Saturday, March 27, 2010

ELITE AGAIN DUKE WINS UGLY 70-57

Man, that was hard to watch.

Clearly Purdue wanted to slow Duke down and play a classic Big 10 (physical, grind-it-out, first-one-to-40-wins) game. They did, and it almost worked.

The Boilermakers’ smothering defense held the Blue Devils to 24 first half points on 24% shooting with 11 turnovers. Coach K’s boys figured out at half-time that the key to success was dribble penetration and that strategy got Jon “Crazy Face” Scheyer and Noland “I Still Need A Nickname” Smith moving and scoring. The end result was Duke almost doubled their first-half output scoring 46 second-half points.

The ugly win returns the Blue Devils to the round of eight for the first time since 2004.

Kyle Singler scored 24 points, eleven in the first half which kept Duke in the game. Scheyer, who appeared to be either injured or going blind as shot after shot came up short hitting the front of the iron, rallied and added 18 on a series of slashing moves to the basket.

Duke (32-5) will play third-seeded Baylor in Sunday's regional final after clearing a nagging hurdle – the Blue Devils had lost in the round of 16 in three of the past five seasons, but now stand one victory from their 11th Final Four appearance under coach Mike Krzyzkl3wski.

Scheyer, Duke's leading scorer, was 5-for-18 from the field in Duke's first two NCAA tournament games. He went 5-for-9 in the second half after missing his first six shots and also went 7-for-8 from the foul line.

It was 31-all with 15½ minutes left before the Blue Devils broke away. The difference between this win an other NCAA tourney losses was the simple fact that the current Duke team has the bulk and the muscle to grind it out.

Brian Zoubek grabbed 14 rebounds and Duke dominated the undersized Boilermakers inside, as expected. The absence of injured do-everything forward Robbie Hummel finally caught up with fourth-seeded Purdue (29-6), which lost in the regional semifinals for the second straight season.

To read more, click here (Raleigh News & Observer), or click here (New York Times).

PICTURE OF THE DAY

HI, MOM. We’re going to the Elite Eight.

Speaking of smothering defense, the Bears held St. Mary’s to 17 first half points. Game over.

Here, Oscar Griffin #21, A.J. Walton #22 and Quincy Acy #4 of the Baylor Bears celebrate their 72-49 win against the St. Mary's Gaels during the south regional semifinal of the 2010 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Reliant Stadium on March 26, 2010 in Houston, Texas.

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

DON’T MESS WITH IZZO. Northern Iowa’s great run came to an end last night at the hands of Tom Izzo’s Michigan State squad. Over the years, Izzo has proved to be a master motivator come tournament time and this year looks to be no different.

Under Izzo’s maniacal looking direction seen here, the Spartans won 59-52.


(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 3

IT’S CROWDED IN HERE. Space, as it is utilized as a basketball term, was damn hard to come by in last night’s Duke v. Purdue game.

Here, Patrick Bade #41 of the Purdue Boilermakers blocks a shot by Kyle Singler #12 of the Duke Blue Devils as Brian Zoubek #55 and Chris Kramer #3 watch during the south regional semifinal of the 2010 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Reliant Stadium on March 26, 2010 in Houston, Texas.

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 4

BUMMED. E'Twaun Moore #33 of the Purdue Boilermakers reacts in a 70-57 loss against the Duke Blue Devils during the south regional semifinal of the 2010 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Reliant Stadium on March 26, 2010 in Houston, Texas.

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Friday, March 26, 2010

SWEET SIXTEEN: DUKE

While Duke is getting ready to take on Purdue (9:57 pm, CBS) in a Sweet Sixteen game, we are reminded of a few relevant facts about the Blue Devils.

*Head coach Mike Krzyzbmk4ski leads all active head coaches with 71 NCAA Tournament wins in his career.

*The Blue Devils advance to a regional semifinal for a second-straight season and 21st time overall.

*This Duke team has also posted their highest win total (31) since 2005-06.

*Starting in the 2000 season, the Blue Devils have reached the “the Sweet 16” in eight of the previous 10 seasons. During that same period, Duke has lost six of those eight third-round games.

*T.A.H. has never published a photo of Coach K smiling before today.

Here are some Duke links related to tonight’s game.

*Duke gives up speed for size…

*When is Jon Scheyer going to go back to making crazy faces AND scoring lots of points?

*Does raised floor give Purdue an edge?

*Duke knows they’re due/overdue an Elite Eight appearance.

*Nobody’s talking about Duke – that’s weird.

TAR HEELS RATING GOLD FOR N.I.T. & ESPN

The haters are gonna complain, but the truth of the matter is UNC’s “man bites dog” horrific season and subsequent rally to the quarterfinals of the Little Dance is turning out to be something akin to good reality television.

Last Tueday’s UNC v. UAB game was the highest-rated NIT game nationally since the 2006 NIT Championship match-up between South Carolina and Michigan. About 1.4 million households tuned in for that game which was played in direct competition with American Idol and Lost.

In addition, ESPN points out that UNC's first-round win over William & Mary on March 16 was the second most watched game with 1.2 million viewers.

HEWITT TO ST. JOHN’S: THANKS, BUT NO THANKS

Pointing out that he and his family are happy in Atlanta, Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt has said no thanks to St. John’s in spite of that schools promise of a substantial pay raise.

To read more, click here

(AP Photo/The Journal & Constitution, Curtis Compton)

OTHER STUFF YOU MIGHT WANT TO KNOW

As you head out to your local tavern for Friday happy hour, here is some info that will simply make you look smart…or like an ACC sports geek. You choose.

*Sixth-ranked and second-seeded Duke (29-5) women’s team advanced to its 12th NCAA Regional over the last 13 years. The She Devils are 42-16 all-time in NCAA Tournament play.

*Five Atlantic Coast Conference wrestlers earned All-America recognition during the NCAA Championships - Virginia junior Chris Henrich, Maryland seniors Taylor Hudson and Steven Bell, Duke senior Konrad Dudziak and Virginia Tech junior Chris Diaz.

*Boston College won its ninth Hockey East crown on Saturday and secured a No. 1 regional seed in the 2010 NCAA Division I Men's Hockey Tournament. This is BC’s 29th NCAA Tournament appearance, including its 11th in the last 13 years.

*The ACC boasts three of the top four teams in the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) Top 25 Men’s Lacrosse poll and four of the top seven. Virginia, North Carolina, and Maryland rank Nos. one, three and four, respectively, while Duke is ranked No. 7 in this week’s poll. GAMES OF THE WEEK: Johns Hopkins @ Virginia and Duke @ Georgetown, both noon on Saturday.

*There are five ACC teams in the Rivals.com Top 25 for NCAA baseball including the top team – Virginia. Following the #1 Wahoos are FSU (3), Georgia Tech (5), Clemson (9) and Miami (17).

PICTURE(S) OF THE DAY

ELITE CANINES. Butler extended their nation-leading now 23 game win-streak at the expense of #1 seed Syracuse last night during the west regional semifinal at the Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Here, Ronald Nored #5 of the Butler Bulldogs shoots against Andy Rautins #1 of the Syracuse Orange in the first half, and…







…here, Gordon Hayward #20 of the Butler Bulldogs celebrates with teammate Willie Veasley #21.

(Photos by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

THEY CALL THIS DANCING? Luis Colon #15 and Chris Merriewether #31 of the Kansas State Wildcats block out Jason Love #31 of the Xavier Musketeers during the west regional semifinal of the 2010 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Energy Solutions Arena on March 25, 2010 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The Wildcats defeated the Musketeers 101-96 in double overtime.

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 3

TOO MUCH CAT. Cornell (in red) was ultimately no match for the #1 seed Kentucky Wildcats during the east regional semifinal last night at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York.

UK won handily 62-45.

(Photo by Bela Szandelszky/AP Photos)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

HOKIES MISS TRAIN TO NEW YORK

Rhode Island (Rams, 19,095 students, Kingston, RI) 79, VIRGINA TECH 72 – Referring to his team’s 17-1 record at home, Coach Seth Greenberg told the Virginia Tech Hokies in the locker room before the game that they were going to win ugly. He was half right.

What he didn’t figure on was an extremely poorly-timed ugly second half scoring drought and a bad ass named Delroy James on the other team.

James scored 18 points (six rebounds, four blocks) and Lamonte Ulmer added 13, including a big basket in the final seconds, to lead Rhode Island past Virginia Tech in the NIT quarterfinal Wednesday night. James scored a career-high 34 points a few nights earlier in the Ram's second-round win over Nevada.

Second-seeded URI (26-9) advanced to the NIT semis for the first time since 1946. In a rare matchups of powder blues, they'll play 2009 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball National Champions the University of North Carolina Tar Heels on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.

No. 1 seed Virginia Tech (25-9) led 60-48 following Malcolm Delaney's two free throws with 14:43 left that capped an 18-8 run to start the second half. But the Rams answered with a 13-0 spurt and took a 61-60 lead with 11:05 remaining on a basket by Ulmer.

Delaney hit one of two free throws with 6.9 seconds left to cut it to 75-72. But the Rams made all four of their free throws the rest of the way to seal it.

Delaney had 24 points for the Hokies, who lost in the NIT quarterfinals for the third straight year. Dorenzo Hudson added 19.

The Hokies, who fell one victory short of setting the school's single-season record, shot better from the floor than the Rams, hitting 48.1 percent (26 of 54) compared to 46.7 percent (28 of 60). But Tech made only two of its final 17 shots.

To read more, click here (HokieSports.com) or click here (Roanoke Times).

STOP AND SMELL THE BLAZERS AND THEN COUNT YOUR ACC BLESSINGS…

Kevin Scarbinsky writes a nice piece for the Birmingham News about how North Carolina’s coaches, players and fans get it…It worth reading. To do so, click here.

In short, he points out to the U.A.B. Blazers and their followers that big-time college basketball has a different look and feel about it and, lo and behold, it’s kinda fun…

It’s a good read for ACC fans as well as many seem to have forgotten what a special brand of basketball they enjoy consistently year-in and year-out. Coming off what might be a down year, many are complaining about the quality of hoop throughout the ACC…

But, not so fast, my recession bedraggled, health care debate weary, sick of winter compatriots…The ACC still remains poised to score the race post season double/double being in a position to win both the NCAA (Duke) and N.I.T. (UNC) tournaments.

In fact, the ACC is the winningest conference in NCAA Tournament history. At the start of this year's Big Dance league teams were a combined 338-170 (.665) in NCAA Tournament play. In addition, ACC teams have won 11 NCAA Men’s Basketball National titles, including four in the last nine years.

So, what's all the fuss about?

No place is the lesson in appreciation more evident than what happened in Chapel Hill where a talented, but chemistry deficient, Tar Heel team skidded through a rough season only to rally their way to Madison Square Garden for next week's N.I.T. quarterfinals.

Sensible fans have spent the season complaining about turnovers and poor shooting while delusional ones have vilified their coach and their point guard. Truth is Ol’ Roy is good – damn good, and his post season run shows it yet again.

The point guard? Larry Drew II’s problem isn’t what he is, it’s simply what he isn’t – Ty Lawson. Drew isn’t Lawson now, and he won’t be Lawson next year. Some Heels’ fans forget that their squad sent four starters to the NBA after last season. Let it go, people.

Other programs have their worries for sure.

Realistically, Duke, North Carolina and Virginia Tech are on solid ground with no big mountains to climb in 2010-11.

Maryland is going to miss its exiting seniors, especially the Venezuelan Whirlwind. Folks in Wolfpack Nation have to be losing patience with Sid Lowe, and the same is likely down at Clemson where winning a regular season game in Chapel Hill, an ACC Championship or an NCAA tournament game continue to seem all but impossible.

Paul Hewitt at Georgia Tech continues to bring in great players, but he can’t keep them long enough to have them gel into a powerhouse like last year’s North Carolina team. Wake lost Skip Prosser and who knows how long Dino Gaudio can keep folks happy in Winston-Salem. Both teams will be in trouble if NBA defections come as predicted.

No doubt, Tony Bennett showed some coaching chops in his first year in Charlottesville, but unless he’s an amazing recruiter losing Landesberg and Tristan Spurloc will show in next year’s won/loss record.

Florida State? Football school. Everybody likes Leonard Hamilton, and if they still had Toney Douglas (who is playing well for the lowly Knicks), they would still be in the NCAA tournament and a force with which to be reckoned. Simply put, they are one really good player away from being…really good.

Miami and Boston College have some work to do, but the folks at Miami are also focused on football, while most of the Eagles fans are also Red Sox fans so they’ve already proved over the years that they are patient – very patient.

Obviously, the ranks will thin when some graduate and some talented players head off to the NBA, but new spectacular talent will arrive as well. Who knows how things will shake out next season?

In the meantime, enjoy what's left of the ride, and remember football is only five months away…

DEXTER, DEXTER, DEXTER…

It’s been a quiet offseason here in the Nations’ Capitol as the brain trust running our beloved Washington Redskins has been clearly upgraded thus only making one apparently horrific move in signing one Rex Grossman.

Having said that, we harken back to days of yore when things were…well…more fun.

Try this little yarn on for size as told by former sports anchor and Redskins play-by-play guy Frank Herzog on his farewell WTOP broadcast on Monday.

Says Herzog: "My favorite memory from Redskins Park was Dexter Manley doing a live shot one day for Paul Berry on Channel 7. And it was cold, a winter day. And he was wearing a gorgeous fur coat. And Paul Berry said, 'Well, Dexter, that's a beautiful fur coat.'

"And Dexter said, 'Thanks! It's German Shepherd!'

"Course I fell on the ground. The phone calls came in. He had to go on the air the next day and apologize, but it was a great line."

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"That's the side of coaching that's really tough because you think you've done some good things that day as a coach to get your team to come back, and it's just like playing. You do everything right. Greivis made great plays down the stretch, Eric Hayes played a great game for his last game. But that shot goes in, so all that doesn't matter. That wipes out, and you get the feeling that you just could have done something, you could have done something else to win the game."

- Maryland coach Gary Williams to NBC Washington's Lindsay Czarniak who asked him what is was like watching Michigan State’s winning three-pointer swish…

DUKE’S DRAW DRAWS IRE IN SOME CIRCLES

Believe it or not there are folks out there who think Duke got the easiest draw in the NCAA tournament. They say this because they believe Coach Mike Kryzhvsdfl2ski is the devil, that Dick Vitale is his secret homosexual lover and that the Blue Devils would not have achieved all they have without getting “all the calls.”

So add to the list the easiest bracket in this version of the Big Dance. The boys from Durham drew the winners of the “opening round” (what we mortals like to call the “play-in game”) and you’d think that luxury would be going the way of the No.1 seed overall (and now eliminated) Kansas Jayhawks.
Well…no.

It’s all about money – television money, and a grand conspiracy by the suits in Kansas to get more of it – or so says a writer for the Sacramento Bee (the second most reliable source after T.A.H. for ACC basketball news).

To learn more, click here.

MEET ALEX HERMANN - KING OF BRACKETS

Patrick Sanunders of the Denver Post says this:

My bracket is trashed. So is yours. So is your wife's. And your buddy's. And your dog's.

(Editor's Note: No arguement here. We had Kansas winning it all and here at T.A.H. Worldwide Media Headquarters, we now call the Sweet Sixteen, the Not-So-Sweet Half of Sixteen...jeez, that's BAD!)

But there is 17-year-old kid named Alex Hermann from the Chicago area who has a perfect bracket going into Thursday's Sweet 16.

Alex, who is autistic, correctly predicted Northern Iowa to bump off top-ranked Kansas. Something also told him to pick Ohio over Georgetown, and Cornell to beat Wisconsin.

As far as anyone can tell, he is the only person on the planet with a perfect bracket in what's been the wildest NCAA Tournament in memory.

"I'm good at math," Alex told NBCChicago.com. "I'm kind of good at math and at stats I see on TV during the game."

Just how amazing is Alex's feat?

According to according to BookofOdds.com, the chances of a perfect bracket at this stage of the tournament are one in 13,460,000.

Alex entered the bracket on bracket challenge, one of three NCAA bracket games offered by CBS. Unfortunately, it's the only one without a cash prize awarded to the winner.

Alex's Final Four has Kansas State beating Tennessee and Purdue beating Kentucky. His champion?

Purdue, which just happens to be the alma matter of his older brother, Andrew.

PICTURE OF THE DAY

NOT LETTING GO. Fans and friends of Virginia Tech continue to show thier displeasure with the NCAA selection committee.

(Photo by Niels Göran Blume/SPPS)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

DO THESE VERTICAL STRIPES MAKE ME LOOK FAT?

Well…yes.

Singer Jay Sean, Sony Ericsson player Ana Ivanovic, Benji B, Spice Girl Mel B and ATP player Novak Djokovic participate in the Glam.Set.Match game to kick off the Sony Ericsson Open on March 23, 2010 in Key Biscayne, Florida.

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images North America)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 3

GLAMOUR SHOTS? Before the Kia Classic at La Costa Resort in Carlsbad, CA, the LPGA decided to shoot some “portraits.”

The images were “digitally desaturated” – whatever the hell that means.

You take if from there. Should you want more (we won’t tell), click here.

(Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images North America)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

TAR HEELS HEADED TO THE BIG APPLE

NORTH CAROLINA 60, UAB (Blazers, 13,047 students, Birmingham, AL) 55 – Well, it's not the Big Dance, but it's better than sitting at home being ridiculed by your fans, your peers and your rivals...

Defense? Was that defense?

Evidently, it was that and some lousy shooting as the Tar Heels and Blazers put on a display worthy of a Big East bludgeoning.

UNC had 15 turnovers, shot 41% from the field, 21% from behind the arc and a paltry 65% from the charity stripe.

Deon Thompson had 14 points and 12 rebounds (while nobody, and we do mean NOBODY took a photograph of him) to lead stingy North Carolina to victory over UAB Tuesday night in the National Invitation Tournament quarterfinals.

Rapidly improving freshman John Henson also had 14 and Larry Drew II added 11 while Tyler Zeller, stitched up head and all, grabbed seven rebounds and had five blocks.

The Tar Heels (19-16) held UAB without a field goal for nearly 10 minutes down the stretch to earn their first trip to the NIT semifinals since 1973. They will face Virginia Tech or Rhode Island.

Larry Drew, whose basket with 2 seconds left sealed a second-round win at Mississippi State, scored on an uncontested layup and two free throws in the final 46 seconds to help put UAB away.

The Blazers went without a field goal from the 10:21 mark until Dexter Fields' putback with 35 seconds left cut North Carolina's lead to 54-51. Overall, the Blazers went 15-52 from the field (28.8%).

To read more, click here.

GEORGIA TECH’S HEWITT TALKS TO ST. JOHN’S

Georgia Tech’s head basketball coach Paul Hewitt has been given permission to speak with St. John’s. Hewitt says he isn’t going anywhere, having put down roots in Atlanta. Hewitt is a N.Y. native…

To read more, click here.

LANDESBURG LEAVING VIRGINIA FOR NBA

According to the Associated Press, Virginia's suspended leading scorer Sylven Landesberg is leaving school to pursue a professional career.

Coach Tony Bennett said Tuesday that Landesberg won't complete the current semester. Earlier this month the sophomore guard was suspended for the rest of the season for failing to meet his academic obligations.

"I have discussed Sylven's future with the Landesberg family and been informed that he will be leaving the University of Virginia to pursue his professional aspirations," Bennett said. "I am thankful for the significant contributions Sylven made to the Virginia basketball program and wish him success in his future endeavors."

Landesberg was the ACC's top rookie last season. He led Virginia this season with averages of 17.3 points and 2.9 assists.

PICTURE OF THE DAY

DOWN AND OUT. West Virginia point guard Darryl “Truck” Bryant broke his right foot during practice Tuesday and will miss the rest of the NCAA tournament.

The second-seeded Mountaineers, who won the Big East tournament, play 11th-seeded Washington on Thursday night in Syracuse, N.Y., in the East Regional semifinals.

Bryant has started 31 games and averages 9.3 points and is second on the team in assists (3.1) and 3-pointers (40).

(Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

BIRDS BITE DOGS…

VIRGINIA TECH 65, Connecticut 63 – It seemed a tough out – the football school looking to advance to the quarterfinals of the N.I.T. against a basketball school. Not just a “school,” but a powerhouse just removed from the Final Four last season.

If the Virginia Tech Hokies lacked any confidence about their ability to knock off UConn, Dorenzo Hudson put those fears to rest as he scored 17 of his game-high 27 points in the second half. Two of those points were a critical jump shot late to give the Hokies the lead with 14 seconds left to play.

With the victory, the Hokies tied the school record for wins in a season, moving to 25-8 overall. The 1994-95 team went 25-10 and won the N.I.T. championship.

The Hokies advanced to the quarterfinals, where they will play Rhode Island at home on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. Tech is 17-1 at home this season, with the lone loss coming in double overtime to Maryland.

The Hokies made big plays on both ends of the floor in the final minute. Trailing by one, 63-62, Tech got a big play on defense when Terrell Bell knocked the ball loose from UConn guard Jerome Dyson. Dyson picked up the ball, but stepped on the halfcourt line, which resulted in a backcourt violation with 22.4 seconds to go. Hudson scored the winning points on the next possession.

Game over.
To read more, click here (ESPN) and click here (Roanoke Times).
Box score, click here.

UNC’S ZELLER 50/50 FOR N.I.T. QUARTERFINAL

North Carolina coach Roy Williams says sophomore Tyler Zeller is uncertain to play against UAB in the third round of the NIT on Tuesday night.

Zeller was hit above his left eye midway through the second half of the weekend win at Mississippi State. The blow opened a cut that needed five stitches and left him with a mild concussion.

Williams said Monday that Zeller is "50-50" to play and that he wouldn't practice. The 7-footer had seven points and seven rebounds off the bench against the Bulldogs.

ACC WOMEN : DUKE, FLORIDA STATE ADVANCE

The ACC women had a tough first round in their version of the Big Dance with only Duke and Florida State moving on.

Virginia got caught by the dreaded 5-12 upset loosing to lower-seeded Wisconsin-Green Bay, while sixth-seed Georgia Tech got knocked-off by 11th-seeded Arkansas-Little Rock 63-53. Ninth-seeded N.C. State fell to U.C.L.A. 74-54 while the Tar Heels lost to higher seeded Gonzaga 82-76.

Duke cruised over 15th-seeded Hampton 72-37 and Florida State (a 3-seed) defeated Louisiana Tech 75-61,

Last night, Duke defeated LSU in Durham 60-52 while FSU needed overtime to get the better of St. Johns 66-65.

Both Miami and Maryland are still alive in N.I.T. and scheduled to play on Thursday at home at 7p.m. The Canes host North Carolina A.T. and the Terps have Providence.

FOOTBALL OFF SEASON MEANS ONE THING AND ONE THING ONLY…

…CRIME.

Yes, it’s the off season and that seems to be when any number of wayward gridironers either find trouble or finally get caught – hard to tell which.
Joining the 2010 offseason police-blotter parade is N.C. State football player J.R. Sweezy.

Sweezy has been suspended indefinitely after getting into a late-night fight with a shuttle bus driver in Mooresville on Thursday.

Sweezy, 20, was charged with misdemeanor assault and misdemeanor larceny, according to the Mooresville Police Department, after getting into a physical altercation with David Scott Magnuson and Nicholas Kaplan at 2:37 a.m.

Sweezy, listed as 6 feet 5 and 293 pounds on N.C. State's roster, was asked to leave the shuttle bus by Magnuson, the driver, for acting "loud and obnoxious," according to a press release by the Mooresville Police Department.

As he exited the bus, Sweezy knocked over Magnuson's tip jar. Magnuson and Kaplan then left the bus to confront Sweezy, and the altercation turned physical.

According to a News 14 Carolina report, Magnuson is 65-years-old.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“I’m going to tell him if he’s a top-15 pick that he should go. He’s a great kid. The one thing about that young man, he never talks about that stuff. He doesn’t talk about it in the locker room. It doesn’t bother him. I think if you went in there and said where does NBA.com and draft.com and all that nonsense, he couldn’t even tell you because he doesn’t care.”

- Wake Forest head coach Dino Gaudio on Al-Farouq Aminu’s upcoming decision regarding declaring for the NBA draft.

WAHOO RESERVE TRANSFERRING

There was some buzz in C’ville when the Cavs landed Tristan Spurlock. Spurlock, a 6-foot-8 forward from Springfield was dubbed “Mr. Basketball in Virginia” by The Roanoke Times after his senior year at Word of Life Christian.

Evidently, Spurlock came to Virginia to play the wing and coach Tony Bennett wanted him down on the blocks playing power forward. The two agreed that they have irreconcilable differences and Spurlock has announced his plan to transfer.

For a kid who’s basement is decorated in UVa’s orange, blue and white, that’s a bummer…

To read more, click here.

IT SUCKS TO BE THE BCS’ BILL HANCOCK

We’ve covered this ground before, but here’s a new wrinkle – and a damn funny one at that.

You know it sucks to be BCS spokesperson Bill Hancock who’s job it is to try and convince all of us non-officials of colleges entrenched in the cash flow of the ridiculous BCS National Championship bowl system that the idiotic system isn’t…well…idiotic.

Having said that, his job must be even more of a suckfest during the NCAA basketball tournament when millions of people are asking why football can’t do what basketball does so seemingly perfectly and easily every year since who-knows-when. (You don’t hear any roundball student athletes, coaches, Athletic Directors or administrators who are cashing those huge checks from CBS complaining about missed class time, now do you?)

Well, leave it to One Bronco Nation Under God – a blog for Boise State fans – to put it all in perfect March Madness perspective.

The post is called “Dispatches from the BCS office: NCAA Tournament not as great as you think,” and it’s funny.

It starts like this:

With March Madness at its maddest, college football fans can't help but be a little jealous of the exciting, competitive, fair national championship tournament that NCAA basketball gets.
After the jump, BCS headperson Bill Hancock explains why such thinking would be foolish.

Do you not have any respect for a regular season? Are you aware of Cornell's strength of schedule? Has anyone explained to you that St. Mary's is not located in a Top 50 TV market?

Let's see what Bill has to say…

Enjoy.

PICTURE OF THE DAY

CRASH. You know that play where the basketball player goes crashing into the photographer? Well this is what it looks like through the camera lens just before that happens…

Georgia Tech guard Maurice Miller dives for the ball as Oklahoma State's James Anderson falls down behind him during the first round of the NCAA tournament at the Bradley Center on March 19 in Milwaukee. Georgia Tech advanced 64-59.

(Photo: John Biever/Sports Illustrated)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

NICE BALL FAKE. Butler forward Matt Howard clearly went “all in” on Murray State center Tony Easley’s ball fake. So much so that Howard landed butt-first on Easley’s head. Butler won the game.

(Photo: John W. McDonough/Sports Illustrated)

Monday, March 22, 2010

DUKE MOVES ON TO SWEET SIXTEEN

DUKE 68, California 53 – The Golden Bears were no match for Duke who added Brian Zoubek to their usual repertoire of Triple Threat. The 7-foot-1, light-scoring Zoubek had 14 points and 13 rebounds while teaming with Lance Thomas and reserves Miles and Mason Plumlee to dominate a suspension-weakened Cal’s frontline featuring 6-foot-8 Duke transfer Jamal Boykin — and little else.

Exploiting a huge advantage in size and depth in the frontcourt, the top-seeded Blue Devils glided into the round of 16 of the NCAA tournament for the 19th time under coach Mike Krzyzrjgw9ski.

Nolan Smith led the Blue Devils (31-5) with 20 points and spearheaded Duke's trademark man-to-man defense that made it difficult for Cal's high-scoring trio of Jerome Randle, Patrick Christopher and Theo Robertson to get open looks.

Kyle Singler scored 17 for Duke, which advanced to the South Regional in Houston, where the Blue Devils will face fourth-seeded Purdue on Friday. Zoubek's 6-for-6 shooting more than made up for leading scorer Jon Scheyer going 1 of 11 and finishing with seven points.

Boykin, who transferred from Duke after spending a little more than a season with the Blue Devils, led Cal with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Randle had 12 points and Robertson 10, but the Golden Bears misfired on nine of 12 3-point attempts and Christopher was held to two points — 14 below his average.

To read more, click here (Yahoo! Sports) and click here (Raleigh News & Observer).

TERPS KNOCKED OUT ON BUZZER BEATER

Michigan State 85, MARYLAND 83 - If Gary Williams, Grievis Vaquez and company all ever had the occasion to collectively and simultaneously scream a big giant F-BOMB, yesterday, as the final buzzer sounded and the last Spartan shot swished in during the Terps' second round game, was the perfect moment.

(Expletive deleted!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Maryland had staged a furious comeback scoring eight points in 29 seconds before Vasquez gave his scrappy tortoises the lead with just over four seconds to play. That’s when Michigan State charged up the court.

Eschewing the tradition time out, Draymond Green pushed the ball up the floor, passing once to Korie Lucious who launched the game winner.

Game over.

Spartans jubilant, Terps crushed.

Maryland overcame a 16-point deficit in the second half, led by Vasquez's 26 points. Eric Hayes tallied 18 points and Landon Milbourne had 11. Jordan Williams recorded his second consecutive double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

To read more, click here (Yahoo! Sports) and click here (Mike Wise in the Washington Post) and/or click here (Baltimore Sun).

GEORGIA TECH NO MATCH FOR OHIO STATE

Ohio State 75, GEORGIA TECH 66 – Evan Turner can play. The Buckeye’s star shook off one of the worst shooting nights of his career by coming within an assist and a rebound of his third triple-double of the season.

Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets who have been plagued by turnovers all year, tossed the ball around like it came from Jiffy Lube committing 21 turnovers..

Turner, a leading candidate to add national player of the year to his Big Ten honors, finished with a game-high 24 points.

Jon Diebler added 20 points and David Lighty had 18 for the Buckeyes.

ACC Freshman of the Year Derrick Favors (#14) played just 5 minutes in the first half after picking up two quick fouls.

Beating the Buckeyes was a tall order, but Georgia Tech (23-13) had no chance with Gani Lawal and Favors, their two leading scorers and rebounders, in foul trouble for much of the game. Favors, who finished with 10 points and four rebounds, fouled out in the last minute. Lawal, who had three fouls before halftime, had 11 points.

To read more, click here (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) and click here (Yahoo! Sports).

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO…

Hmmm…

MID-MAJORS DANCING SWEETLY

Butler, St. Mary’s, Xavier and Northern Iowa prove yet again that the mid-majors spice up the Big Dance.

To read the Associated Press’ Eddie Pells take on this year’s role of the MMs, click here.

PICTURE(S) OF THE DAY

MAKING HISTORY. Cornell became the lowest seed to advance to the round of 16 in this year’s tournament and the first Ivy League team to get that far since Penn 31 years ago.

Here, Ryan Wittman #20, Jon Jaques #25, Jeff Foote #1 and Alex Taylor #33 of the Cornell Big Red celebrate after defeating the Wisconsin Badgers during the second round of the 2010 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Jacksonville Veteran's Memorial Arena on March 21, 2010 in Jacksonville, Florida.

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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