Muin Baig of Sathyabama scores against Bharati Vidyapeeth, Pune.

Muin Baig of Sathyabama scores against Bharati Vidyapeeth, Pune.

Gopalakrishnan R & Vishnu Ravi Shankar, Chennai, 18th January 2015: Playing with poise and purpose, hosts Sathyabama University, Chennai and South zone rivals University of Madras progressed to the finals of the UBA All India Inter University Basketball Tournament for Men 2014-15. In the process, west zone winners Bharati Vidyapeeth University, Pune and Jain University, Bengaluru’s creditable run at this year’s All India event came to an end.

Sathyabama cruises into finals

With homecourt advantage, South zone champs Sathyabama University were overwhelming favourites. From the get go, Sathyabama went on a tear, racking up 17 points in the first five minutes as against 11 for Pune. There were flickering moments of hope for Bharati Vidyapeeth throughout the first two quarters. Centre Aniket Jadhav was able to score from deep inside the paint, and hefty guard Akshay Bhosle belied his size to beat defenders to the basket and also score from outside. But at half time, Pune still trailed 48-61.

For Sathyabama, the balanced scoring that has marked its run throughout the South Zone and the league stages of these nationals continued to hold it in good stead. As many as six players scored in double digits out of which centre Prem Kumar showed his class with a double double of 32 points and 13 rebounds.

By the end of the third quarter, the Chennai team had built a lead in excess of 30 points while for Pune the gaping hole they had dug themselves in contributed to a number of turnovers (18 for the match as against 11 for Sathyabama). With Pune’s offense stagnant, Akshay Bhosle resorted to a number of contested threes, a whopping 26 attempts from beyond the arc, out of which he converted seven. Sathyabama’s post players were only too glad to grab the misses and lob them ahead to Muin Baig for easy transition buckets. The final score read 108-82.

Despite this win, Sathyabama will be concerned about the availability of small forward Muin Baig who suffered a knee injury late in the fourth quarter and had to be taken off the court in a wheelchair.

University of Madras, Chennai topples Jain University, Bengaluru

Jeevanatham of Madras Univ scores against Preetham of Jain.

Jeevanatham of Madras Univ scores against Preetham of Jain.

In a game of two halves, University of Madras beat Jain University, Bengaluru to go through to the finals and create a rematch of the South Zone finale against city rivals Sathyabama University, Chennai.

University of Madras, Chennai versus Jain University, Bengaluru promised to be a cracker of a contest from the start. Both teams have potential future stars in the form of forward Kaif Zia for Bengaluru and centre Jeevanatham for Madras. Apart from these two centre pieces, the sides also have top quality role players from positions 1 to 5. The sides are very familiar with each other, having played in the semifinal league stages in last week’s South Zone rounds. In that match, Madras had prevailed 102-77 over a depleted Jain outfit. But in this encounter, a full strength Jain unit had its offense clicking in the first half.

Jain University’s trademark fast break offense continued to be its key offensive strategy in these semi-finals. For Madras, centre Jeevanatham, who is also on the senior Tamil Nadu team, was the focal point on both ends of the floor. Jain’s shorter post players Michael John and Preetham Reddy worked hard to contain him but with little success. Jeevanatham overpowered the undersized Jain team and ended up with a double-double of 28 points and 13 rebounds. On the defensive end, his size altered many of Jain’s shots and he was a true rim protector in this game.

For Jain, senior Karnataka team player Visu Palani hit top form in the first half nailing his shots from deep. Point guard Vinoth controlled the tempo beautifully and Kaif Zia did enough to ensure Jain held a double digit lead midway through the second quarter. But it was only a matter of time before Madras fought back to come within two points of Jain. The high scoring first half had both teams scoring in excess of 60 points, with Jain leading 63-61 at halftime.

The reversal of fortunes continued in the third quarter with Madras taking the lead for the first time in the match. It seemed like Jain let their guard down a bit in the second half and the Madras team took full advantage. Led by point guard Anto Bethle (31 points) and swingman Karthickeyan S (35 points and 10 rebounds), University of Madras came out firing on all cylinders and never looked back. Crisp offense and tenacious defence resulted in University of Madras outscoring 73 to 42 in the second half. Vivek M also contributed for University of Madras with 23 points. Lack of bench strength hurt Jain in the second half. University of Madras went deep into their roster and they outran the tired looking Jain team. University of Madras ended up scoring a tournament-high 134 points to defeat Jain University and qualify for the final to be held tomorrow where they will face the other Chennai team, Sathyabama University.

Semifinal Results

Sathyabama University, Chennai (Prem Kumar 32 points 13 rebounds, Muin Bek 19 points, Arun Prashanth 17 points) bt Bharati Vidyapeeth University, Pune (Akshay Bhosle 30 points, Gautam Daddikar 23 points, Tejas Khivsare 13 points) 108-82 (25-21, 36-27, 33-14, 14-20)

University of Madras, Chennai (Karthickeyan S 35 points 10 rebounds, Anto Bethle 31 points, Jeevanatham P 28 points 13 rebounds, Vivek M 23 points) bt Jain University, Bengaluru (Kaif Zia 34 points, Visu Palani 26 points, Vinoth 13 points) 134-105 (30-33, 31-30, 38-22, 37-20)

About the All India University Championships

The Association of Indian Universities (“AIU”) Annual Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournament is a large Pan-India basketball tournament.  The winning team is crowned the number one university basketball team in India.  The Tournament is structured similar to the NCAA Basketball tournament in the United States.  It is broken down into regional series which are held in each of four regions in India — The South Zone, the North Zone, the East Zone, and the West Zone.  The teams in each region compete in regional tournaments, and the four winning teams from each region play in the final Tournament – The Inter Zonal Tournament.

The top four teams that have qualified from each of the four zones are as follows:

South Zone

  1. Sathyabama University, Chennai
  2. Madras University, Chennai
  3. Bharathiar University, Coimbatore
  4. Jain University, Bengaluru

North Zone

  1. Punjab University, Chandigarh
  2. Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar
  3. University of Delhi, Delhi
  4. Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi

East Zone

  1. Mahatma Gandhi Kasi Vidyapeeth University, Varanasi
  2. Ravishankar Shukla University, Raipur
  3. Burdwan University, Burdwan
  4. Veer Bahadur Singh Purvanshal University, Jaunpur

West Zone

  1. Bharati Vidya Peet University, Pune
  2. University of Rajasthan, Jaipur
  3. Savitribai Phule University, Pune
  4. Shivaji University, Kolhapur

About Universal Basketball Alliance of India (UBA)

The Universal Basketball Alliance of India, LLC (“UBA”) has acquired the broadcast, merchandise and sponsorship rights to the existing, and self-governing Indian University Basketball Program.  The UBA is currently securing television broadcasting arrangements, securing corporate sponsorships for tournament play, and creating merchandising opportunities.

UBA will focus its attention on the AIU and popularizing its All India Inter Zonal Tournament as an entertainment product for Indian viewers to enjoy for generations to come, just as Collegiate Basketball is in the United States.

About Association of Indian Universities (AIU)

The idea of bringing together all the universities on a common platform emerged from the deliberations of a Conference of the Vice Chancellors of Universities convened by Lord Reading, the then Viceroy of India at Shimla in 1924. The Inter-University Board (IUB) of India was subsequently formed on March 23, 1925, with the view of promoting university activities, especially by way of sharing information and co-operation in the field of education, culture, sports and allied areas. The Inter-University Board acquired a legal status with its registration in 1967 as a Society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. In 1973, it assumed its present name: The Association of Indian Universities (AIU). The membership includes traditional universities, open universities, professional universities, Institutes of National Importance and deemed-to-be universities. In addition, there is a provision of granting of Associate Membership to universities of neighbouring countries.