expected.
Many top players didn’t get the kind of offers that came along in years past, and many had to settle for fewer dollars and fewer years. There were a surprising number of one-year deals and minor league contracts for long-time big-leaguers. Words like “collusion” have been whispered. And the players fear their percentage of the revenue is going down.
The new CBA, with escalating taxes each time a club surpasses the luxury tax threshold, has changed something. New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman — this is the Yankees, mind you — said the revised system is a little like working with a salary cap. The union agreed to it, but if clubs see it that way, it’s not good for player salaries.
Nevertheless, the union’s lack of enthusiasm for moves to increase pace of games has Manfred taking a hard line.
The 2016 season was plenty compelling with the Chicago Cubs winning their first World Series in 108 years at the end of a fascinating postseason. Interest didn’t wane despite the average length of a game going up by approximately four minutes. But the younger generation of would-be baseball fans, the social-media generation, has an insatiable appetite for more action, wanting the game to be as fast as can be.
Baseball can grow by doing whatever it can to engage this group.
And frankly, baseball doesn’t need every closer treating every pitch like an event. It doesn’t need pitching coaches going to the mound to stall for extra time so a reliever in the bullpen can get in five more warm-up throws.
Taking away the four balls in the intentional walk will save little time and remove some unpredictability in the game. And at a time when swing-and-miss pitching is at its height of importance — and let’s face it that strikeouts are fun — changing rules to introduce more balls in play feels like forcing a shift in this living, evolving game.
There is room for change.
The idea here is that the sides are supposed to continue talks about the proposed rule changes over the course of the coming season before it comes to Manfred’s office implementing things unilaterally. If the union can warm things in the relationship as it appeared Tuesday, it could have real input into what changes for 2018.
That’s what needs to happen. What’s best for the game will come from a meeting of the minds, not a Washington, D.C., sort of standoff.