March 18, 2007

Buffalo Bits and Sweet 16 Picks

We made it through Weekend One of the 2007 NCAA Tournament and even with the knowledge that my CSTV Expert Pool bracket has lost its national runner-up (Texas), I'm still pretty jacked and pumped (see: USC in Meadowlands next weekend) about surviving both St. St. Patrick's Day in Buffalo and the mysterious Gurgling Sink of Room 1414 at the Pearl Street Hyatt.

If some, or any of that, makes sense, please read on. If it doesn't, you've joined the Hang Time party from The Buff too late and have some catchng up to do. Go ahead and check the archives and then come back. We'll still be here.

After the jump, some Buffalo memories and a peek ahead at the Sweet 16, specifically the East Rutherford Regional, where I begin live-blogging again on Thursday afternoon during the interview sessions from the Meadowlands Arena.

Continue reading "Buffalo Bits and Sweet 16 Picks" »

March 17, 2007

Buffalo: Final Stats and Observations From Pitt-VCU

VCU completely turned around the game in the second half, erasing a 19-point second half deficit and even taking a brief two-point lead with :52 seconds left in the game. The Rams caused 11 Pitt turnovers in the second half (16 for the game) and converted those 11 turns into 19 points. VCU also closed the rebounding margin the second half (16 to Pitt's 17) but lost the overall board battle 42-34.

Pitt's bench outscored the VCU bench 31-17.

. . . Walker and Pellot-Rosa led VCu with 20 points each and Michael Anderson grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds (seven in the second half) for VCU. Eric Maynor, who made quite a name for himself in these two games in Buffalo scored 14 points with eight assists and three steals for VCU and Jamal Shuler added 12 points.

Wil Fameni struggled all night and had just two points and a rebound as he adjusted to his new mask.

For Pitt, Sam young led the Panthers in scoring with 15 points, Aaron Gray had 14 points, eight rebounds and a team-high five assists, Cook and Ramon both had 12 points and Fields added 10.

. . . Pitt was exposed big time with its inability to handle full-court pressure and that could surely be the demise of this team as they advance to next weekend and face the UCLA-Indiana winner.

Buffalo: Pitt Escapes

Mike Cook hit both his free throws with 19.1 seconds left to put Pitt up 82-79 and BA Walker missed a top of the key 3-pointer with nine seconds left that would have tied it. VCU then had to foul and Pitt' Sam Young will be at the line after the timeout with a chance to ice the game. He's 5 of 10 tonight from the stripe. He rattled in the first and made the second as well.

The Panthers win 84-79.

. . . We'll get back with you for some final thoughts from the HSBC and then we'll re-join you tomorrow night for a Sweet 16 preview of some sort.

Buffalo: Down to Three

VCU has again cut the lead to 3 as Pitt now leads 80-77 with the ball and 33.5 seconds left in the game. Each team has one timeout remaining and VCU will need to foul if they can't steal the ball off their full-court pressure.

For some reason Aaron Gray is not in the game to try and help break the press.

VCU fouled immediately and Sam Yooung is at the line for two shots. He missed them both.

Buffalo: Pitt Using 3-Ball to Pull Away

Fields hit a top of the key 3-pointer with 3:08 left to give Pitt the 75-71 lead. And that was followed by a corner 3-pointer from Ronald Ramon to put Pitt out ahead 78-71 with 2:11 left.

Wil Fameni took an ill-advised deep jumper for VCU on the possession before Ramon's bucket.

VCU is 0 of 3 from the field in the OT and Pitt is 3 of 4, including 2 of 2 from beyond the arc.

Buffalo: Pitt Using 3-Ball to Pull Away

Fields hit a top of the key 3-pointer with 3:08 left to give Pitt the 75-71 lead. And that was followed by a corner 3-pointer from Ronald Ramon to put Pitt out ahead 78-71 with 2:11 left.

Wil Fameni took an ill-advised deep jumper for VCU on the possession before Ramon's bucket.

VCU is 0 of 3 from the field in the OT and Pitt is 3 of 4, including 2 of 2 from beyond the arc.

Buffalo: Kendall Fouls Out for Pitt

Pitt's Levon Kendall fouled out with 3:42 left in the first overtime and Antonio Graves have four fouls for the Panthers. No one has more than three for VCU. Kendall had eight points, eioght rebounds, two assists and three blocked shots.

Pitt's up 72-71 with 3:42 left in the game.

Buffalo: Five More Minutes in The Buff

The Green beer can wait - we've got OT here in the HSBC.

Michael Anderson was called for a foul on a driving Levance Fields with 2.1 seconds left but Fields missed both free throws and the rebound got bobbled around underneath the net as time exired in regulation.

It took VCU 39 minutes, but with just under a minute left in the game, the Rams took their first lead of the game on a Jesse P-R put back of an Eric Maynor 3-point miss.

If you don't love the way Anthony Grant's Rams are playing, you don't deserve to be watching this one or reading about it.

VCU: Ram Magic Lives!

B.A. Walker just buried a 3-pointer from the top of the key to give us atie ball game, 67-67 with 1:40 left in the game. Pitt has used its final timeout, a huge point to keep in mind as the Panthers have had so much trouble against the VCU press.

Walker now has a game-high 23 points and Maynor and Pellot-Rosa have 12 each.

Pitt is reeling for sure and the majority of the crowd is pulilng for the upset.

. . . Eric Maynor and Ronald Ramon are having a wonderful back and forth with some mild trash-talking.

Buffalo: Rams Get it To a One Possession Game

Jesse P-R scored in the lane to bring th epItt lead down to 65-62 as VCU is on a 26-11 run.

Pitt has one timeout left and VCU has two remaining. Pitt has nine team fouls to eight for VCU.

Buffalo: Rams Battling to the End

Pitt still clings to its 65-60 lead with 3:56 left in the game. The house is a rocking and the VCU believers are drowning out the Pitt faithful.

B.A. Walker has a game-high 20 points for VCU and Jesse P-R has all nine of his points in the second half.

. . .The Fameni Mask continues to bother VCU's big man, Wil Fameni, as he is constantly fidgeting with it.

Buffalo: VCU Making It Very Interesting

With its swarming, inspired trap, VCu has cut the lead down to five points, 63-58, with 4:35 left in the game. Pitt is absolutley helpless against the pressure.

VCU has caused nine Pitt turnovers in the second half and 13 of its 17 points off turnovers have come in this second half.

Buffalo: VCU Making It Very Interesting

With its swarming, inspired trap, VCu has cut the lead down to five points, 63-58, with 4:35 left in the game. Pitt is absolutley helpless against the pressure.

VCU has caused nine Pitt turnovers in the second half and 13 of its 17 points off turnovers have come in this second half.

Buffalo: We Spoke too Soon - As Usual

VCU won't go quietly as they managed to cut a 19 point lead by Pitt (with 12:10 left in the game) down to 10 points. Pitt leads 58-48 with 7:18 left in the game.

Pitt continues to have trouble handling the full court pressure by VCU

. . . Pitt's Antonio Graves picke up his fourth foul on an offesnive charge call with jsut over ten minutes left in the game.

Buffalo: Ram Magic Fading

VCU got its One Shining Moment on Thursday, but today they're getting one healthy dose of reality from the Pitt Panthers as the Rams trail 51-34 with 11:43 left in the game. It will take a monumental effort from Anthony Grant's squad to come back in this one and it appears as though Jamie Dixon's crew is fulfilling its part of the deal to set up a Sweet 16 game with former coach Ben Howland. (UCLA plays later on today.)

The Panthers now hold a 29-19 edge in rebounding and are shooting 51 percent for the game to 34 percent for VCU.

Buffalo: Pitt Maintains Lead

VCu wasn't able to cut into the halftime lead in the first four minute segment of the second half as Pitt still leads by 15, 47-32.

. .. WIl Fameni and Jese Pellot-Rosa combined for 22 points against Duke on thursday night, but to this point today, they have just two (Fameni). (Stat brought to you by CBS's graphic folks. Now that's the corporate synergy I'm talking about!)

. . .The quite insane VCU bandleader who we had doucmented extensively during the CAA Tourney is at it again. He started in a shirt and tie today, but is now down to a black tank top and no shoes. I'm actually quite happy I missed his layer disrobinng during the two games he participated in here in The Buff. Soon enough, he may be in the buff.

Bah-dump-bump.

. . . The VCU Ram mascot has taken to wearing a "chain" as tribute to the team's chain. The Ram's is yellow.

Buffalo: Poor Shooting Hurting VCU

VCU was only able to muster a 31 percent shooting percentage for the half (9 of 29 from the field and 2 of 9 from 3-point land). The Panthers shot 55 percent from the field (3 of 8 from 3-point land) and had some great balance up and down the roster with a team-high 9 points from Antonio Graves, eight from Mike Cook, seven from Aaron Gray (in just 12 minutes of play), six from Sam Young and five from Ronald Ramon.

VCU was led by Jamal Shuler's 10 points.

. . . Pitt won the battle of the boards 20-15 and have four blocks on the game (two by Young). VCu has trailed the entire half after four ties early on. Pitt's largest lead is the cushion they now enjoy.

. . . Back to brew some more iced tea. Catch you in a few.

Buffalo: Pitt In Control at the Break

VCU is struggling to stay in this one and trail 41-26 at the half. The size and inside presence of Pitt is proving to be too much.

. . . Pitt can not handle VCU's pressure, so if VCU could score some baskets with regularity and get in their full-court pressure, the Rams are going to have a chance. Let that be a valuable lesson to whatever teams play Pitt down the road, should they advance.

The Panthers got bailed out a ten-second violation when they called a timeout just as the y were about to be whistled for the violation.

. . . VCU's Calvin Roland was whistled for his third personal foul with 1:59 left in the half.

. . . Eric Maynor was called for a technical foul with 4:15 left in the half after he complained a bout a no-call. Pitt hit both free throws to take a game-high 12 point lead, 34-22.

Buffalo: Pitt Maintains Edge

Pitt holds a 29-22 edge with 4:51 left in the half and continues to outscore the Rams in the paint, 20-8.

. . Jamal Shuler hit a 3-pointer with 5:00 left in the half to bring a ten point Pitt lead down to 7, 29-22. He's got a game high eight points.

. . . Our sneaker battle in this one is between adidas (Pitt) and Nike (VCU).

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Buffalo: Pitt Keeps its Lead

The Panthers continue to lead 24-17. VCU is done to 37 percent from the field and Pitt is at 50 percent. Rebounding remains even at 12-12.

. . . The Fameni Mask has a lot scarier effect than the Hansbrough Mask if you ask us.

. . . A couple of quick leftovers from the brief time we had in the locker rooms between games:

DJ Strawberry was quite despondent in the Terps' locker room. he finished with eight points on 3 of 10 shooting,

The Butler locker room was happy for sure, but not overjoyed and not anything like the VCU locker room on Thursday night. Junior Pete Campbell said he didn't think it had hit him yet and that it might start to sink in when he gets on the plane or once he gets back to Indy.

. . . Another clearcut win for the VCu dance and cheer team over the Pitt squad. This VCU group has Final Four-like talent, especially with the dancers.

Buffalo: Pitt Builds a Five Point Lead

Pitt has streaked out to a 16-11 lead with 11:41 left in the half and continues to do most of its damage in the paint with a 10-4 edge inside. VCU is holding its own on the boards with a 6-5 edge.

Thursday night's hero Eric Maynor already has 3 assists in this one to go along with four points.

Buffalo: Pitt Up By a Couple

Sorry, we missed the tip of this one between Pitt and VCU, but the game has been close in the early going with Pitt leading 11-9.

VCU has started hot from the field, shooting 67 percent on 4 of 6 from the field and Pitt is almost matching it with a 56 percent shooting mark (5 of 9). Eight of points 11 points have come in the paint to just two for the Rams. Mike Cook has seven early points for the Panthers.

. . . Wil Fameni is wearing the protective, clear plastic mask necessitated by the broken nose he suffered in the first round game against Duke. He seems to fidgeting with it a bit in between possessions.

. . . The officials for this game are David Libbey, Doug Shows, Zelton Steed and standby Eric Curry.

. . . While waiting for his press conference to begin, Gary Williams was seen in the bowels of the HSBC talking with officials evaluator, Art Hyland, the Coordinator of Men's Basketball Officiating for the Big East.

Buffalo: Bulldogs Sweet Again

For the second time in four seasons, Butler will play on the second weekend of the NCAA tournament as they await winner of the Florida-Purdue game tomorrow. If Florida wins that one, it will set up a re-match of the classic first-round OT thriller from 2000's Tournament when Florida hung on for 69-68 win in Winston-Salem, NC.

. . . Maryland finished the game with a 37-23 edge on the boards, but Butler made more than half of its field goals from 3-point land (12 of 23) and shot 44 percent for the game (23 of 52 and 12 of 26 from 3-point land for 46 percent).

Maryland shot 23 of 49 (47 percent) from the field and 6 of 11 (55 percent) from 3-point land. The Terps were led by the game's high-scorer Mike Jones (21 points, 5 of 6 from 3-point land). AJ Graves led the Bulldogs with 19 points (4 of 9 from 3-point land) and Brandon Crone chipped in 13 points. Guard Mike Green led the Bulldogs in rebounding, as he's done all year, with 8.

. . . We're tight on time, but we'll try to get some postgame quotes from the Butler locker room before the VCU-Pitt game tips off.

Buffalo: Green Day

Butler's Mike Green hit one of two free throws to give Butler a 62-59 lead with 3.6 seconds left and Butler holds on for the mild upset, advancing to the Sweet 16. Maryland's final attempt at an in-bounds play was deflected away and the Bulldogs hang on for a well-earned win.

We'll be back with final stats in a couple of minutes.

Buffalo: Fasten Your Seat Belts

With :58.7 left the Bulldogs have the ball and 27 seconds remaining on the shot clock and a 61-59 lead.

. . .Maryland has one timeout left and Butler has none. The Bullodgs have ten team fouls with Maryland sitting on seven.

. . . Hold on tight, here we go for a trip to the Sweet 16.

Buffalo: Graves is Great

AJ Graves buried a 3-pointer with 2:06 left to give the Bulldogs a 61-56 advantage. He had missed a lay-up that rimmed out, but a huge rebound by Drew Streicher kept the possession alive for Butler as Graves was found in the corner for his fourth trey of the game. He is tied with Mike Jones for game-high scorer with 19.

Buffalo: Crone Can

Butler's Brandon Crone has stepped up his game in the last few minutes as he nailed a shot clock beating 3-pointer 5:53 from deep (and in front of his bench) that gave the Bulldogs a 54-48 lead. Crone has 3 treys on the day and 13 points. With 2:36 left in the game, the Bulldogs lead 58-56 in a game where the pace has certainly favored the 'Dogs.

Rebounding continues to be the main factor keeping the Terps in the game as they are now ahead 34-20 on the boards and they lead 32-18 in the paint. But Butler has nbumped up its second half shooting to 42 percent after starting out the second stanza at 29 percent.

Buffalo: Close One Coming Down the Stretch

We're being set up for a doozy down the stretch here as this one sways back and forth. Butler leads 48-46 with 7:45 left in the game and we're starting to feel like this one will be decided in the closing seconds, if not overtime.

Butler is struggling from the field in this half, hitting on 7 of 19 (2 of 7 from 3-point land) for 37 percent. Maryland remains on fire at 57 percent (8 of 14, 4 of 5). The rebounding margin still favors the Terps 27-18 and they are also up to 16 turnovers for the game, to 11 for Butler.

. . We're now at seven lead change and 8 ties in this one.

Buffalo: Bambale Goes Bam Over Tables; Iced Tea Survives

Butler leads 44-41 wiuth 11:38 left in the game despite some hot shooting from the Terps who are at 55 percent for the half (6 of 11) including 4 of 5 from 3-point land. Mike Jones of the Terps is 3 of 4 in the half and leads all scorers with 17 points.

. . . One of the scarier moments of our life occured as Maryland's huge Bambale Osby (6-8, 250) came leaping towards our Hang Time perch in pursuit of a loose ball. Osby's triple jump had him stepping on first table, leaping over our table and landing in the first row of the stands. Amazingly we lost maybe an ounce of our home-brew iced tea and Osby was fine, as was our TV monitor.

Media coordinator Jill Skotarczak came over to check on, of all things, the monitor.

"Ow, my neck!" I replied. "I need James Sokolove's phone number."

. . . Today's attendance is 18,801, meaning the HSBC will draw close to 80,000 for the four sessions of basketball.

Buffalo: Terps' Treys Bring Them Back

Maryland has gotten back into this one by giving Butler a taste of its own medicine with three 3-pointers in the first four minutes of the half to give the Terps a temporary lead at 36-34. Butler's Mike Green answered with a 3 of his own and the Bulldogs lead 37-36 with 15:17 left in the game.

Maryland is doubling up the Bulldogs on the boards at 22-11 (6-1 in the seocnd half). The Terps are also 3 of 3 from 3-point land in this half with Butler hitting 2 of 5.

. . . Already the sexy name of the coaching carousel is being mentioned for the Michigan job - Mike Montgomery, formerly of Stanford and the NBA's Golden State Warriors. Montgomery has been mentioned for virtually every job that opens and it's actually becoming quite comical.

. . . Our cheerleader battle is a matter of taste today with the purity of the Indiana girls at Butler and the slightly sexy, sassy ladies of Maryland.

Since the Butler women are wearing green ribbons in their hair, we're giving the nod to the Bulldog side.

. . . We're back to brewing our own iced tea and the press room process was this time witnessed by the incomparable John Paquette from the Big East Conference. "What is this, chemsitry lab?" he asked dryly.

I will be not making him a honey-tinged ice tea any time in the near future. And that's his loss because it's a delicious refresher.


Buffalo: Cold PBR In a Can Has Strange Side Effects

True story: I forgot how to spell Buffalo for a moment there. Had to check the stat sheet to be sure. I think I may be feeling the effects of one too many cold PBRs in a can from Mo the barkeep.

. . . Butler is winning this game from beyond the arc as they have made 7 of their 11 field goals from international waters, led by AJ Graves' 3 of 6 from 3-point land for his nine points. Maryland has remained close beacuse of its rebounding (16-10 advantage) and it's in-the-paint scoring ability (16-6). But the Terps are going to need to defend the 3-ball better if they want to get back on top in this one.

. . . Maryland 10 turnovers to seven for Butler and the Terps also have four blocks (two each from Gist and and Ibekwe).

. . . Brandon Crone has a game-high three steals for the 'Dogs.

. . .There's been five lead changes and five ties and Butler's largest lead of the game was 11 with 1:42 left in the half.

Buffalo: Butler Ahead at the Break

A 13-2 run by Butler towards the end of the half gave them a 28-19 lead with 2:25 left, prompting a Gary Williams timeout to stem the tide. The Bulldogs now lead 31-25 at the break after a buzzer-beating 3 by Mike Jones to end the half. The Bulldogs are being led by AJ Graves' nine points and james Gist has nine for the Terps.

We'll be back in a couple with halftime stats and observations.

Buffalo: Butler With its Biggest Lead

we enter the under-4:00 media timeout with the Bulldogs holding their largest lead of the game, 23-19. the pace is certainly favoring Butler who averages 68.1 points per game. The Terps score almost 80 a game (79.6).

. . . Maryland has seven turnovers to five for Butler and the 'Dogs have turned those turns into nine points. Maryland is shooting 40 percent for the game (8 of 20 and 1 of 4 from 3-point land), while Butler has climbed up to 44 percent (8 of 18 and 5 of 10). The terps are being led by James Gist's seven points and Butler is paced by Brandon Crone's eight.

. . . Every time Drew Streicher's (pronounced STRIKER) name is announced by the PA man, we think of the movie "Airplane!" Streicher, Streicher - and then we hit the kindly officialls evaluator next to us. He's started to get angry about our shenanigans.

. . . The official team benches are made up of black, cushioned, NCAA-logoed chairs and on the front of the cushion are the words "We are the game."

To which the chairs must be thinking, "We are?"

Buffalo: Tight One in The Buff

Maryland is out to a 17-15 lead with 7:50 left in the half. The Terps continue to hold a healthy lead on the boards at 12-6 and 12 of the Terps points have come in the paint. We've already had four lead changes and five ties.

. . . Ebekwe had full stuff on a wild AJ Graves lay-up attempt in the lane with just over 12:00 left in the half.

. . . The Vegas Wiseguys have both our games form this building in the 6-7 point range for the favorites from the power conferences (Maryland and Pitt).

. . . News is filtering out that Tommy Amaker is done at Michigan. The school has scheduled a 3 p.m. news conference, according to wire reports. That job is a sleeping giant and you can expect some heavy hitters to get involved. Had Xavier been able to hang on, Sean Miller's name would have been thrown in right away, you'd imagine. That's how precarious the line between hot coach and also-ran can be.

. . . Maryland supporter and political know-it-all Robert Novak is seated behind the Maryland bench. We saw Novak at the BC-Maryland game earlier this year.

Buffalo: 'Dogs Using 3-ball

Butler has scored two of its three baskets on 3-pointers (Graves and Crone) and the Bulldogs trail the Terps 10-8 with 12:58 to go in the half.

Both teams are shooting 33 percent at the first media timeout and the Terps hold a 9-5 rebounding edge.

. . . Probably only a 3/4 filled arena for the tip as fans are probably drinking in the last of their green beer. Moistly the Pitt and VCU sections are still empty.

. . . Maryland had thrtee offseinve boards on its first possession of the game and it ended with an Ekene Ibekwe dunk.

. . . Maryland's Greivis Vasquez is the lone freshman in the starting ten.

. . . We've got a rarity in the men's game, a female official scorer. Nice to see.

. . . Our sneaker battle is between two Nike schools today.

Buffalo: Two 'til Tip

We're ready to go here even as the Xavier game continues to draw a lot of press row interest. Looks like the Buckeyes might have dodged a huge bullet and could run away with it in OT.

. . . The Terps mascot is wearing a lime green sport coat in honor of the day. He had to have gotten at the Big and Tall Turtle shop. Sharp dresser, that Terp. The Butler Bulldog, evidently, does not celebrate the holiday. If he were a Saint Bernard, like the Siena mascot, we're sure he'd be in green.

. . . How about our guy Bryan Graham getting the game of the Tournament from Rupp. Go BG!

Buffalo: Ten 'til Tip

The arena is filling up with a smattering of green-clad folks in honor of St. Patrick's Day and the expected red and blue loyalists who will be supporting the Terps and the Bulldogs.

We're using our advantageouly placed monitor to catch the end of the Xavier upset bid against Ohio State and our "friends" are starting to accumulate as they catch on to the goings-on.

. . . The officials for today's game will be Richard Cartmell, John Hughes, Michael Scyphers and the stand-by ref Eric Curry (who is not the son of Dell Curry).

. . .Probably starting line-ups look like this:

For Butler, AJ Graves, Julian Benko, Mike Green, Brandon Crone and Brian Ligon (the same line-up Butler has used for all but two games when Graves had his wisdom teeth extracted).

For Maryland, Mike Jones, DJ Strawberry, Grevis Vasquez, James Gist and Ekene Ibekwe.

Buffalo: Erin Go Bracket

BUFFALO - Welcome back to the HSBC Arena and Happy St. Patrick's day. We're about 80 minutes from tip (3:20 p.m. EST) of our first, second-round game between No. 4 seed Maryland (ACC) and No. 5 seed Butler (Horizon). The night cap here in The Buff will be No. 3 seed Pittsburgh (Big East) and No. 11 seed VCU (CAA), which should tip somewhere in the 5:50 p.m. vicinty.

[Quick programming note: The NCAA provided $30 per day wireless access is brutally slow today to the point of dysfunctionality. We're having all sorts of issues and the telecommuncations whizzes don't get on the clock until 3 p.m., so there's no telling when and if we'll be able to post. We don't mean to moan and whine, but the NCAA set themselves up for this when they decided to gouge the media members who needed wireless access. It's a crying shame from where we sit.]

. . . Butler (28-6) and Maryland (25-8) have never met before but the Terps are 11-5 vs. Horizon League opponents.

. . . Maryland took the floor at 2:15 p.m. for some stretching and running. The Terps bands and cheerleaders, all in pre-game prep, saluted their heroes. Butler emerged about five minutes later when shooting was allowed.

The Bulldogs are in their black road uniforms with white shooting jereseys on. Maryland is in the home whites with red shooting jerseys.

. . . We spent some time at the Maryland team hotel (the Adam's Mark) last night watching the late games and abusing our livers and there were a few worthwhile scenes to relay after the jump:

Continue reading "Buffalo: Erin Go Bracket" »

March 16, 2007

Buffalo: VCU Pressers Informative and Intriguing

The most-attended and anticipated press conferences of the day have concluded with Virginia Commonwealth's players (Jesse Pellot-Rosa, Eric Maynor and B.A. Walker) and coach Anthony Grant providing equal elements of newsworthiness and entertainment.

First, the newsiest item: Junior center Wil Fameni suffered a broken nose in the Duke game and according to the AP story it was suffered in a collision with a teammate. We tend to to think it had something to do with a Duke player, but regardless it is the second time in the las three Duke contests that an opposing center has wound up broken and bloodied.

Head coach Anthony Grant said that Fameni went with team trainer Todd Craft to get fitted for a Tyler Hansbrough-esque mask this morning and they hope to have a mask ready for Saturday's game. Grant wasn't sure if it was the "Hansbrough Model," but he did say it would be a clear mask.

. . .Pittsburgh has garciously agreed to open its practice beginning at 4:45, so we'll venture out to courtside just so we can stop our battling laptop duel with the New York Post's incomparable Mike Vaccaro. We're guessing Vacs is a bit sick of looking at our ugly mug for the past three hours.

. . . We now know where NC State coach Sideny Lowe has been getting his supply of birght red sportcoats: The HSBC arena. Security personnel in the arena have the same hued jackets as their uniform toppers.

. . . Okay we're heading out to the court. See you in a few.

Buffalo: Hitting on a Theme

Since we had so much success getting Gary Williams to open up a bit, we're thinking we'll go with our "Do you get to enjoy the other tournament games?" angle for the rest of the afternoon.

And the good news is that we're two for two, as Butler's Todd Lickliter took the question and ran with it as well.

"It's funny you say that," said Lickliter. "I told my team that if it didn't have something to do with our team or the next opponent, I was completely unaware. In this job, that's what you do - you're watching your team and the next opponent

"Today we probably will take in some games. It's a great sporting event, without question it takes the country by storm. We'll be involved in it some (today) but at the same time we have such tremendous respect for Maryland and we've got business at hand.

"But we'll relax today a bit and to be quite honest this team is a lot of fun to be around. They probably wouldn't say the same about me but I enjoy being around them."

. . . The VCU players are up next, so we'll go sit in on that presser and get back with following Coach Anthony Grant's remarks.

Buffalo: Gregarious Gary? True Story

In a Tournament that is lacking significant upsets, we may have just experienced our first legit shocker: The usually gruff and tumble Maryland coach, Gary Williams, showed his kind and cuddly side.

We only caught the latter portion of Williams' presser but we were able to query the 18th year Terps head man on how much, and in what way, he watches the NCAA Tounament.

"I'm a bigger fan this year than I was the last two years," joked Williams, whose team had been absent from the tournament for two seasons after a string of 11 straight. "It was really hard to watch last year."

But today especially, it will be alot easier and Williams looks forward to the chance to watch many of the teams his squad faced during the regular season.

Continue reading "Buffalo: Gregarious Gary? True Story" »

Buffalo: Between Day Interviews

BUFFALO - Welcome back to the comfy confines of the HSBC Arena where the off-day interview sessions are scheduled to begin in just a few minutes.

Unfortunately, with practices closed to the public and media types, we're not able to be courstide (as far as we know, we're still efforting to sneak in). So we're coming to you from the press room where instead of giving you updates on who is dunking on whom in practice, we can alert you to which media member is eating themost free popcorn (I'm neck and neck with the estimable Sean Brennan of the NY Daily News at this point).

The rundown of who will be available when is after the jump, as is a link to a very interesting "thoughts" column from the mothership's website's Gary Parrish.

Continue reading "Buffalo: Between Day Interviews" »

Buffalo: Man Oh Maynor

The old Mr. March was sitting there, about ten rows behind the Duke bench, hoping he could once again be in the building when Duke needed a little magic to pull one out from the jaws of defeat.

But the old Mr. March could only sit and watch as the new Mr. March drove the length of the floor, jabbed right, juked left and released a shot from - of course - just beyond the foul line. The ball sailed in the air and fell through the net, swish, with the greatest of ease and the clock stopped with 1.8 seconds left. VCU, 79 - Duke, 77.

Eric Maynor had just pulled a Christian Laettner and as the CBS camera panned to the crowd for Laettner's reaction, all the Duke alum could do was shake his head at what he had just seen.

Continue reading "Buffalo: Man Oh Maynor" »

Buffalo: Pitt Wins, Pitt Wins!

We started before everyone else today and we finished after everyone else and in between we had the first day's signature moment as the VCU Rams brought down the Duke Blue Devils.

This one ended 79-58 for Pitt and they will take on VCU in our second game on Saturday.

. . . We'll be back with our end-of-day columnette and some closing thoughts and then you are asked to join us again tomorrow for the between-day interview sessions which begin at 1:30 p.m.

March 15, 2007

Buffalo: Pitt the Wrong Match-up for Wright

Undersized and with a short bench, Wright State did all it could to stay with the Pitt Panthers in the first half, but eventually the Pitt size, speed and shooting ability won out and we're just a few minutes from the end of this one as Pitt leads 74-53with 3:00 left.

Buffalo: Welcome to Garbage Time

We're in the thick of garbage time now as the Panthers have extended to a 61-40 lead with 11:21 left in the game.

Pitt is crushing the undersized Raiders on the boards 33-22 and Wright State can only muster a 27 percent shooting half to this point.

. . .Pitt coach Jamie Dixon is wisely giving some of his regulars some rest (including Aaron Gray) so they will be fresh for Saturday's game against the runnin', pressin', shottin' Rams of VCU. Gray has played just 19 minutes so far and probably won't go over 25 for the game.

Buffalo: The Morgue

As our press row neighbor commented, "This place is like a morgue." And with the ice down underneath the HSBC floor, it could soon be as cold as one.

Pitt has extended to a 52-33 lead with 15:39 left. Aaron Gray still has just six points for Pitt, but Sam Young (12), Mike Cook (10) and Levon Kendall (8) are picking up the scoring load. No Raider is in double figures yet.

. . . Our friend from earlier in the day, the Duke Radio Network Technician is now breaking down the set-up that he so carefully engineered. The odd thing about the guy, and there are many odd things about the guy, is that he does it very piecemeal. Sometimes I catch him just bringing a cable or a headset to his off-press row staging area. I think he might be crying as he packs up the things for the final time this season. Not that I would wish that on anyone, but this dude seems to maybe deserve it.

But that's just me - I'm a hater by nature.

. . . A major dilemma just in front of the Hang Time perch as the Wright State radio team has lost power and they're looking to the Duke technician as if he might have caused it. Heaven help him if he did. Panic is ensuing.

Buffalo: Pitt Up Big At Half

Wright State has already showed their "spurtability" as mothership colleague Clark Kellogg might call it, but they're going to need to have it in boatloads in the second half if they're to stay in this game. Pitt leads 43-30 at the half.

Even with Aaron Gray scoring just five points and playing in just 13 minutes, Pitt was still able to build back its lead after Wright State tied the score.

Levance Fields has six of the Panthers' 12 assists on their 17 field goals (7 of 12 from 3-point land).

. . . The Raiders shot 35 percent from the field for the half (12 of 34 and 2 of 10) as the Pitt bench outscored the State bench 20-9.

. . . A huge letdown in the arena after the first game and many of the fans might not return from their halftime bathroom break.

Buffalo: The Sloppy, the Inspired and the Confounding

Pitt has re-extended to a 35-27 lead with 3:01 left and we've got some sloppy play going on, some inspired play going on and some confounding play going on.

The sloppy: Consecutive turnovers on four straight possessions between the two teams.

The inspired: Wright State has come back from 13 down to tie the game.

The confounding: Pitt's big man - the biggest man on either roster - Aaron Gray has just four points and has barely been touching the ball. When he does, he makes it looks easy, even with a collapsing triple team by the Raiders.

. . . Wright State is being led by its leading scorer on the year, DaShaun Wood who has seven points.
. . . Tonight's sneaker battle is between adidas (Pitt) and Nike (Wright State).

Buffalo: We're Back and Pitt's Up

We're just back from the VCU locker room where EVERYONE was smiling broad, goddy smiles. We'll do our post-games columnette on the Rams' semi-stunner so that we can now focus on the Pitt-Wright State game which has the Panthers leading the Raiders 21-15 with 10:16 left. Wright State had been down by 13 with 17:05 left in the half.

. . . In his post-gamer with Bob Wenzel of CBS, Coach K said : "Sometimes to appreacite winning you have to get your butt kicked and we got our butt kicked.

He added, that he felt the "early foul trouble really hurt us" by forcing the Blue Devils to sub earlier and more frequently than they would have liked.

. . . You shoulda seen the frothing New York press corps eagerly writing the Duke Obit in the press room. We're a mean lot when we want to be, I'll say that.

Buffalo: Can That One Be Topped?

It'll be tough for No. 3 seed Pittsbrugh and No. 14 seed Wright State to top that opener, but they'll try in about five minutes.

. . . The officials for the game will be Richard Cortmell, Ken Ditty and Edwin Edsall with Doug Shows as the stand-by.

. . . VCU is in the interview room now and they will be followed by Duke.

. . . Forgive us if we're tardy for the start of the next one.

Buffalo: Maynor Was Stoppin' and Poppin'

From the CBS post-game interview with Anthony Grant and Eric Maynor:

Grant: "The main thing we wanted to do was get them playing our tempo.

"This guy behind me (Maynor), as he's done so many times, took over down the stretch."

Maynor: "I've been practicing stoppin' and poppin' with my coach.

"My dad called before the game and he told me not to look at the name on the jersey.

"This might be the biggest win in VCU history, beating Duke in the NCAA Tournament."

Ya think?

. . . CBS's Bob Wenzel is waiting to get Coach K one-on-one in the bowels of the HSBC, we'll try to transcriobe that interview when it takes place.

. . . This loss by Duke is exactly what Coach K was preparing everyone for during yesterday's presser when he focused on the youth and inexperience of his team. There's no other way to say it, the Blue Devils shrivelled down the stretch.

. . . Despite holding a 42-31 rebounding edge and getting career highs from both Paulus (25) and McRoberts (22), Duke had only seven points form its bench to 15 from the VCU reserves.

VCU turned Duke over 17 times and kept their turns to just 11. The Rams had a remarkable 13 steals with four from Michael Anderson and three from Eric Maynor.

Maynor had 22 points for the game on 8 of 16 shooting from the field and four other Rams scored in double figures (Anderson, 10, Walker, 10, Pellot-Rosa, 14 and Shuler 14).

VCU shot 50 percent in the second half 915 of 30 and 4 of 7 from 3-point land (9 of 16 from three for the game).

. . . Duke hit 20 of 32 free throws, VCU hit 18 of 24.

. . . The game saw seven lead changes and eight ties.

. . . We want to try and work the post-game pressers and interviews, but we also need to be courtside for the tip of Pitt-Wright State. This is when cloning would come in handy.

Buffalo: Maynor Madness Strikes Again

Well, there you have it, folks, your first upset of the 2007 NCAA Tournament as No. 11 seed VCU takes out No. 6 seed Duke, 79-77 on a feathery soft foul line jumper by Mr. Clutch Eric Maynor with 1.8 seconds left.

Duke had one last desperatyion shot but fell short and the HSBC is going nuts.

Maynor scored six of the last sevn points for the Rams, all on swishes.

In the celebration that ensued, jamal Shuler took off his jersey and showed the VCU to the crowd and the nation.

Whooo-hooo, that was fun.

. . . Maynor, you'll recall, was also the hero for VCU when they won the CAA Tournament in Richmond.

. . . Jon Scheyer took a shot to the eye as Maynor gave VCU the lead in the closing minute and had to leave the game a bloody mess.

. . . Bloddy nose recipient Wil Fameni fouled out with 1:42 left in the game. He had eight points, five rebounds and a steal and was the victim of more than a few McRoberts' moves.

Continue reading "Buffalo: Maynor Madness Strikes Again" »

Buffalo: Down to the Wire

In the only close game of the evening thus far, VCU trails 70-68 with 3:56 left in the game.

. . .VCU took the lead 68-67 with just under 6:00 left in the game. It was the fifth lead change of the game and there have been four ties.

. . . Duke now holds a 36-28 rebounding advantage and a 36-22 edge in the paint. VCU has 21 points off the fast break to Duke's six.

. . . Duke appears to be getting a bit tight and not taking open shots when they are there - all, that is except for Paulus (22) and McRoberts (20).

. . . Jesse P-R picked up his fourth foul with 4:21 left in the contest.

Buffalo: Another Bloody Nose Notch on the Blue Devil Belt

VCU will not go away and its 3-point bombers are launching away, and connecting as they have cut the Duke lead to 67-66 with 6:54 left in the game.

B.A. Walker (10 points) and Jesse Pellot-Rosa (14) have hit the latest bombs for VCU. Both McRoberts and Paulus have 20 each for Duke.

JP-R is 3 of 5 from 3-point land and Jamal Shuler is 4 of 5 for the Rams.

. . . Greg Paulus and Eric Maynor got into it a bit with 11:02 left in the game after a Maynor poke check (and foul call) aggravated Paulus. Things have been getting a little chippy for sure.

. . . Jamal Shuler is keeping VCU in the game almost by himself. he has 14 points for the Rams and is 4 of 5 from 3-point land.

. . . With Wil Fameni's bloody nose at 10:27, Duke officially leads the nation in BNC - Bloody Noses Caused. Fameni now has what appears to be a Tampon in his right nostril (sorry, no other way to described it).

. . . Duke's David McClure picked up his fourth foul with 8:20 left in the game.

Buffalo: Duke Pulling Away

We've again entered the Foul Zone as VCU has been whistled for five infractions this half to three for Duke. The Blue Devils lead 59-50 with 11:38 left in the game.

. . . Josh McRoberts (game-high 17 points) has had his way with VCU's Wil Fameni all evening long. Bad match-up for the Rams.

McRoberts and Paulus lead Duke with four assists each. Maynor has the game-high with five.

. . . The Rams have attempted just one 3-pointer this half after hitting 5 of 9 in the first half.

. . . Duke built up a seven point lead with 13:59 left in the game, prompting a quick timeout from Anthony Grant.

. . . Mr. March Madness, Christian Laettner has been spotted by the CBS cameras. He was from Buffalo originally and the Blue Devils practiced at his old high school on Wednesday.

. . . Duke's DeMarcus Nelson (five points) picked up his fourth foul with 11:12 to go.

Buffalo: VCU Staying In It

VCU briefly led 44-43 in the first two minutes of the second half and now trails by just two, 52-50 with 15:00 left in the game.

VCU has already put up 14 second half shots, nearly half their first half total (31). They've hit on 6 while Duke is 5 of 10 from the field.

. . . Once again we are the only on-going game where the action is competitive, a recurring theme throughout today's match-ups.

. . . I must amend my too-early declaration that Duke's cheer squad was going to win this one in a walk-over. VCU has unleashed its black-spandexed dance/pom team and they are simply spectacular. We should have recalled this form our time at the CAA Tourney in Richmond and we apologize completely.

I now have flip-flopped and given the nod to the Ramettes, or whatever they're called.

Buffalo: Halftime Stats and Observations

VCU started the game hitting 1 of 3 from 3-point land, but went to half having hit 5 of 9, made up of Jesse Pellot-Rosa's 2 of 3 form beyond the arc and Jamal Shuler's duplicate 2 of 3. VCU was led by Eric Maynor's 10 points and Duke was led by Josh McRoberts's 12 points.

Duke is up 20-10 in paint scoring and VCu holds an 11-4 edge on fast break scoring. The rebounding edge went to Duke, 18-16 and Duke also four more turnovers than the Rams (9-5). The Rams have totaled six steals by six different players.

. . . If VCU is to capitalize on its end-of-the-half momentum, they will need to continue to stroke the 3-pointer and get out a bit and run on the Blue Devils.

. . . The difference between this Duke team and recent editions is that the past few teams of Coach K would have already put this game away. This team hasn't yet learned how to do that, and that goes back to Coach K's harping on the youth of this squad.

. . . Greg Paulus has nine points but is just 2 of 7 from the field.

Buffalo: VCU Down, But Hopes Are Up

VCU tied the game on a Jamal Schuler 3-pointer with :35 left in the half and Duke then got bailed out on a desperation 3-pointer by Greg Paulus when B.A. Walker was whistled for his third personal. (The foul was originally charged to Jamal Shuler, but the officials went to review wshether it was a 3 and saw they got the wrong guy. They also made a bad call, as it was a no-call best.)

The Blue Devils lead 40-38 at the break, but VCU still carries the momentum after a strong final ten minutes of the half.

. . . The Moron Heckler was booted from his "borrowed" seat finally, but this time left quietly without any choice words for us media scum.

. . .Michael Anderson was seen imploring the VCU fans tro get into it a bit, with two minutes left in the half.

. . . We'll be back with halftime stats and observations shortly.

Buffalo: VCU Climbs Back

The VCU Rams made a nice little run to get back within three in the 5:00-area, but now Duke leads 35-29 with 3:51 left in the half. Duke continues to shoot lights out at 62 percent (13 of 21) and VCU is at 31 percent (8 of 26). McRoberts and Eric Maynor for VCU share game-high scoring honors with 10 each.

. . . The upshot of having Jim Kelly in the seats behind us is that Moron Heckler as simmered down. He's practically peeing his pants he's so excited that Kelly is in his midst.

. . . We've had very little flow to this game with fouls coming on virtually every possession. There have been 19 combined whistles.

. . . We just checked our entry in the CSTV Experts Pool, where we have two goals: Not finish last and to finish ahead of Steve Lappas.

So far, I'm barely doing both.

I'm such an idiot when it comes to bracketeering. Head Honcho, Dan Kaufman should have put me in the Kiddie Pool, not the Expert Pool.

Buffalo: Duke up Big

VCU is shooting 4 of 17 from the field (24 percent) and Duke is at a lofty 64 percent (9 of 14). Josh McRoberts lead all scorers as Duke is up 22-10 with 9:44 left in the half.

. . . Duke is owning the inside on the offensive end and it's already led to two monster dunks from McRoberts, both one-handers. Duke is up 12-4 in points in the paint and 7-2 on second chance points.

. . . We've finally had a celebrity sighting after missing all sorts at the SEC tournament. Ex-Bills QB Jim Kelly is behind the Hang Time perch in a black Orange County Choppers hat. He's amongst a crowd of Wright State supporters.

. . . Former NBA coach and NBA commentator Doug Collins was spotted by the CBS caneras. His son Chris is an assistant for the Blue Devils.

. . . VCU has had several shots bounce around the rim, almost go down and then pop back out. That's no way for an underdog to pull the upset.

Buffalo: Duke Up Early

Duke has gotten out to an 11-5 lead as we hit the first media timeout. VCU has already committed four team fouls

. . . Greg Paulus was expecting quite a few fans as he is from Syracuse, which is only about a two, two-and-a-half hour drive from here.

. . . We have to say we're a bit surprised at the pro-Duke contingent. We assumed Duke would be Public Enemy No. 1 in this one.

. . . VCU plays a trapping-style defense, usually picking up full court after made opponent baskets. Both teams settle into man-to-man defenses to start, although McRoberts freelances quite a bit in the paint.

. . . The refs exchanged a three way fist bump prior to tip. That's not something you usually see.

. . . The Moron Heckler is telling Gerald Henderson to hit "em with those 'bows." This guy needs to be shot. And he's is the single best reason why the NCAA shouldn't serve beer at these events. He's had quite enough for several lifetimes.

Buffalo: Two til Tip

The officials for tonight's game are Zelton Steed, Eric Curry, John Hughes and substitute David Libbey. Steed was the sub for the afternoon's first game.

Probably starting line-up look like this:

For VCU, Eric Maynor, BA Walker, Jesse Pellot-Rosa, Will Fameni and Michael Anderson.

For Duke, Greg Paulus, DeMarcus Nelson, Jon Scheyer, Josh McRoberts and Gerald Henderson.

Henderson is the lone freshman of the ten.

. . . Pellot-Rosa was playing injured in the CAA tournament with a bad right arch. We should keep an eye on him tonight. Maynor is the player who basically turned the CAA Title game around by himself with his three steals in the closing minutes.

. . . A CBS graphic at the end of the Vandy slaughter of GW identified Central Connecticut as a No. 6 seed in its battle with No. 1 Ohio State. Hope the CCU people were able to screen shot of that - if it's on CBS, it's gotta be true. Dan Rather told me that. (*Cheap shot at the mothership only intended for chuckles. We mean no malice.)

. . . We've now got the rarest of hecklers behind the Hang Time perch - the Media Heckler. "Go ahead and write for the Whatever Times. . ." Brain surgeon this one is. It's the same guy who was booted from the seat in the first game of the day and screamed at all of press row on his way out.

We're guessing he either can't spell, write or was once had a Leter ot the Editor rejected. What a mean, awful man. And as dumb as they come, too.

Buffalo: Post-dinner Digestion

And, we're back.

We managed to get in both a bit of a walk aorund the interior of the arena and a filling meal and now we're ready for two more tilts - hopefully with a couple of upsets on the Horizon (League).

We just had a nice chat with Wright State's radio color man, Bob Grote, a former Raider player. It's the second game, but Grote is already chomping at the bit and really likes his Raiders chances of both running their fast-paced offensive sets and, perhaps more importantly, pushing Aaron Gray out of the paint and into "no-man's land."

. . . Before we get to that one, we've got No. 6 seed Duke facing off against No. 11 seed VCU in the San Jose Regional pod.

. . . Duke took the floor for shooting and lay-up lines with 31:30 on the pre-game clock (6:35 real time) and came out to a smattering of boos. The Blue Devils are in black warm-ups and white Nike sneakers.

VCU came out with 29:25 on the pre-game clock and its loud group of fans sitting in Section 116 slauted their court heroes appropriately. The Rams are in their bright yellow shooting jerseys and black shorts with yellow trim, they have a variety of black Nikes, some with the yelloe swoosh, others with the white (ala "TV" Teddy Valentine).


Continue reading "Buffalo: Post-dinner Digestion" »

Buffalo: Final Stats from Butler-ODU

ODU shot 33 percent for the game (18 of 55, 4 of 20 from 3-point land) and Butler won the game with its second half shooting (11 of 21, 52 percent), including 7 of 13 from 3-point land in the second stanza.

Butler won despite being outscored in the paint, 22-12 and only winning the rebounding battle 35-34.

The game saw 12 lead changes and five ties.

. . . ODU's Gerald Lee had a career high 11 rebounds and AJ Graves led Butler with 18 points, but had no rebounds in the second half. Fortunately teammate Mike Green had 10 for the game to go along with his 14 points.

Buffalo: No Butler About It, Bulldogs Advance

Butler advances to face Maryland on Saturday afternoon with 57-46 win over ODU. AJ Graves led all scorers with 18 points.

. . . ODU continued to scrap down the stretch, but the Bulldogs were too much in the second 20 minutes.

. . . Our conference standings from Buffalo look like this: ACC: 1-0, Southern: 0-1; Horizon: 1-0; and CAA: 0-1.

. . . The Duke Radio Network appears to be all set up. In the end, they're just going with two tin cans and a piece of string after all of that prep work. Should be fine.

. . . We're going for that long walk we talked about, then we'll hit the feed line and then we'll be back with you at the bottom of the 6 o'clock hour for tonight's games, beginning with Duke-VCU at 7:10 p.m., followed by Pitt-Wright State.

Buffalo: Butler Does It

The Bulldogs are running away with this one as they have held ODU to 14 points in the second half, including this 20-5 run they now find themselves on.

Joining Graves on the top of the Butler scoring list is Mike Green, who now has 13 points on the day in addition to a team-high eight rebounds.

. . . It also appears that A&M is re-assuming control of the Penn game.

Buffalo: Butler Taking Over

The Bulldogs have turned their run into a 12-0 spurt and now, with 7:55 left in the game, are up 41-32. This is crunch time for the Monarchs.

Butler is shooting 50 percent in the second half from the field and 60 percent from beyond the arc (6 of 10). ODU is stuck near 30 percent for the game and just 4 of 16 from 3-point land.

Rebounding has evened up at 27-27.

. . . Meanwhile our courtside monitor is showing a super run by Penn at Texas A&M which has leveled the score at 37-37 with 14:00 to go in that one.

(We like the electronic display on the scorer's table at Rupp - very fancy.)

. . .I don't want to be crude, but my ass hurts. All this sitting (especially on the plasfabric of the HSBC courtsdie seating) is a killer. I'll be taking a long walk between sessions, maybe even doi laps around the buffet table.

Buffalo: Butler Breaks Out a Bit

Butler has used a 9-0 run after the under-12:00 media timeout to take a 38-32 lead, causing ODU's Blaine Taylor to call a timeout. Butler had scored 10 points for the half in 8:49 and then, in less than two minutes scored nine.

Gotta love the 3-ball. Butler's AJ Graves now leads all scorers with 14 points, including 3 of 7 from 3-point land.

Buffalo: ODU Up Slightly

ODU leads 32-29 with 11:21 left in the game. We're not sure either team will reach 40 for the game, but it's looking more probable. Both teams are shooting right in the 33 percent range for the game.

. . . Freshman Gerald Lee of ODU is dominating on the boards with 10, including six on the offensive glass.

. . . The Duke Radio Network dude continues to set up for tonight's game. If they had the early game today, he would have had to have been in the building at midnight. I think he might be setting up a live classical band on the table for the Network's halftime music.

Buffalo: A Relative Track Meet

Things have picked up a bit here with ODU now leading 27-24 with 15:04 left in the game. The teams have combined for 12 points in five minutes, an encouraging sign. AJ Graves of Butler leads all scorers with 11 points.

. . . This site's Tournament Director and the MAAC Commissioner, Rich Ensor, just stopped by the Hang Time perch and we had a nice chat. He said this game reminded him a bit of some MAAC contests - nip and tuck with good defense and some dysfunctional shooting (I added that last part). Ensor is one of the true good guys in the business and has always been quite kind to us. he even experimented with us a sideline reporter for the conefernec during one season long ago. Ratings dipped during those contests and I was never asked back. But they did let me ref a MAACscot basketball game, still the highlight of my professional career.

Ensor needs to head to Hartford tomorrow for the Women's Tournament, as he is on the Women's selection committee. I think he said, "You're in charge," to me when he left courtside.

If so, there will beer in the house beginning now (NCAA rules prohibit the sale of alcohol to the general seating public, although suite sitters are allowed to consume.)

Buffalo: Halftime Stats and Observations

The two teams combined to shoot 15 of 49 from the field in the first hafl, including an ugly 4 of 20 from 3-point land. ODU continues to lead the battle of the boards 21-15 as Gerlad Lee as has been a monster on the offensive galss for the Monarchs with 5 of his game-high seven rebounds coming off ODU misses.

The ODU bench holds an 8-2 lead in scoring and the Monarchs have turned the five Butler turnovers into nine points. ODU's seven turns have resulted in zero points.

. . . Now we're really peeved - our guy Jason Owens reports in from Sac-town where there are, in fact, dance teams in the building. Oh how we miss the LSU pom squad from the SEC Tournament. I'm convinced that Big Baby should have been allowed in the Tournament by himself, just to get the Ragin Cajun Dancing Tigerettes into the building. I would have fought to cover that site.

. . . Some complete a-holes behind us who were offended that we wouldn't give our neighbor's halftime stat sheet to them. I'd like to find where these bozos work and go and harass them while they're busy banging away on their computers. One of them has more gel in his hair than Steve Lavin and I think he's alwaso wearing eyeliner.

Damn, I hate morons.

. . . Oh, yeah, that's hunger pangs you're reading in those venomous words. But, as always, I'm on the side of truth.

. . . Not sure what either team needs to do in the second half to advance to play the Terps. I'm guessing they could start with scoring and Butler needs to pick it up on the glass.

Buffalo: Points Hard to Come By

We sit at 20-19 at the half with ODU leading. The record for fewest combined points in a Tournament game in the modern era came in 1984 when georgetown beat SMU 37-36. The overall lowest combined total is 46 in 1941 when Pitt beat UNC, 26-20. The top nine fewest points scored combined came before 1947.

. . . Butler's AJ Graves has really is a complete player. He's leading the Bulldogs in scoring with 6 and rebounding with 4 from his point guard position.

. . . The Duke radio team technician has been setting up his equipment for this entire half and he's still not even close to finished. He basically has an entire radio station's hardward with him. I think I just saw him pull out an 8-track deck. Duke does everything their own special way, don't they.

. . . This game is low scoring, even for a football game.

. . . Washington State is now pulling away from Oral Roberts and the other games are getting big cushions as well with Georgetown up 13 at half and Texas A&M up 13. So you know you'r egoing to need to stick with us.

Buffalo: Butler In Front

Not a lot of pizzazz to this one, as Butler has moved out to a 19-16 lead with 3:23 left in the half. ODU holds a 15-11 rebounding edge and is also leading in turnovers, 6-3.

. . . There's a lot of mainstream Tourney blogging going on, as we've mentioned, but we'd like to steer you to the witty writings and cunning observations of one of our favorites, TLBR (Tilber for pronounciation purposes). He's a college hoops aficianado and one of the funnier humans on earth.

. . . The ODU mascot, wearing Robert Parish's number of "00" is a Lion King of some sorts or Lion Monarch, I guess. Cute and cuddly, but we're liking the droopy jowls of the Bulldog a bit more.

. . . We're dance team-less here at the Tournament. I seem to think the NCAA Tourney directors only allows cheer squads, which is such a shame. Both squads are blue and white clad and have that all-american girl look to them (not the dudes, just the ladies).

Buffalo: Teams Feeling Each Other Out

Our "Battle of the Mid Majors" continues to move at a snail's pace (or a Terp's pace if you want to give some love to our first game victors). We're tied, 7-7 with 11:54 left in the half.

Both teams are struggling from the field as ODU is 2 of 8 and Butler is 3 of 10.

. . . Maryland assistant coaches Chuck Dreisell and Keith Booth are scouting from the Scout Seats three chairs down from us. They should be feeling pretty confident against either of these teams at this point.

Buffalo: Slow Start to the Second Game

We're off to a bit of a slow start in this one - certainly nothing like our first game. With 15:58 to go in the half, Butler is up 5-2.

. . . It's feeling like a pro-Butler crowd with the "Let's Go Dogs" chants drowning out the "O-D-U, O-D-U" cheers.

. . . These two teams have met only once before, in 1999 at the NIT with Butler winning, 75-62. Current Bulter assistant LaVall Jordan was a player on that team.

Buffalo: Five 'Til Tip

We're a few minutes from tip of the 5-12 game between Butler and ODU and we had to make the executive decision to forego the post-game pressers in favor of returning to courtside (with a booster shot of popcorn and pretzels) for the second game.

. . . We are able to pass along a few telling stats from the first game: Davidson, after shooting 35 percent from 3-point land in the first half, wound up 3 of 17 (18 percent) in the second half and 27 percent overall. Rebounding finished plus-19 for Maryland (54-35) and paint scoring was plus-24 (46-22). Six Terps scored in double figures, led by 12 each from James Gist and DJ Strawberry.

. . . Our officials for Game 2 are Doug Shows, Bert Smith, Michael Eggers with substitute ref, Richard Cartmell.

. . . Starting line-ups should look like this:

For ODU, Brandon Johnson, Brian Henderson, Drew Williamson, Valdas Vasylius and Arnuad Dahi.

For Butler, A.J. Graves, Julian Betko, Mike Green, Brandon Crone and Brian Ligon.

Buffalo: Cats Fight Hard, Terps Prevail

The biggest shame of Maryland's 82-70 win is that Stephen Curry won't get to play again this year. Fortunately he's a freshman and this won't be his last post-season taste, I can almost guarantee you that. He finishes with 30 points.

Maryland simply dominated the boards in this one and Davidson lost its 3-point shooting touch in the second half.

. . . We'll go work the post-game interviews and such and be back with you for the tip of Butler-Odu which will tip at 2:58.

. . . Much love and many thanks to our "Buffalonian" commenter who informs us: "Not that is matters much, but... originally HSBC stood for HongKong-Shanghai Banking Corporation. They are London based, and have bought lots of smaller banks, like Buffalo's Marine Midland (which was, of course, the previous name of the arena - before that it was Crossroads Arena, ad. nauseum)

"Nowadays, just like some other acronym'd brands like KFC, HSBC is not supposed to 'officially' stand for anything. Though seeing how their purchase of Household has gone, they may want to reconsider...

Enjoy the downtown wind, and the games in our fair city!"

Oh, it matters quite a bit, I assure you. This is why I love both the Internet and all the fabulous Hang Time Hangers like "Buffalonian."

Now, any thoughts on a downtown place with "sneaky good" wings - I've done Anchor, I want something off the radar a bit. Had a great meal at Hemingway's last night, on Peral Street. My man Joe the Barkeep, while quite talkative, was also quite attentive.

Buffalo: Danger for Davidson

The Wildcats are now down three with 3:29 left in the game, 71-68. Stephen Curry now has a game-high (and first round high from what we've seen) 28 points for the Cats, who are going to need some kind of rebounding presence if they hope to get back in this one.

. . . McKillop got Curry a bit of a rest at the 8:00 media timeout - he manged 1:03 of game clock rest and then came back in and hit a 3-pointer immediately for his 24th, 25th and 26th points. Great coaching, wonderful shooting (5 of 11 from beyond the arc).

. . . Too many one and dones for he Wildcats, who have just 10 of their 30 rebounds on the offensive end. Maryland has 48 rebounds (17 offensive). they are now up 46-22 in paint scoring.

. . . We have had 14 lead changes in this one and seven ties. Quality first rounder, we'd say.

. . . Definitely a pro-Davidson crowd.

Buffalo: Maryland Inches Ahead

The Terps have extended a bit with a 67-63 lead and the ball as we go under 8:00 letf in the game.

Maryland has four players in double figures scoring, while Davidson is relying mainly on Curry and Jason Richards (23 and 11 respectively).

The rebounding edge is now 40-29 in favor of Maryland, which means the borad battle has been even 12-12 this half.

Buffalo: Terps With a Slight Lead

We're going back and forth here in Buffalo as the Terps now lead 58-57 with 10:46 left in the game.

. . . Nice rendition of Sweet Caroline by the Davidson Band - made me feel like I was in Fenway Park again.

. . . Turnovers continue to plague Maryland as they had four in the first 4:28 of the half and now sit at 16. Davidson also has picked up its turnover pace, and now has 13 for the game (six in this half).

. . . Maryland is up 36-16 in paint scoring.

. . . Maryland's Ekene Ibekwe picked up his fourth personal foul with 14 minutes left in the game.

. . . How good is Stephen Curry? He was fouled by DJ Strawberry in the corner (Lil Straw's third at 12:16) and for kicks he launched a set shot after the whistle. It went in. No way the kid is a freshman, no way.

. . . A fan seated next to Mrs. McKillop keeps yelling at Strawberry, "How slow is he, DJ?" I guess Strawberry had claimed Curry was a step or two slow. Dude's gotta let it go, though.

Buffalo: Curry is Spicy

The incomparable Stephen Curry came out of the Davidson locker room and scored the Cats' first five points of the half to give Davidson a 48-44 lead, about a minute and a half into the second stanza. It was part of a 9-0 run to begin the half and caused Gary Williams to cause an early timeout with 17:21 left in the game. The Cats lead 52-44.

The Davidson faithful are in a lather behind us, and rightfully so.

. . . Looks like this game and the BC-Texas Tech affair will be going down to the wire as those tow teams are switching off with the lead from Winston-Salem. Stanford trails 46-20 at the half to Louisville, so that one is OVA!

Buffalo: Halftime Stats, Observations and General NCAA Railing

The stat sheet tells the same story we've been relaying: Davidson is shooting the 3-ball (7 of 20) and Maryland is dominating in the paint (28 to 10) anbd on the boards (28-17, with 11 offensive boards). Surprisingly, Maryland has 11 turnovers to just seven for Davidson and the Cats have turned those seven into 16 points, while Maryland has just six points off turnovers.

Mike Jones is leading the Terps with 10 points and Stephen Curry paces the Cats with 18 (including 3 of 7 from 3-point land).

. . . Two things we need to point out about the NCAA (which we actually don't hate as much as some, but do find some oddities about) : One, they're gouging media folks who need wiireless internet access by charging 30 bucks a day. That's fine, and we're paying it. But when the access goes down and we have to re-log in, mid-blog, we get a bit perturbed. Two, there is some kind of Clean the Tables campaign going on, as the HSBC cleaning crew came and swept the table of cups and miscellaneous debris during half. Our neighbor, Luke Winn of Sports Illustrated had his filled water cup disposed of when he went to get some pretzels. Now he's stuck with dry mouth and no beverage. I feel his pain, but fortunately my semi-hot tea was finished when the cleaners swept up the Hang Time cup.

. . . Amazing to me how many damn live-bloggers have come out of the woodwork for this Tournament - but remember that CSTV.com is giving you the most comprehensive at-the-arena, live-blogging of anyone.

Buffalo: Battle in The Buff

A thoroughly entertaining first half as the Terps lead 44-43 at the break. Stephen Curry leads all scorers with 18 points and the Cats ahve attemped 19 3-pointers for the half (hitting seven).

We'll be back with halftime stats and observations shortly.

And just look at Louisville - whooo, does Rick Pitino know how to prepare his team for the post-season.

Buffalo: Terps Fight Back

Maryland found itself down eight with about five minutes left in the half (35-27) and a little over a minute later, the Terps were up two, aided by some turnovers by Davidson. We're at 41-41with 2:18 left in the half.

DJ Strawberry has attempted 11 field goals (hitting on four for his nine points) and Davidson freshman Stephen Curry is 5 of 9 for his 16 points, leading all scorers. The 'Cats are 7 of 18 (38 percent from 3-point land) and the Terps continue to neglect defedning beyond the arc. Did they not read the scouting report?

. . . Two very similarly colored mascots in the Davidson Wildcat and the Maryland Terp, but clearly the 'Cat would romp in a real-world animal kingdom battle. Love the Cat's whiskers too.

. . . Today's sneaker battle features two Nike schools.

Buffalo: Terps Fight Back

Maryland found itself down eight with about five minutes left in the half (35-27) and a little over a minute later, the Terps were up two, aided by some turnovers by Davidson. We're at 41-41with 2:18 left in the half.

DJ Strawberry has attempted 11 field goals (hitting on four for his nine points) and Davidson freshman Stephen Curry is 5 of 9 for his 16 points, leading all scorers. The 'Cats are 7 of 18 (38 percent from 3-point land) and the Terps continue to neglect defedning beyond the arc. Did they not read the scouting report?

. . . Two very similarly colored mascots in the Davidson Wildcat and the Maryland Terp, but clearly the 'Cat would romp in a real-world animal kingdom battle. Love the Cat's whiskers too.

. . . Today's sneaker battle features two Nike schools.

Buffalo: Three Barrage

Six of Davidson's nine field goals have been from 3-point land and 14 of its 23 shots have come from beyond the arc and the Wildcats lead 28-27 at the under-8:00 media timeout.

It's quite impressive the way Davidson is always comfortable launching the three, either on the fast break or from its halfcourt offense.

. . . The record for 3-point field goals attempted in an NCAA Tournament first and second round game in the HSBC Arena is 32, held by five teams, most recently by Vermont in 2004 vs. UConn. Davidson is on pace to break that record. The NCAA Tournament record for 3s attempted is held by St. Joseph's at 43 in an overtime game against BC on March 15, 1997. The Hawks won the game.The record for a regulation game is 42, held by Long Island, also in 1997 vs. Villanova in a loss.

Buffalo: Great One Early

Gary Williams said yesterday that both teams are going to do what they do and it makes no sense to change at this time of year. Boy was he right.

Davidson is launching 3s (4 of 11) and Maryland is pounding it inside (0 of 1 from 3-point land). The Wildcats lead 22-21 with 10:31 left in the half.

William Archambault for Davidson is stroking it early, hitting both his 3-point attempts. DJ Strawberry leads Maryland with five points.

Buffalo: Two Tips are Better than One

Davidson, known for its 3-point ability (they took 851 on the year) is launching them early and often in this one, as they've hit two and we're tied 8-8 at the first media timeout.

. . .Both teams have opened up in man-to-man defenses.

. . . We had premature Tipation here in Buffalo, thus causing two jump balls to start this game. Maryland won the one that counted.

. . . We're now able to confirm that the player who was told this game is just like any other game was Davidson's Max Paulhus Gosselin.

Buffalo: Tip in Two

We're just about to get started here and today's officials are David Libbey, WIlliam Covington, Michael Scyphers and substitute official Zelton Steed.

Startinn line-ups look like this:

For Davidson, Jason Richards, Stephen Curry, Maz Paulhus Gosselin, Boris Meno, Jr. and Thomas Sander, Jr.

For Maryland, Mike Jones, D.J. Strawberry, Greivis Vasquez, James Gist and Ekene Ibekwe.

. . . It is indeed the McKillop family behind us including Coach's wife, Cathy and his three children, seated left to right next to Mom, Kerrin, Brendan and Matt.

. . . Let's get it on, folks. Enjoy it as much we will enjoy bringing it to you.

Buffalo: All Hail Jim From Hammond Communications

With some fortunate seating and the aid of my early candidate for Tournament MOP, Jim from Hammond Communciations Group (owned by NBC's horse guy, Tom Hammonds), we are conveniently positioned next to a monitor that includes not only a stats station (Channel 11), but four channels of DirecTV's March Madness package and, of course, the in-arena broadcast from CBS. This potentially means (if the officials evaluator seated next to me will allow it), that I will have one of the best seats in the entire nation for today's action.

The only thing missing will be wings, beer and some drunk woman next to me complaning that her brackets gone to Hell. I sort of like my positioning, even without the beer.

. . . We're 10 minutes til tip and the buzz is growing. So are the butterflies, we'd presume. National Anthem time - Canadian and American.

. . . The shuttle driver on the way over told us what HSBC stands for: Holy Sh^*, Buffalo's Cold. We think he was joking, but we can't find any other explanation on the company's website.

. . .Seated behind the Hang Time perch is a large contingent of Davidson supporters, including coach Bob McKillop's family.

Buffalo: Welcome to the First Round

BUFFALO - Welcome back to the HSBC arena for today's first round games in the Buffalo sub-regional. We get started at 12:20 p.m. EST with No. 4 seed Maryland (ACC) taking on No. 13 seed Davidson (Southern) in a Midwest region contest.

The afternoon capper is a classic 5-12 match-up in the Midwest region between two rising (or risen) mid-majors with Butler (Horizon) facing Old Dominion (Colonial). Our nighttime double-dip from the West region begins at 7:10 p.m. EST with No. 6 seed Duke (ACC) battling Virginia Commonwealth (Colonial) and winds up with No. 3 seed Pittsburgh (Big East) taking on No. 14 Wright State (Horizon).

. . . Great buzz outside the arena, about an hour before we get going, with many fans already filling the nearby establishments and a couple of hundred loyalists (mostly Maryland) are in the stands as we near 40 minutes until tip.

The Davidson band is tuning up in their endzone floor section beneath section 123. No sign of the Terp tooters yet.

. . . Nice scene as one of the Davidson players entered the tunnel to approach the court (we apologize for not knowing who it was - lots of tall white guys around). The player paused and a team assistant turned to him and said, "Just like any other game." The player nodded but his face told a different story.

This - and the 15 other games like it today - are not just 'any other game.' That will be evident when the ball goes up.

. . . Each school's men's basketball homepage, alphabetically, is after the break. We trust you can surf around for what you need from there, including game notes and other info.

Continue reading "Buffalo: Welcome to the First Round" »

March 14, 2007

Buffalo: Talking's Done, Let's Play Four

The pressers have ended here in The Buff at the HSBC and Wright State is on the floor for the final open practice of the day. We're back down to a small gathering of fans, probably less than a hundred and the Raiders will have a fairly quiet gym for their 40 minutes of court time.

Wright State posed for a team photo at midcourt just before starting to shoot around and several of the players had shiny new Nikes on (the sneaker companies usually provide fresh new gear for their tournament teams to ensure maximum exposure).

. . . So, of course, we had to ask why Wright State is known as the Raiders but has a wolf as a mascot. The school's helpful sports information director, Robert Noss, explained that the wolf is the "Raider of the Animal Kingdom" and said that about a dozen years ago the school sought the help of New York-based SME Branding to help deisgn a more marketing-friendly logo. The result was the Wolf, beacuse after all, who doesn't love a wolf?

Noss said the school has had other mascots in the past, including a Viking.

. . . The US Basketball Writers Association has announced its all-America team for 2006-07 and here are the first and second teams. Kevin Durant of Texas was named the National Freshman of the Year. Durant is also the first freshman to make the USBWA all-America first team since LSU's Chris Jackson in 1989.

First Team:
Durant, Texas
Nick Fazekas, Nevada
Tyler Hansbrough, UNC
Acie Law, Texas A&M
Alando Tucker, Wisconsin

Second Team:
Arron Afflalo, UCLA
Jared Dudley, Boston College
Jeff Green, Georgetown
Joakim Noah, Florida
Greg Oden, Ohio State

Continue reading "Buffalo: Talking's Done, Let's Play Four" »

Buffalo: How I Met Your Bracket

In the interest of corporate synergy - and Hang Time is ALL about such synergy - you should check out the CBS celebrity brackets and pay close attention to those of Alyson and Cobie. Why? Because we like Alyson and Cobie.

. . . Yes, it's getting to that time of day when we start ogling TV actresses and completely ignoring the fact that tomorrow at about this same time we will be halfway through the opening round at this site. It's called attention deficit blogging (ADB) and you might as well get used to it. Last week, from Atlanta, we dedicated no fewer than half a dozen entries to snack food. It's all part of the live-blogging magic we provide to you, free of charge.

Please, please, please tell me no one at CSTV corporate headquarters knows how to get on the Internet. I'll be shipped back to Boston in a bucket of wings on the next JetBlue flight out of Buffalo Int'l Airport.

Continue reading "Buffalo: How I Met Your Bracket" »

Buffalo: Duke on Display

The Duke Blue Devils have taken the floor at the HSBC and Coach Mike Krzyzewski explained in his presser that the team has already had a full practice at the nearby Nichols School where Christian Laettner went to high school.

Coach K said the Blue Devils would just be shooting during their 40 minutes of court time (after having stretched and jumped rope). So far the Duke players have put on a dunking display in their lay-up lines, causing many in attendance to ooh and ahh. The largest crowd of the day, by far, is in attendance to wacth the Blue Devils, including a lot of school children, who are now out of school (the early practices came during school hours for most).

There are several hundred people in the stands on both sides of the court and a big throng waiting at the tunnel entrance. Several of the fans are taking pictures and many are hoping for autogrpahs.

The Duke media conference was also the most attended of the day, by far.

. . . The Pittsburgh pressers are now underway, so we'll scoot back to listen in on Jamie Dixon and a few of his players, but we'll get back with you and share some of Coach K's thoughts from his media session, where he repeatedly mentioned the youth and inexperience of his team (just one senior, a reserve).

Buffalo: Waiting For the Blue Devils

We managed to wolf down a little of the Media Hospitality food, inlcuding a delicious oatmeal raisin cookie for dessert. We've switched over to water so that we don't consume all the Nestea in the arena before a game is even played.

The Duke pressers are about to start and the team will take the floor at 4:25. There are about 30 fans at the tunnel entrance waiting for the Blue Devils to take the floor, hoping to get autographs, even though the team won't be out for some 40 minutes.

Guess they are still Duke afterall.

. . . We neglected to identify the moderator at this site in an earlier post but have discovered it is Paul Vecchio, the Associate Athletics Director for Communications/Sports Administration at nearby University of Buffalo. Upon meeting Vecchio, we joked that at least he didn't have to deal with Bobby Knight, the Moderator Killer. Vecchio laughed and said, "I had him last time the Tournament was here and I escaped that unscathed."

Vecchio does nice work on the dais handling the inquisitors and the participants.

. . . Going to listen in on the Duke student-athletes (we're being brainwashed into using the term) and then we'll be back with you soon.

Buffalo: No Labels, Please

Butler returns to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003 and for its seventh time overall. They gained one of six mid-major at-large bids as they tied the school record for regular seaosn wins with 27.

That "mid-major" moniker is something that some schools embrace, some schools run from and still others take it for what it is (especially in the afterglow of George Mason's Final Four run). Bulldog head coach Todd Lickliter (a Butler grad, Class of 1979) doesn't seem to care one way or the other how is team is referred to.

"We don't speak to it a whole lot, but I don't think we shy away from who we are," said Lickliter, who is 129-60 in his sixth year athe Indianapolis school. "Teams out of our conference have represented the league well in recent years. We don't concern ourselves with labels, we can't concern ourselves with what people think."

But Lickliter does harken back to what George Mason was able to accomplish.

"I don't think it was a bad thing," said the dry and witty Lickliter. "It was good for the whole basketball world. What would be fun is for one of us to do it again."

With the use of "us," we guess Lickliter does take to some degree of labelling.

Continue reading "Buffalo: No Labels, Please" »

Buffalo: The Straw that Stirs the Terps

The Maryland media availability has ended and the subject of DJ Strawberry's famous father, Darryl, was one of the more discussed angles during the 15 minutes of access to James Gist, Mike Jones and Strawberry.

(Strawberry, along with Duke's Gerald Henderson and Davidson's Stephen Curry, are three of this site's players with ex-pro athletes as their dads.)

"My dad won't be able to make it here, to Buffalo," said DJ, who was named to the All-ACC defensive team and averaged a team-best 15.2 points and 4.3 rebounds. "But hopefully we can make it to St. Louis (the site of the Terps' regional) so he can see me."

Continue reading "Buffalo: The Straw that Stirs the Terps" »

Buffalo: Just Call Him Vee

Bit of a comical scene from the ODU student-athletes' press conference when a reporter asked the Monarch's senior Lithuianian forward, Valdas Vasylius how to pronounce his name.

After saying it once - "Val-das Vah-sillly-us," the reporter asked him, "One more time?" The big man complied and gave the same pronunciation. But the reporter (an electronic type) still wasn't getting it.

We're guessing he goes with "Vee," the way the Monrachs do.

. . .Davidson is in the final minutes of its open practice and the Wildcata are certainly getting after it. Dell Curry's son, Stephen, the SoCon Freshman of the Year can really stroke it. Curry, who is smallish at 6-1, 180, ranked second nationally among freshman scoring leaders (21.2 ppg) behind only Texas's Kevin Durant. he hit 41 percent of his 3-pointers on the year (117 of 138).

. . . The press conferences are getting considerably more crowded as the day wears on and we're about to head back for the Maryland media availability.

. . . Former coach, Bill Foster, working the games for CBS radio headed back into the bowels to conduct some interview.

. . . Fans are trickling in and probably approaching the 100 area as Old Dominion prepares for its 12:45 court time.

Buffalo: Welcome to Interview/Open Practice Day

BUFFALO - For those of you didn't realize it, today is (no joke), International Ask A Question Day, celebrated annually on the day of Albert Einstein (and my oldest sister Karen's) birth.

It's quite serendipitous of course, because over the course of the next two days, some 64 teams-full of student athletes and their coaches will be asked all sorts of questions from the mundane to the philosophical; from the benign to the poignant; and everything in between. It's like Super Bowl Media day times a thousand, but in eight different locations scattered from here to Winston-Salem, over to Chicago and out to Spokane.

. . . So far, we can count the fans in the HSBC (a bank, if you're wondering) and they number about 20.

. . . Bob Wenzel, the former Rutgers coach, who is doing color for the the games from this site with play-by-plauy man, Kevin Harlan, just entered the arena and had a brief chat with Davidson coach, Bob McKillop.

. . . CAA deputy commissioner of basketball Ron Bertovich, the former A-10 commissioner, is also courtside as Davidson begins shooting around. His league, of course, has two teams at this site in ODU and VCU.

In addition to the interviews (which began here with Davidson student-athletes and coach McKillop) the teams also hold open practices. Here, before we go roam the bowels of the HSBC Arena, is the line-up. Our plan is to stay courtside all afternoon, work the interview rooms and one-on-one and also try and give you a feel for how the teams are practicing and what is going on in the arena.

Since many of the interviews will be shown on various TV outlets, we won't hammer you with quotes and such - but we will offer highlights, anecdotes and insight (to the best of our ability). We'll be checking in periodically throughout the day, so be sure to tell your friends and co-workers that we're here, and if there are questions you have, throw them in the comments section and we'll do our best to either find or create the answers.

It's Tourney Time, folks, let's have some fun.

The teams' full schedule for today, after the jump. . .

Continue reading "Buffalo: Welcome to Interview/Open Practice Day" »

Buffalo: Of Wings and Things

The annual rite of this Tournament - the press conferences - begin Wednesday afternoon and then, 24 hours laters the ball is tipped and CBS and CSTV become the only two channels you need from now until, oh about, April 3. (Your only website of necessity is CSTV.com, but you knew that already.)

At each of the eight sites over the next four days there will be one-liners, compelling story lines, lines for concession stands, lines for souvenirs and lines to get in and out of some of the most amped up arenas in all the land.

For thsi particular live-blogger, it will be the HSBC Arena in Buffalo, hard by the Canadian border and mere steps away from a bevy of Buffalo Wing eating options. How can that be bad and how can be it excellent? Let's count the ways. . .

Continue reading "Buffalo: Of Wings and Things" »

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