There is a better than 50 percent chance you come to Busting Brackets because you have been following my writing career. Which means not only are you a sicko, but you are also likely a glutton for punishment, and bad humor, and iffy writing skills. With all of that being said, though, there a few people in the world you can blame for my existence. Two of them being my parents for making a huge and (assumingly) drunken mistake many moons ago. The others being people who influenced my decision to
attempt to cover college basketball.
With all of that being said, I recently got a chance to do a little Q and A with Troy Machir of Sporting News. Which was great for a variety of reasons. What he is to social media in college basketball is very much in the same level of greatness that upper-management is to curb-stomping streetwalkers (I meant all of that as a compliment).
Luckily for us — not so much for Troy, though — we also just got a chance to do the same with NBCSports’ Rob Dauster, who is the lead editor of College Basketball Talk.
If you are familiar with me, then you are familiar with him — as we link to their site almost daily and yes, he is also someone else you can blame for me doing stuff like this.
Rob is one of the premiere people who cover college basketball in the entire country (and as we find out later) that even Troy couldn’t hold back.
Let’s skip the gibber-jabber. You came here to find out stuff about Rob Dauster, not about unicorns and lobsters.
(BB in the bold font. Rob Dauster in that fancy smancy italic kind)
For those unaware of the exploits of Rob Dauster, how exactly did you wind up being the main-man in charge of CBB at CBT for NBCSports?
I started out running my own site call Ballin’ is a Habit back in like 2007, running that while bartending like 50 hours a week in DC. As that grew and gained more attention, I ended up with an opportunity to freelance for NBC around 2010. After three years of doing that, my boss got a promotion and I took over CBT. A little bit of luck and a lot of sleep deprivation.
CBB can be considered a niche sport. How, when and why did you decide college hoops was the sport you wanted to cover?
I don’t think CBB is a niche sport. Niche sports don’t dominate the entire sports landscape for a month, and that’s what college hoops does. It’s not going to drive ratings like football does here, but nothing does that. Flip through the channels when you watch games tonight. There will be a dozen different games on TV.
As far as why I wanted to cover it, I played basketball in college and when I graduated, my first job was working a desk and answering phones for some lobbying firm on K Street. I hated it and decided I wanted to get back into basketball. Didn’t wanna coach, so I started the site.
BIAH was a favorite of many CBB fans. But admit it, Troy Machir held you back, right?
The only thing Troy was good for was drinking the last beer in the fridge and complaining about people using nicknames he came up with. Not much has changed.
We asked Troy this when we spoke to him. Who would win in a one-on-one game?
He said he would win, I’m sure. As we established earlier, he’s an idiot.
We didn’t ask him this, but who would win in a battle of fisticuffs?
Troy should win, with his MMA background and all. But that was a lot of pounds ago. I’m not saying he’s fat, but I’m not saying he’s not fat, either. All I’d have to do is wait for him to get tired out and boom, it’s a wrap.
How do you and your staff deal with covering teams or players with an insane amount of hype that you might not have bought in to start with?
Just be honest with your opinions from the start, and if they’re wrong, own it afterwards. Because you know if they’re right, we won’t stop with the bragging.
Mount Rushmore-ing seems to be all the rage these days. So, um, who is on your Mount Rushmore of college basketball players?
Ray Allen, Donyell Marshall, Emeka Okafor and Ben Gordon. Take a guess what state I grew up in.
Who is on your Mount Rushmore of Twitter followers that annoy you?
Angry Kentucky fans, angry Syracuse fans, people who turn everything into an argument about stats, and @TroyMachir
How would you pitch the game of CBB to someone who doesn’t regularly follow it? Why is it worth watching?
There are so many different styles at play. It’s a game of matchups. If you’re enough of a nutjob to figure out who does what well, than you can watch the coaches match wits trying to figure out a way to, say, beat VCU’s press or handle the mismatch’s that Creighton’s offense creates. The NBA is all about identifying mismatches and taking advantage of them. The college game has much more variety, and the atmosphere where the games take place are much better.
What are some storylines from this year that haven’t developed the way you thought?
I did not expect Wichita State to be 28-0 this season. I didn’t think that Creighton would have this much success in the Big East this year. And I’m certainly glad that we left all the chatter about foul rules in December.
What are some storylines you didn’t see coming, but have you excited?
Tyler Ennis turning into one of the nation’s best players. I think he’s the sole reason that Syracuse is a national title contender. They don’t have any point guard depth and they don’t have enough scorers in the half court. I don’t think he’s the player of the year in CBB this season, but I certainly think he’s the MVP.
Who would be your first pick in the upcoming NBA Draft?
I’m still taking Wiggins. If he lives up to his potential, he’ll be a top five players in the NBA. I think he’s a Paul George clone if he can develop that killer instinct and aggressiveness that George has.
Who would you avoid at all costs?
If I’m picking in the top five, I would not take Aaron Gordon. There is too much talent in this draft, and I think that Gordon’s ceiling will be a better Kawhi Leonard. He’s a role player, and there are franchise-changing talents available at the top of the draft this season. I’d also stay away from Glenn Robinson III in the first round. He oozes potential, but I’m not convinced he’ll ever reach it.
Which coach has the best mustache in the country?
Which program has the most irrational fanbase?
All of them.
Which program is the most rational?
Creighton’s fan base is impressive. Outside of Kentucky and Syracuse and maybe Louisville, I have more interaction on social media with the Bluejay faithful than any other fan base.
If you were the AD of a fictional program (say, The Club State Pool Cleaners) and you can build your basketball program around any coach in the country for the next 20 years (factoring in age, health, etc.), who would it be?
For 20 years? Sean Miller gets the nod over Bill Self because Self is six years older. I’m not sure if he has 20 years left.
Favorite conference to watch?
This year? The Big 12.
Favorite player to watch?
Doug McDermott. He does everything well. It used to be Russ Smith, but he’s gotten all good and smart and stuff. He was more fun when he was out of control.
Player that is a “name” guy, but you find not so fun to watch?
This year, Marcus Smart. Once he stops whining to officials, overreacting, flopping and taking terrible jump shots, that will change, though.
Early? Yes. But who are your (blind) Final Four picks for the year?
Florida, Michigan State, Kansas, and Duke
Which program do you think is on the rise?
Would you punch an old homeless person in the face if it meant you got to play 12 minutes in the Final Four?
No, but I’d punch Troy in the face for 25% off a burrito at Chipotle.
If you didn’t cover CBB for a living, what would you be doing?
Trying to find a way to make a living covering CBB.
Finally, could you leave us a funny story or anecdote about anything related to CBB and yourself? The people want to get their Rob Dauster fill.
I played for an AAU program that has sent dozens of guys to the Division I level. The most notable? Tim Abromaitis at Notre Dame or Joe Trapani at BC. My coach said he’s never had a player that shot deeper threes than me. Not “I’ve never had a better shooter”, but “I’ve never had a player shoot from farther away”. The best honor I’ve ever received.
If you are a smart person who enjoys CBB, people making fun of Troy and/or general shennigans, you can follow Rob on Twitter @RobDauster