Although the rest of the ACC bombed Friday and Saturday, Duke and UNC upheld the conference honor, as usual, with both advancing to the Sweet 16. Duke hasn't done this the last couple of years, but given the record over the years, this is a blip.Â Duke, like UNC, tends to get there.
UNC's win over LSU wasn't as easy as many expected.Â LSU was really good, and they forced UNC to be better and the Heels met that challenge.Â We were very skeptical about UNC earlier this season, and we think that was justified.Â At this point, though, they're playing with a lot of grit and substance, and that demands respect. UNC answered a lot of questions.Â We're obviously not pulling for them in this tournament (or any other), but the coronation crap is over.Â If they win it, they'll have earned it and they'll be worthy champions if so.
Unfortunately, Maryland couldn't answer the bell. They might have, though, or at least done better than they ended up doing (losing 89-70) if Greivis Vasquez had kept his mouth shut.
For at least the second time this season, the Maryland guards mouth cost his team dearly (with the first being in Cameron, which he called "my house.") when he questioned Memphis's bona fides.
This is about as stupid as when Sam Perkins said he had no idea what conference Georgia was in before playing them in the Final Four.Â Suggesting that Memphis would have a losing record in the ACC was just idiotic. He might as well have said thanks for the loss.
Gary Williams, who is admirable for his fighting spirit and his ability to transfer that to his team, is not always as admirable when it comes to controlling the rest of the show.Â It wasn't impressive when he cowered in front of the fans in Comcast rather than pushing them to behave (after the bottle hit Carlos Boozer's mom).Â So it goes here:Â he knows Vasquez has a big mouth. Everyboy knows that.Â So why would this happen?Â It wouldn't happen at Duke or UNC or even Clemson and probably not Wake. What's the problem?
We'll never get a public comment out of Debby Yow, but we'd love to hear her unguarded comments on the situation.
As far as the rest of the teams go, at least FSU and B.C. competed.Â But Clemson looked like Duke looked at Clemson for much of that game, and somehow, for a good bit of the end of the season, they often forgot they have a dynamic player in Trevor Booker.Â They did fight to get back in it, though, which is more than we can say for Wake, and could have tied it when K.C. Rivers shot missed at the buzzer.
After the tragic death of Skip Prosser, Dino Gaudio has largely gotten a pass on criticism.Â That's probably about to end.Â We understand he has a young team, and one that doesn't shoot well. Fine.Â But why do they give up? They gave up at State, they pretty much gave up in the ACC Tournament, and they showed a distinct lack of toughness against Cleveland State.
Gaudio says he thinks his young stars know they're not ready - and if they had any remaining illusions about that, one hopes Cleveland State crushed them - but part of his job is to make sure they're ready to fight when things are tough.Â They didn't do that this year, and it's really a shame.Â Â If they do that next year, Gaudio might get some heat.
In other action Saturday, UCLA found its limit, losing to Villanova, 89-69, UConn continued to roll, beating Mark Turgeon's A&M team, 92-66, Purdue gutted one out over UDub, 76-74, Oklahoma knocked off Michigan, 73-63, and Gonzaga took out Western Kentucky at the veritable buzzer, 83-81.
A note to CBS: while it's wonderful that you no longer cut to the studio to transition between games, simply flipping between them with no warning is not a good solution either.Â Perhaps you could have a quick musical riff, a bit of fanfare, or else some of those special effects you're so fond of - perhaps the basketball-as-comet to make it clear you're moving.Â For one, not everyone can see the transition as well as you might think. And for those who are deeply involved in the other game, it would be a useful flare.
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