Archive for the ‘NCAA Tournament’ Category

Let me offer some perspective about Brittney Griner’s impact on the women’s game. While there have been many great female players, a number of them tall, skilled and intimidating, who can actually throw down a dunk or two, like Lisa Leslie and Candace Parker among others, none have been the shutdown defender that Brittney Griner is.

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So why do I feel mildly nauseated by Kentucky winning, while at the same time admiring their skill at playing the game?

Maybe it’s because I continue to be uncomfortable with Kentucky’s coach, John Calipari, a slick, smooth-talking, renegade who left two schools, Massachusetts and Memphis, amid scandals that officially stripped them of their Final Four appearances. But amazingly Calipari himself sneaked away from personal sanctions in both of those cases- a slippery guy indeed.

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Most of the credit for Butler’s nightmare should be accorded to the UConn Huskies. UConn’s taller, more athletic players intimidated Butler right from the very start, even though the Huskies shot only 34 percent from the field themselves. They completely shut down Butler’s two stars, Matt Howard and Shelvin Mack.

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Hollywood writers couldn’t script a better ending to the college basketball season. The 2011 Final Four in Houston guarantees there will be another David versus Goliath match-up in the championship game. Hopefully we are witnessing a changing of the guard in college basketball, opening up the NCAA tournament to a wider range of schools. This years tournament proves that all any team really needs is a chance.

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The Butler Way starts with players who actually believe in TEAM. No one player is bigger or better than the whole. The Butler Way is also about defense, swarming, suffocating, in-your-face, annoying defense. Butler held Big Ten powerhouse Wisconsin to just 27 points for the first 30 minutes of the game. Butler defenses the passing lanes better than any team in the nation. They also lead in floor burns.

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I have some questions, you might too. What does it mean to be an African American today? And just who is authentically black? And do Uncle Toms still exist? Are you a racial sell-out if you happen to come from an affluent home instead of the inner city? Some of you might ask: Do we need to have this discussion? I think we do.

If ever there is a subject that needs re-airing, and re-evaluation in the black community it is this one. Jalen Rose gives voice to this in his recent ESPN documentary about what he and his famous “Fab Five” University of Michigan basketball teammates went through 20 years ago.

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A lot of folks outside the state of Utah are scratching their heads, wondering how it is that a consensual act of sex may well sideline a dream basketball season at Brigham Young University. For unmarried students at BYU, having sex constitutes a violation of the university’s ultra-strict honor code. Sophomore center and leading rebounder, Brandon Davies admitted to having sex with his girlfriend and has been suspended from the team for the remainder of the season, and pending further review, now faces dismissal from the university.

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This year challenged many of our beliefs about sports issues and the athletes who play the games. The highlights and the lowlights of 2010 offered us important insights into what athletes face, and what fans expect and are willing to accept. How the games are played and what we think about sports going forward will most certainly be shaped by what happened in 2010.

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The game played out like the hollywood script it was meant to emulate. Monday Night’s dramatic championship game ended with Duke edging Butler 61-59. But that was only the score. It was not the full story. Duke’s 4th national championship was earned the hard way. Neither team ever led by more than six points. It was back and forth all night. Tight defense, missed shots. Clutch baskets. Mistakes. There was suspense throughout.

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Butler basketball is the equivalent of Boise State football. The two are extremely successful “mid-major” schools which have fought years for respect. The difference though is that unlike Boise State’s football team, on Monday night Butler gets a chance to prove its worthiness in the championship game. Even better, Butler gets to play it at home in Indianapolis.

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There are many, many legendary basketball stories in the state of Indiana, but Butler’s appearance in the Final Four could turn out to be the biggest Hoosier story of them all.

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Tourney time again. Have you made your picks? Not being a college basketball fanatic, it is hard for me to know much beyond what the polls and my weekly channel surfing tell me. On this March Madness there are two co-favorites to win the championship and they will face each other in the championship game. […]

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He just helped lead his team to a national championship.  He is a four-time All-American.  He was once the national college player of the year.   But really, seriously, honestly, just how good is Tyler Hansbrough?  Why is he yet another lightening rod for debate about an NBA future when we’ve barely had time to […]

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If a Michigan State national championship helps to uplift the hopes of a troubled state and inspire its people then I’m all for it.  I don’t always root for the Spartans, since I didn’t go to school there or live in the state but I will cheer for them wholeheartedly when the game tips off […]

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Ty Lawson was held out of the NCAA college basketball tournament’s first game on  Thursday to rest his injured right big toe. There is no doubt had Lawson not played on Saturday, North Carolina would be watching the rest of March Madness on television.  The final score an 84 – 70 victory over LSU does […]

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