Tag Archive: college


The 11th-seeded Rams, who didn’t even bother to watch the NCAA tournament selection show, are heading to Houston, and final No. 1 seed Kansas is heading home after a spectacular collapse.

Jamie Skeen scored 26 points as the Rams delivered the biggest upset of the NCAA tournament, shocking the Jayhawks 71-61 on Sunday to become just the third 11th seed to ever make the Final Four.

So doubtful were the Rams of even making the tournament that they watched the Cartoon Network and went out for fast food instead of watching the reveal of the tournament field two weeks ago. Now, they’re Houston-bound after an incredible takedown of the last No. 1 seed.

“Those people [the doubters] don’t matter,” VCU coach Shaka Smart said. “The only people that matter is the 14 guys on our team, and they never stopped believing.”

One of those doubters was one of Kansas’ vaunted Morris twins — Marcus or Markieff.

During a captains meeting with officials before tipoff, VCU guard Joey Rodriguez said one of the brothers offered him some parting words: “The run ends here.”

“We’ll see,” Rodriguez shot back.

The Jayhawks saw all right.

VCU players, hoisting their Southwest regional champion trophy, poured into the temporary bleachers where VCU’s outnumbered fans sat in an Alamodome that was otherwise colored in Kansas blue and white.

As the final seconds ticked down, Skeen heaved the ball from the free throw line and into the stands behind the opposite backboard. His teammates on the bench, who had spent the final minutes with locked arms to hold each other back, finally spilled out onto the court.

Kansas players walked slowly off the court. Several, includingMarkieff Morris, cried.

“We got beat by a team that was definitely better today,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “They were faster. They were good.”

It’s George Mason all over again, and VCU had an even tougher Final Four path than their tiny conference brethren in 2006.

The Rams needed five wins to go from First Four to Final Four. Along the way, they toppled the Pac-10’s Southern California, the Big East’s Georgetown, the Big 10’s Purdue, the ACC’s Florida State and now the Big 12’s Kansas.

They’ll pick on someone their own size next: Butler.

The Jayhawks? All they did was bully smaller teams to get this far. Kansas never apologized for coasting through a favorable bracket that served up schools seeded 16th (Boston University), ninth (Illinois) and 12th (Richmond).

None of those games tested the Jayhawks, who had been ranked No. 1 this season and had won 11 in row. Then VCU came out and showed it wasn’t just another pushover.

The Jayhawks spent the first half not knowing what hit them.

Kansas (36-3) hadn’t trailed by more than two points the entire tournament. With five minutes left in the first half, the Jayhawks trailed by 17.

Marcus Morris had 20 points and 16 rebounds, and his brother had 13 and 12. They played in disbelief as VCU, which ousted Florida State on 3-pointers on Friday night, used the long ball to bury the Jayhawks early this time.

The Rams hit 9 of their 12 3-pointers in the first half. Kansas trailed 41-27 at halftime and closed the lead to 46-44 with 13:11 left, but a 10-2 VCU run put the Jayhawks right back where they started.

VCU coach Shaka Smart, the 33-year-old whose enigmatic personality has made him a breakout star this tournament, was so animated shuffling in front of his bench that officials shooed him back. Another official later served Smart his first technical all season.

VCU (28-11) is the third 11th seed to ever crack the Final Four. The last was George Mason in 2006, when that Colonial Athletic Association school stunned Connecticut in its regional final. LSU made it in 1986.

That upset guaranteed a Final Four without a No. 1 seed.

Ohio State, Pittsburgh and Duke didn’t even last to the regional finals. Two traditional basketball powers, Arizona and Kentucky, and defending runner-up Butler took care of that.

Kentucky Wildcats vs. Ohio State Buckeyes – NCAA Tournament Game – Recap – March 25, 2011 – ESPN

NEWARK, N.J. — Brandon Knight did it again.

Knight knocked down a jumper with 5 seconds remaining as the fourth-seeded Kentucky Wildcats vs. Ohio State Buckeyes – NCAA Tournament Game – Recap – March 25, 2011 – ESPNWildcats stunned top-seeded Ohio State 62-60 on Friday in the East regional semifinals.

Senior center Josh Harrellson held his own against Ohio State super freshman Jared Sullinger, scoring 17 points and grabbing 10 rebounds as the Wildcats (28-8) advanced to play North Carolina on Sunday for a trip to the Final Four.

Knight, who knocked down a game-winner in Kentucky’s second-round win over Princeton, shrugged off another sluggish performance to drill the biggest shot of his career.

Kentucky coach John Calipari opted not to call timeout after Ohio State’s John Diebler hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 60 with 21 seconds remaining, and Knight delivered a silky 15-foot jumper.

Ohio State rushed down the floor, but William Buford’s 3-pointer clanked off the rim and the rebound was tapped out of harm’s way.

The Wildcats, who struggled to win close games earlier in the season, rushed onto the floor as the buzzer sounded. DeAndre Liggins, like Harrellson a leftover from Billy Gillispie’s days at Kentucky, hopped atop a table and pounded his chest as Knight stood at halfcourt and soaked in the moment.

The victory proved sweet vindication for the two holdovers, who were mostly spectators last season as Calipari revitalized the program behind a star-studded freshmen class led by John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins.

Harrellson and Liggins took this year’s group of youngsters under their wing and delivered the kind of savvy veteran presence the Wildcats could have used last season, which ended with a loss to an experienced West Virginia squad in the East regional final.

Liggins finished with 15 points for the Wildcats, who beat Ohio State for the first time in the NCAA tournament behind a suffocating defense that limited the Buckeyes to 32 percent shooting.

Sullinger led Ohio State (34-3) with 21 points and 16 rebounds, but the Buckeyes fell in the regional semifinals for a second straight season. Sullinger said in the aftermath he expects to return for his sophomore year, if only to wash out the taste of a bitter end to an otherwise spectacular season.

Ohio State rolled through the regular season but like the last two top overall seeds entering the NCAA tournament, the Buckeyes are going home early.

The win gives Kentucky a chance to avenge a loss to the Tar Heels earlier in the season. The Wildcats fell 75-73 in Chapel Hill in December, a game in which they gave away several chances to win.

Those days seem long gone. Kentucky has won nine straight and developed the kind of grit Calipari knew would come if he stayed patient with his freshmen-laden roster.

The Wildcats succeeded where so many teams have failed this season against the Buckeyes, dominating them on the defensive end.

Kentucky swarmed the 3-point line, limiting the sharpshooting Buckeyes — who’d made 28 3-pointers in easy victories over Texas-San Antonio and George Mason — to just 6 of 16 3-pointers.

Ohio State wasn’t any better inside the arc, shooting just 33 percent from the field as everyone besides Sullinger struggled to find room against Kentucky’s myriad of defensive looks.

“I think, honestly, some of the shots we missed we were making all year,” said Diebler, who finished with 16 points. “You have to give them credit, I thought they did a good job channeling shots with their length, but we’ve faced length all year. They just didn’t go in.”

The first NCAA meeting between the two schools in 24 years had a Final Four feel. There were 19 lead changes, with no team leading by more than three points over the final 17 minutes.

It’s a situation where the Wildcats had faltered early in the season. At one point they were 0-6 in games decided by five points or less.

Those days seem like a long time ago. Kentucky made all the big plays when it mattered as Ohio State blinked in the face of the Wildcats’ unrelenting pressure.

Kentucky’s withstood a skittish opening 9 minutes to forge a 30-30 tie at the break thanks largely to some inspired play by Harrellson. The little-used reserve a year ago has blossomed into a blue collar cult hero as a senior, and his leadership kept Kentucky in it after Terrence Jones and Knight battled jitters and early foul trouble.

Harrellson took Sullinger off the dribble for one basket and screamed after dunking off a pick-and-roll for another. Later in the half he drew the ire of Ohio State coach Thad Matta after beaning Sullinger with a fastball while falling out of bounds.

The Wildcats also did something few teams have been able to do this year: bottle up Ohio State’s 3-point shooters. The Buckeyes came in averaging nearly 8 made 3-pointers a game, knocking down 28 in their first two tournament games combined.

Ohio State only made two in the first half, both by Diebler, as the Wildcats extended the defense to prevent open looks.

It set the stage for a chippy second half that ended with another highlight-reel shot by the precocious Knight.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

Should College Athletes be Paid?Should College Athletes be Paid?

Originally written as an essay for school, this piece was written by Kevin Doran, a former college athlete who we felt was entirely qualified to weigh in on the subject. Kevin traced the history of intercollegiate athletics, tying the past to the present and ultimately presenting his personal argument about one of college sports’ most controversial topics.—Ed.

by Kevin Doran

The intercollegiate athletic competition that is seen all over the media today has evolved in our society a great deal over the last 200 years. Before 1850, intercollegiate sports played little-to-no role in the daily lives of their students. The term “student-athlete” had not yet been born into our society’s vocabulary. If the universities felt that there was a need for physical activity in the student body the college president and dean respectively leaned toward manual labor in the form of farming or clearing boulders from the college grounds. The primary goal and only purpose of colleges at that time were to take men and turn them into the most educated respected gentlemen in the society. In 1852, Harvard vs. Yale established the first intercollegiate crew regatta, in 1872 Harvard Yale and Princeton formed the first intercollegiate football association, and in 1891 James Naismith invented basketball at Springfield College in Massachusetts. All were responsible for the birth of athletic competition in the history of United States today. Since the late eighteen hundreds sports has evolved into the competitive world of the National Collegiate Athletic Association or NCAA which is estimating a generated $4.2 billion from both fans and various partnership deals. Currently the NCAA awards talented student-athletes scholarships or full rides that provide them with full tuition, room and board, meal plans, housing all payed for leaving them with no financial responsibilities but no additional salary for their hard work and efforts. College athletes do not deserve to get paid additional money for competing in sports simply because they have not earned the right, salaries take away from the brilliancy of amateur athletics and the financial revenue produced should be spent on the well beings of athletes and local communities.

Since its birth, the NCAA has grown into a multi-million dollar industry and some experts feel college athletes should begin to benefit more financially from the large revenues being brought in. The NCAA brought in more than a billion dollars more than what the NBA generated globally in the 2004-05 season, according to the most recent estimate from Forbes. One of the biggest revenue-creating sports a part of the NCAA today is college football that has come a long way since the establishment of the Harvard, Yale and Princeton football association. Recently in the last five years a few football teams have financially stood out amongst there competitors in the NCAA. Vince Young’s ’05-06 National Championship Texas Longhorns reportedly made a $42 million profit with the University of Michigan bringing in $37 million and Florida trailing with a mere $32 million. NCAA players, coaches and officials constantly argue for the paying of student-athletes because for them the primary reason for massive profit earnings is due to the thanks of the hard work of their student-athletes. College athletes are constantly seeing their jersey numbers on the racks of their campus bookstores but instead of seeing any of the profits all they see is their coaches racking in multi-million dollar contracts year after year. In total there are 119 Division I-A football teams competing in the NCAA today and out of those a reported 42 of those team’s coaches received more than $1 million salaries, at least nine receiving more than $2 million. This is one of the biggest reasons why players argue for their own salary incomes due to the financial successes of their own coaches and seeing them living extravagant lifestyles. Kevin Doran

One of the most successful college coaches of our generation is coach Gary Williams of the University of Maryland’s Terrapins. Williams is in his 22nd season at Maryland and his 32nd overall in college coaching whose main testimony for supporting the paying of student-athletes is through pointing out the $11 billion television contract for the NCAA basketball tournament that was recently signed. It would seem that it would only be fair to share multi-billion dollar contract deals with the student-athletes who help bring their respected institutions to such financial means. Williams emphasizes that non-athletic scholarshipped students are allowed to receive living expenses and spending money as apart of their individual financial aid scholarships but athletes are not. Athletes are much more privileged individuals who at the majority of their institutions are very well taken care of almost not needing anything. College is an extremely competitive aspect of any young persons’ life and our society needs to be careful in looking at what is given to them at such a young age. If anyone is given too much money, fame and success to early on in life the student-athletes might forget what it was that got them their scholarships in the first place being hard work and constant dedication. Coach Williams feels strongly that college athletes in revenue producing sports should be paid.Williams suggests a sum of roughly $200 a month based on the spending money of $15 a month that he was receiving while he played at Maryland back in the early 1960′s.

Despite Coach Williams defense of the idea of paying student-athletes salaries, these same students are continuously making poor irresponsible decisions. Society cannot afford to pay athletes who are being looked up to by countless children across the nation who are indirectly led to believe that student-athletes’ behaviors are acceptable. Four University of Tennessee men’s basketball players’ (Tyler Smith, 23, junior point guard Melvin Goins, 22, junior center Brian Williams, 22, and sophomore guard Cameron Tatum, 21) reputations were all left tainted after they were all arrested during a traffic stop for speeding near campus on guns and weapons charges. Police reported that officers found a handgun with an altered serial number, a bag of marijuana and an open container of alcohol while Tatum was the player driving. Some of the most envied students on campus who play basketball on national television each week, and do not have to pay for a thing in their free time, are found playing with drugs and weapons. Their behavior is childish and irresponsible and should not be tolerated let alone rewarded with additional salaries. The Naismith College Basketball Player of the Year for 2006 Duke guard J.J. Redick was arrested on a DUI charge the summer after graduating from Duke University right before he was about to enter the NBA Draft. The police officer reported that Redick had very glassy eyes, strong odor of alcohol and that he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.11 percent–0.3 over the North Carolina State limit. Society cannot expect people to allow student-athletes to be given salaries while on their free time they could be spending their money on drugs and alcohol making poor decisions.

Adam Figman

Wed, 23 Mar 2011 16:54:49 GMT

West Region: No. 2 San Diego State v.  No. 3 Connecticut

Actual huskies are known for their endurance and perseverance in harsh conditions (these ones at least), so why was such a big deal Sweet 16 Preview: Thursday’s Gamesmade about the five games in five days that that the UCONN Huskies powered through in the Big East tournament? They squashed Bucknell quickly, and survived a conference battle v Cincinnati in the second round to reach the Sweet Sixteen in Anaheim. By now, there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that Kemba Walker is the classic alpha dog capable of carrying his team to the Final Four.

But if any remaining team in the field has experience facing dominant machine-like scorers, it’s San Diego State. The Aztecs didn’t come close to shutting down Jimmer in two regular season Mountain West matchups vs. BYU, but the familiarity of guarding and preparing for a pure scorer should make Steve Fisher’s squad as prepared as any to slow down Kemba (plus, I’m of the opinion that guarding Fredette is a harder guard than Walker, but that’s a discussion for another day, say… a potential National Final matchup?). Connecticut has faced athletic frontlines like San Diego State’s in the Big East but not one that combines as much quickness with that athleticism. These teams are pretty even on paper, so San Diego State’s home court advantage in Southern California gives them the edge in this one.

No. 1 Duke v. No. 5 Arizona

Duke snuck past Michigan, Arizona tiptoed out of Tulsa with two of the more controversial wins in a weekend of questionable finishes. The Wildcats have this going for themselves: who onDuke can guard Derrick Williams? Kyle Singler is quick and gritty enough but definitely too small, the Plumlees are freak athletes and plenty agile for their size but won’t be able to stick Williams consistently, and Ryan Kelly is a reliable team defender but we will see Bruce Pearl teaching an NCAA ethics seminar before Kelly is asked to guard Arizona’s stud forward for an extended period of time. The point is Sean Miller has the most favorable matchup in this game. Will it be enough to upset Duke in a rematch of the 2001 National Championship game?

That might depend on how useful a week of practice can be for Kyrie Irving’s healing toe and, more importantly, his timing. Irving was physically ready to play in Duke’s first two tournament games (his ball pressure on defense was outstanding, and his can’t-be-taught knack for finishing in the lane saved the Blue Devils in the final seconds v. Michigan) but it was obvious that rust was an issue on the offensive end. One more week of running, shooting, and simply becoming more comfortable on the court will be great for Irving and gut-wrenching for the Arizona staff. Even though Arizona has the matchup’s most dominant player and a slight home court advantage, I think a better-conditioned Irving and the senior-intangibles of Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler give Duke a slight edge. Expect another narrow Blue Devils win.

Southeast Region: No. 2 Florida v. No. 3 BYU

This is a rematch of one of last year’s most memorable first round games, when Florida got blitzed by Jimmer’s 37 points and late-game heroics and lost to BYU in double-overtime. One year later, Jimmer is a cult hero, a player-of the year finalist, and every Mormon kid – scratch that, every kid’s idol. I’m beginning to think that, as great as Fredette is, the real key to defeating BYU is to eliminate his friends from the equation. Jimmer is going to put up his 20-25 shots. Wild and ridiculous they may seem to mere mortals, but his shots nonetheless. Jimmer tossed up 25 shot attempts against Wofford for 32 points, and 23 shot attempts against Gonzaga for 34 points.

It’s easy to gawk at those stat lines and overlook the numbers of those around him, most notably Jackson Emery and Noah Hartsock. Especially now with Brandon Davies out, these two are the most reliable scoring options Dave Rose has outside his star gunner. There are other outside threats on BYU (Charles Abouu, Stephen Rogers, and Logan Magnusson can all stretch defenses), but when Emery and Hartsock play well BYU generally wins. No one is advocating giving Jimmer free reign to go off for 50 (he might do that anyway). But it’s not such a crazy idea to let Jimmer shoot his hard shots. Many will go in. But as long as he is forced to shoot contested floaters, step backs, and runners, and Florida isn’t putting him on the free throw line (easier said than done), I’m sure Billy Donovan can live with the result. Keep an eye on Kenny Boynton’s sprained ankle for Florida as well. He says he is going to play, but as anyone who has ever badly rolled an ankle knows, those things usually take months to heal properly.

No. 4 Wisconsin v. No. 8 Butler

I bet a lot of people picked either Butler or Wisconsin to get this far, but I’d be shocked if more than a handful predicted this Sweet 16 matchup in their bracket. Wisconsin-Belmont was the trendy upset pick in the first round, and if then wasn’t the Badgers’ time, then the next game against Kansas State certainly was. But Bo Ryan’s Badgers finally got over the upset bug to make the Sweet 16. Butler, meanwhile, was losing every other Horizon League game just months ago. Now, after two heart-stopping finishes over the weekend, Brad Stevens waltzes into the Sweet 16 for the second consecutive season with the college basketball universe spinning on his little finger (any job in the next 20 years is Stevens’ to turn down).

This game is a toss-up. Before the tournament, I wouldn’t have hesitated to pick Wisconsin because of their defense and toughness. But now that it’s March, Butler has suddenly perked up and re-inherited those traits for itself. Sound defense and fundamental basketball was what carried Butler within an inch of a national championship last season. And Stevens has his kids (can we really call them kids when some are barely a decade younger than their coach?) playing the same way once again. Matt Howard has ditched the baggy t-shirt for the shooting sleeve, but he’s still the same effectively reckless frontcourt menace for the Bulldogs. I’ve doubted Butler’s tournament prowess for way too long now … Bulldogs advance to the Elite 8.

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