WATERCOOLER CHAT: COLLEGE BBALL UPDATES, SAD NEWS IN NBA

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

With #1 UCONN’s loss earlier this week against Pitt, there was an opportunity for #2 Oklahoma to nab the top spot.  All they needed to do was beat their unranked rival Texas in Longhorn-ville.  The game was very close in the first half, but then some bad luck for the Sooners, as their superstar (and probable #1 pick in the NBA draft) Blake Griffin went out of the game with a concussion.  And, unfortunately, it’s been Griffin that’s made the team this good.  The game was still pretty tight in the second half, and Griffin was begging to come back in, but the medical staff wouldn’t allow him.  And the Sooners just couldn’t pull off the win.  Texas 73, Oklahoma 68.

Since Oklahoma couldn’t capitalize on UCONN’s loss, that left a chance for #3 North Carolina to take it.  All they needed to do was defeat an unranked Maryland team.  However, the Terps weren’t going to just lay down and die especially in their own house.  Their coach, Gary Williams, even tried to pump up the crowd before the game.  The Terapins fell down by 16, but coach Gary Williams told them to hang in there and claw their way back.  And… they… did.  All thanks to Greivis Vasquez.  He did something that no Maryland player has done since 1987.  He got a triple-double, only the third triple-double in Maryland history (35 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists), as the Terapins beat the Tar Heels in overtime, and ruin their #1 hopes.  Maryland 88, UNC 85.

So the chance fell to #4 Pitt.  They just needed to beat an unranked DePaul, but as the above games indicate, that’s no guarantee.  Well, at least Pitt had a special alumnus on hand to cheer them on:  Arizona Cardinals wide-receiver Larry Fitzgerald.  DePaul came out strong, but Pitt’s big man DeJuan Blair was just too strong.  He had 20 points in 23 points, and was a complete dominating force down low for Pitt.  Pitt’s a very fun to watch finesse team this season, and after beating #1 UCONN earlier this week, they should nab the top spot again come Monday.  Pitt 81, DePaul 60.

NBA

Finally, some sad news from the NBA.  Utah Jazz owner Larry H. Miller has died from complications due to diabetes.  Miller was one of those owners who was a big part of the team and beloved by the community.  Thought of a very nice man and fervent Jazz fan who stood out among many money-hungry type owners in sports.  He was there during the exciting Karl Malone/John Stockton era, and even got to see his Jazz play in the 1998 NBA Championship in an exciting series against Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.  Before last night’s game against the New Orleans Hornets, the Jazz paid tribute to him by shinning a spotlight on his court side seat.  Then the Jazz took home a win in his honor, beating New Orleans 102-98.

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