Archive for March, 2009

WATERCOOLER CHAT: FINAL FOUR

Wow — what a weekend in college basketball, as the Elite 8 transformed into the illustrious… FINAL FOUR.

First up, it was #1 seed UCONN v. #3 Missouri.  Missouri was a bit of a surprise pick, as almost everyone was anticipating the battle between Memphis (the team that felt slighted, and felt they deserved a #1 seed) and UCONN (a team that barely got a #1 seed).  But, Missouri crushed Memphis, and snuck into the Elite 8.  The game started off all UCONN, but Missouri battled back, with Leo Lyons and Matt Lawrence doing most of the legwork, and it was only a 6-point UCONN lead at the half. Unfortunately for the Tigers, UCONN was just too big down low.  Missouri stopped their really big guy, Hasheem Thabeet, but the Tigers couldn’t contain their other big men Jeff Adrian and Stanley Robinson.  And UCONN held on to win, earning their first trip back to the Final Four since 2004.  UCONN 82, Missouri 75.

Next, it was a game that will stand the test of time between #1 Pitt and #3 Villanova.  Like the previous game, this was a back and forth match from the get go, with neither team losing focus.  Then, the memorable moments came at the very end.  Pitt tied the game at 76 with some clutch free throws with 5.5 seconds left.  Then, Villanova in bounded the ball to Dante Cunningham.  In mid-air, Cunningham dished it to Scottie Reynolds, who drove the length of the court.  Then, with just one second left, and a defender’s hand on the ball, Reynolds put up a shot inside the key, and…. GOOD!!!  Villanova is headed to the Final Four!  Villanova is headed to the Final Four!  It was a truly amazing moment — one that will be remembered for the ages.  Villanova 78, Pitt 76.

On Sunday, the day kicked off with the #1 Louisville Cardinals taking on #2 Michigan State.  Louisville was ranked #1 in the nation coming into this game, and also full of confidence after destroying Arizona on Friday night.  But Michigan State had its eye on playing the Final Four in a home city — Detroit.  Talk about home court advantage.  Well, the Spartans channeled that energy, and gave Louisville everything they had.  The star of the game was their center, Goran Suton.  He had 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Michigan State will drive on into Detroit next weekend to play host to UCONN.  Oddly, they might now be the favorite to win this tournament.  Michigan State 64, Louisville 52.

Finally, with one spot remaining in the Final Four, it was #1 North Carolina taking on #2 Oklahoma.  This was also a match-up of two of the best college basketball players in the country:  UNC’s Tyler Hansborough and Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin.  Well, UNC’s coach Roy Williams plan to win this game was simple… take Blake Griffin out of it.  Make the rest of the Sooners beat you.  Blake Griffin still did his thing, putting up 23 points, and nabbing 16 rebounds, but the Tar Heels were just too much for the Sooners the entire game.  Hansborough didn’t have the best game, but Ty Lawson was on fire.  He had 19 on the night, and their other guard, Danny Green, put up 18.  UNC now advances to take on the red-hot underdog, Villanova, in the Final Four.  UNC 72, Oklahoma 60.

Next weekend is going to be absolutely fantastic.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: CLEVELAND WINS 58TH, SWEET SIXTEEN

NBA

The Cleveland Cavaliers beat a franchise mark last night against The New Jersey Nets, earning their franchise-high 58th win.  Wow!  For a team that’s been pretty terrible for the better part of the last 15 years, this is really saying something.  LeBron James even said that he felt a magical type of team chemistry from this team at season’s outset.  And boy was he right.  They are jellin’ — and just at the right time.  LeBron had 22 points and 11 assists, as the Cavs cruised past New Jersey.   Cleveland 98, New Jersey 87.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

The Sweet Sixteen kicks off tonight, and it should be a thriller.  Sure, there are no Cinderella teams involved this year, but the teams that do remain are excellent, and you can expect to see some fantastic basketball.  However, as of late, UCONN has been under fire for possibly violating some of the NCAA recruiting rules.  Supposedly, they may have made a few too many phone calls.  Recruiting is a foreign world to most people, but those actively involved with it know that visits and phone calls are extremely regulated.  And if you ignore the rules, you can pay a serious penalty.  Sometimes they even ban you from the tournament for a season.  So… will all this public scrutiny get in UCONN’s heads tomorrow night when they take on Purdue.  It’s definitely possible.  Purdue might just pull the upset.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

The Florida Gators have decided to immortalize quarterback Tim Tebow’s mid-season speech from last year.  The Gators were playing pretty well, but then they lost to Mississippi State at home.  After the game, Tebow was the face of the loss, and he publicly apologized.  He followed up this apology with a vow — that no one would, in the nation, work harder than him and his teammates the rest of the year.  He definitely fulfilled this promise, as Florida crushed teams from that point on, went undefeated the rest of the year, and beat Oklahoma in the BCS Championship.  Now that speech is forever a part of Florida football history, as it’s on a plaque outside the stadium.  And many agree that if Tebow wins it all again next year, he will go down as the greatest college football player in history.

Finally, in some more news from the college football world, the Senate will hold anti-trust hearings on the BCS System.  Last season, Utah went undefeated and even beat former #1 Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.  Well, they still didn’t get respected as a National Champion, but more importantly, they never had a chance to even earn that type of money.  That’s… unfair.  Sure, we all want a playoff system, but if there is a legal reason for one (i.e. all teams at least deserve a chance to earn the big cash prize of a National Champion), then this tournament idea might really have legs.  As of now, more than half of the teams in college football don’t even have a literal “opportunity” to get to the title game.  Something really needs to be done about this, and now that the government is involved… we could be seeing some seed numbers in the next few years.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: WOMEN’S BBALL, BROWNS STARTING QBACK, GONZALEZ WANTS TO GO

WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

The highlight of the sports night came from Women’s College Basketball in a heated duel between #9 Michigan State and #1 seed Duke.  Conveniently, the game was played on Michigan State’s home court.  Karima Christmas put up a brilliant performance for Duke with 13 points and 13 rebounds, but Michigan State staked their claim and defended their home court in the women’s tourney to prevail.  Mia Johnson led the way for Michigan State with a season high 17 points, as the Spartans roll-on in the tournament.  Michigan State 63, Duke 49.

NFL

There’s been speculation in Cleveland as to who will be the starting quarterback in 2010. Last year, the Browns were excited about Derek Anderson, coming off a great performance in 2007.  But — he was lousy, so they subbed him out for Notre Dame phenom Brady Quinn.  Well, Quinn was pretty bad too.  So now we have a QB controversy.  Now, Cleveland’s new coach, Eric Mangini, has publicly stated that the two of them will duke it out in pre-season for the starting gig.  This should be a fun training camp battle to watch, but, for Cleveland fans, is the outcome really that prosperous.

Elsewhere in the NFL, it appears that Chiefs star Tight-End Tony Gonzalez wants to be traded.  He’s definitely in the last few remaining years of his career, but he’s still putting up great numbers.  Gonzalez most likely won’t win a Super Bowl ring with the Chiefs anytime soon, but he would be a great fit for a team looking to add that missing piece.  Buffalo would be nice.  They have a solid running game, have two passing threats now that Terrell Owens came on board, and have a large gaping hole at Tight End.  If Tony G were there, the Bills would be the team to watch next season.  If possible, Buffalo should try and take this situation seriously.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

In college football, let the rivalry begin.  Lane Kiffin has stirred up a lot of controversy in just a few months as head coach.  Just recently, he called Florida’s head coach, Urban Meyer, a cheater.  Well, the Florida players were outraged by this, and have since posted photos of Lane Kiffin all over their locker room.  He is public enemy #1 over there.  However, Kiffin’s spin on this… he thinks it’s great that the Tennessee logo is all over Florida’s locker room.  When these teams face off next season, it’s going to be pure fireworks.  To Kiffin’s credit, he’s reignited public interest in a recently dormant Tennessee program.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: JAPAN WINS WBC, ARMSTRONG INJURED, DRAMA IN DENVER

BASEBALL

The World Baseball Classic came to an end yesterday in Dodger Stadium where it was Korea v. Japan.  Three years ago, Japan won the whole thing, and now last night they found themselves back at the top.  The game was tight the whole way through, but in the 10th inning the Seattle Mariners Ichiro Suzuki (a legend in Japan) hit a double to give Japan a 5-3 victory, and their 2nd World Baseball Championship.  Does this prove that Japan has the best players in the World?  Maybe, but, unfortunately nobody in the U.S. really cared too much about the whole thing.  Maybe next time it can drum up a bit more excitement.   Japan 5, Korea 3.

CYCLING

And in some rare news from the cycling world, the hero of heroes, Lance Armstrong, suffered an injury yesterday.  He fell during a race and broke his collar bone.  This could completely derail the 37-year-olds ability to train for the Tour De France, a race he came out of retirement for, but after winning a bout with cancer, there seems to be nothing that can bring this man down.

NFL

In the NFL, the drama between Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels and starting quarterback Jay Cutler continues.  The feud started when McDaniels went after Patriots QB Matt Cassel.  This made Cutler feel 2nd rate, and he has since been looking to play elsewhere.  Sure, the Broncos are fielding offers from other teams, but they’d prefer not to lose the quarterback they’ve been grooming for the last few seasons.  If they start fresh, they have to re-train someone and wait for him to get acclimated to a complex playbook.  That’s why Josh McDaniels said yesterday “Jay Cutler is our quarterback”.  He apologized that the issue has become so public, but he wants to put it out there that he wants Jay running the show.  However, Cutler is also putting out there that he wants nothing to do with the Broncos anymore.  He even skipped the first few meetings with the head coach.  That’s a surefire sign that this “incident” isn’t behind him yet.  This story just keeps getting more interesting, albeit it feels a little High School.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Finally, for those of you thirsty for some college basketball action while we wait for Thursday’s Sweet Sixteen games to start, we had a high profile game in the NIT.  It was last year’s Cinderella team, Davidson, led by magic man Stephen Curry, against a team that many thought were snubbed out of the NCAA tourney… St. Mary’s.  They have their own superstar in Patty Mills.  So… the two “big stars at small schools” would duke it out.  Curry had 26 points for Davidson, but it was Patty Mills that won the duel with 23 points AND 10 assists. Now, Curry will either go to the NBA or stay and enjoy his senior season.  Patty Mills, on the other hand, will continue to vie for that NIT Championship, and prove to the NCAA selection committee that St. Mary’s belonged in the Big Dance.  St. Mary’s 80, Davidson 68.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: MARCH MADNESS, 2ND ROUND

Well, the second round of the NCAA Tourney is officially in the books after yesterday’s action.  Here were some highlights.

While some people jumped on the Syracuse bandwagon after their electric performance in the Big East tournament, many thought that they’d run out of steam after that 6-OT victory over UCONN.  Teams that play their heart out trying to secure a good spot in the tournament, often flame out when it counts because they’ve just got too many miles on them.  However, all that action has helped Syracuse fuse even more as a team.  These guys look great, and were all over #6 Arizona State yesterday.  ASU’s star, James Harden, was essentially quiet, scoring onlly 10 points, but Syracuse point guard, Eric Devendorf, was on fire.  He had 21 on the day, including some clutch three-pointers at the end to seal the victory.  They march into the Sweet Sixteen to take on Blake Griffin and #2 Oklahoma.  Syracuse 78, Arizona State 67.

The Arizona Wildcats were the team everyone was talking about on Tournament Selection Sunday.  Why?  Because nobody thought they deserved to be there.  Their record wasn’t that good, and they petered out in the Pac-10 tournament.  They were definitely the last team in, and the worst of the Pac-10 teams there.  Well, guess what, they’re the only Pac-10 team left in the tourney, as they advanced to the Sweet Sixteen yesterday behind Nic Wise’s 21 points.  What people don’t understand about Arizona is they always have NBA caliber players.  Sure, they might not jell as well as they should, but wouldn’t you put your money on a team with at least a few NBA players.  Fortunately for Wildcat fans, this team is finally coming together.  Arizona 71, Cleveland State 57.

And there was a thriller between #3 Missouri and #6 Marquette.  Plus, in a surprise, Marquette got Dominic James back, their star player.  He thought his senior season was done, but there he was playing for his squad.   Missouri was clobbering Marquette, up by as many as 16 points.  But, Marquette came roaring back mid-way through the second half, and the lead just kept changing.  In the end, Missouri was up 81-79, and it was Marquette’s ball with 5.5 seconds to play.  In an unfortunate, Chris Webber bonehead type move, Marquette’s Lazar Heyward stepped on the line when trying to inbound, and folks… that’s a violation.  Missouri ball, and that’s all they would need to advance to the sweet sixteen.  Up next for Mizzou, #2 Memphis.  Missouri 83, Marquette 79.

Finally, there was a thriller in the last game of the day between #1 Louisville, and a sleeper candidate in #9 Sienna.  Louisville had control of the game, but then Sienna battled back and even led by 4 points with under 4 minutes to play. Wow!  However, there was no way Louisville was letting this game slide.  They buckled down, hit some clutch shots, and put up a marvelous defensive performance against Sienna in the closing minutes to hold on for the victory.  Now, Louisville will have their hands full with the surging Arizona Wildcats.  Louisville 79, Sienna 72.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: MARCH MADNESS SECOND ROUND

Second round of March Madness has begun.  Here were some choice highlights:

The #1 seed UCONN Huskies don’t seem to be struggling much, even without their best player Jerome Dyson. Many thought they weren’t the same team without him, but those critics failed to realize just how much talent UCONN has on the roster.  Texas A&M looked great on Thursday, but they were nothing but chum to UCONN.  With their head coach, Jim Calhoun, back on the sidelines, The Huskies absolutely crushed the Aggies, led by guard A.J. Price, who scored 27 points.  These guys look VERY tough to beat right now.  Their next challenge… a healthy, rejuvenated Purdue team.  UCONN 92, Texas A & M 66.

At the bottom of that region, it was #2 Memphis vs. #10 Maryland in what many thought might be a close game.  Nope.  Memphis has corrected whatever ills they experienced during the close game against UC-Northridge.  They steamrolled over a Maryland team that just didn’t see it coming.  Memphis’ star guard Tyreke Evans led the way with 19 points.   If there is a face-off between #2 Memphis and #1 UCONN, it will be a battle to remember.  Memphis 89, Maryland 70.

Another #1 seed, North Carolina, had a tough time with #8 LSU early.  The Tar Heels just couldn’t find their rhythm, and the LSU Tigers finally started playing like the team that dominated the SEC in the regular season.  What many thought would be a blowout, was actually pretty close.  Fortunately for UNC, however, they had their star point-guard, Ty Lawson, back on the floor.  Ty put up 23 points on the day as UNC pulled away in the second half to storm into the Sweet Sixteen.  UNC 84, LSU 70.

Up next for the Tar Heels, a very formidable opponent in #4 Gonzaga.  Gonzaga had a pretty safe lead throughout most of their game against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (one of last year’s Cinderella teams).  But, at the end, W. Kentucky came surging back, and with just 7 seconds left on the clock, they tipped in a bricked 3-point attempt to tie the game.  That left Gonzaga with just 6.9 seconds to do something, and they passed the ball to Demetri Goodson who rushed down the court, and hit a bank shot lay-up with just 0.9 seconds remaining.  Western Kentucky’s coach was yelling “Timeout, Timeout”, but nothing was called or granted.  W. Kentucky couldn’t do anything, and the game was over.  After the game, their coach complained to the ref that he had called Timeout so they could at least try to get one last shot off.   This will surely be a topic of controversy today.  Gonzaga 83, Western Kentucky 81.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: MARCH MADNESS CONTINUES….

The Madness continued on Friday.  Here were the choice highlights:

The day started out with a big scare to #1 Pitt.  Pitt struggled with East Tennessee State right out of the gate.  This does tend to happen sometimes, but typically the #1 seeds pull away after the 10-minute mark.  But that didn’t happen here, ET-State kept it close up until the half, heading into the locker room down by only 3.  Well, many thought that Pitt would gather themselves, and dominate the second half.  Nope.  East Tennessee was right there with them until the closing minutes.  Only then, finally, did Pitt look like PITT and got the job done.  DeJuan Blair led the way with 27 points, and the Pitt Panthers roll to second round.  Now, they take on a very dangerous Oklahoma State team.  Pitt 72, East Tennessee State 62.

In another early day surprise, it was #6 Marquette vs. #11 Utah State.  Marquette had a tremendous season in the Big East, and were one time neck and neck with both UCONN and Louisville (Two #1 seeds), but they during the home stretch of the season, they lost their star player Dominic James.  Without him, Marquette just hasn’t been the same (a sentiment also expressed by President Obama during his pick session on ESPN).  So many were picking them as an early out in the tourney.  But, Marquette held strong against the Utah State Aggies to win by one point.  Now Marquette will take on a pesky #3 Missouri team, who also looked quite good yesterday.  Marquette 58, Utah State 57.

In the night games, there were two thrillers going on simultaneously, both of which went into overtime.  The first match featured #5 Florida State v. #12 Wisconsin.  The game was tight for a while, but then Florida State pulled away, and took a 31-19 Halftime lead.  Even the CBS announcers thought they would hold on for the win.  But, the Wisconsin Badgers battled back towards the end of the second half.  Toney Douglas did everything he could to give the Seminoles the win, putting up a game high 26 points, but good luck rested with Wisconsin.  In OT, with just 2 seconds left, Wisconsin’s Trevon Hughes drove through the lane, did some fancy moves, through up a lay-up, and… GOOD — AND THE FOUL.  Wisconsin took a 2 point lead, and Florida State couldn’t do anything about it.  Wisconsin advances to play #4 Xavier.  Should be a great game.  Wisconsin 61, Florida State 59.

Finally, the last game of the night was #8 Ohio State vs. #9 Siena (the little guy from upstate New York).  This was one of those games where Sienna just wouldn’t go away, and their tenacity paid off, forcing not just 1, but two overtimes.  And in the second OT, down by one point in the closing seconds, Siena’s guard, Ronald Moore, took a brave 3-point shot to put them up by 2.  Ohio State pushed the ball down the court with just a few seconds, and got a good look at a 3-pointer.  But, it was in and out, and Sienna held on for the win.  Now, they advance to take on the mighty #1 Louisville Cardinals.  Sienna 74, Ohio State 72.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: MARCH MADNESS HIGHLIGHTS

March Madness… has commenced.  Here were the main highlights from yesterday.

With everyone thinking that UCONN will be the first #1 team to go down, almost everyone is picking Memphis to go to the Final Four in that region.  However, in what Memphis thought would be an easy, show-off game against UC-Northridge (a team that is supposed to be happy just to be there), Memphis got one heck of a competitor.  The game was neck and neck througout the first half, and UC-Northridge even pulled ahead towards the end of the game by 6 points.  But, like good #2 seeds do, Memphis… came back, behind some incredible 3-point shooting from Roburt Sallie.  He had 35 points, and, count ’em 10 3-pointers on the night.  And unfortunately for UC-Northridge, they fell behind again, and took some incredibly bad shots.  Memphis advances, but now has to play a rolling Maryland team.  Memphis 81, UC-Northridge 70.

Speaking of UCONN, there were some rustlings that #16 Tennessee-Chattanooga would give them a bit of run, especially since UCONN lost their best player (Jerome Dyson), and haven’t been the same team since.  And add to that, that their head coach, Jim Calhoun, didn’t even coach the game because he had to go to the hospital.  That’s a lot of factors from the outset, and those kind of factors are the ingredients for an upset.  But, UCONN seemed to take all of these negatives, and use them to jell.  They absolutely destroyed Tennessee-Chattanooga BY 56 POINTS!!! Wow.  But it won’t be the same in the second round, as they take on a very strong Texas A&M team, who, by the way, almost upset #1 UCLA last year in the second round.  UCONN 103, Tennessee-Chattanooga 47.

Next up, the East region, where #3 Villanova has emerged as a sleeper pick for the Final Four.  Why?  Because they play their first two games almost literally at home in Philadelphia.  And, the regionals are in Boston.  Not too far for their diehard fans to travel.  But their opponent yesterday, #14 American, didn’t seem to care about that whatsoever.  Villanova got on top early, but American surged back to take a 41-31 halftime lead.  American stayed strong in the second half, but completely choked towards the end.  Villanova realized — “Hey, we’ve gotta win this or we won’t be people’s sleeper pick to make the Final Four”.  And that’s just what they did.  Villanova 80, American 67.

Finally, in one of the last games of the evening, it was a highly anticipated game between #6 UCLA and #11 VCU (Virginia Commonwealth).  VCU is a small school, but their point guard, Eric Maynor, is one of the best in the nation, and a surefire 1st round NBA draft pick.   So this game was dubbed the battle of the point guards, as UCLA also has one of the best point guards in the nation in Darren Collison.  UCLA had the lead for most of the game, but in a late comeback, VCU drained some 3’s to tie the game.  Then, VCU’s tenacity paid off, as they got the ball with just 12 seconds left, down by only one point.  And, of course, they would put the ball in their best player’s hands.  It was Eric Maynor’s chance to play hero, and show the world just what he’s capable of (well, he did hit a game-winning shot to upset Duke 2 years ago).   Well, last night, he dribbled into the lane, did some head fakes, then took a fade away jumper that looked like it was going in, but fell just an inch short and hit the rim.  No good.  Maynor was hugged and consoled by his teammate, and walked off proud of his brilliant collegiate career.  Next up for UCLA… Villanova.  And that’s going to be an amazing game.  UCLA 65, VCU 64.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: HEATING UP IN NBA, KURT WARNER SURGERY

March Madness starts today, and goes ALL DAY.  By now, you have your tourney picks selected, and are hopefully already doing well in your office pool.  Meanwhile, with all this college basketball fever, we forget that the NBA is still in full swing, and things are really heating up.

NBA

The Houston Rockets are trying to make a claim that they are ALSO a team to beat in the West.  When you think of who will come out of the Western Conference, your first thought is the Lakers, second, the Spurs, and third the Jazz.  But Houston is having a pretty great season, and Yao Ming has finally turned into the force that everyone thought he would be.  Last night vs. Detroit, Yao was the hero with 31 points and 15 rebounds, as the Rockets defeated the Pistons in double-overtime.  Sure, the Pistons aren’t the team they used to be, but the important item is that Yao is ready to carry this team on his back.  When he plays well, the whole team plays well.   And with his leadership, the Rockets could be an underdog pick to make the finals.  Houston 106, Detroit 101.

Elsewhere in the NBA, another overtime duel between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat.  The best guy for the Heat is usually Dwayne Wade, but in his absence, the Heat turned to their rookie, Mario Chalmers.  For those who don’t remember Chalmers, now is the perfect time to bring him up.  He was Kansas’ hero of last year’s NCAA Championship game, hitting an amazing fadeaway 3 pointer to tie the game and send it into overtime.  Heading into OT, Kansas had all the momentum, and won their first NCAA Title in 20 years.  He will forever be immortalized in Jayhawk-ville.  And last night, he was ‘the man’ for the Heat with 19 points and 9 assists, allowing the Wade-less Heat to hang around with the defending champs.  However, the Celtics were just too strong in OT, and behind Paul Pierce’s 36 points, the Celtics held on for the win.  Boston 112, Miami 108.

NFL

A little bit of worrisome (not scary) news for the Arizona Cardinals.  Their QB, Kurt Warner, had to have arthroscopic hip surgery.  Sure, surgery always sounds terrifying for any NFL player, but this one is routine, and was just done to “repair a torn labrum and clean up some loose fragments”, said a team doctor.  Even Warner said he felt fine, but if you’re a Cardinals fan, you have to be at least a little concerend that the QB you just signed to a gigantic 2-year deal… needed surgery.  Then again, at this time last year, Arizona fans had nothing to worry about at all.  Why?  Because their team was irrelevent.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: FIRST TASTE OF MARCH MADNESS

COLLEGE BBALL

For those of you looking to get your first taste of March Madness — you got a chance to last night as Morehead State took on Alabama State in the “Play-In” game.  Essentially, this was the #65 seed taking on the #64 seed, battling to see who would get the precious opportunity to lose to the #1 seed in the nation — Louisville.  Much was expected of Alabama State, as they are home to a 7’1 center with the longest name in NCAA Tournament History.  His name:  Chief Kickingstallionsims.  Unfortunately, he didn’t really show up for Alabama State, playing only 14 minutes, and scoring 0 points.  He must have been born to do something else.  Kenneth Faried and Leon Buchanan led the way for Morehead State, and now they are headed to take on Louisville… for the second time this season.  Wouldn’t it be great if they got revenge?  Morehead State 58, Alabama State 43.

Elsewhere in college basketball, a somewhat relevant game from the N.I.T. (The National Invitational Tournament), where it was South Carolina taking on Davidson, the Cinderella team from last year’s tourney.  At the beginning of the season, Davidson appeared to be headed back to the field of 64, but their pro-bound phenom, Stephen Curry, got injured for a short period, and they also lost the semifinal game of their conference tournament.  No March Madness for them.  A bummer considering it would have been fun to watch Curry try to do it all again.  However, this game was worth noting because he completely dominated it — almost like he’s reproving himself to the pro scouts.  He had 32 points and looked like the Curry that led Davidson to last year’s Elite 8 — and just one basket away from the Final Four.  He might have the N.I.T. in the bag.  Davidson 70, South Carolina 63.

And there’s more news heading into Thursday’s tip-off.  North Carolina’s star point-guard, Ty Lawson, may miss their opening game with a toe injury.  Apparently this injury is taking longer to recover than expected.  Sure, UNC will probably be just fine against a #16 seed without Lawson in the line-up, but it’s more about what it says about their complete path.  If Lawson isn’t 100% going forward, the Tar Heels are not the same team. They’re great, but they’re not perfect.  His injury could really affect them, and perhaps result in a fluke early exit in the Sweet Sixteen.

WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC

Finally, the U.S. isn’t exactly into this whole World Baseball Classic thing, but… the U.S. TEAM DEFINITELY IS.  They’re killing themselves out there trying to advance to the next round, and yesterday… they did just that.  However, it didn’t come easy, as they took on a very talented Puerto Rico team which features such MLB stars as Pudge Rodriguez, Carlos Beltran, and Carlos Delgado.  The U.S. was down the whole game, but they rallied back, and in the bottom of the 9th inning, New York Mets all-star David Wright hit a clutch double to score two runs and give the U.S. a win.  Wow!  They advance to the next round, and now take on Venezuela again.  These guys really want to win this thing.  U.S. 6, Puerto Rico 5.

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