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Landreth, Doyel On Henderson, Hansbrough, & K

There are two columns about the Henderson/Hansbrough incident worth discussing. The first is by Eddy Landreth, who argues that Tyler Hansbrough should leave after this year, because, he argues, Hansbrough is taking a lot of physical abuse. Well, true enough, he does take a lot. But it's worth mentioning that he dishes out a lot as well, and it's not like he's some shrinking violet, as the pictures here suggest. Hansbrough is a very physical player.

Earlier in the season, you may recall, there was some controversy when he appeared to take a swing at State's Brandon Costner. His fist was balled, and he swung, and was assessed a technical. He didn't hit Costner, but the rule says "When during a confrontation, an individual attempts to strike another individual … whether there is contact is irrelevant. The perpetrator shall be deemed to have been involved in a fight."

Mike Krzyzewski, Roy Williams, Gerald Henderson, and Tyler Hansbrough all agree that Henderson didn't set out to injure Hansbrough, although obviously he did. Yet he was suspended.

Hansbrough, by contrast, clearly swung a closed fist at Costner and was given a technical for doing so.

Was there a difference in the outcome of the two situations? Obviously, and for the sake of argument, jettison the agreement of the principal parties that Henderson didn't act with malice. The rule is pretty clear on what's supposed to happen. It happened one way in Henderson's case and a completely different way in Hansbrough's. Why this is so is an interesting question, not that we have the answer. But it's a great question.

Landreth argues that physical play has become extreme, and that Hansbrough is the prime recipient of it. But if that's so, then he's also part of the problem. The nickname PsychoT suggests a certain level of craziness, a lack of control. Perhaps a better way to put it is that it suggests Hansbrough is extraordinarily aggressive. It's hard to argue that basketball is far too physical and that Hansbrough should leave when Hansbrough is perhaps the most physical player in college today, when he is largely famous for his extraordinarily aggressive approach to the game.

In the other article, Gregg Doyel rips Krzyzewski pretty thoroughly (actually, Landreth does too), suggesting he's brilliantly manipulating the entire circus so that the criticism falls on him rather than on Henderson.

Doyel has been pretty clear about this lately: he hates Krzyzewski and doesn't think much of Duke in general.

That's his right, of course, and it's his right to ask dumb questions in a press conference.

In Monday's teleconference, he asked Krzyzewski how many games Christian Laettner was suspended for after "stomping" Aminu Timberlake in the legendary 1992 game (for the record, again: if you weigh 250 and put your foot in someone 's stomach, and they laugh and clap because you cost yourself a technical, by defnition, that's not a stomp because the definition of stomp is to tread heavily. It was stupid, obnoxious and self-destructive, but by any reasonable definition, there was not enough force applied to be called a stomp. If you're still not sure, find someone who weighs 250 and invite them to demonstrate - we're sure you'd agree).

But what was really dumb was the baiting nature of the questions. He took the Goofus approach and answered his own insolent question. The Gallant approach would have gone thusly, or something like this anyway: "Mike, according to what you've said, you would have suspended him if you thought he had done it intentionally. In 1992, Laettner clearly did what he did intentionally, yet you didn't suspend him. Why were they treated differently? Has your philosophy on this changed?"

It's a perfectly reasonable question. Doyel chose to be abrasive and confrontational, which again is his right. But frankly, it was just grandstanding.

Doyel has long since given up any notion of being objective. It's one thing for a fan's site to lack objectivity. It apparently has come as a bit of a surprise to some people that this site, for instance, favors Duke. J'accuse! It's quite another for the lead columnist for CBS's web site to say he hates Mike Krzyzewski (to be fair, he also dislikes UConn's Jim Calhoun). It's good for CBS to have a variety of voices, but as the host of the tournament, it'd be nice to have some notion of fairness.