Saturday, March 14, 2009

FLORIDA STATE ADVANCES TO FIRST ACC FINAL

No. 22 FLORIDA STATE 73, No. 1 NORTH CAROLINA 70 – Evidently, the master plan was for all the potential number one NCAA seeds to lose in their conference tournaments. So far, save Memphis, the plan is working to perfection.

Florida State and North Carolina both did their part as the Seminoles combined the offense of Toney Douglas and a tough defense to upset the No. 1 Tar Heels. Douglas made every shot FSU needed and ended the game with 27 points and stifling defense on Wayne Ellington as he was seeking a game tying three-pointer at game’s end.

Solomon Alabi and Derwin Kitchen both scored 11 points for Florida State.

North Carolina clearly missed ACC Player of the Year, point guard Ty Lawson. While Wayne Ellington (24 points) and Tyler Hansbrough (22 points) played well, the rest of the Heels couldn’t get going. UNC struggled to get good shots.

In the end, they made just 22 of 59 field goal attempts (37.3 percent) and 4 o f 15 from behind the arc (26.7 percent) from the field.

Lawson, besides being a scoring threat on his own, is so effective at scoring and penetrating that he creates offensive opportunities for this teammates. Danny Green, in particular, seemed to miss Lawson. He played poorly in both tournament games, making just 3 of 25 shots, scoring four points.

The once deep Tar Heels only played seven players and two of those didn’t score.

North Carolina forced 14 turnovers and had eleven steals, but they were unable to convert those opportunities with the regularity of a team that averages 90 points per game.
Florida State (25-8) advanced to its first ACC final in school history.


(AP Photo/Dave Martin)

ANONYMOUS = DISGRUNTLED HOKIE

Our good friend "Anonymous" left us a note today taking umbrage with our photo editor. Seems we didn't publish the photos that accurately depicted his version of what happened at the end of the UNC v. Virginia Tech game...

"Why do you keep showing the 2 pictures above from the front? If you show the pictures from the other side, you will see that Tyler had his hand on the VT player's rib cage (which can be barely seen in the top picture). And if you actually watched the replay from the other side, you would have seen Tyler push the VT player away from the basket with that hand on the rib cage. That is why the VT player stopped his drive towards the basket and tried going the other way. Foul, throw in, basket, VT wins."

First off we show the pictures that the boys at Getty Images an AP Photos take and we don't have access to 360 degree replays - we're not TAHSPN. We don't have a stable of photographers who take pictures of every angle to be sure we can accurately portray everybody's perspective. It's a resource problem!
We publish what's available for publication.
Yes, if a foul is called, the Hokies get the ball back...but, here are two points to ponder:

1) Hansbrouhg is frequently pushed as he goes to the basket and so is everybody else. ACC refs don't call much of that, and they certainly don't call it on the last possession.

2) "throw in, basket, VT wins" is a spectacular over simplification. Ok, we'll grant you the "throw in", but the "basket" part is a bit more complicated.

3) Unless the Hokies score at the buzzer, the Heels would have gotten the ball back for a final shot. Point being, the game was far from over - call or no call. You might recall that A.D. Vasallo had a three-point shot at the buzzer to win (oops, that would be tie) the game, in spite of what happend on previous plays.

(AP Photo John Bazemore)

TERPS ANOTHER DANCE STEP CLOSER

MARYLAND 75, No. 9 WAKE FOREST 64 – If Wake Forest finds it way to Detroit for the final four, they rent a domed stadium for a few days of practice. Clearly the perspective and the baskets in the Georgia Dome didn’t agree with the Demon Deacons who missed 52 of their 74 shots from the field (29.7 percent).

And, three pointers – 3 of 25, 12 percent.

Among the starters, Al-Farouq Aminu was 2 of 12, Jeff Teague made only 3 of 13, Williams went 3 of 9, and Chas McFarland missed all four of his shots. Johnson connected on half of his 18 attempts, but the top five still combined for a dismal 17-of-56.

In the second half, Wake Forest put up 15 3-pointers in an increasingly futile attempt to slice into Maryland's lead. Only one went in.

The Terps strategy was to to cut off the lanes to the basket forcing Wake Forest put up more three-pointers than usual. The Demon Deacons had been averaging just over 12 attempts per game, fewest in the ACC, but the Maryland defense required them to attempt more than twice that – 25.

That’s all a desperate NCAA bid seeking Maryland (20-12) needed to knock of No. 9 Wake Forest (24-6) in last night’s quarterfinal game of the ACC tournament.

Before the tournament, head coach Gary Williams said two wins should put Maryland in the Big Dance. The Terps moved on to face No. 8 Duke in the semis Saturday, giving them yet another chance to impress the selection committee.

Greivis Vasquez scored 22 points while James Johnson led Wake Forest with 20 points. The Demon Deacons have already done plenty to land an NCAA bid, but the one-and-done showing at the Georgia Dome will most likely hurt their seeding.

(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

DUKE HANGS ON TO BEAT BOSTON COLLEGE

No. 8 DUKE 65, BOSTON COLLEGE 64 – That Mike Krzyfplm3ski he’s a “hugger.”

And when his Duke team staged a second half comeback to defeat Boston College in the final ACC quarter final, Coach K just had to hug somebody. Turns out it was Boston College’s Tyrese Rice.

We can’t imagine what he said, unless it was “I’m glad you didn’t take the final shot.”

After Gerald Henderson put Duke up by a point, the Eagles Rakim Sanders missed two shots in the final 20 seconds as the Blue Devils survived for a date with Maryland in Saturday’s second semi-final.

Boston College had called a play designed to put the ball in Rice’s hands for the last shot, but Duke’s defense saw it coming.


Kyle Singler matched his career high with 26 points, Henderson had 16 and Jon Scheyer had 14 for Duke (26-6), which will face Maryland in the semifinals on Saturday.

Tyrese Rice had 17 points and Biko Paris added 15 for Boston College (22-11).

The Blue Devils shot only 32 percent from the field in the first half, but improved to 63.6 percent shooting in the second half, and that saved the night for a team dependent on making outside shots.

(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

PICTURE(S) OF THE DAY

BIG PARTY. The world renowned Cheltenham Gold Festival over in England has suffered from typical cloudy weather, but provided terrific steeplechase racing as usual.
Irishman Ruby Walsh seemed to win every big race including the feature – the Cheltenham Gold Cup.



Here, Walsh rides Kauto Star up the final straight to the finish post to win the Gold Cup Steeple Chase during the fourth day of the Cheltenham Festival on March 13, 2009.

Kauto Star has become the first horse to regain the Gold Cups having first won the prestigious event in 2007.

(Photos by Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

CLOCK WATCHERS. One night after the 18th-ranked Orange’s epic six-overtime defeat of No. 3 Connecticut, the second-longest D1 game ever played, Syracuse needed only five extra minutes to beat the Mountaineers 74-69 on Friday night in the semifinals of the Big East tournament.

“Sorry we didn’t give you a longer game tonight,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. “We tried. You know, what can I say?”

The Orange (26-8) advanced to face No. 5 Louisville on Saturday night, trying for the school’s sixth tournament title while the Cardinals (27-5) go for their first.

Here, Jonny Flynn #10 of Syracuse drives to the hoop against Da'Sean Butler #1 and Alex Ruoff #22 of the West Virginia.

(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Friday, March 13, 2009

SEMINOLES ADVANCE

FLORIDA STATE 64, GEORGIA TECH 62 – From AP: For more than 39 minutes, Florida State and Georgia Tech leaned on high-scoring guards Toney Douglas and Lewis Clinch.

With the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament game on the line in the final seconds, each team had to turn to another guard. Seminoles sophomore Derwin Kitchen (#22) delivered; Yellow Jackets freshman Iman Shumpert didn't.

Kitchen's three-point play with 7.7 seconds left on Friday gave the No. 22 Seminoles a 64-62 victory over the Yellow Jackets, whose season ended when Shumpert's last-second attempt bounced off the rim.
A relieved Douglas pounded the floor twice as Shumpert and other Georgia Tech players fell to their hands and knees in disappointment.

"He can't hang his head too low," Clinch said of Shumpert. "He's got to get prepared for his future."

Florida State (24-8) ended a streak of 11 straight losses in the quarterfinals while advancing to the semifinals for the first time since 1992, its first year in the league. Douglas had 25 points for the Seminoles, who will face the Tar Heels in Saturday's first semifinal.
"We always want to play the top team in the league and in the country," Douglas said.

The Seminoles barely survived against the worst team in the league. Georgia Tech managed only two conference wins in the regular season and was the No. 12 seed in the tournament.

(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

HIGHLY ENTERTAINING BASKETBALL GAME INTERUPTED BRIEFLY BY MEN IN STRIPES

First off, no one has complained any more about the inconsistency of ACC officiating this year than your favorite scribes here at T.A.H. Today’s UNC v. Virginia Tech was another game where blunt force fouls were ignored while ticky-tacky fouls were called. At least that has been consistent all season…

The one point we have made over and over again is that they do one thing very consistently – they swallow their whistles on the final play of the game.

At least, until today.

While TV analyst Dan Bonner said it was a good call, we would suggest it was technically correct (hence “good”), but perhaps poorly timed.

Now before you Hokies get all up in arms, remember Carolina was winning at the time 77-76. Tech still needed to score to change the outcome and for all of the possession up to that point, they weren’t even close to doing that. It is also important to note that had a foul been called, the Hokies would have only been given possession as the Tar Heels were still below the seven foul limit.

If you watched UConn v. The Orange: The Game That Never Ends, you would have noticed that while 66 fouls were called, none of them were called on the final possession of either half or any of the six overtimes. That is how it should be short of a clothesline tackle.

But a jump ball tie-up is a different kind of call. Its exists in a vacuum. It’s like travelling or double dribbling, there is less interpretation than on a personal foul. As the Mighty Blaze says, “It is what it is,” so it shouldn’t matter “when” it is.

Again, the Tar Heels were winning at the time, so there was still a shot to be made to justify Hokie Nation’s outrage.

Now moving forward, the question is, was the Hokies’ effort good enough to land an NCAA bid? Unfortunately for Virginia Tech, at the moment, the answer can only be “it depends.”

It depends on what happens to all the other bubble teams. If a bunch of them have flamed out or flame out over the weekend, it may, as they say in basketball parlance, “create some space” for the boys from Blacksburg.

If not, Virginia Tech looks to be a high seed in the N.I.T.

(Photos by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

WE CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW, THE COACH HAS YELLED

We can see all obstacles in our way,
Gone are the dark clouds that had me missing three pointers…


Every close basketball game has a defining moment. Some of those moments are obvious, some are harder to detect since we can’t hear and see everything that happens on the court or in the huddle during timeouts.

We believe the defining moment for UNC’s 79-76 victory over Virginia Tech in the ACC quarter finals probably happened during a time out with 3:30 seconds left in the game and the Hokies leading 72-71. It appears that down home Carolina Roy Williams told his boys to “dance with who brung ya” and stop shooting (miserably, we might add – 6 of 19, 31 percent) three pointers.

“Hey, remember this Hansbrough guy?” we imagine Ol’ Roy said, “He’s still the reigning national player of the year, unanimous first team All-ACC again and when the game started he was just 50-some points shy of being the all-time leading scorer in the best basketball conference in the nation.”

Then sometimes-potty-mouth Roy paused for effect, and then we imagine he calmly said:

“GET HIM THE DAMN BALL, (BLEEP)(BLEEP)!!”

Or something like that…

Without Ty Lawson, the Tar Heels weren’t firing on all cylinders, but they figured out what to do at crunch time and that was put the ball in the hands of the best player on the court. Just like last year, Tyler Hansbrough made the winning basket.

Hansbrough scored 28 points and scored the go-ahead basket with 36.1 seconds left – the the 12th lead change of the second half -- and then he tied up J.T. Thompson in the lane for a jump ball that gave North Carolina (28-3) possession with 5.2 seconds to go.

Coach/Zen Master Seth Greenberg of Virginia Tech (18-14) did his best Gary “Speedstick” Williams imitation as he threw his jacket in disgust, believing Thompson was fouled.

Hansbrough was fouled on the inbounds, made two free throws and A.D. Vassallo, who scored 26 points to lead Virginia Tech, missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer that would have forced overtime.

As predicted here and elsewhere, Ty Lawson was in uniform but didn't play.

The speedy point guard wore a black, stiff-soled shoe on his right foot as he cheered on his teammates from the bench. The ACC said it was the first time the conference's player of the year missed his team's tournament opener.

Senior Bobby Frasor took over at point guard and played 37 minutes. He scored only four points, but did have four rebounds, three assists and just one turnover.

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images and AP Photos/Dave Martin)

ACC POY LAWSON UNLIKELY TO PLAY TODAY

You heard it here first.

Roy Williams isn’t likely to play ACC Player of the Year and, now Sporting News’ second team All American, Ty Lawson in today’s second round game against the Hokies (Noon, ESPN2/Raycom).

Should Carolina prevail, don’t look for him to play over the weekend either.

Ol’ Roy is not a big fan of the ACC tournament. He thinks it’s all about money and just a big “cocktail party.”

(Over at AOL Fanhouse, Ray Holloman takes umbrage with Williams’ take harkening back to his middle school days in Vaughn, NC where they rolled TVs into the class rooms so everybody could watch the games! T.A.H. Pop Culture Editor Young A.T. verfies this as absolute truth. It’s well worth the read.)

Williams’ sights are set on the NCAA tournament where this incredibly talented team has laid eggs against Georgetown and Kansas in recent tourneys. The Heels blew a big lead against the Hoyas, and got behind the eventual champion Jayhawks 42-10 in those painful NCAA losses.

Don’t look for Williams to risk further damage to Lawson’s all important piggy that went to market in pursuit of more ACC hardware.

Never mind Hansbrough or the supporting cast of future NBAers, the Heels are likely to go only as far as their talented point guard can take them.

We wager Roy Williams knows that better than anybody.

ACC QUARTERFINALS
North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech - Noon
Florida State vs. Georgia Tech - 2:00 PM
Wake Forest vs. Maryland - 7:00 PM
Boston College @ Duke - 9:00 PM

(Reuters Pictures)

AND SO THE MADNESS BEGINS - SIX OVERTIMES

So, there we are watching Boston College beat Virginia and plotting what pajamas we’re gonna wear when we get the bright idea to click over to EPSN for a little Sport Center to see what’s going on in the rest of the basketball world.

What can go wrong?

What we found was the end of the UConn v. Syracuse game and, surprisingly, it’s close. So close, that the Orange appear to win on a last second three-pointer.

But, no, wait, after a review it is determined (correctly) that the shot hasn’t quite left Eric Devendorf’s hand when time expires, so we are going to overtime.

No big deal, right?

Not so fast.

Let’s count them…Not one, not two, not three, not four – are you kidding? – not five, but SIX overtimes later – not a misprint, that’s SIX OVERTIMES later, No. 20 Syracuse pulls out a win 127-117 over No. 4 UConn.

Where to start?

First off, “classic” is a word used in sports’ lexicon far too much, but it seems appropriate here. Yes, the game was ugly – 66 personal fouls, 82 of 209 shooting and 16 of 58 from behind the arc – but , 70 minutes is 70 minutes .

CLASSIC. Of course, EPIC comes to mind as well.

Orange guard Jonny Flynn played 67 of the 70 minutes and scored 34 points which included 16 of 16 from the free throw line. The Huskies A.J. Price played 63 minutes scoring 33 points.

The Orange trailed in all of the first five OTs and were life and death to pull even each time. They grabbed the lead with a three-pointer in the sixth and final period and never looked back.

Free throw shooting ultimately doomed the Huskies – 24 of 42, 57.1 percent.

(AP Photos/Julie Jacobson)

MARYLAND INCHES CLOSER TO NCAA BID

Eric Hayes scored a career-high 21 points, including six free throws in the final 2:08, and Maryland took control with a late 11-0 run to beat the Wolfpack.

NC State, which led by 13 points in the first half, held its last lead at 62-61 with 4:12 left. Maryland answered with 11 straight points, including five free throws by Hayes.

Greivis Vasquez, who announced earlier in the week that he would be testing the NBA draft, had 17 points and 10 assists for Maryland (19-12).

Julius Mays led N.C. State (16-14) with 18 points. Ben McCauley had 14 points and Dennis Horner had 11.

The Terps will face No. 2 seed Wake Forest in the quarterfinals on Friday night.

(AP Photo/Dave Martin)

EAGLES ELIMINATE WAHOOS, CAVS INVITED TO V.I.T.

In the middle of the night, in front of a huge crowd of 316 people, Rakim Sanders scored 25 points and Boston College closed the first round of the ACC tournament with a win over Virginia.

The Eagles (22-10) built a 37-25 lead by halftime and coasted the rest of the way against the ACC's lowest-scoring team. Virginia finished the season 10-18, its worst since a 9-17 record in 1966-67.

Mamadi Diane led the Cavaliers with 24 points, hitting 4 of 6 from beyond the 3-point arc, but he had little offensive help. Virginia shot just 37.5 percent (21 of 56) from the field and turned it over 20 times.

Boston College advanced to face No. 9 Duke in the quarterfinals Friday night.

Virginia has been invited to the V.I.T. (Virginia Invitational Tournament) where they will scrimmage themselves in front of six alums and eleven students on Tuesday of next week.

(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

PICTURE OF THE DAY

UPSET 1. John Flowers #41 of the West Virginia Mountaineers celebrates after defeating the No. 2 Pittsburgh Panthers during the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 12, 2009 in New York City.


NEW YORK CITY!


(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

UPSET 2. Oklahoma State's Byron Eaton (00) celebrates after defeateing No. 7 Oklahoma 71-70 in the Big 12 Conference men's tournament in Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 12, 2009. Eaton scored 16 points in the game.

(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 3

UPSET 3. Baylor's Curtis Jerrells celebrates after their 65-49 win over No. 11 Kansas in the Big 12 Conference men's tournament in Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 12, 2009.

(AP Photo/Donna McWilliam)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

HOME TEAM YELLOW JACKETS UPSET CLEMSON

GEORGIA TECH 86, CLEMSON 81 - Remember the Clemson team that absolutley beat the ever-lovin' snot out of Duke a little while back?

Remember the Georgia Tech team that would play pretty well, but time, and time again, would blow leads late in the game and wind up with spirit-crushing losses?

Remember those two teams?

Well, neither one of them showed up this afternoon in Atlanta.

Lewis Clinch (#0) set a career high with 32 points and last-place Georgia Tech pulled off the first upset of the ACC tourney.

Clinch made five 3-pointers to carry the Yellow Jackets (12-18), who went 2-14 in the ACC during the regular season - including a pair of losses to the Tigers. He capped his performance with a pair of clinching free throws, eclipsing his career high of 30 points against Miami just eight days earlier.

Clemson (23-8) is now 0-for-56 in winning the ACC tournament. The Tigers made it to the championship game a year ago before losing to North Carolina, but they were one-and-done at the Georgia Dome.

Gani Lawal added 20 points and 14 rebounds for the Yellow Jackets, who advanced to meet No. 22 Florida State in the quarterfinals Friday.

Trevor Booker paced Clemson with 17 points. Five other Tigers were in double figures, but it wasn't enough to handle the inside-outside attack of Lawal and Clinch.

(AP Photo/Dave Martin)

HOKIES DRIVE MIAMI BACK TO THE AIRPORT

VIRGINIA TECH 65, MIAMI 47 - Was the Hokies defense really that good or did the Hurricanes "you-know-what" the bed? Maybe a little of both...

Virginia Tech's defense was stifling and Miami couldn't find the answer to their recent slump. As a result, the Hokies NCAA bid chances are still alive while the Canes are headed to the N.I.T.

Virginia Tech broke open a close game with a 14-0 run in the second half while holding Miami Scoring Machine, Jack McClinton, to just nine points on 4-11 shooting.

Virginia Tech (18-13) will play top seed North Carolina in the quarterfinals on Friday.
Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg is trying to join his older brother, Radford coach Brad Greenberg, in the NCAA tournament. Radford won the Big South championship on Saturday.

Malcolm Delaney made only 1-of-10 shots from the field but made 14-of-15 free throws to lead Virginia Tech with 17 points.

The Hokies, who led by 14 points in the first half, were ahead only 43-37 midway through the second half before the 14-0 run to take a 57-37 lead with 7:15 to play.

Adrian Thomas led Miami (18-12) with nine points - not a misprint, that's NINE.

After belittling the Big East's St. John's for only scoring ten points in the first half of their game yesterday v. Marquette, we were very concerned in that eat crow kind of way when with 5:30 left in the opening period the Canes had a whopping 11 points.

Miami shot 34 percent from the field and 25 per cent from behind the arc. Add in 15 turnovers and a rebound deficit of ten. Game over.

(AP Photo by Dave Martin)

ACC TOURNAMENT FIRST ROUND

Thursday, Mar 12

VIRGINIA TECH vs. MIAMI - 12:00 PM - TV: RAYCOM

CLEMSON vs. GEORGIA TECH - 2:00 PM - TV: RAYCOM

MARYLAND vs. N.C. STATE - TV: ESPN2

BOSTON COLLEGE vs. VIRGINIA - 9:00 PM - TV: RAYCOM

ACC WON'T ACKNOWLEDGE LESBIAN FANS

We know what you're thinking - that there's a joke in here somewhere.

Actually, there isn't. This is a post based on a real writer for a real newspaper in a real city. It comes our way via Sports By Brooks:
Robert Bell of the GREENSBORO NEWS & RECORD has a report (recently)on the elephant in the room when it comes to the marketing of the ACC women's basketball tournament.

While the WNBA has enthusiastically embraced its lesbian fans, Bell reports that the ACC (and all other major conferences) has completely ignored its lesbian fan base in women's basketball marketing efforts. This despite the fact that lesbians could very well represent the majority of fans at the league's basketball games.

How do I know? I announced games for Ohio State, Georgia and South Carolina in the '90s. For those programs, the vast majority of die-hard fans were lesbians, the elderly, and children under the age of 10.

Reporter Bell notes that the numerous businesses throughout Greensboro, which is hosting the women's ACC basketball tournament this year, are specifically catering to lesbian clientele. This, despite the fact that ACC officials steadfastly refuse to acknowledge the sexual orientation of the most rabid of its fans.
When a News & Record reporter requested an interview to discuss the league's support among lesbians with ACC associate commissioner Nora Lynn Finch, who oversees the women's tournament, conference officials asked that the questions be e-mailed in advance.

Finch responded to general questions about the tournament's fan base, but declined to answer specific questions about the tournament's lesbian fan base.

"Our marketing efforts have been consistent for many years and are really driven toward all fans that want to watch what we think is the best college basketball in the country," Finch wrote. "We continue to (target) youth groups, in order to cultivate the young fan."

Uh, Nora, you've been doing that for 20+ years and women's college hoops, besides a handful of programs, doesn't draw flies. And it never will under that plan. (Soccer called, it wants its 1981 marketing plan back.)

If schools would get real and acknowledge that the most affluent of their fan base is homosexual, I think we really could see some attendance gains in women's college basketball. It's no coincidence that WNBA teams, which welcomes lesbians with open arms, draws better than most big collegiate programs.

I also find it hypocritical that the representatives of institutions that claim to be a bastion of societal inclusion completely shut down homosexuals when it comes to sports.

Evidently, other conferences are equal offenders when it comes to the lesbian demographic and their sports teams.

MARCH MADNESS SHOULD REMIND YOU OF HOW MUCH FUN COLLEGE WAS/IS

Just in case you’ve forgotten…

JUST ONE MORE REASON WE DON’T WATCH BIG EAST BASKETBALL

In yesterday’s Big East Tournament game won by Marquette 74-45 over St. John’s, the Red Storm shot 13.6 percent in the first half (3-for-22), missing all six of their 3-point attempts, and they committed 10 turnovers.

Halftime score? Marquette 38, St. John’s 10.

Not a misprint – that’s 10 points for the Johnnies.
St. John's beat Georgetown in the opening round.

Now, that’s quality basketball from the what many pundits say is the "best" conference.

(Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY

DOES HE GET A SCHOLARSHIP? Or do midwestern chicks just dig a camel vest?

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish mascot cheers on the court during a game against the West Virginia Mountaineers during the second round of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 11, 2009 in New York City.

WVU won the game 74-62.

(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

WELL-TRAVELED GREENBERG AT HOME IN RADFORD

Does this guy look vaguely familiar?

Look closely…Do you see a slight resemblance to the Blacksburg Zen Master Seth Greenberg?

You should, ‘cause that mug belongs to Brad Greenberg, Seth’s big brother (by a year). Brad coaches just down the road at Radford University (Highlanders, 9,552, Radford, VA) and he and his squad are headed to the Big Dance after defeating VMI 108-94 in the Big South Conference championship game.

Greenberg was named Radford University’s sixth head men’s basketball coach on March 23, 2007, after serving four seasons as an assistant at Virginia Tech.

The older Greenberg played college ball in Washington – both of them. He started out at Washington State and ended up at American in D.C.

He has served as an assistant coach at Saint Joseph’s and South Florida in the college ranks and with the Knicks and Clippers in the NBA. He has also served as the director of player-personnel for the Portland Trail Blazers.

Add to that resume a one year stint as the Philadelphia 76ers' general manager/vice president of basketball operations. While Greenberg may not have been in the City of Brotherly Love for long, he did have a lasting impact on the franchise drafting Allen Iverson with the No. 1 pick in the 1996 NBA draft.

Last year, Greenberg first season, the Higlanders were 10-20. This year they finished first in the Big South with a 15-3 record, 21-11 record overall.

After ending 2008 with a 4-9 record, Radford won 14 of 16 after the first of the year, heading into the Big South Tournament, where the Highlanders defeated High Point, UNC Asheville and VMI to earn the automatic NCAA bid. Back in November, Radford lost to UVA 68-66 at JPJA in Charlottesville.

(AP Photo by Lynn Hey and Getty Images)

DANCE CARDS PUNCHED

Atlantic Sun: EAST TENNESSEE STATE – The Bucs won the regular season championship last year, but stumbled in the tourney so this victory was even sweeter for Mr. Hinkman and the boys.

Big South: RADFORD – Seth’s brother is getting it done with the help of Belarus import 6-11 Artsiom Parakhouski.

Missouri Valley: NORTHERN IOWA – who knew Missouri even had a valley?

Ohio Valley: MOREHEAD STATE – we don’t want to belabor this but does Ohio have a valley? Is it an extension of the one that runs through Missouri? Geography people, speak up!

Southern: UT - CHATANOOGA – It’s the Mocs 10th NCAA tournament appearance. Last time in – 2005, they lost to Wake Forest.

Colonial Athletic Conference: VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH. Remember when they knocked of Duke? Is VCU the new George Mason?

The Summit League: NORTH DAKOTA STATE, because North Dakota University just isn’t big enough…

West Coast Conference: GONZAGA – perennial dark horse media darlings, the Zags defeated St. Mary’s and will be higher seeded than they should be (as usual).

Sun Belt: WESTERN KENTUCKY – The Hilltoppers created a Freeze Frame moment in last year’s tourney when Ty Rogers sank a desperation 3-point bomb over three defenders to beat Drake in the first round.

MAAC: SIENA – It’s Siena’s fifth trip dancing in recent years.

(AP Photo/Mike Groll and Don Petersen)

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO…

Hmmm…

Is this the new economy where antiques are made daily?

WE’VE GOT A GREAT IDEA: LET’S GO TO DETROIT!

We don’t pretend to understand what the NCAA is ever thinking because if we did T.A.H. might implode into a black hole of smelly basketball sneakers. But if we did understand what they were thinking, maybe we would understand why the Final Four is being held this year in the economically depressed wonderland known as Detroit?

(Of course, this is where we start getting angry comments and emails from the Detroit Tourism Office where someone will be up in arms when Google Alerts hips them to our less than generous comments…oh, well.)

Anyway, here’s how we see it. The weather isn’t great, the economy sucks, the crime rate is off the chart, so why not take your marquis event to this paradise? We’re sure the NCAA, which is philanthropic by nature – OUCH, we just had a Clockwork Orange seizure – was just trying to help the creaky old girl out. Especially now that the auto industry is all the way in the tank instead of just most of the way down the drain. How thoughtful…

Recently, the Rolling Stone had and article called "Motor City Breakdown" and we thought this passage was worth quoting:

In the case of the auto industry, where to begin? The outsourcing of jobs that accelerated in the Eighties? The pathological shortsightedness of a business model based on gas-guzzling SUVs and eternally low fuel prices? The preposterously overpaid executives, with their maddening, sclerotic passivity in the face of their own industry's demise? And these are strictly macro-level concerns; we haven't even mentioned the Pontiac Aztek. – Mark Binelli.

“Sclerotic passivity”…wow, you never know where your pathological anatomy is gonna show up!

Nice, Rolling Stone, NICE!

PICTURE(S) OF THE DAY

TWO TIME WINNER. Lindsey Vonn became the first American woman to win two World Cup overall titles after her victory Wednesday in the last downhill of the season in the Alpine FIS Ski Alpine World Cup on March 11, 2009 in Are, Sweden.




(Photos by Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

PICTURE(S) OF THE DAY 2

UP AND OVER. Horses and riders clear the last fence during The RSA Steeple Chase on the second day of the Cheltenham festival in Cheltenham, England on March 11, 2009. We can’t believe the sun isn’t shinig…

Sam Waley-Cohen riding 'Tricky Trickster' clears an obstacle during The 139th Year Of The National Hunt Steeple Chase Challenge Cup on the second day of the Cheltenham festival.

(Photos by Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 3

MOON OVER MIAMI. Tiger Woods walks with his caddie Steve Williams from the 1st tee as the moon dips below the trees during the final day of practice for the World Golf Championships-CA Championship at the Doral Golf Resort & Spa on March 11, 2009 in Miami, Florida.

(Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

INJURED LAWSON ACC PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Sometime after the Tar Heels 0-2 start in ACC regular season play, point guard Ty Lawson connected all the dots. He’s played brilliantly since playing a critical role in North Carolina’s regular season ACC Championship.

So today, while his injured toe is creating anxiety all over Tar Heel Nation and uncertainty with his coaches and teammates, Lawson became the 13th Carolina basketball player to be named Player of The Year.

The speedy and sauvvy junior earned 31 of 76 votes from Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association members, becoming only the second point guard to win the award along with Tar Heel legend Phil Ford in 1978.

Florida State's Toney Douglas finished second with 27 votes after helping the Seminoles finish fourth in the regular season. Reigning league and national player of the year Tyler Hansbrough was third with 13 votes.

Lawson who declared for the NBA draft last year before returning to school has always had the speed to blow by any defender while directing coach Roy Williams' fast-paced offense. But this year, Lawson has had an all-around game that made him almost impossible to stop – especially in crunch time during close games.

The only question about him these days is his health. He played through an injury to his right big toe in Sunday's win against Duke. On Tuesday, Williams said Lawson's toe was badly swollen, making it unclear whether he'll be at full speed or unable to play at this week's ACC tournament in Atlanta.

Lawson ranked among the league leaders in scoring (15.9 points), steals (2.0) and field-goal percentage (53.8 percent) while ranking first in assists at 6.5 per game. He's also shooting nearly 47 percent from 3-point range. All those numbers are the best of his career.

(Getty Images and Reuters Photo)

2008-09 ALL ACC BASKETBALL TEAMS

It’s a little hard to believe when you stop and think about it, but no player has ever been unanimously selected all-conference for their entire four-year career. Not until now.

Tyler Hansbrough is the first player in ACC history to be unanimously selected four times to the all-conference team.

The all-ACC teams were announced Monday. North Carolina teammate Ty Lawson joined him on the first team, along with Florida State guard Toney Douglas, Duke swingman Gerald Henderson and Miami guard Jack McClinton.

Hansbrough leads the league with a 21-point scoring average. The reigning national player of the year and leading scorer in school history enters this week's ACC tournament 52 points shy of J.J. Redick's 3-year-old league record of 2,769 career points.

Results were determined by a vote of 76 members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association.

First Team
*Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina (228)
Toney Douglas, Florida State (226)
Ty Lawson, North Carolina (224)
Gerald Henderson, Duke (210)
Jack McClinton, Miami (188)

Second Team
Jeff Teague, Wake Forest (185)
Trevor Booker, Clemson (156)
Tyrese Rice, Boston College (151)
Kyle Singler, Duke (128)
Greivis Vasquez, Maryland (116)

Third Team
James Johnson, Wake Forest (100)
Malcolm Delaney, Virginia Tech (83)
A.D. Vassallo, Virginia Tech (81)
Danny Green, North Carolina (48)
Gani Lawal, Georgia Tech (46)

Honorable Mention
Wayne Ellington, North Carolina (41)
K.C. Rivers, Clemson (33)
Sylven Landesberg, Virginia (15)

All-Freshman Team
*Sylven Landesberg, Virginia (76)
*Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest (76)
Iman Shumpert, Georgia Tech (70)
Solomon Alabi, Florida State (59)
Ed Davis, North Carolina (55)

Honorable Mention
Chris Singleton, Florida State (21)

All-Defensive Team
Trevor Booker, Clemson (67)
Toney Douglas, Florida State (67)
Solomon Alabi, Florida State (53)
Danny Green, North Carolina (28)
L.D. Williams, Wake Forest (26)

Honorable Mention
Ty Lawson, North Carolina (20)
Gani Lawal, Georgia Tech (17)
Courtney Fells, North Carolina State (16)
Gerald Henderson, Duke (15)

*Unanimous
**The Big East now has 10 players on their first team all conference squad, something the ACC might consider in the future with 12 teams in the conference.

(Photos by Getty Images, AP Photo by Wilfredo Lee and Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

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