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Friday's List of 13: Wrapping up a basketball Thursday........
13) Louisville scored 84 points despite shooting 37.7% from the floor in a 84-71 win over Marquette, which turned ball over 26 times. Cardinals had 23 offensive rebounds and nine blocked shots.
12) Its tiring listening to ESPN announcers shilling for the Big East every game; when Central Florida/SMU/Houston are in the league next season, are they still going to tell us how great every team is? South Florida has a winning conference record, but they're a horrible offensive team. Letting Pitt/Syracuse get away will eventually be regarded as a huge mistake.
11) Pac-12 tournament doesn't draw well in LA, so looks like its going to be at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas next season, which would make them the fourth league to play a conference tournament in Vegas.
10) Referee Karl Hess is working the Big East tournament; refs at ACC tournament in Atlanta were wearing "KH" on their shoes Thursday, so it looks like Hess was banished to NYC as punishment for the kerfuffle at NC State a few weeks ago, when Hess tossed a couple Wolfpack alumni out of the arena for heckling him. Alumni who played in the NBA.
9) Illinois didn't take any foul shots Thursday in a game they lost 64-61, game Illini led by 4 at the half. ESPN researchers said they're first team from a BCS league in at least fifteen years to play conference tournament game and not shoot a foul shot.
8) Erratic Washington lost 86-84 to Oregon State, making 12-26 on foul line. Beavers were just 17-32. You wonder why our Olympic team can't win the gold medal much anymore? Our kids don't shoot the ball or pass the ball as well as kids from other countries. Simple as that. Its getting to be all dribble penetration, ball screens and pick 'n roll.
7) Game of the Day was definitely in Memphis, where Marshall beat Tulsa 105-100 in triple OT, in a game where nine players fouled out and 101 free throws were taken. Tulsa took 58 foul shots and lost. Of course they missed 18 of them. Marshall plays Southern Miss Friday; the Eagles won in OT too, 81-78 over East Carolina.
6) Cal-State Fullerton handed Long Beach State its first conference loss on Saturday, then went out and laid an egg on Thursday, losing to Cal-Irvine in the first round of the Big West tournament. That not good.
5) Then there is Texas-Arlington, which went 17-1 in the Southland, but lost by 20 to McNeese State in the conference semifinals. McNeese now plays Pat Knight's Lamar Cardinals for the league championship, after Knight ripped his team publicly for being screw-ups off the court. .
4) Arizona outscored UCLA 31-10 from the foul line in its 66-58 win at the Pac-12 tournament. Very few teams looked like they were having less fun than this year's Bruins. Have a nice summer.
3) The noise you heard during the last few minutes of Notre Dame's win over South Florida was James Naismith turning over in his grave, after a series of dumb fouls, careless turnovers and hoisted-up bricks created a very chaotic ending. .
2) Was totally surprised at how easily Colorado State trounced TCU; had thought that was going to be one of the better games of the day, but Rams hung an 81-60 beating on the Horned Frogs.
1) Level of play was way better Thursday than Wednesday, unless you root for Northwestern, then level of play was same underachieving junk they've been giving for the last five decades. Duke wins, Vanderbilt wins, Stanford wins; they're all good schools, just like Northwestern- can't use the crutch that being a good academic school hurts the ballclub.
All Northwestern had to do was beat a Minnesota team that had lost six of last seven games, and didn't appear terribly interested in playing any more this season, but the Wildcats went and gagged away another game, another season. Time for a new coach, a different system; you're close to Chicago. Recruit an athletic point guard. I dare you.
Saturday's List of 13: Wrapping up a Sports Friday.........
13) Tough night for the Silver State, as UNLV lost 72-67 to New Mexico in the MWC tourney, after jumping out to a 12-0 lead after two minutes. At least the Rebels will still make the NCAA tournament.
12) Crosstown at the Orleans Arena, 26-6 Nevada lost to Louisiana Tech 78-73 and is now headed to a disappointing berth in the NIT.
11) Colorado will face Arizona in the Pac-12 title game in Buffaloes' first season in the league; Buffs upset Cal for second time, 70-59.
10) Cal-Santa Barbara has beaten Long Beach State in last two Big West tournament finals; the two teams meet again in this year's final. 49ers beat UCSB twice this season, but this is the one that matters most.
9) Its an old Metro Conference matchup in Big East final, as Cincinnati faces Louisville; Bearcats lead wire-to-wire in beating Syracuse, 71-68. Cardinals beat Notre Dame, who have never played in a Big East final.
8) Atlantic 14 is wide-open after top seed Temple went down to UMass; Xavier came back from down 10 at half to beat rival Dayton, 70-69.
7) For first time ever, all four top seeds made the semifinals of the Big Dozen tournament, with Michigan needing OT to nip Minnesota, 73-69.
6) Baylor beat Kansas for first time in three tries 81-72; they're playing Missouri in the Big X final, in the Tigers' last conference game before they bolt to the SEC next season.
5) Marshall showed no ill effects from winning in triple OT Thursday, as they beat Southern Miss 73-62 and will face Memphis Saturday morning for the C-USA title, playing for the fourth day in a row.
4) Ole Miss sent Tennessee to the NIT with an OT win over the Vols; Rebels play Vandy next, a team that beat them 102-76 during the season.
3) Ohio-Akron is the MAC final, as top two seeds advanced with pair of wins by a total of seven points.
2) Illinois fired Bruce Weber, Nebraska canned Doc Sadler, as coaching carousel begins to spin faster. Weber will find a new coaching job quickly if he wants one. The Nebraska job ain't an easy one; we'll find out how committed they are to basketball with their new hire.
1) Did I mention Rams got two #1's and a #2 pick to move down four spots in the draft? Tremendous move by new GM Les Snead. Reminds me of Herschel Walker trade with the USFL.
-- 2008 Davidson team is the only Southern Conference team to win an NCAA tournament game the last nine years, but SoCon teams are 10-2 against the spread during that time. Something to think about.......
-- Same thing for the NEC, which is winless in NCAA play for a long time, but they've covered six of their seven tournament games.
-- Shea Jones, the son of ESPN announcer Mark Jones, will play hoop at Presbyterian College next season. The elder Jones played college ball at York College in Canada.
-- ESPN needs more MAC games on TV; they're entertaining!!!!
-- Ricky Rubio tore his ACL Friday night, is out for the year, bad news for basketball fans everywhere. Kid is fun to watch.
-- If I ran the Arizona Cardinals, Larry Fitzgerald would've been at the airport to meet Peyton Manning when he flew in from Denver. Maybe he was; to me, Fitzgerald is Arizona's best chance to land #18.
Sunday's Dirty Dozen: Random stuff on Selection Sunday..........
12) In other good news for the teams I root for, Yeonis Cespedes drilled a HR in his first spring training game; its only spring training, but its also better than making outs in spring training games. Looks like we may have found a #3 hitter for that new ballpark in San Jose (wishful thinking).
11) We need more MAC games on TV; great fun. Akron has now played in six consecutive MAC title games; they lost in OT in 2010, won in OT LY, then lost by a point last night. Highly competitive league. Lot of good athletes, more entertaining than watching 50-44 games.
10) "We had to overcome a lot of foul trouble, we had to fight through a lot of different things in the game, but our kids never quit. I just think of how proud I am of our guys. We've come a long way and we have gotten a lot better." NC State coach Mark Gottfried's tactful way of saying that they got hosed by refs and deserve to get into the NCAA tournament.
9) Michigan State's win over Wisconsin was their first win in a semi-final game of the Big Dozen tournament in the last decade (1-6).
8) Last time Duke didn't play in ACC final was 2008, when Blue Devils beat Belmont by a point as a 20-point first round favorite, then lost in the second round to West Virginia. Just a little historical perspective.
7) So Pat Knight's Lamar team wins the Southland tournament, then he's on TV saying "I knew they'd respond" to his throwing his players under the bus a few weeks ago. Coaches have to have their players' backs, thats their freakin' job. Knight has clearly shown that he doesn't, but just like his dad, winning makes everything better. Until you don't win, that is.
6) Dick Vitale was touting Duke assistant Chris Collins for the coaching job at Illinois; since when is a top 25 school an entry-level coaching job? Coach K's coaching tree isn't exactly filled with success stories. Let young Collins go win some games/make some mistakes at a mid-major before he is ready for the bigtime. Just like Steve Alford did.
5) Speaking of Alford, his New Mexico Lobos won the Mountain West tournament for first time in seven years, beating San Diego State. They're a good team that shouldn't be easily dismissed from your brackets.
5) I don't know Jay Bilas, don't know anyone who knows him, just hear him a lot on TV, but he comes across as a condescending, pompous guy who thinks he knows everything. He's much more likeable when he's on with McDonough/Raftery, but I won't miss not hearing him again until next basketball season.
4) Missouri has seven scholarship players; three of them got banged up in the Big X tournament this weekend; not serious injuries, but enough that they were limping around some. Caution is advised with advancing a very thin Mizzou squad to the Final Four, especially if they draw a Thursday first round game. They could use another day to rest up.
3) Long Beach State avenged a pair of losses to UCSB in the last couple Big West tournament finals, beating the Gauchos 77-64. 49ers have some seniors who have played lot of tough games over last three years. 49ers are in tournament for first time since 2007.
2) Bubble teams will be rooting like hell against St Bonaventure Sunday, as the Bonnies face Xavier in the A-14 final. Musketeers might already be in; the Bonnies definitely are not, so they could steal a bid.
1) Last game of night was WAC final from Vegas, where New Mexico St outclassed Louisiana Tech 80-57, getting back to NCAAs for second time in last three years- they scared the hell out of Michigan State in 2010.