Archive for April, 2013

What a Half

By
April 8th, 2013



in what has been one of the best first halves i can remember, Michigan has a 1 point lead at the half. After trailing by 12 with under 4 minutes to play, Lousiville stormed back with Luke Hancock making 4 threes to take a 1 point lead before Michigan converted 2 free throws with 2 seconds to play. Hancock has 16 first half points

Michigan was lead by Spike Albrecht incredible first half. he is 6-7, 4-4 from three, and has 17 points. Trey Burke picked up his second foul with 11 minutes left and sat out the rest of the half.

This is the way they used to play college basketball. If the second half matches the first, it will one great final

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crushed orange

By
April 6th, 2013



michigan is having little trouble solving the Syracuse zone at halftime. The Wolverines have 4 threes off the bench, some from beyond NBA distance. Meanwhile Syracuse has no points from James Southerland and one bucket from Carter-Williams. Although Louisville made up a double digit deficeit in the first game, Syracuse's zone and weak offense does not have the msake-up power of the Cardinals. Never say never, but the fat lady is warming up

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Its Louisville

By
April 6th, 2013



Louisville continues its second half combacks coming from 11 down to beat Wichita State by 5 in the first semi-final. Louisville's defense created critical late second half turnovers and converted free throws down the stretch to make it to the final game, but it wasnt easy.
The Shockers were hurt by the poor shooting night of Malcolm Armstead who was 1-10 from the field. Louisville survived an off night by Peyton Silva who had only 7 points and 5 of those from the line. But the Cardinals proved they are not unbeatable.

Syracuse and Michigan are now warming up. One will be going home, the other will face Louisville. Will it be an all Big East final? Or will Michigan uphold the honor of the Big Ten, supposedly the best conference this season?

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at the half

By
April 6th, 2013



wichita has a surprising 1 point lead at halftime. neither team is shooting well, and Wichita has done a good job of shuting down Louuisville's transition game. Frankly, Loyusiville looks a little tight. they didnt score a point for the first 5 minutes. Wichita State has had several opportunities to widen its lead, but is only 32% from the field and only 30% from three.

All year, scoring has been down in college basketball, and this game is no exception. But Louisville has shown dramatic second half offense coming off its defense in beating Duke last week and Syracuse in the Big East Final. Can the Shockers hang on. If they do, it will one of the bigger upsets in NCAA Final Four history

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yes i am really in the Georgia Dome

By
April 6th, 2013



its about an hour before tip off and despite the fact that the NCAA took away many of the press seats, i am sitting in my reserved space in the press box exactly at midcourt. no its not courtside, but i condisder myself very lucky since most of the media will be watching from the press room ( as big as half a football field).

The anticipation is incredible. 70,000 fans wearing two shades of yellow, red, or my favorite color, Syracuse Orange. Most folks still think this is Louisville's championship to lose, but i just have hunch that the winner of the Syracuse-Michigan game will be crowned champ Monday night.

It was a beautiful Spring day in Atlanta today with the Cherry Blossems in bloom. Had pizza at what has been voted the number 1 pizza restuatant in America. cant say i disagree.But its time for basketball. Dont forget to read my column in tomorrow's paper.

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One very wrong thing in college basketball

By
April 3rd, 2013



The latest UCLA hiring of Steve Alford again shows the hypocrisy in college sports. Alford was, until a few days ago, the " lifetime coach" of New Mexico, After winning the Mountain West and a number three seed in the Tournment, he managed to lead his team to a defeat by Harvard in the first round. As a reward, he was offered, and he accepted, a ten year extension on his contract. He signed a letter of intent, but before he actually signed his new contract, he accepted the UCLA job ( a graveyard for coaches).

I guess his word means nothing, either to his school, or his players. Money talks, even at a school which has been in the basketball news more for off the court issues lately than on the court.

But the real problem is with the NCAA. Why? Because, even when a coach picks up and leaves, the players cant, unless they agree to sit out a year. So the player is stuck playing for a coach who did not recruit him. I thought slavery ended 150 years ago. I guess not in college sports.

The NCAA and the college presidents should recognize that there is little loyalty in big time college sports ( yes there is the occasional Shaka Smart and Brad Stevens), and allow players to transfer without any penalty when their coach abandons them for more money and " fame". For Alford, and UCLA, his time will come after a few seasons of not making the Final Four. For the players, their time has certainly come to unleash the shackles of being an indentured servant

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Portnoy's March to Atlanta

By
April 2nd, 2013



I leave tomorrow for Atlanta where i will covering the Final Four for the Star Advertiser. I will be writing a daily column for the Sports pages starting Friday.

Although my beloved Orangemen will be there after playing some of the best defense i have seen any team play in years, can anybody stop Louisville. I doubt it. Louisville's dismantling of teams in this tournament, including a 20 plus point victory over Duke and the destruction of Syracuse in the second half of the Big East Tournmant final, where they came from 15 down in the second half to win by double digits, makes them the prohibitive favorite.

I dont think Wichita State has a chance of beating them, but Michigan could give them a game if they get by the Orange. The Wolverines have great guards and a solid center, and they may be able to withstand Louisville's dominating man defense. Of course, if Syracuse 's zone can make Michigan miss outside shots and they can plug the middle of that 2-3 zone, we will see a rematch with Louisville for the 4th time this year. Syracuse did beat the Cardinals there already this year.

The basketball bows banquet is tomorrow night. I will miss it, but if you have a chance buy a ticket or two , say goodby to this year's team. It will certainly look different next year. One intriquing question? Will Vander be there?

I will off to Europe after the tournament and wont be back until the end of the month so no blogs until i return. By then, Spring recruiting will be over and we can review who stayed, who left, and whose coming. There will also be a special Hoopstalk in early May.

To all of you who blogged back, who read this blog, and who have provided your feedback and comments, thanks for all your support. It has been a great year in college basketball, and i have enjoyed the opportunity to talk to you about it since October.

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