A big win's only the beginning

Originally Published: November 9, 2004
By Fran Fraschilla | Special to ESPN.com
If you are a lower-profile team that has had sudden success in the NCAA Tournament, you have to take advantage of the "buzz" you've created.

In recent years, teams like Valparaiso, Creighton, Gonzaga, Southern Illinois, and my old school, Manhattan, have capitalized on notable postseason success to maintain levels of excellence that now perpetuate themselves. Gonzaga has taken the additional step of becoming a national program.

While a great moment, getting a tourney win is not the hardest part in building up a program. That comes afterward, when the low-profile team needs to keep its momentum going. There is always the chance these programs will lose their coach to the bright lights of a major conference. There also is the likelihood they might be losing a "once-in-a-generation" player like a Bryce Drew at Valpo or a Kyle Korver at Creighton. To overcome these inevitable hurdles, creating a consistent winning program requires continuity and commitment.
Fran Fraschilla is a college basketball analyst for ESPN. He formerly was the head coach at Manhattan, St. John's and New Mexico.