Friday, April 1, 2011

Final Four Finally

Here on the eve of the Final Four, we take a quick moment to celebrate college basketball. 

Here are a few observations.
  • The gap between the haves (Kentucky, Connecticut) and the have nots (Butler, VCU) is obviously closing.  Parody is moving into college basketball as kids get bigger, faster and more athletic.  Gone are the days when Kentucky, UCLA, North Carolina and Kansas (or similar stalwart programs) dominate the Final Four year after year.
  • In the Final Four, the city of Richmond (VCU) STILL has as many teams as the Big (L)East (UConn).
  • It will be hard to argue with the Suits In Indianapolis about the expanded tournament or the selection process now that First Four VCU has played their way into the Final Four.
  • If Kentucky figures out a way to win it all, Brandon Knight will most likely be the MVP.  He has been so far and the freshman’s numbers are very impressive.  He plays the most minutes (35.8 ppg) and scores the most points (17.3 ppg) for the Wildcats.  He shots 43% from the field, 38% from behind the arc and 79% from the charity stripe.  He has 154 assists, averaging 4.2 per game.  He also snags 3.9 rebounds per game. 

The most impressive number of all? How about Knight's GPA – 4.0.

Nice, Brandon, NICE!

Saturday, April 2:
(8) Butler vs. (11) VCU – 6:09 pm tip
(4) Kentucky vs. (3) Connecticut – 8:49 pm tip

Pictures Of The Day

Seriously, what will they think of next?  Here. Brazil’s Anderson (Evidently, all big Brazilian sports stars have just one name!) kicks the ball during a Footvolley match with Paraguay in Rio de Janeiro.  And, yes there is a pro-footvolley tour.   (Photo by Felipe Dana/AP Photos)
It’s great to celebrate, but not-so-great to be at the bottom of the pile!  Here, team Wales celebrates at the end of the UEFA Under-19 Women’s International Friendly between Wales and Germany at the Parcy Scarlets in Llanelli, Wales.  Quite the celebration for a 1-1 tie in a friendly!  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Members of the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals stand on the field during the national anthem before the start of opening day at Nationals Park on March 31, 2011 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images North America)
The mascot, what is Stumpy…exactly?  M.S Dhoni of India, Lays Competition winner Arancha (she looks thrilled! OK, maybe not...), Stumpy the mascot and Shahid Afridi of Pakistan pose before the 2011 ICC World Cup second Semi-Final between Pakistan and India at Punjab Cricket Association Stadium on March 30, 2011 in Mohali, India.  (Photo by Graham Crouch/Getty Images AsiaPac)

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Things That Make You Go…

Boise State's Chris Petersen and John Junker of the Fiasco Bowl
Hmmm…

Dan Wetzel over at Yahoo! Sports has a few choice words for the BCS.  Such as:

The BCS is not a system to determine a champion in college football.

It’s a system designed to continue to allow bowl games to operate and profit from the sport’s postseason. It’s the single-most illogical business arrangement in sports. Go find another company that outsources its most important and valuable product. Or go ask NFL commissioner Roger Goodell if he’ll let you run the Super Bowl and skim 60 percent of gross revenue off the top.*

You should read all of his words.  To do so, click here.

*Items in italics seem to be very true.

Picture of the Day

Regina Mayer takes her cow Luna overa  jump in Laufen, Germany.  When Regina’s parents dashed her hopes of getting a horse, the 15-year-old trained her cow to jump over homemade hurdles made of beer crates and painted logs.  (Photo by Kerstin Joensson/AP Photos)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Things That Make You Go…

(Andrew Shurtleff/VirginiaSports.com)

Hmmm...

Well as we like to say around here, it’s all a matter of perspective. (And everybody has one!)

From Virginia’s point of view and from the Associated Press, it goes like this:

Virginia’s Will Roberts tossed the first perfect game in school history, striking out 10 in the Cavaliers’ 2-0 victory over George Washington on Tuesday.

The junior right-hander from Richmond needed 98 pitches in the eighth NCAA Division I nine-inning perfect game since 1957. Roberts (5-0) recorded 27 straight outs to complete the 19th perfect game of any length in Division I, and the first since Auburn’s Eric Brandon in 2002.

Roberts also joined Maryland’s Dick Reitz (1959) as the only pitchers to throw perfect games in Atlantic Coast Conference history.

The victory was the 2,000th overall for Virginia (25-2), ranked No. 1 in some national polls.

Tom Gately (2-3) took the loss for George Washington (7-18).

George Washington, on the other hand, saw things completely differently:

(Andrew Shurtleff/VirginiaSports.com)
The George Washington baseball team held No. 1 Virginia to just two runs on Tuesday evening at Davenport Field, but were unable to compliment the strong pitching performance at the plate, falling 2-0.

GW (7-18) pitchers Tommy Gately, Kenny O’Brien and Craig Lejeune combined to hold Virginia (25-2) to just two runs on six hits. The top-ranked Cavaliers entered the game batting .297 as a team and averaging over seven runs per contest.

Gately got the start for GW and pitched three innings, allowing just three hits and two earned runs with one strikeout. He worked his way out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the third by inducing two pop outs.

Three paragraphs later, the GW press decided it was time to at least mention Robert’s historic accomplishment.

The two runs were all the Cavaliers would need as starting pitcher Will Roberts was perfect on the mound, striking out 10 batters en route to the eighth nine-inning perfect game in NCAA Division I (since 1957) history and the first since 2002.

Extra credit to that journalism student for the subtle downplay.

Nice, George Washington, NICE!

Oscar Winning Movie Star/Director Visits T.A.H. Headquarters...Not!

Clint Eastwood came to town and, oddly enough, he forgot to check in at T.A.H. Worldwide Media LLC.  We hope he realizes that our movie reviews (we do movie reviews?) launch ticket sales upwards in the teens all the way to the twenties...So a good review from T.A.H. could add a whopping $200 to his worldwide gross.  Something to think about...

Dirty Harry was in town on Monday to shoot a scene for his upcoming movie about J. Edgar Hoover.

Great shot by local photography wiz Edward Payne/Edward Payne Photography.

ACC LAX Scoreboard

(Jeffrey A. Camarati/TarHeelBlue.com)
03/22/11             
NORTH CAROLINA 12, Dartmouth  (Big Green,  4,196 students, Hanover, NH) 7 –  Jimmy Dunster scored a career-high four goals and Steven Rastivo made 12 saves in his first career start to lead sixth-ranked North Carolina to a 12-7 victory over Dartmouth in men's lacrosse at Fetzer Field. The Tar Heels played from behind much of the game before Dunster helped lead a 7-1 Carolina scoring run over the last 17:38 to pull away for the victory.

03/26/11             
NORTH CAROLINA 11, MARYLAND 6 – North Carolina's sixth-ranked men's lacrosse team got seven goals and seven assists from freshman and Steven Rastivo made a career-high 13 saves to power the Tar Heels to a 11-6 come-from-behind victory over fifth-ranked Maryland at Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium. The victory was the first for the Tar Heels in College Park since 2003 and only the second win for UNC at Maryland since 1993.

(Kim Hairston/Baltimore Sun)
The Tar Heels improved to 7-2 overall and 1-1 in the ACC before a crowd of 3,176 fans and a national television audience on ESPNU. Maryland saw its four-game winning streak end as the Terps fell to 6-2 overall and 0-2 in the ACC.
         
DUKE 14, Georgetown (Hoyas, 15, 318 students, Washington, DC) 12 –The Duke University men's lacrosse team outscored visiting Georgetown 9-3 in the second half to post a 14-12 come-from-behind victory over the Hoyas in men's lacrosse action at Koskinen Stadium. Freshman attackman Jordan Wolf led the No. 4 Blue Devils with a career-high seven points from four goals and three assists.

Johns Hopkins (Blue Jays, 4,744 students, Baltimore, MD) 12, VIRGINIA 11 – Steele Stanwick had three goals and four assists for the No. 2 Virginia Cavaliers (7-2), but it wasn't enough as the No. 11 Johns Hopkins Blue Jays (6-2) broke a six-game losing streak to UVa with a 12-11 triumph on Saturday at Homewood Field.

Johns Hopkins captured the Doyle Smith Cup for the first time in the trophy's six-year existence. Starting with the 2006 season, the regular season winner of the Virginia and Johns Hopkins matchup gets to keep the cup.

(Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun)
03/29/11             
DUKE  12, Brown (Brown Bears, 6,316 students, Providence, RI) 7 – Five different Blue Devils registered a multiple-point game to lead third-ranked Duke University to a 12-7 non-conference victory over Brown at Koskinen Stadium. Eleven players notched at least one point in the game for the Blue Devils as Duke had eight different goal scorers.

Duke (8-2) pushes its win streak to seven games and its home win streak to 14. The 14-game run at home currently is the longest active streak in Division I lacrosse.

Senior Zach Howell and freshman Jordan Wolf both contributed three points from two goals and an assist, while junior Robert Rotanz and Christian Walsh also chipped in two-goal efforts.  Sophomore defenseman Bill Conners registered his first career goal as well.

UConn Women Eliminate Duke

Maya Moore (AP Photo/Barbara Johnston)
All-American Maya Moore scored 28 points, including the 3,000th of her career, to lead top-seeded UConn to a 75-40 win against Duke on Tuesday night.

Now Moore is headed to the Final Four with a chance to pad perhaps the most impressive resume in the history of women’s college basketball with yet another championship.

With two more victories, the Huskies will match the record for consecutive NCAA titles set by Tennessee (1996-98) and equaled by UConn (2002-04).

Once again rural Storrs, Conn., is the center of the college basketball world as both the men’s and women’s teams are in the Final Four. It’s the third time in the past seven years that both programs have advanced this far with 2004 culminating in dual titles.

Earlier in the day, Moore became only the second four-time AP All-American. She was an unanimous choice for the third straight year.

On Tuesday night, she became the first D-I player to reach 3,000 points since Southwest Missouri State star Jackie Stiles in 2001.

Moore, who earned outstanding player of the regional honors, fell a bit short of achieving the school’s first triple-double since Laura Lishness had one in the Big East tournament title game in 1989. Moore finished with 10 rebounds and seven steals.

Now the Huskies (36-1) are back in the Final Four for the fourth straight season and the 12th time in the past 17 years.

The Blue Devils (32-4) faced questions leading up to the game on what they’d do differently than they did in a 36-point blowout loss to UConn on Jan. 31. In that game, the Huskies delivered an early knockout blow, scoring 23 of the first 25 points.

Quote Of The Day

(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
"We were very successful against them and, to be quite frank with you, we recruited Chris Webber.  I didn't recruit Jalen Rose because we had Grant Hill and I'm happy with that. We didn't look at [...]Juwan Howard [because] we knew he wasn't going to come to Duke. The other two kids we didn't think were the caliber that could play as well as Thomas Hill and Brian Davis and Billy McCaffery. They're good kids."

-- Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski on the "The Waddle & Silvy Show" in Chicago yesterday discussing the Jalen Rose “Uncle Tom” controversy.  Rose found his way back into the news yesterday when ESPN reported that the former NBA player and Fab Five standout was arrested earlier this month on suspicion of drunken driving.
    
To read more of Coach K’s comments, click here

Pictures Of The Day

A RISING TIDE FLOATS ALL BOATS…but this is ridiculous.  A pleasure boat is balanced on top of a house in the tsunami devastated port of Otsuchi City in Iwatel prefecture.  (Photo by Asahi Shimburi/EPA)
A GOOD WALK REALLY SPOILED.  Golfers use a conveyor belt to move from hole to hole at a golf course in Lohmar, Germany.  (Photo by Oliver Berg/EPA)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Football? Really? Why Yes, And Here Are Some Links

Good news ACC football fans: The season gets underway in a scant five months. Spring practices are underway, and ESPN's Heather Dinich is already cranking out the links. 

*Here are five things to watch as Maryland begins spring practices today.

*Virginia Tech's staff changes were expensive, but are being viewed as an investmentfor the athletic department's cash cow.

*Clemson is still waiting for receiver Bryce McNeal to make an impact, and time is running out, as the position is getting crowded.

*Sorry, Loyola, there's only one Wolfpack.

*Miami coach Al Golden wants to make sure more than one running back sees the field this year.

*Duke backup quarterback Brandon Connette could continue to add additional elements to the Blue Devils' offense this year with his ability to run.

*Virginia Tech will be missing three players when it starts spring practices on Wednesday.

*Miami receiver Tommy Streeter has been one of the most improved players on the Canes' spring roster.

Well, At Least Somebody Is Happy

CAUTION: There are a couple F-bombs in here.  (Davis, no sound!)
Alas, it is clear they are new to this -- no fires (furniture, bonfires, cars, etc.) and no looting.

Pictures Of The Day

A boy throws a basketball found in the ruins in Yamada, Iwate Prefecture in northern Japan more than two weeks after the area was devastated by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and a tsunami.  (Photo by Damir Sagoli/Reuters)
Australian basketball player Liz Cambage poses during a portrait shoot at St Kilda Beach on March 29, 2011 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Former UNC Point Guard Drew Enrolls At U.C.L.A.

Larry Drew II has enrolled at UCLA after abruptly leaving North Carolina last month and vilifying his former team in a birthday party rap.
  
Coach Ben Howland said Drew attended classes on Monday, the first day of spring quarter. The junior will sit out next season because of NCAA rules and will have one season of eligibility remaining.

Drew left the Tar Heels in February, with coach Roy Williams saying he was shocked by the player’s unexpected departure. Drew never publicly/officially explained his reasons for leaving, but he lost his starting job as point guard in mid-January of freshman Kendall Marshall following a 20-point loss to Georgia Tech.

Drew said in a statement it feels great to be back home in Los Angeles.

He is the son of Atlanta Hawks coach Larry Drew, who played 10 years in the NBA, including stints with the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers.

Former Tar Heels Travis and David Wear are scheduled to play for the Bruins in the upcoming 2011-12 season.

Smith First Team All-America

(Harry How/Getty Images)

Duke guard Nolan Smith is one of three seniors who were announced Monday as first-team All-American selections by The Associated Press.

Smith was joined on the All-America team by seniors Jimmer Fredette of Brigham Young and JaJuan Johnson of Purdue. Connecticut junior Kemba Walker and Ohio State freshman Jared Sullinger also earned All-America honors.

The ACC player of the year, Smith averaged 21.3 points, 4.6 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game while leading Duke to the ACC tournament title and a No. 1 seed for the NCAA tournament. The Blue Devils finished 32-5 after being eliminated in the West Regional semifinals by Arizona on Thursday.



 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Pictures of the Day

Jockey Mirco Demuro gestures as Victoire Pisa wins the $10 million Dubai World Cup 2011 at the Meydan race track in UAE on March 26, 2011. (Photo by Karim Sahib/AFP Photo)
Marco Andretti’s car spins upside down during lap one of the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.  Andretti was not injured. (Photo by Bruce Moyer/St. Petersburg Times/ZumaPress.com)
Kentucky Wildcats forward Josh Harrelson dive for a loose ball against North Carolina in the east regional final of the NCAA tournament in Newark, NJ.  (Photo by Al Tielemans/SI)

ACC Basketball...And Then Depression Set In...

(Nick Latham, Getty Images)

Georgia Tech Hires Brian Gregory

Georgia Tech has picked Dayton coach Brian Gregory to rebuild its beleaguered basketball program, which fell on hard times after reaching the national championship game in 2004.

Dayton senior associate athletic director Dave Harper said Monday that Gregory was leaving to take the Georgia Tech job.

Georgia Tech officials would not comment, pending official approval of Gregory’s contract. The school was preparing to hold a late afternoon news conference to announce the replacement for Paul Hewitt, who was fired shortly after his fourth losing season in six years.

The 44-year-old Gregory had coached at Dayton for eight seasons, posting a record of 172-94. He guided the Flyers to a pair of NCAA appearances, reaching the second round in 2009 with an upset of West Virginia. Dayton also won the NIT in 2010, beating North Carolina in the championship game.

At Georgia Tech, Gregory takes over a program that came within one win of a national title in 2004 but fell on hard times in recent years under Hewitt.

The Yellow Jackets were 13-18 this season and 11th in the ACC at 5-11. Hewitt was fired two days after the season ended with another ugly loss, 59-43 to Virginia Tech in the opening round of the ACC tournament.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Adios, ACC Basketball For 2011

Kentucky Too Tough For Tar Heels

Brandon Night (Nick Latham/Getty Images)
Kentucky (Wildcats, 27,209 students, Lexington, KY) 76, NORTH CAROLINA 69 -  On too many occasions this season, North Carolina has gotten behind only to eventually win with determined comebacks.  On most occasions, the other team blinks in the face of an intense Tar Heel barrage.  

Kentucky, who had advanced to the regional final after vanquishing the #1 overall seed in the tournament Ohio State, wasn’t one of those teams.   Like Duke in the ACC tournament, the Wildcats took UNC’s best shot and kept knocking down big baskets to hold them off.  

The Tar Heels fell behind in the first half and sustained a long second-half rally, but the Cats simply hit big shot after big shot to hold off the ACC regular season champs.

Harrison Barnes (Nick Latham/Getty Images)
With #2 North Carolina’s loss, the NCAA Final Four will be without a #1 or #2 seeded team since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985.

Brandon Knight scored 22 points and fourth-seeded Kentucky advanced to the Final Four for the first time since their 1998 national title.  Even with UNC defensive stalwart Dexter Strickland glued to him, Knight continues to make game changing shots as he has done all tournament long.

The Wildcats (29-8) will play Connecticut in Houston on Saturday night after turning back a late surge by the Tar Heels (27-10), who erased an 11-point deficit before running out of gas in the final 2 minutes.

The Wildcats made 12 of 22 three-pointers, a whopping 55% as part of 48% overall shooting.  The Tar Heels shot 42% and made only 3 of 16 (18%) from behind the arc.

Game over.

DeAndre Liggins added 12 points for Kentucky, including a 3-pointer from the corner with 37 seconds remaining to help lift the Wildcats.

A season after falling a game short of the Final Four behind a roster filled with future NBA stars, the Wildcats are heading to the national semifinals for the 14th time behind the heady play of Knight and Harrellson’s emotional leadership.

Harrellson again held his own against North Carolina’s bigger, more heralded front line, scoring 12 points and grabbing eight rebounds.

DeAndre Liggins (Nick Latham/Getty Images)
Tyler Zeller led North Carolina with 21 points and nine rebounds and Harrison Barnes added 18 points, but 
the Tar Heels fell behind early and struggled to keep the hot-shooting Wildcats in check.

John Henson picked the wrong day to play poorly (4 points, 9 rebounds, no blocks) and was in foul trouble most of the game.

Calipari joins Rick Pitino as the only men’s coaches to lead three different programs to the Final Four. Calipari’s previous visits at Massachusetts in 1996 and Memphis in 2008 were vacated by the NCAA for rules violations, but Calipari was not found liable in either instance.

Devils Move On, Heels Out Of Women’s NCAA Tournament

Keisha Hampton

DUKE 70, Depaul (Blue Demons, 15,944 students, Chicago, IL) 63 – Karima Christmas had 23 points and nine rebounds, Jasmine Thomas scored 19 points and Duke beat DePaul  on Sunday to reach the regional final for the second straight year.

The Blue Devils (32-3) will play top-seeded Connecticut on Tuesday night with the Final Four at stake. The Huskies thumped Duke 81-57 on Jan. 31.

Chelsea Gray scored 16 points for the Blue Devils, who raced to a 15-point lead and had to hold on after the big advantage nearly evaporated late in the second half.

DePaul’s Deirde Naughton hit two 3-pointers in less than a minute that cut the lead to three each time. The Blue Devils wrapped it up at the free-throw line.

Naughton scored 17 points for DePaul (29-7). The Blue Demons have never played in a regional final.
Duke lost to Baylor in its regional final last year.

Stanford (Stupid Tree, 15,319 students,Stanford, CA) 72, NORTH CAROLINA 65 – Nnemkadi Ogwumike and her freshman sister, Chiney, scored 12 of Stanford's final 15 points and the top-seeded Cardinal held on in the final minute for a win over No. 5 seed North Carolina on Saturday night in the Spokane Regional semifinals.

Italee Lucas
Nnemkadi Ogwumike led the Cardinal with 19 points while Chiney, the Pac-10 freshman of the year, added 16. Pohlen missed eight of her nine shots and finished with just six points.

Italee Lucas led North Carolina (28-9) with 22 points and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt added 14 off the bench, but the Tar Heels were hampered by a tough night from forward Jessica Breland, the Tar Heels' second-leading scorer. Breland made just one of 13 shots, missed both of her free-throw attempts and finished with just two points, 10 below her season average.

The result is what you'd expect with the Tar Heels and Cardinal involved--a tight matchup that came down to the final possessions.

But it was the Ogwumikes making the plays when the Tar Heels went cold.

Tied at 59 with 4:35 left, Nnemkadi scored consecutive baskets to push the Cardinal ahead by four. She scored with 3:08 remaining, then saw her sister come up with a big bucket in the lane with 1:59 left after North Carolina had pulled even at 65.

It was still a one-possession game with under a minute remaining when Nnemkadi Ogwumike missed in the lane, but Chiney grabbed the offensive rebound and scored while being fouled with 39.7 seconds left to put the Cardinal up 69-65. North Carolina committed a turnover on its next possession, one of four they 
committed in its final five possessions and Pohlen knocked down three free throws in the final 30 seconds.

Chay Shegog added 13 for North Carolina, who rallied from a seven-point deficit early in the second half but only once took the lead on Lucas' basket with 6:51 left. North Carolina went the final 3:42 without a field goal.

Madness Headed To Houston

Charles Okwandu #35,  Nieles Giffey #5 and Roscoe Smith #22 of the Connecticut Huskies celebrates as Kyle Fogg of Arizona walks off the court after UConn won the West Regional.  (Photo by John W. McDonough/SI)

Matt Howard of the Butler Bulldogs shoot over Patric Young of Florida in the Southeast Regional final in New Orleans.  (Photo by Bob Rosato/SI)

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