It's nearly tournament time in college basketball. At this point of the season, individual accolades are not nearly as important as postseason opportunities. Fans want to know whether their team will qualify for their league tournaments. In college men's basketball, teams like Florida, Oregon, Massachusetts and St. Joseph's are on the proverbial bubble, unsure whether they will reach the NCAA Tournament. Women's teams like Houston, Southern Alabama and Illinois State are also concerned. These teams may have to win their respective college tournaments to reach the NCAA Tournament. (Please, please, please: Do not call this the Big Dance unless you are also going to ruin your copy with terms like charity stripe, dishing the rock, and treys.)
So, focus on your school's postseason chances. Will your school's team even reach the league tournament? Perhaps, the team is in 10th place and only eight teams go, which is the case for our school in the Ohio Valley Conference tournament. What will it take to reach the tournament. At what point are they mathematically be eliminated? At what point does the team qualify? That should always be the lead for these game stories. Or perhaps, your team is on the verge of securing a first-round home game that is awarded to the top four teams in the conference. Focus on these angles, unless a player breaks a school record or something unusual happens. Either way, elevate the postseason chances early in your copy at this time of the year.