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Just The Sports: 2006-03-26

Just The Sports

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Final Four Running Diary Pt. I

George Mason vs. Florida

6:05-Joakim Noah looks pretty angry. Why is anyone's guess, but I wouldn't want to be any of George Mason's players right now.

6:08-George Mason wins the opening tip. Noah blocks George Mason's first shot.

6:09-Lamar Butler hits the first shot of the game. George Mason 2, Florida 0.

6:09-Humphrey tries to redeem himself after his poor shooting effort in his last game by hitting a 3. Florida 3, George Mason 2.

6:12-Florida continues to get multiple offensive rebounds.

6:13-Horford completes a 3-point play. Florida 8, George Mason 4.

6:14-Florida gets another offensive rebound. It leads to a Taurean Green 3. Florida 11, George Mason 6.

6:16-Humphrey misses a 3. Maybe he doesn't want to redeem himself after all.

6:20-Brewer makes a 3 pointer. Florida 16, George Mason 6.

6:21-A phantom foul is called on Joakim Noah.

6:21-Will Thomas (George Mason) throws the ball against the backboard. Or he shoots it. I couldn't tell.

6:25-Folarin Campbell (George Mason) makes all three free throws after being fouled on a 3-point attempt. It's nice to see they remember how to score. Florida 16, George Mason 9.

6:27-Tony Skinn takes it coast-to-coast for a lay-up. Florida 16, George Mason 11.

6:32-Butler tried to pretend he was fouled on a 3-pointer and ended up airballing it. Next time he should pretend he wants to make the shot.

6:33-Jai Lewis posts up at the 3 point line. Amazing that he thought that was a good idea and even more amazing is the fact his teammate passed him the ball while he was posting up at the 3 point line, 19 feet from the basket.

6:38-Humphrey is not just a bad shooter. He's a bad passer, too. His turnover leads to George Mason scoring. Florida 18, George Mason 17.

6:38-Corey Brewer hits another 3. Florida 21, George Mason 17.

6:39-Very nice reverse lay-up by Tony Skinn off a Florida turnover. Florida now has 5 of them. Florida 21, George Mason 19.

6:42-Green misses badly on a 3-point attempt.

6:42-Humphrey's shooting woes continue as he misses another 3.

6:42-Add defending to the list of things Lee Humphrey is bad at. Seconds after his missed 3-pointer, he fouls Tony Skinn, who makes the shot. Skinn makes the free throw. Florida 25, George Mason 24.

6:47-George Mason battles for the rebound amongst themselves, no one says, "Same team," and they end up watching the ball go out of bounds.

6:49-Florida's offensive rebound leads to a Florida 3-pointer by Taurean Green. Florida 28, George Mason 24.

6:50-Campbell knifes through the lane for a lay-up. Florida 28, George Mason 26.

6:50-Noah decides it is unfair to use his significant height advantage over George Mason's front line and shoots a jumper instead. He misses.

6:51-Taurean Green hits a 3. Florida 31, George Mason 26. 28.7 seconds remaining in the first half.

6:53-Halftime score: Florida 31, George Mason 26.

7:15-Second half begins. Humphrey surprises himself and everyone watching this game by hitting a 3. Florida 34, George Mason 26.

7:16-Humphrey hits another 3. His shooting slump could be over. The quick six points by Florida leads to a George Mason timeout. Florida 37, George Mason 26.

7:21-Humphrey hits yet another 3. There's no way George Mason can win now. Florida 40, George Mason 28.

7:26-Will Thomas hurls the ball at the backboard again. I don't think he's scored at all this game.

7:30-Noah travels while he is unguarded. Impressive.

7:33-Thomas dunks while being fouled by Brewer.

7:41-Brewer throws down a dunk. Florida 53, George Mason 36.

7:41-Jai Lewis shoves Brewer out of bounds.

7:42-9 minutes, 28 seconds remaining in the game. Florida 53, George Mason 38.

7:44-Humphrey hits a dagger 3. Florida 56, George Mason 38.

7:46-Jai Lewis completes a 3 point play. Florida 58, George Mason 43.

7:53-Tony Skinn hits a a 3 to bring the lead down to 11.

7:53-Humphrey hits a 3. He certainly won't be competing for worst shooter of the night based on this performance.

7:55-Folarin Campbell hits a 3, George Mason's second in a row. Florida 64, George Mason 55.

7:57-Pizza came.

8:10-Florida 73, George Mason 58. Florida wins and will be playing for the National Championship on Monday.

LSU vs. Florida

8:52-LSU wins the opening tip and Davis misses a turnaround jumper.

8:53-Billy Packer thinks there are a lot of "fine-looking athletes" on the court.

8:53-LSU continues to struggle from outside the paint as Temple misses a 3 pointer.

8:54-Darrel Mitchell hits the first basket of the game. LSU 2, UCLA 0.

8:54-Ryan Hollins quickly answers for UCLA. LSU 2, UCLA 2.

8:55-Jordan Farmar hits a 3-pointer. UCLA 5, LSU 2.

8:57-Tyrus Thomas picks up his first foul on an offensive charge. UCLA 7, LSU 4.

9:02-Darrel Mitchell refuses to recognize the fact he is not a good outside shooter. UCLA shouldn't even guard him. The rim will do their job for them.

9:03-Tasmin Mitchell has joined the brick party for LSU as they refuse to pass the ball into the low post. They shots too many jumpers against Texas, too, but luckily Texas wanted to lose more than LSU. UCLA 12, LSU 6.

9:07-LSU turns the ball over leading to a Mbah a Moute dunk on a fast break. UCLA 18, LSU 8.

9:12-Cedric Bozeman spends ten seconds in the lane before putting in a lay-up. No referee notices. UCLA 20, LSU 8.

9:13-LSU finally feeds one of their big men in the post and Tyrus Thomas rewards the guards with scoring while being fouled. He makes the free throw. UCLA 20, LSU 11.

9:13-Ryan Hollins (UCLA) gets his second foul of the game.

9:16-Farmar makes a 3-pointer. UCLA 23, LSU 11.

9:18-Tyrus Thomas outlet passes the ball out of bounds. UCLA felt bad about the easy turnover so they turn the ball right back over to LSU. Good sportsmanship all around in this game.

9:22-LSU continues to confound by taking outside jumpers which they are going to inevitably miss. Tyrus Thomas, one of their two best low post players, is now taking jumpers only to miss them. This he is doing instead of posting up where he would be more effective.

9:27-LSU turnover leads to a mid-range jumper by Collison (UCLA). UCLA 29, LSU 16.

9:28-LSU has now turned the ball over on three successive possessions. Luckily for them, UCLA was only able to capitalize on one of their steals.

9:30-LSU's shot selection continues to be atrocious. Their latest attempt was an off-balance bank shot by Glen Davis.

9:30-Tasmin Mitchell misses a 3. UCLA scores a lay-up in transition. UCLA 31, LSU 16.

9:33-Fast break opportunity for LSU results in a missed 3 by Darrel Mitchell.

9:34-Voogd turns the ball over twice in two LSU possessions. At least they're 100% in something. UCLA 33, LSU 17.

9:45-Mbah a Moute does what everyone should do when playing against a team that has a ferocious shot blocker. He takes it right at him. Shot blockers usually get their blocks coming over from the weak side, not by blocking the shot of the man he/she is guarding. UCLA 39, LSU 23.

9:48-UCLA is unable to get off a shot before the half ends. Halftime score: UCLA 39, LSU 24.

10:11-UCLA's first possession of the first half leads to a Mbah a Moute dunk. UCLA 41, LSU 24.

10:12-Now LSU can't even score from the inside, not that they've done much scoring in the game anyway. UCLA can, though. Another Mbah a Moute dunk. UCLA 43, LSU 24.

10:14-Ryan Hollins's alley-oop dunk by UCLA probably puts this game out of reach. Nothing about LSU's recent horrendous outside shooting makes me think they can come back now by shooting 3's. UCLA 45, LSU 25.

10:23-IBM has a commercial about non-conformity where everyone sings the same song.

10:36-LSU still has not hit a 3 in this game. 11 minutes remaining in the game.

10:41-Bold Prediction: UCLA does not blow a 24-point lead with 9 minutes left in the game.

11:07-And they don't. UCLA wins. UCLA 59, LSU 45. UCLA will be squaring off against Florida for the national championship on Monday.

Another Peter To Bash

This time it's Peter Vecsey, sports writer for the New York Post. The headline of the article, which he may not even have written is, How To Fix the Knicks. With such a bold title as this one, I had to read more.

WHEN I'm not being accused by first grade readers of being excessively negative about the 19-51 Knicks - who would have a hard time against the dead or alive 1951 Knicks - and charged with having something personal against Isiah Thomas, Larry Brown and Stephon Marbury, I'm dared to holster my harpoon and my dirty red bandana, and formulate a solution to the team's problems instead of harping on them.

Okay. Apparently, you are twelve years old and can't resist when someone dares you to do something.

Though inclined to take the easy way out by setting up a tent around the Garden and calling it a circus, I accept their challenge.

You're not funny, Peter, so please stop trying to be.

So you're going to come up with a solution to the team's problems, are you? By solution, you mean where you actually come up with viable options that will improve the team instead of vague generalities that help no one? I can't wait to hear them.

The first order of business is for James Dolan to hire a confirmed planner, a person experienced at erecting franchises pre-foundation and/or rebuilding them by creating something out of perishables or nothing tangible to the unskilled eye.

Who will this planner be, though, who will possess such great GM skills?

Dolan's superior choices are five in number - Jerry Colangelo, Jerry West, Donnie Walsh, Geoff Petrie and ex-Knick Kiki Vandeweghe whose father, Ernie, played for the above-mentioned '51 outfit. Kiki, of course, transformed the Nuggets from layoffs to payoffs in less than two seasons and is a rising free agent. The other four have repeated success stories to their credit. Despite a year (both Jerrys, for sure) or two on their contracts I cannot envision their respective bosses impeding any such switch. Who knows, Suns owner Robert Sarver may even encourage Colangelo to follow his son's footsteps out of Phoenix.

Let me get this straight. You proposed five names to help right the Knicks' ship and four of them you don't even think will be able to become the Knicks' General Manager because of contractual obligations? What was the point of even mentioning them?

Also, the second sentence in the second paragraph does not flow with the first one, but I'm sure you can't be bothered by such a triviality as that. Why, you're too busy solving the Knicks' problems.

Dolan cannot take a chance of permitting Thomas' mismanagement team to correct their endless mistakes. He cannot afford to put the undeviating frown of Brown - who clearly has given up on getting anything constructive out of his players, whom, in turn, have tuned out their coach - back on the bench and in front of the cameras at post-game press conferences.

Peter, the whole point of your article was to not harp on the problems of the Knicks. You even said it in your first paragraph that instead of harping, you would provide solutions. As of yet, you have only provided one viable solution (Kiki Vandeweghe) and you haven't really suggested what he should do with the current Knicks roster. You are really failing this challenge you so quickly accepted.

Dolan cannot allow the contagious Steph Infection to infect his teammates another moment.

How should he stop Steph from infecting his teammates?

He cannot take the risk of repeating the repulsiveness we're witnessing on a regular basis, so much so the fans are almost too bored to boo.

How can he do this? These still aren't solutions.

But these are...kind of...well not really...

Someone unafraid to hold people immediately accountable, who won't flinch about serving up heads on platters; hey, it worked for the Romans, it works for me.

Someone who can make a difference.

Someone who has made a difference.

There are more, but I'm just going to stop there and follow Peter's example of how to come up with solutions and I will solve some of the world's most pressing problems.

To rid the world of AIDS, we need someone to find a cure for AIDS.

To end racism, we need someone who can convince people not to be racist.

To eliminate wars, we need someone to stop world leaders from going to war.

To eliminate idiocy among sports writers, we need someone to fire all the idiot sports writers in the world.

I Watched The Film

Ian O'Connor is up in arms about the fact scouts may go by an intelligence test to determine whether or not to draft quarterback Vince Young, formerly of the Texas Longhorns. In the article, he dares to readers to forget about the test and watch the film of Vince. Well, I have, so me and Ian are about to go toe-to-toe on this issue.

Take another look at them and tell me with a straight face that Young shouldn't be the first quarterback taken in next month's draft.

Straight face: Young shouldn't be the first quarterback taken in next month's draft. But he should be the second so it's not like it's that big a difference. I'm not really sure why you are even arguing this point.

So now Young's one-man demolition of the Trojan empire in the Rose Bowl doesn't count, right? His one-man demolition of Michigan in the previous Rose Bowl can be scrapped as well, no?

Both of those games can count, but those are only two games Vince started out of thirty-two, which constitutes a whopping 6% of Vince's collegiate career. You can't really be serious about using just those two games to make an argument about why Vince should be the first quarterback taken in the draft. And if you are serious, then I'm sure if I tried hard enough, I could find two games where Vince played horribly. Does that mean he shouldn't be drafted at all? Maybe once you learn the meaning of the term sample size you can come up with a better foundation for your argument.

Also, Young did not demolish this so-called Trojan empire. The empire was built on the great offensive talent USC had and had nothing to do with their defense. Before the game, there was general agreement among those who cover sports for a living that if there was any weakness about USC, it was their defense with its questionable secondary and linebackers who were for the most part all underclassmen.

The same goes for the Michigan defense he is reported to have demolished. It wasn't a Michigan powerhouse team from the mid-90s, but a team that has eroded slowly over the years to become a shell of their former selves. Not to take anything away from Vince's performance, but there weren't many NFL-caliber players on the team he beat in 2004.

Compare to that Matt Leinart who essentially picked apart Texas's defense with surgical precision. It was a Texas defense which was mostly upperclassmen-laden and had players who could conceivably go on to have productive NFL careers, whereas the jury is still out on how good USC's defensive players will end up being. The jury is not out, though, on the fact that Texas's defense was vastly superior to USC's.

We're all supposed to forget everything our eyes, brain, gut and heart tell us about Young as an NFL prospect — and remember that he scored a six out of a possible 50 on a test with a name that sounds more like the title of an adult film.

He scored a five on the first try and then a seventeen when he was allowed to re-take the exact same test, but that's not the important thing. The important thing is the fact you are so quick to discount the Wonderlic results in order to prove your point. For those who don't know, the Wonderlic test is given to potential draftees in order to gauge their reasoning skills and ability to learn. In other words, it's an IQ test for dummies. A test on which Young only answered two-thirds of the questions and only got half of those right.

For a potential NFL quarterback to score so badly on a test that measures his ability to learn and reason is not a good sign of how well he will be able to comprehend an NFL playbook. Quarterback is the main position where a player has to be able to think and think quickly. During a game, he will be asked to recognize what defense the opponents are in, who is blitzing, who is not blitzing, and which one of his receivers will be open. Oh, and he has to do all this while backpedaling, something Vince hasn't been asked to do since he played mainly in the shotgun formation.

Another fact that should set off alarm bells is that Mack Brown admitted to the media that Vince Young got better the less they coached him. What I take this to mean is that Young was unable to process this extra information, probably because it confused him, and relied solely on his athletic ability. That's not going to work in the NFL over a long period. Just ask Michael Vick.

He was a better passer than the 2004 Heisman winner, Leinart, and a better runner than the 2005 Heisman winner, Reggie Bush.

Now you're just being ridiculous, Ian. Let's take a moment to compare Leinart's and Young's final 2005 passing statistics. Young and Leinart's completion percentages were nearly identical (65.2% to 65.7%), Leinart threw for two more touchdown passes than Young, Young threw two more interceptions, and Leinart threw for close to 800 more yards than Young did. Oh yeah, Young is a way better passer than Leinart.

As far as Reggie Bush goes, he is a once-in-a-generation running back. He has speed, elusiveness, and receiving skills that set him apart from any other runner in college football, including Vince Young.

Would I have preferred a Wonderlic score of 20 for Young, a score that represents average intelligence? Sure.

So you want an NFL quarterback with below-average intelligence? And you're not an NFL scout yet, why?

Scouts love Leinart's accuracy, but Young walked into the Rose Bowl with a better passing efficiency rating and an extra 816 rushing yards on his 2005 resume.

Since Leinart passed for 779 more yards than Young, the difference between their two seasons is really only 37 yards.

At a time when pass rushers are faster than safeties, quarterbacks who can move are at a premium.

Peyton Manning, Carson Palmer, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees aren't impressively mobile quarterbacks and they seem to be doing just fine. All a quarterback has to be in the NFL is mobile enough.

I'd also like to see the team where pass rushers are faster than safeties. They probably aren't winning a lot of games.

Vince Young only runs right. The fact I know that means NFL defensive coordinators know that, too.

Monday, March 27, 2006

He Hate English More Than Me Do

Scoop Jackson is at it again. As if one article on the NCAA Tournament wasn't enough to prove his complete incompetence when it comes to his job, he has decided to give ESPN even more reasons to fire him.

Let's just say that when the president of one of ESPN's properties calls and says he read your column last week

When I read the first half of this sentence, I have to admit my first thought was that it had finally happened. The powers-that-be at ESPN had realized what Scoop's readers realized a long time ago. Basically, that he knows very little about sports and even less about the basic rules of English grammar. And now, he was being called up by an ESPN president to announce his services would no longer be needed. Then I read on...

and wants to watch a game with you, taking him to a college campus where you are not an alum to watch two of the biggest games of the college basketball season (unless that company president's name is R. Kelly) would be, as my nephew Patrix says, "strignorant."

Now I'm just confused. There was actually someone impressed enough with Scoop's first tournament diary to want to watch a game with him? What kind of ESPN president is this guy?

Why would R. Kelly want to go to a college campus anyway? College girls are way too old for him.

Straight ignorant -- as opposed to "calculated ignorance," which was the experience last week -- is what I tried to avoid.

And something you fail at avoiding.

"Scoop," the anonymous ESPN presidential royalty said to me after a Rose look-alike clipped the end of his Hoya de Monterrey, "don't you think Flavor Flav set black folks back 100 years with that show?"

Well, that answers that question.

Redick walks to the bench, tears. Now, I can't write most of the things people were calling J.J. at that moment, but I will say it can't be easy being the most hated basketball player in college basketball. Then someone summed him up: "He's the white Kobe."

JJ Redick is not the "white Kobe." He did not have sex with (rape?) a hotel employee in Eagle, Colorado, buy his wife a $4 million dollar ring to apologize with, and spend the rest of his season flying back and forth from court to his NBA games. The reason Redick is hated is because he plays for Duke. Just like Steve Wojciehowski before him. And Chrisitan Laettner before him. Not because he is considered by many to be a selfish ball hog.

Just as the supposed game of the night between UCLA and Gonzaga jumps off, a bet is made about Texas' LaMarcus Aldridge. "I'll bet you $50 that he'll be a top-three pick in the draft," I said after my second Ardbeg Uigeadail single malt.

Obviously, Scoop still thinks he is the only one who knows about LaMarcus Aldridge, which is sad, because it shows he has done no research between the time he wrote his last article and this one. Once again, Scoop, Aldridge is a consensus top-5 pick in the 2006 NBA draft if he declares for it.

"I'll say this," I responded. "If Marvin Williams got drafted No. 2 last year on the premise of his size and athleticism and he got no playing time, this cat is about to play himself into the same situation, if not better. Basically, he's Marvin Williams with game."

Basically, Scoop Jackson is a fucking retard. LaMarcus Aldridge is not Marvin Williams with game. Aldridge and Williams do not even play the same position. Williams is a 6'9 small forward who plays on the wing and whose entire game is predicated on driving to the basket or shooting 3-pointers. He can create his own shot. Aldridge is a 6'11 power forward who spends most of his time down on the low post. His offensive repertoire consists of turnaround jumpers from the block or hook shots. Occasionally, he will step out and hit a long jumper. He is dependent upon guards to get him the ball in good position. While they do share some of the same abilities, they are in no way interchangeable as Scoop would have you believe.

After Kenton Paulino became a hero in Texas for the night, another hero emerged in the second of what must have been two of the best at-the-same-time Sweet 16 games we've ever experienced. His name was Aaron Afflalo.

His name was/is Arron Afflalo.

It allowed me to watch Randy Foye single-handedly carry a squad that I thought belonged to Allan Ray.

Only one of these players made the AP's First Team All-American Team. You guess which one it was.

LSU's Darrel Mitchell sticks Daniel Gibson up right before the half, Tyrus Thomas -- who locked Redick down Thursday night -- is outplaying Aldridge, making that top-three-in-the-draft theory I had about Aldridge looking like it needs to wait a year ... or two.

How can one sportswriter make so many mistakes in one article and still be allowed to keep his job? Tyrus Thomas did not lock down Redick Thursday night. Garrett Temple did.

The second game, the Memphis-UCLA game, is beyond horrible. It's horr-a-able.

Scoop spelling any word phonetically is a disaster waiting to happen, as evidenced by this latest attempt. Just try to pronounce that word. I dare you.

Right about the time Cappie Pondexter of Rutgers and Tennessee's Candace Parker, the two best players in women's basketball (no disrespect to LSU's Simone Augustus and North Carolina's Ivory Latta), are about to go into battle.

Her name is Seimone Augustus. So much for not meaning any disrespect.

The phone rings. "Yo, mark this down, the 9:53 mark when ol' boy should have gave the ball up. Mark that down." Biscuit's in love/hate mode.

Yo mark this down. 10:22 PM (when I'm writing this) when Biscuit should have conjugated his verb correctly.

Forty minutes later, the university that is recognized for providing the basketball world with the biggest upset in this tournament's history had its setup upset.

A play on words in a sentence only makes you sound clever when it makes sense. Otherwise, you just sound like a dumbass.

Making Biscuit call me after Tony Soprano came out of his coma and say, "I thought last year's NCAA was great, but this one this year is the best I've ever seen."

Epics should start in medias res. Not sentences.

Peter King Strikes Again

Peter King almost makes what I do in this blog too easy. It's almost as if before he begins writing another self-centered article, he says to himself, "I really like David's blog so I need to say something completely asinine so I can come off looking like a complete buffoon and give David something to write about." For that, Peter, I say thank you. I didn't even have to take these statements out of context.

a. I understand Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun is a Hall of Famer, and I understand there's tremendous pressure when you get to this point of the college basketball season. But that UConn team was not well coached. Way, way too helter-skelter. Against Washington on Friday night, Connecticut turned the ball over 27 times and missed 13 free throws. The Huskies make so many silly, high-risk passes. This comes from someone who watches next to zero college basketball, but the Connecticut team looked like an out-of-control train wreck to me.

g. As someone who watched bits and pieces of 20 college basketball games over the last two long weekends, I can officially say that no coach in the NCAA tournament did anything wrong. Every decision was right; every call the textbook one. Listen to yourselves, announcers. It's embarrassing, really. These coaches are so smart, I'm convinced one of them is going to find the cure for cancer this week.

Either Peter King suffers from severe short-term memory loss or he is just a bad sports writer. Or maybe the editors secretly hate Peter King as much as I publicly hate him and that is why they let him hang himself every single week with his writing. If Peter had taken the time to read my blog posts more closely, he would have seen what happens when you contradict the argument that you are making. Don't be like Bill Simmons and Elliot Kalb, Peter. You're better than that.

Furthermore, even though you may want to, Peter, you can't have it both ways. Either every head coach did a perfect coaching job or there was a coach (i.e., Jim Calhoun) who did do something wrong. Make a choice, but please do not insult my intelligence by saying both of these possibilities are correct at the same time.

Also, think for a moment about an alternate possibility. This may be too revolutionary for this day and age of sports writer, but I am going to try it out anyway. Is it possible that Jim Calhoun repeatedly told his team to make better passes, but that the players refused to obey him because they thought they could continue to get away with "silly, high-risk passes" like they had all season?

And you can't say poor free throw shooting is a sign of poor coaching. There's going out on a limb to make a point, which you will just contradict later on in the same article, and then there's just being igorant. Guess which one you did, Peter?

Even Associated Press Is Full of Idiots

Usually I can trust the Associated Press to give me unbiased, unopinionated information. Since most of the time, the AP merely provides game recaps and news stories off the wire, the writers are able to avoid the pitfalls that plague most sports writers. Unfortunately, the AP broke my trust with its recap of the George Mason win over UConn.

They lacked in size, athleticism and history relative to their opponent, but the 11th-seeded Patriots made up for it with tenacity.

Strange this sentence reads. Perhaps backwards it is written.

It is a popular cliche among sports writers, whenever they are discussing underdogs, to describe them as more tenacious or having more heart than their favored opponents or worst of all, being scrappy. Sports writers are even so kind as to extend this cliche to players who are smaller than their peers or white players in a racial minority-dominated sport.

The truth is George Mason did not win this game because they were any more tenacious than UConn. They won it because they played a better game. Tenacity did not help them hit "six straight 3-pointers in the first half" and go "5-for-6 in overtime." Good shooting did. So please stop with the back-handed compliments. Sports writers are probably the same people who go around saying, "Wow, you're articulate for a black guy." Or telling a girl, "You have a cute nose for a Jew."

(George Mason) outrebounded UConn 37-34 even though the Huskies have three starters taller than any of the Patriots' frontcourt players.

Rebounding has nothing to do with height. Nothing at all. It has everything to do with a player's positioning, his ability to block out, being able to read where the ball is going to come off the rim or backboard, and being a quick jumper. If height was the end-all, be-all of rebounding, then I would like the writer of this AP article to explain to me how Dennis Rodman, who at 6'7 was never the tallest man in the NBA, led the league in rebounds per game for 7 straight years.

Patriots guard Tony Skinn said coach Jim Larranaga fired up his players by telling them that UConn's players didn't even know which conference George Mason is in.

Now I don't know if the UConn players really didn't know what conference George Mason is in, but it smells a lot like bullshit to me. Coaches are notorious for lying to their players to get them fired up for a game, and players are even more notorious for being stupid enough to believe the lies. This reminds me of when I was in sixth grade and the manager for the middle school boys' basketball team. In an attempt to make the players feel more adequate about their abilities, the coach of the team informed the players that not even Larry Bird (6'9) could dunk. I, of course, knew this to be a lie since I had seen game film of Larry Bird dunking. After the players had left, I told the coach, probably thinking he didn't know himself, that Larry Bird could dunk and I had seen him do it. The coach informed me that he knew Bird could dunk too, and told me to keep it a secret from the players. I did.

George Mason (27-7), having by far the best season in school history, had never won an NCAA tournament game until it beat half of last year's Final Four - Michigan State and No. 3 seed North Carolina - back-to-back in the first two rounds.

No, George Mason did not beat half of last year's Final Four, you goddamn idiot, because this year's rosters are drastically different from last year's. Michigan State lost one of their best players in Alan Anderson when he graduated and went to the NBA. As for North Carolina, anyone who follows college basketball has had it drummed into their heads from the offseason through the course of the regular season and into the postseason that North Carolina had lost its top seven scorers from last year's Final Four team.

Now it can say it has beaten the last two national champions -Connecticut and North Carolina.

No, it cannot say that. Unless the UConn team it beat Sunday had Ben Gordon and Emeka Okafor on it and the North Carolina team it beat last week had Raymond Felton, Sean May, Rashad Mccants, or Jawad Williams on its roster, they can't say shit about having beaten the last two national championships. If George Mason's players are dumb enough to say this, then they, like the person who wrote this article, will be lying to themselves and to the public.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

NCAA Tournament Running Diary Pt. 4

Florida vs. Villanova

5:12-Florida wins the opening tip. Horford, with a nice low post move, scores. Florida 2, Villanova 0.

5:14-Foye makes a 3 pointer. Villanova 3, Florida 2.

5:14-Florida answers with a quick Noah make. Florida 4, Villanova 3.

5:15-So Nardi is still alive. He makes a lay-up off a rebound of his own miss.

5:15-Noah jumps over Lowry and lays the ball in plus the foul. He makes the free throw. Florida 7, Villanova 3.

5:16-Nardi, suffering from a case of over-confidence, takes a 3 pointer and misses it.

5:16-Despite Villanova's heigh disadvantage, they have been able to get numerous offensive boards.

5:17-Nardi hits a 3 pointer. Villanova 8, Florida 7.

5:17-Horford muscles up a shot. Florida 9, Villanova 8.

5:18-Foye makes both of his free throws. Villanove 10, Florida 9.

5:18-Another offensive rebound by Villanova.

5:19-Nardi misses another 3-pointer. He certainly is taking a lot of shots for someone who was scoreless the two games previous to this one.

5:22-Florida easily breaks Villanova's press. Horford misses a jump shot. Nardi gets the rebound. Foye hits a jumper. Villanova 12, Florida 9.

5:23-Horford rebounds his own miss and dunks the putback.. Villanova 12, Florida 11.

5:23-Villanova continues their good shooting (minus Nardi). This time Allan Ray hits the jumper. Villanova 14, Florida 11.

5:24-Noah makes 1 of 2 from the free throw line. Villanova 14, Florida 13.

5:25-Okay, Nardi, stop shooting. He misses another one.

5:26-Steal by Lowry leads to a missed lay-up by Mike Nardi.

5:26-Ray gets a technical foul for putting the ball on the head of Florida's Hodge. Yes, it was as silly as it sounds. Taurean Green makes both technical free throws. Florida 17, Villanova 14.

5:29-Brewer hits a 3-pointer. Five point swing after the Ray technical. Florida 20, Villanova 14.

5:30-Cunningham (Villanova) picks up his second foul with 12 minutes left in the game.

5:34-Shane Clark hits a 2-pointer for Villanova.

5:35-Humphrey hits a 3-pointer for Florida. Florida 22, Villanova 16.

5:36-Florida gets a lay-up off a fast break. Florida 24, Villanova 16.

5:41-Nardi's fantastic outlet pass leads to a Ray dunk. Florida 27, Villanova 18.

5:42-This time Nardi misses a finger roll shot. Of course, having the shot partially blocked by Joakim Noah didn't help matters.

5:48-Florida continues to dominate Villanova's unimpressive front line. Horford muscles up a low-post shot. Florida 29, Villanova 21.

5:49-Taurean Green (Florida) hits two free throws. Florida 31, Villanova 21. 5 minutes, 20 seconds remaining in the first half.

5:51-Huertas gets the putback for Florida. Florida 33, Villanova 21.

5:52-Foye gets fouled and hits two free throws. Florida 33, Villanova 23.

5:59-Florida continues to get offensive rebounds over Villanova. However, Huerta wastes his offensive rebound by traveling and turning the ball over. Florida 35, Villanova 25.

6:00-Villanova's guards have been repeatedly driving the ball too deep, getting caught among Florida's big men, and either having to kick it out to an inconsistent shooter or forcing up a bad shot. Not a formula for success.

6:03-Foye hits 2 free throws. Florida 35, Villanova 29.

6:04-Nardi has finally found a shot he can hit. Too bad he can't even hit that shot consistently. 1 of 2 from the free throw line. Florida 35, Villanova 30.

6:06-Halftime score: Florida 35, Villanova 30.

6:27-Villanova turns the ball over in record fashion. Only fifteen seconds into the second half.

6:30-Nardi continues to miss shots. Whoever gave him the green light needs to turn it off immediately. Billy Packer blames Nardi's poor shooting on a recent bout with tonsilitis. I blame it on Nardi being a shitty player.

6:33-Foye picks up his third foul with 18 minutes to go in the game. Florida 39, Villanova 33.

6:35-Lowry now has his third foul. 17 minutes to go.

6:37-Humphrey (Florida) misses a 3-pointer on successive possessions from the exact same spot on the court. I'd be surprised if his teammates passed him the ball again. Florida 43, Villanova 38.

6:38-Lowry gets his fourth foul three minutes after he gets his third. If that isn't having a high basketball IQ, I don't know what is. Hey, at least he can say he wasn't on the court when Florida blew the game wide open.

6:42-If you didn't know already, and how could you, with CBS keeping it such a secret, Tiger Woods is doing an interview tonight on 60 Minutes with Ed Bradley.

6:44-Mike Nardi's not in the game and if Villanova wants to have a chance to win, they will keep him on the bench.

6:46-Allan Ray, not wanting to be outdone by his teammates, commits his third foul. Nardi comes back in. Bad things are bound to happen to Villanova. Villanova 45, Florida 40.

6:51-Florida turns the ball over twice, but Villanova is unable to capitalize. If either team wants to win, they're certainly doing a good job of keeping it a secret. Florida 45, Villanova 42.

6:54-You'll never believe this, but Nardi missed another shot.

6:54-Taurean Green banks home a shot from the lane. Florida 47, Villanova 42.

6:55-Four-foul Lowry makes his return.

6:55-Corey Brewer (Florida) smokes weed. No one's lips are that black naturally. Florida 49, Villanova 42.

6:57-Corey Brewer gets his 4th foul with 9 minutes left in the game. Florida 51, Villanova 42.

6:59-After Villanova hits two free throws, Taurean Green hits a 3 to extend Florida's lead to ten. Florida 54, Villanova 44.

7:00-Fraser makes 1 of 2 free throws, making the first and missing the second. Instead of rebounding the ball, Horford spikes it out of bounds. Ray takes advantage of the extra possession by hitting a running. Florida 54, Villanova 47.

7:01-Humphrey's teammates did pass him the ball again. They were rewarded with another missed 3. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

7:06-Humphrey changes spots on the court and hits a 3. Florida 59, Villanova 48. 6 minutes, 23 seconds remaining.

7:07-Huertas fouls Nardi sending him to the line. Nardi hits both of them. Florida 59, Villanova 50.

7:09-Joakim Noah, Florida's 6'11 forward, steals the ball from one of Villanova's guards. He is fouled right before he makes a lay-up and makes both free throws. Florida 61, Villanova 50.

7:13-Five minutes remaining. Florida 62, Villanova 54.

7;14-Lee Humphrey misses another 3-pointer. He and Nardi are going to take their worse shooter in the game duel down to the final seconds.

7:14-Joakim Noah throws down a ferocious dunk. Florida 64, Villanova 54. 3 minutes, 26 seconds remaining.

7:17-Lowry continues the Villanova guard tradition of driving too deeply and forcing up a bad shot. He might as well foul out if that's all he's going to do.

7:18-And right on cue, Lowry gets his 5th foul. Florida 66, Villanova 54. 2 minutes, 19 seconds remaining.

7:23-Despite the fact the ball was possessed by no one and was lying on the court beside the pile of players, the referees still call a jump ball.

7:30-Randy Foye fouls out because he could. Florida 75, Villanova 62.

7:31-Final Score: Florida 75, Villanova 62. But more important than that score is who won worse shooter between Nardi and Humphrey. And the winner is...

Mike Nardi (Villanova): 2 for 11 FG

NCAA Tournament Running Diary Pt. 3

UCONN vs. George Mason

2:40-UConn wins the tip. Marcus Williams misses a 3.

2:42-Hilton Armstrong (UConn) hits a jumper for the first two points of the game. UConn 2, George Mason 0.

2:43-Armstrong scores again. UConn 4, George Mason 0.

2:44-Bad pass by Armstrong leads to a turnover. George Mason takes advantage of it by turning the ball over themselves.

2:44-Rudy Gay hits a jumper. UConn 6, George Mason 0.

2:45-George Mason is finally rewarded for pounding the ball into the post by Jai Lewis getting a 3-point play.

2:46-Rudy Gay shoots an airball. The Rudy Gay Watch is on: 1 of 2, 2 pts.

2:47-Gay makes both free throws. UConn 8, George Mason 3.

2:47-Ill-advised alley-oop attempt by George Mason. However, they do retain possession leading Will Thomas scores from the low post. UConn 8, George Mason 5.

2:48-Hilton Armstrong is officially on fire. UConn 10, George Mason 5.

2:52-Jai Lewis fouled by Jeff Adrien of UConn. He makes 1 of 2. UConn 12, George Mason 6.

2:53-George Mason decides not to block out. Adria gets the rebound and the putback. UConn 14, George Mason 6.

2:55-Offensive rebound by George Mason allows them to miss another shot. They get another one and the ball finally goes into the basket for them. UConn 14, George Mason 8.

2:55-Rudy Gay makes another jumper. 2 of 3, 6 points.

2:56-Hernandez of George Mason hits George Mason's first 3 pointer. UConn 16, George Mason 8.

2:56-Surprisingly, Josh Boone hits two free throws for UConn.

2:57-Another 3-point opportunity for Jai Lewis. He misses the free throw. UConn 18, George 13.

2:58-Marcus Williams finds a cutting Jeff Adrien for a lay-up. UConn 20, George Mason 13.

3:02-Butler makes a 30-foot 3 pointer for George Mason. UConn 20, George Mason 16.

3:02-Jai Lewis whips a pass out of bounds. George Mason turnover.

3:04-So far in the game, Marcus Williams has been able to drive into the lane at will. Too bad he couldn't convert this time.

3:05-UConn's defense falls asleep. Armstrong tries to make up for it by goaltending George Mason's shot. UConn 20, George Mason 18.

3:06-Armstrong hits 1 free throw. On the second one, UConn commits a lane violation. You have to wonder just how stupid this team is. UConn 21, George Mason 18. 7 minutes, 31 seconds remaining.

3:10-Butler drives too far and commits an offensive foul. Two fouls on him.

3:11-Tony Skinn hits a wide open 3 off a fast break. UConn 21, George Mason 21.

3:12-Adrien makes an easy hook shot. UConn 23, George Mason 21.

3:12-Rudy Gay manages to miss two lay-ups. Fortunately for him, Adrien was there to clean up after him. UConn 25, George Mason 21.

3:13-Will Thomas scores for George Mason. UConn 25, George Mason 23.

3:13-Rashad Anderson rips a 3. UConn 28, George Mason 23.

3:14-Jai Lewis hits a 2 pointer. Turnover by UConn. Missed 3. Lewis gets the offensive rebound and is fouled. UConn is trying their hardest to keep George Mason in the game. And they are succeeding. UConn 28, George Mason 25.

3:18-Jai Lewis makes both free throws. UConn 28, George Mason 27.

3:19-Tony Skinn steals the ball. Passes the ball to Thomas, who is fouled hard by Armstrong. That makes two fouls for Armstrong, who takes a seat on the bench. Thomas hits both free throws. George Mason takes their first lead. George Mason 29, UConn 28.

3:21-Rudy Gay hits a 3. UConn 31, George Mason 29. That lead didn't last long.

3:21-Marcus Wiliams hits a 3. UConn 34, George Mason 29.

3:22-Folarin Campbell (George Mason) hits two free throws. UConn 34, George Mason 31.

3:23-Ed Nelson (UConn) converts the old fashioned 3-point play. UConn 37, George Mason 31.

3:24-Denham Brown 3 pointer. The rout is on. UConn 40, George Mason 31.

3:28-A Rudy Gay steal gives UConn possession with 31 seconds remaning in the first half. Timeout UConn.

3:29-George Mason loses Rashad Anderson on defense and it leads to him hitting a wide open 3-pointer. UConn 43, George Mason 31.

3:30-Folarin Campbell dribbles down the length of the floor and makes a finger roll while being foulded by Ed Nelson. .8 seconds remaining. Campbell makes the free throw. UConn misses the three-quarter court heave. UConn 43, George Mason 34.

3:30-Rudy Gay Watch (1st Half Stats) 3-7 FG. 7 points from the field. Shooting Efficiency: 1 point per shot.

3:53-George Mason on its first possession gets a Jai Lewis hook shot. UConn 43, George Mason 36.

3:54-UConn answers with a jumper from the top of the key. UConn 45, George Mason 36.

3:55-Hilton Armstrong forgets for a minute that Will Thomas is left-handed. Thomas hits a jump hook. UConn 45, George Mason 38.

3:56-Josh Boone gets his third foul and heads to the bench. UConn won't miss his presence on the court.

3:57-Campbell for 3. UConn 47, George Mason 41.

3:59-Will Thomas has been a beast on the boards. UConn could block him out, but to do that would mean they care about winning this game.

4:02-Lewis has his shot blocked by Armstrong.

4:03-Reach-in foul on Rudy Gay. His second.

4:04-Tony Skinn drives to the basket and hits a floater. UConn has yet to put together a complete game in this tournament. UConn 47, George Mason 43.

4:05-Butler hits a 3 pointer. UConn 47, George Mason 46.

4:07-Jeff Adrien continues to dominate in the low post for UConn. UConn 49, George Mason 46.

4:08-Note to UConn: Don't be afraid to play perimeter defense. 3-pointer for Folarin Campbell. UConn 49, George Mason 49. 12 minutes remaining.

4:08-Denham Brown finally hits a jumper. UConn 51, George Mason 49.

4:12-Rudy Gay misses a wide open 3-pointer. Lamar Butler does not. George Mason 52, UConn 51.

4:15-Jeff Adrien seems to be the only UConn player who cares about this game.

4:16-Like an idiot, Rashad Anderson fouls Lamar Butler on a 3-pointer. Butler makes the 3-pointer and the free throw. George Mason 56, UConn 53.

4:17-Not to sound like a broken record but: Rudy Gay misses a shot. Then Rudy Gay misses another shot. All-American, my ass.

4:18-Hilton Armstrong is fouled on a putback attempt. Armstrong makes 1 of 2. George Mason 56, UConn 54.

4:19-Gay makes a bank shot. George Mason 56, UConn 56.

4:20-Three fouls on Jeff Adrien. Boone replaces him in the lineup. Jai Lewis (George Mason) hits two free throws. George Mason 58, UConn 56.

4:21-Maybe Rudy Gay is a good shooter after all. Gay for 3. UConn 59, George Mason 58.

4:21-Tony Skinn pump fakes and then hits a jump shot. George Mason 60, UConn 59.

4:22-Gay makes the putback shot. Now I have to take back all the bad words I've said about him. Dammit. UConn 61, George Mason 60.

4:23-George Mason hits a shot. George Mason 62, UConn 61.

4:24-Rudy Gay hits a jumper. UConn 63, George Mason 62.

4:24-Jai Lewis hits a jumper. George Mason 64, UConn 63.

4:24-UConn did not read the note I left them. Skinn hits another 3 pointer. George Mason 67, UConn 63.

4:25-Marcus Williams hits a jumper. George Mason 67, UConn 65.

4:26-George Mason decides to call a timeout and kill their momentum. Maybe Jim Larranaga bet on UConn. 4 minutes remaining.

4:27-Out of the timeout, Butler takes an off balance one handed push shot. At least they got that timeout in though.

4:27-George Mason fast break leads to a Will Thomas lay-up. George Mason 69, UConn 65. UConn timeout.

4:29-Marcus Williams throws a bullet pass down to Jeff Adrien, who is fouled on the attempted shot by Will Thomas. Adrien makes both free throws. George Mason 69, UConn 67. 2 minutes, 51 seconds remaining. Adrien goes to the bench and Boone comes into the game.

4:33-Josh Boone forces up a shot and is fouled for his efforts. And the 55% free throw shooter misses both of them. No surprise there.

4:37-With two seconds left on the shot clock, George Mason is bailed out by a Marcus Williams foul. The shot clock goes back to 35 seconds. 1 minute, 30 seconds remaining.

4:38-Jai Lewis backs down Armstrong only to miss the baby hook. Thomas tips it back in, or rather UConn did, but Thomas gets credit for it. George Mason 71, UConn 67.

4:39-Marcus Williams turns the ball over with a "palming" manuever. 1 minute remaining.

4:40-Will Thomas is blocked twice by UConn. Marcus Williams gets the ball, dribbles up the court, and makes the lay-up while getting fouled. Williams converts the 3-point play. George Mason 71, UConn 70.

4:41-Foul called on Armstrong. 1 and 1 for Jai Lewis (George Mason). Armstrong comes close to getting a technicall called on him. Jai Lewis hits the front end of the 1 and 1. Misses the second. 30 seconds remaining. George Mason 72, UConn 70.

4:43-Marcus Williams throws a stupid pass and commits a turnover yet again. Both of UConn's turnovers in the second half have proved costly. UConn fouls Lamar Butler. Butler makes the first. And the second. George Mason 74, UConn 70. 17.6 seconds remaining. UConn ball.

4:45-Marcus Williams hits a floater in the lane after using up almost ten seconds. George Mason 74, UConn 72.

4:47-Referee takes two seconds to call the obvious foul. Rudy Gay gives him the evil eye. Skinn misses the front end of the 1 and 1.

4:48-Marcus Williams gives it to Denham Brown who dribbles along the baseline and hits the reverse lay-up as time expires. Armstrong shows good restraint in not touching the ball while it is in the cylinder. Tie game. Overtime.

4:51-UConn gets the first possession of the overtime. Denham Brown is called for traveling. Way to value possessions.

4:51-Will Thomas hits a left-handed hook shot. Unstoppable shot since UConn insists on playing him like he's right-handed. George Mason 76, UConn 74.

4:52-Boone gets in the game and immediately puts back an Armstrong miss. George Mason 76, UConn 76.

4:53-Butler drives and banks a floater off the backboard. George Mason 78, UConn 76.

4:54-Foul on George Mason sends Denham Brown to the line. He makes two. George Mason 78, UConn 78.

4:54-Nice inbounds play. Pass to Jai Lewis cutting for the easy two. George Mason 80, UConn 78.

4:55-Rudy Gay misses a jumper.

4:55-UConn cannot stop Thomas's left handed hook shot. George Mason 82, UConn 78.

4:56-Denham Brown draws another foul. Makes both free throws. George Mason 82, UConn 80. 90 seconds remaining.

4:57-Folarin Campbell hits a fadeaway jumper over Rudy Gay. I guess not being clutch extends to defense, too. George Mason 84, UConn 80. UConn calls a timeout. 1 minute, 1 second remaining.

4:59-Why does Calhoun only play Rashad Anderson when UConn is already down in the last seconds of the game?

5:00-Jump ball. UConn retains possession. Rashad Anderson airballs a 3. Jai Lewis is fouled. 41 seconds remaining. Lewis misses horribly on the first, but manages to hit the second one. George Mason 85, UConn 80.

5:03-Marcus Williams misses the floater in the lane this time. Adrien is fouled and goes to the free throw line. He bricks the first one. And swishes the second. George Mason 85, UConn 81.

5:04-Marcus Williams fouls Will Thomas sending Thomas to the free throw line. An interesting note is that Thomas's high school team played Rudy Gay's high school team seven times and won all seven games. What does this prove, you ask? You simply can't win anything meaningful with Rudy Gay on your team. Thomas makes the first and misses the second. George Mason 86, UConn 81.

5:05-Denham Brown misses the 3, but UConn keeps possession. Marcus Williams hits a very deep 3 pointer. My dick has been teased. George Mason 86, UConn 84. 7 seconds remaining. Timeout by George Mason.

5:08-Jai Lewis is fouled with 6.1 seconds remaining. He misses both of them. Denham Brown gets the rebound and decides to take a 3-pointer. Brown misses; George Mason wins. George Mason 86, UConn 84.

Rudy Gay's Game Stats: 8 for 16 FG, 18 points from the field. Shooting efficiency: 1.13 points per shot.