March 25, 2007

Meadowlands: We Are. . . Georgetown

The 19,557 spoiled fans who filled the Continental Airlines Arena on this final Sunday of March, 2007, already knew who they were. So did any number of the millions who watched the game in its entirety or tuned in around the time the "60 Minutes" stopwatch was supposed to be ticking.

Instead of the John Edwards interview with Katie Couric, the clock was ticking on the Georgetown Hoyas' season as they trailed by 10 points to the fast and furious North Carolina Tarheels, with a little more than seven minutes left in the East Regional Final.

But in those final seven minutes and nineteen seconds of regulation and surely in the final five minutes of the extra period, John Thompson III's basketball club let America know exactly what he would later scream from atop the stage at midcourt:

"WE ARE," bellowed the son of the program's most famous coach.

And his legions of supporters bellowed in return: "GEORGETOWN."

He did it twice more on the stage and three times on the ladder after he snipped the last strand of net - just as he had done a few weeks ago up the road at Madison Square Garden when his Hoyas took the Big East tournament title.

"WE ARE. . . "

"GEORGETOWN."

Indeed they are. After this 96-84 comeback win over the No. 1 seed in the East region, these Hoyas are every bit as much a part of the program's storied past as the Ewing teams, JT III's dad Big John and all those wonderful Hoya squads of the 80s that helped build the Big East into the power it has become.

"That's my favorite cheer. There's no other way to put it," explained Little John. "It's growing up, you know, coming to the games growing up with the program. That's something that is special to me."

Continue reading "Meadowlands: We Are. . . Georgetown" »

Meadowlands: It's Been Such a Long Time

For the first time since the 1984-85 season (when they lost 66-64 to Villanova in the title game) Georgetown is back in the Final Four. That season was part of back-to-back Final Four trips for the Hoyas, who had defeated Houston the prior year in Seattle.

. . . Craig Littlepage from the University of Virginia and a member of the NCAA Selection Committee presented the Hoyas with their East Regional championship trophy.

. . . John Thompson III took the trophy and led the crowd in a chorus of "WE ARE. . ." to which the crowd responded. . . "GEOGRETOWN." Nice touch.

. . . Ohio State and Georgetown will meet in the first semifinal next Saturday, followed by the Florida-UCLA game, it was announced .

. . . The PA Announcer thanked the four teams that particpated here in Jersey, but instead of saying Vanderbilt, he thanked Davidson. D'oh!

. . . The Hoyas are clipping the nets right now. Not sure why Roy Hibbert would need a ladder, but he'll use it anyway.

JTIII got the biggest ovation on the last snip and then repeated his We Are. . . chant from atop the ladder.

. . . Hibbert finished with 13 points, 11 rebouinds and six blocks. Jeff Green had 22 to lead the Hoyas (and nine rebounds, three assists and two steals).

For UNC, Hansbrough had 26 points and 11 rebounds.

. . . Final free throws were: 12 of 18 for GTown and 29 of 34 for UNC.

. . . The Heels were 1 of 8 from 3-point land int he second half and 1 of 8 in the OT. For the game they were 5 of 20.
The Hoyas were 8 of 14 from 3-point land with Jonathan Wallace hitting 3 of 4, including the bniggest of the day that effectively sent the game to OT.

. . . Georgetown wound up winning the points int he paint battle 56-32, meaning they dominated 28-12 in the second half.

. . . Patrick Ewing is on the floor with the Hoyas enjoying the moment. He is now being surrounded by about a dozen reporters.

. . . No word yet on the All-East Region team is Jeff Green (also the MOP), Roy HIbbert, DaJuan Summers, Tyler Hansbrough and Brandan Wright.

Summers had 20 points today and six rebounds.

Meadowlands: Hoyas Surge Ahead

Georgetown is amped up, has the building behyind them and is out to an 87-81 lead with 1:38 left.

The Hoyas, who went to a two-three zone int he seocnd half, have just been tremendous down the stretch and the Heels ahve been abysmal from the field, especially beyond the arc.

Get ready for Hibbert-Oden.

Meadowlands: OT Reset

This is just how it should be with a Final Four bid on the line. "60 Minutes" can wait another 20 minutes or so.

Hibbert and Ewing have four fouls for the Hoyas and Wright has four for UNC.

Team fouls are seven for GTown and six for UNC and each team gets one timeout.

Meadowlands: Hand it to Hansbrough

Fasten your seatbelts folks. We're tied 81-81 with 24.4 seconds left after a deep 3-pointer by Jonathan Wallace with 32 seconds left.

. . . Look for Barndan Wright to get the ball.

. . . A ferocious Tyler Hansbrough up and under move as he was double-teamed with 1:40 left in the game gave the Heels an 81-78 lead. Hansbrough then grabbed a huge rebound on the Hoyas next possession, his sixth of the game.

. . . The Heels are 90 percent at the line, 29 of 32 . The Hoyas are at 55 percent, 5 of 9.

Meadowlands: Hoyas Clawing Toward Even

John Thompson II has been trying to go offense/defense with Roy Hibbert and is now re-inserting his big man with 2:21 left in the game and the ball. UNC leads 79-76.

Hansbrough has hit 14 of 14 from the line and has 24 points.

UNC has three timeouts left and GTown has one.

Meadowlands: Hoyas Make Charge

UNC has gone cold from the field allowing the Hoyas back into this one as Jeff Green has asserted himself on the offensive end with nine second half points (18 for the game). With 3:48 left in the game, the Heels lead 75-72 and Brandan Wright will be at the line to shoot two shots. He is 4 of 4 form the charity stripe thus far.

Coming out of a Roy Williams timeout, Brandan Wright drew Roy HIbbert's fourth foul of the game with a baseline duink attempt with 3:48 left in the game.

. . . The Heels are 1 of 6 from 3-point land in the second half and 8 of 23 overall from the field.

. . . The arena got as loud as it's been all day long as we went under four minutes and the underdog Hoyas have picked up some admirers for sure.

. . . A Hibbert spin and dunk with 4:20 left to cut it 75-72.

. . . Brandan Wright picked up his fourth personal foul of the game with 6:02 left in the game when he fouled jeff Green, who hit both his free throws.

Meadowlands: Hoyas Make Charge

UNC has gone cold from the field allowing the Hoyas back into this one as Jeff Green has asserted himself on the offensive end with nine second half points (18 for the game). With 3:48 left in the game, the Heels lead 75-72 and Brandan Wright will be at the line to shoot two shots. He is 4 of 4 form the charity stripe thus far.

Coming out of a Roy Williams timeout, Brandan Wright drew Roy HIbbert's fourth foul of the game with a baseline duink attempt with 3:48 left in the game.

. . . The Heels are 1 of 6 from 3-point land in the second half and 8 of 23 overall from the field.

. . . The arena got as loud as it's been all day long as we went under four minutes and the underdog Hoyas have picked up some admirers for sure.

. . . A Hibbert spin and dunk with 4:20 left to cut it 75-72.

. . . Brandan Wright picked up his fourth personal foul of the game with 6:02 left in the game when he fouled jeff Green, who hit both his free throws.

Meadowlands: Under-8:00 With an Eight Point Lead

UNC leads 73-65 with 7:51 left in the game and it's getting near crunch time if Georgetown is going to make a run in this one. The Hoyas are still be limiting to one-and-dones on the offensive end as the rebounding edge for the Heels is at 31-17.

Hansbrough leads all scorers with 22 points and Jeff Green leads the Hoyas with 15.

. . . Coach John Thompson III has been stealing minutes on the bench for his big man, Roy HIbbert, who is playinjg with three fouls.

Deon Thompson matched his seasno and career best with a tip in to give the Heels the 73-65 lead and give him 14 points.

Meadowlands: Under-8:00 With an Eight Point Lead

UNC leads 73-65 with 7:51 left in the game and it's getting near crunch time if Georgetown is going to make a run in this one. The Hoyas are still be limiting to one-and-dones on the offensive end as the rebounding edge for the Heels is at 31-17.

Hansbrough leads all scorers with 22 points and Jeff Green leads the Hoyas with 15.

. . . Coach John Thompson III has been stealing minutes on the bench for his big man, Roy HIbbert, who is playinjg with three fouls.

Deon Thompson matched his seasno and career best with a tip in to give the Heels the 73-65 lead and give him 14 points.

Meadowlands: Hoyas Linger

UNC continues to pull ahead and Georgetown continues to creep back as the Heels lead which had grown to 11 (69-58, largest of the game) is now back to six, 69-63 with 11:23 LEFT.

The Heels had gone ahead 65-56 with 13:32 left on a Deon Thompson put back, leading to a Hoya timeout with 13:22 left in the game. Roy Hibbert was re-inserted after that timeout.

. . . Hansbrough had six of the Heels' first 11 points fo the second half.

. . . UNC Freshman Deon Thompson is two points from matching his season high of 14 points.

. . . The first half saw seven ties and three lead changes. GTown's biggest lead was seven, the Heels biggest was 10. The Hoyas last lead of the game was at 12:34 before the Thompson technical.

Meadowlands: Heels Keep It At Six

We're 15:37 from having our fourth participant of the 2007 Final Four and UNC has the inside track as they have maintained a 59-53 lead

. . . Tyler Hansbrough has had another strong start to a half as he scored UNC's first six points of the second stanza, including two free throws after he drew Roy Hibbert into his third foul of the game within the first minute of the half. Hansbrough has a game-high 18 points.

Hibbert was replaced immediately by Vernon Macklin again. He'll likely return afte rthe next media timeout.

Meadowlands: Halftime Stats and Observations

While the foul shooting discrepancy was getting much of the attention in the backroom of the arena, the real story of the first half is the rebounding edge that the Heels are enjoying, 22-11, including a 10-4 edge on the offensive boards.

Lightly-used frehsman Alex Stephenson has come of the Heel bench to grab six rebounds (3 on both ends) in eight minutes of play. His season-high is eight boards. In fact, the UNC bench has been tremendous all around with 24 points from the reserves to just five bench points from GTown . The Hoya bench has just two rebounds, while the Tar Heel reserves have stepped up with 10.

Georgetown has eight blocks on the game (four form Hibbert) and the Hoyas also have 14 assists on their 19 field goals. The Hoyas have outscored the Heels 28-20 in the paint and the Heels have turned four Hoya tirnovers into ten points (UNC has four turns as well that have been turne dinto four points).

. . . Obviously Georgetown needs to get to the line more in the second half and we're guessing that will happen and the free throw edge will even out a bit. But realistically, with Hibbert playing just 14 minutes and after getting doub led up on the boards, the Hoyas should be happy to just down six at the break.

Meadowlands: Halftime Stats and Observations

While the foul shooting discrepancy was getting much of the attention in the backroom of the arena, the real story of the first half is the rebounding edge that the Heels are enjoying, 22-11, including a 10-4 edge on the offensive boards.

Lightly-used frehsman Alex Stephenson has come of the Heel bench to grab six rebounds (3 on both ends) in eight minutes of play. His season-high is eight boards. In fact, the UNC bench has been tremendous all around with 24 points from the reserves to just five bench points from GTown . The Hoya bench has just two rebounds, while the Tar Heel reserves have stepped up with 10.

Georgetown has eight blocks on the game (four form Hibbert) and the Hoyas also have 14 assists on their 19 field goals. The Hoyas have outscored the Heels 28-20 in the paint and the Heels have turned four Hoya tirnovers into ten points (UNC has four turns as well that have been turne dinto four points).

. . . Obviously Georgetown needs to get to the line more in the second half and we're guessing that will happen and the free throw edge will even out a bit. But realistically, with Hibbert playing just 14 minutes and after getting doub led up on the boards, the Hoyas should be happy to just down six at the break.

Meadowlands: Hoyas Hang Tough

Despite a huge discrepancy in free throw shooting, the Hoyas managed to hang within six points at the half and trail 50-44.

. . . Hoya fans have been none too pleased with the officiating (especially with Curtis Shaw) as their men in navy blue had been whistled for 9 fouls to just five for UNC at the under-4:00 media timeout (at half it's 10-8 for the Hoyas). Every pro-Hoya call has been getting sarcastic cheers from the GTown faithful. The Hoyas shot five free throws (hitting three) in the half and UNC shot 20 (making 17). Patrick Ewing, Jr. was whistled for his thrid foul of the game with .8 seconds remaining in the half, giving rise to even more boos from the Hoya loyals.

Ewing and Sapp have three each for Georgetown.

. . . Hansbrough and Wright have 12 points apiece for UNC and Georgetown is being led by Roy Hibbert's 11 (5 of 6 from the field).

. . . I've been trying to count the number of surefire career NBA players who are in this game and so far I'm at six. Wright, Lawson and Terry for UNC; Green, Hibbert and Ewing for GTown. But I'm open to additions or subtractions from that preliminary list.

. . . Back in a few with halftime stats and observations.

Meadowlands: Hoyas Struggle to Get Close

UNC continues to run all over the Hoyas and maintains a 44-35 lead with 3:52 left in the half. Jessie Sapp just picked up his third foul of the game as he was whistled for contact on Brandan Wright in the paint.

After a slow start, Wright has stepped things up a bit and now has 12 points on 4 of 4 from the field and is all over the offensive glass for the Heels. The kid is simply special. WOW!

. . . Tyler Hansbrough picked up his second foul of the game (on a shove of Hibbert) with 6:04 left but remained in the game. he is now on the bench for the remainder of the half, we'll guess.

Meadowlands: Heels Build Lead

UNC is once again getting contributions from all of its players as eight Heels have now scored at least a point and Roy's Boys are leading 35-26 with 7:16 left in the game. The Hoyas too are getting well-rounded scoring with seven players having at least two points.

. . . Reyshawn Terry hit his first field goal of the game, a three pointer with about 9:30 left in the half, on the next Heel possession he nailed another one of a curl and feed from Hansbrough. It gave UNC a 33-26 lead.

. . . The absence of Hibbert greatly affects the game as UNC is much more free to go inside and outside without the fear of being met by the 7-2 man-child. The Hoyas re-inserted Hibbert after the under-8:00 timeout, a calculated risk by John Thompson III.

Meadowlands: Heels Build Lead

UNC is once again getting contributions from all of its players as eight Heels have now scored at least a point and Roy's Boys are leading 35-26 with 7:16 left in the game. The Hoyas too are getting well-rounded scoring with seven players having at least two points.

. . . Reyshawn Terry hit his first field goal of the game, a three pointer with about 9:30 left in the half, on the next Heel possession he nailed another one of a curl and feed from Hansbrough. It gave UNC a 33-26 lead.

. . . The absence of Hibbert greatly affects the game as UNC is much more free to go inside and outside without the fear of being met by the 7-2 man-child. The Hoyas re-inserted Hibbert after the under-8:00 timeout, a calculated risk by John Thompson III.

Meadowlands: Hibbert to the Bench

Georgetown big man, Roy Hibbert was whistled for his second personal foul of the half with 9:58 left and is being replaced in the game by freshman Vernon Macklin. Hibbert will likely be on the bench the remainder of the half, meaning the Heels are going to need to go inside often. Hibbert has nine points.

Meadowlands: Heels Come Back in a Flash

In less than three minutes, UNC erased a 7 point deficit by going on an 11-0 run in one of the Heels' patented spurts and now lead 26-22 with 10:30 left in the half.

Deon Thompson has been very active for the Heels and has six points (the freshman's season high is 14 against Arizona, his only double figure scoring game of the season).

. . . John Thompson III was hit with a technical foul at the 12:34 mark and Danny Green's two free throws tied the game at 22-22.

. . . Hansbrough had 10 of the Heels' first 15 and is the game's leading scorer with those 10 points.

. . . The Hoyas are 3 of 4 from 3-point land.

Meadowlands: Up and Down We Go

A quick start to this one with boith clubs comfortable going up and down. UNC leads 13-11 with 15:29 left in the half. The Hoyas are shooting 80 percent to this point (5 of 7) and the Heels are at 57 percent (4 of 7).

Jessie Sapp has two early fouls for Georgetown as the Hoyas have committed four fouls to just one for the Heels.

. . . As expected Reyshawn Terry did not start for the Heels. he came off the bench third for the Heels with 16:17 left in the half.

. . . Roy Hibbert was whistled for his first foul on UNC's firstpossession (against Tyler Hansbrough).

. . . UNC opens in a man-to-man defense as does Georgetown.

. . . Hansbrough scored six of the Heels' first eight points and eight of UNC's first 13.

. . . First two Heels off the bench were Deon Thompson and Alex Stephenson. Patrick Ewing, Jr. was the first off the Hoya bench.

Meadowlands: The Final of the Four To Be Determined

With one national semi-final match-up now settled - UCLA gets a re-match from last year's title game loss in a date with Florida, which just defeated feisty Orgeon - we're just about set to determine the who will face Ohio State in the other semi next Saturday in Atlanta.

. . . We spotted Patrick Ewing Sr. in the concourse about ten minutes before tup, heading to his seat in section 107 of the Continental Airlines Arena. All eyes were fixated on the big man to the point where traffic stopped in his general vicinity. Makes it hard to get to the men's room when that happens, but it was a neat scene nontheless.

. . . Our sneaker battle is between two Nike schools, although technically they might both be Jordan Brand institutions. You get the point.

Meadowlands: The Final of the Four To Be Determined

With one national semi-final match-up now settled - UCLA gets a re-match from last year's title game loss in a date with Florida, which just defeated feisty Orgeon - we're just about set to determine the who will face Ohio State in the other semi next Saturday in Atlanta.

. . . We spotted Patrick Ewing Sr. in the concourse about ten minutes before tup, heading to his seat in section 107 of the Continental Airlines Arena. All eyes were fixated on the big man to the point where traffic stopped in his general vicinity. Makes it hard to get to the men's room when that happens, but it was a neat scene nontheless.

. . . Our sneaker battle is between two Nike schools, although technically they might both be Jordan Brand institutions. You get the point.

Meadowlands: Tip in 15

Both teams are on the floor going through final stretching and shooting drills. Carolina is in home whites with sky blue shooting jerseys and Georgetown is in road grays with navy blue warm-ups.

Some of the more interesting notes we culled from both teams game notes:

. . . UNC has won 13 consecutive NCAA regional games and seven straight regional finals.

. . . Roy Williams has never faced Georgetown as a head coach.

. . . The is will be the Tar Heels 38th game of the year, tying a school record (1992-93 and the Final Four year of 1997-98).

. . . The Heels are 6-1 in four NCAA Tournament appearances in East Rutherford, with their only loss in the Meadowlands coming against Syracuse in 1987.

. . . Georgetown is in its eighth Elite Eight and its first since 1995-96.

. . . Roy Hibbert is averaging 13.0 ppg and 11.7 rpg in the three games of NCAA Tournament play; his season averages in both categories are 12.7 and 6.8.

. . . The Hoyas average 68.5 points per game and the Heels are scoring at an 85.8 ppg clip. Repsectively they hold teams to 57.0 and 67.9.

. . . Georgetown Athletic Director Bernard Muir was recently honored as one of Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal's "40 Under 40." Muir, 38, has been the Hoya AD since June of 2005.

Meadowlands: Still No Report on UNC Mascot

We asked UNC sports information director Steve Kirschner for an update on the critically injured Tar Heel mascot, Jason Ray, but he had no new information to report beyond that he believed Ray was still in critical condition at a nearby hospital. Adam Lucas has a wonderful tribute to Ray.

. . . Officials for today's game will be Curtis B. Shaw, Michael Scyphers, John M. Higgins and standby official Zelton D. Steed. The crew will have a big impact on the game tonight, as the Hoyas have a distinct size and bulk advantage on the front line and if they are allowed to be physical, it will be a boon to the Hoyas' hopes.

. . . Probable starting line-ups have been distributed and UNC's Reyshawn Terry is not in the Tar Heel list, again replaced by Marcus Ginyard, who would be getting his second straight start after not starting all season long.

The probables look like this:

For UNC, Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington, Ginyard, Brandan Wright and Tyler Hansbrough. That line-up goes 5-11, 6-4, 6-5, 6-9 and 6-9.

For Georgetown, Jonathan Wallace, Jessie Sapp, Roy HIbbert, DaJuan Summers and Jeff Green. That line-up goes 6-1, 6-3, 7-2, 6-8 and 6-9.

There's not a senior in the bunch as the Tar Heels have three frosh and two sophs; and the Hoyas have three juniors, a sophomore and a freshman.

. . . A chant of "Let's Go Hoyas" was started with 43:00 left on the pre-game clock by a rowdy group of Hoya faithful in the upper, 206/207 section of the arena. There is also one very loud young man who will very likely not have any voice left for the game. He's been hurling insults at any UNC player he can identify.

. . . John Thompson the elder is engaged in a courtside conversation with William Rhoden of the New York Times as Thompson readies to go on air for the radio boradcast with his partner Dave Sims.

. . . It's once again looking like a pro-Tar Heel crowd with lots of sky blue in the stands already.

Meadowlands: Welcome Back to 1982

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - We're back at the Continental Airlines Arena for the regional final between No. 1 seed North Carolina and No. 2 seed Goergetown which tips at 5:05. We've settled into the Hang Time perch a bit early so we can follow along with the Florida-Orgeon game on the monitors positioned to our far left and far right.

Fans are lined up outside at the gates and will be allowed in the building in about 15 minutes according to our friendly neighborhood usher, Jackie E. There was also some tailgating commencing when the media shuttle dropped us off.

. . . There's a scorer's table seat reserved for NCAA selection committee chairman Gary Walters, who will be in his fourth region in four days. Impressive travel schedule, that, as he worked his way eastward from San Jose on Thursday.

. . . We're also expecting John Thompson III's dad, John Thompson to be in the building, as he calls the gamne on thhe national radio feed. No word on whether Michael Jordan will be here. Jeremiah Rivers' dad, Doc - who was unable to attend the Friday night game because his Celtics were playing - is also expected to be in attendance.

. . . Georgetown game notes are here.

North Carolina game notes are here.

March 24, 2007

Meadowlands: The Wow of Wright

It is a question that Brandan Wright did not have to hesitate to answer. He knows the number as cold as he knows his own birthdate (10/5/87) and probably better than he knows his season averages (14.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and almost two blocks per game).

"It's 7-feet-5-inches," said the soft-spoken freshman from Nashville, Tennessee of his otherworldly wingspan. "I think at the Nike camp they really take pride in those numbers. That's the first time I started to look into it."

The rest of college basketball is starting to look into the Wright Wingspan and the Wright Way with more intensity as well, especially as he leads his Tar Heels into a date with Georgetown on Sunday in the Elite Eight. At 6-foot-9, 205 pounds, Wright possesses freakish speed, freakish jumping ability and the freakish wingspan that allows almost every ball to be within his reach. So much so that his teammates each have their own Wright "Wow Moments."

Continue reading "Meadowlands: The Wow of Wright" »

Meadowlands: No Word on Tar Heel Mascot, Jason Ray

Just wanted to give a non-update, update on the Tar Heel mascot, Jason Ray, who was critically injured in a pedestrian/vehicle accident on Friday afternoon outside his hotel in Fort Lee, NJ.

UNC sports information director Steve Kirschner said he was still awaiting word from Ray's family and/or the hospital (Hackensack Medical Center) where Ray was taken yesterday and listed in critical condition.

"We were told after the game that he was in really bad shape and that he had an accident," said UNC senior reserve Wes Miller. "I personally don't know him, but he is a Carolina student and we are just praying for him, hoping for the best. Hopefully his family knows that he is in our prayers right now."

"I found out after the game that he was hit by a car," said UNC sophomore Danny Green. "We are praying for him right now and hopefully everything will turn out all right. We have a lot of guys on the team, who are close friends with him. If we have time to visit him, we will go, but I am not sure we will be able to get over there or not."

Meadowlands: No Word on Tar Heel Mascot, Jason Ray

Just wanted to give a non-update, update on the Tar Heel mascot, Jason Ray, who was critically injured in a pedestrian/vehicle accident on Friday afternoon outside his hotel in Fort Lee, NJ.

UNC sports information director Steve Kirschner said he was still awaiting word from Ray's family and/or the hospital (Hackensack Medical Center) where Ray was taken yesterday and listed in critical condition.

"We were told after the game that he was in really bad shape and that he had an accident," said UNC senior reserve Wes Miller. "I personally don't know him, but he is a Carolina student and we are just praying for him, hoping for the best. Hopefully his family knows that he is in our prayers right now."

"I found out after the game that he was hit by a car," said UNC sophomore Danny Green. "We are praying for him right now and hopefully everything will turn out all right. We have a lot of guys on the team, who are close friends with him. If we have time to visit him, we will go, but I am not sure we will be able to get over there or not."

Meadowlands: Terry Update

UNC's lone senior of note, Reyshawn Terry, is still battling the effects of his bout with strep throat and coach Roy Williams is still not sure of what Terry's status will be for Sunday's game.

"I did hear him laugh this morning for the first time in seven days," said Williams. "But he had no gas in the tank left last night. His tank was out and I emptied it after he didn't get back on defense after missing a jumper in front of our bench (and arguing with an official)."

Terry missed his first start of the season and came off the bench to play in just five minutes (one in the second half), but still managed nine points and an assist. Sophomore Marcus Ginyard got the start in place of Terry, his first of the season, and filled in admirably with 10 points, nine rebounds and one turnover in 26 minutes.

. . . We're working on a Brandan Wright columnette for later in the day and will also get you some highlights from the Georgetown coach and player availibility sessions.

. . . As expected, the 1982 game is a big storyline and Williams seemed to get a bit weary of the line of questioning during his presser, but still offered some his memories and thoughts on that game, where he still had "black hair" and was an assistant under Dean Smith. The players - none of whom were born in 1982 - were also a bit perplexed by the '82 storyline, but did their best to answer the historical questions on the game. The clip of Jordan's shot is part of a pre-game video shown in the Dean Dome, according to the players.

Meadowlands: In-between Day Pressers

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Welcome back to the Continental Airlines Arena where the in-between day press conferences and player/coach availibility is scheduled to begin in about 15 minutes.

The match-up most folks were anticipating (and media members were begging for) has come to fruition as No. 1 seed North Carolina will face No. 2 seed Georgetown in what is being billed as the 25th Anniversary re-match of the 1982 NCAA Championship game played at the New Orleans Superdome on March 29, 1982.

UNC won that historic battle 63-62 on a 16-foot jumper with 15 seconds left by a precocious freshman named Michael Jordan. Georgetown's Fred Brown, on the ensuing possession, threw the ball away into the hands of James Worthy to clinch the first National Championship for Dean Smith and launch the Era of MJ.

"Jordan had his best game as a freshman in the final, but Worthy was the obvious MVP," said Dean Smith in the UNC media guide. "His play gets overshadowed because of Michael's shot. The play was No. 1 to post up Worthy, then have Perkins come in behind him. or you could go crosscourt to the wing for Michael and was wide open from 17-18 feet. It looked good, i was right in line with him. Then we put on our scramble defense. Worthy was out of position, but Jordan stopped the pass that made Fred Brown throw it away."

The teams have met four times since then, splitting those games (1989-90 and 2002-03 games went to Georgetown; and 1994-95 and 1999-00 to UNC). Overall, the series is even at 4-4. UNC is 2-0 in NCAA Tournament play against the Hoyas (the other win coming on March 23, 1995 in the Southeast Regional semifinals in Birmingham, Ala.).

While that storyline will be overplayed and overhyped in the next 27 hours (and throughout the CBS broadcast which tips at 5:05 EST on Sunday), the overall effect of that game on this Regional Final is negligible at best. Yes, there's a Ewing on the floor for Georgetwon tomorrow night as there was in '82 and yes, Roy Williams was an assistant coach on that Smith staff. But this is a completely different era of college basketball and the stakes are arguably higher (at least monetarily and in terms of exposure) in this game than they were in '82.

. . . The team's last met, oddly, in the NIT quarterfinals in Chapel Hill in 2003 in Matt Doherty's final game as Tar Heel head coach as the Hoyas won 79-74 in a down year for both teams. What a difference four years makes.

. . . Just got to meet CSTV's Brian Curtis who is working his rear off here in East Rutherford and is getting geared up for the Atlanta sojourn where the network has some major plans to bring wall-to-wall coverage. Curtis's producer and camera man have been working the phones all morning long as they set up some special features which you're going to need to tune into CSTV to watch.

. . . A little bit of buzz in the media room concerning the perception that Jeff Green may have travelled on his game-winning move and bank-shot. We've seen the replay several times and we're not buying the travel. He fumbled the ball, which he admitted and there's no way you can travel when you don;t have possession of the ball. Just something for the talk radio folks to burn the lines about. No referee has ever determined the outcome of a game by himself. Never.

That said, Taj Gibson's fourth and fifth fouls in the nightcap for USC were sketchy at best and Tim Floyd said as much (coyly) in the post-game.

. . . We're heading over to the pressers and we'll be back periodically, so stick with us you Hangers-on.

Meadowlands: Heels Win It

UNC advances with a 74-64 win as Brandan Wright finishes iwth a game-high 21 points and nine rebounds. Taj Gibson finished with 16 points and 12 rebouinds for 'SC.

. . . Sunday's game will be a 5:05 tip, meaning it is the second of the CBS doubleheader and we will add the fourth of the Final Four teams from this site (as expected with CBS's No. 1 team of Packer and Nantz at this venue).

. . .Tim Floyd was T'ed up with 48.5 seconds to go after contesting an offensive foul call on Taj Gibson. Floyd stepped onto the court and threw the two pieces of paper he had in his hand onto the court in the direction of the official.

Somewhere in El Paso, Floyd's mentor, Don Haskins, smiled at that one.

Replays indicated the call was a bit suspicious at best. It was Gibson's fifth foul of the game.

. . . We'll be back on Saturday with some coverage of the between-day press conference which begin at 1:30 p.m. EST.

Meadowlands: Heels Win It

UNC advances with a 74-64 win as Brandan Wright finishes iwth a game-high 21 points and nine rebounds. Taj Gibson finished with 16 points and 12 rebouinds for 'SC.

. . . Sunday's game will be a 5:05 tip, meaning it is the second of the CBS doubleheader and we will add the fourth of the Final Four teams from this site (as expected with CBS's No. 1 team of Packer and Nantz at this venue).

. . .Tim Floyd was T'ed up with 48.5 seconds to go after contesting an offensive foul call on Taj Gibson. Floyd stepped onto the court and threw the two pieces of paper he had in his hand onto the court in the direction of the official.

Somewhere in El Paso, Floyd's mentor, Don Haskins, smiled at that one.

Replays indicated the call was a bit suspicious at best. It was Gibson's fifth foul of the game.

. . . Some final numbers from this one: USC shot just 33 percent in the second half (22 points) while the Heels shot 41 percent in the second half (41 points). Carolina out-rebounded the Trojans 46-39 and USC had twice as many turnovers (18-9).

Danny Green had a solid game off the bench for UNC with eight points and eight rebounds in 18 minutes of play.

. . . We'll be back on Saturday with some coverage of the between-day press conferences which begin at 1:30 p.m. EST.

Meadowlands: Heels-Hoyas in the Offing

We're 1:16 from a Sunday battle between the No. 1 seed North Carolina Tar Heels and the No. 2 seed Georgetown Hoyas. UNC, after a spirited second half is up 70-64 with 1:16 left.

March 23, 2007

Meadowlands: Tar Heels Off and Running

It took a while but the Heels are off and running and now up 69-62. Most of the run has come without Tyler Hansbrough contributing in any way. Brandan Wright has 21 for the game (13 in the second half) and nine rebounds. Taj Gibson continsues to lead USC with 16 points and 11 rebounds.

. . . UNC is winning the second chance points battle 29-4 and the turnovers have absolutley killed USC, with 18 (10 in the second half). UNC has a 50-28 edge in paints scoring.

Meadowlands: Tar Heels Off and Running

It took a while but the Heels are off and running and now up 69-62. Most of the run has come without Tyler Hansbrough contributing in any way. Brandan Wright has 21 for the game (13 in the second half) and nine rebounds. Taj Gibson continsues to lead USC with 16 points and 11 rebounds.

. . . UNC is winning the second chance points battle 29-4 and the turnovers have absolutley killed USC, with 18 (10 in the second half). UNC has a 50-28 edge in paints scoring.

Meadowlands: Tar Heels Off and Running

It took a while but the Heels are off and running and now up 69-62. Most of the run has come without Tyler Hansbrough contributing in any way. Brandan Wright has 21 for the game (13 in the second half) and nine rebounds. Taj Gibson continsues to lead USC with 16 points and 11 rebounds.

. . . UNC is winning the second chance points battle 29-4 and the turnovers have absolutley killed USC, with 18 (10 in the second half). UNC has a 50-28 edge in paints scoring.

Meadowlands: UNC Winning Rebound Battle

UNC has a 15-9 rebounding edge in the half and that is largely why the Heels are now leading 62-59 with under-7:00 to go.

Meadowlands: Tar Heels Get Back Into It

With what seems like a home crowd behind them, the Tar Heels have made this a three point game with a 17-8 run. It's USC up 59-56 with 8:23 left in the game.

The tide has definitely shifted and the pro-Tar Heel supporters are being heard with every.

Brandan Wright now has 16 to lead the Tar Heels. Nick Young leads USC with 15.

. . . Our sneaker war is between to Nike schools, although technically UNC is in Jordan Brand shoes.

Meadowlands: Tar Heels Get Back Into It

With what seems like a home crowd behind them, the Tar Heels have made this a three point game with a 17-8 run. It's USC up 59-56 with 8:23 left in the game.

The tide has definitely shifted and the pro-Tar Heel supporters are being heard with every.

Brandan Wright now has 16 to lead the Tar Heels. Nick Young leads USC with 15.

. . . Our sneaker war is between to Nike schools, although technically UNC is in Jordan Brand shoes.

Meadowlands: Tar Heels Get Back Into It

With what seems like a home crowd behind them, the Tar Heels have made this a three point game with a 17-8 run. It's USC up 59-56 with 8:23 left in the game.

The tide has definitely shifted and the pro-Tar Heel supporters are being heard with every.

Brandan Wright now has 16 to lead the Tar Heels. Nick Young leads USC with 15.

. . . Our sneaker war is between to Nike schools, although technically UNC is in Jordan Brand shoes.

Meadowlands: Pruitt To It

With 11:16 left in the game, the Trojans lead 57-49.

. . . Gabe Pruitt is simply phenomenal for the Trojans, including his strip in the backcourt that led to a nasty dunk and gave USC a 51-39 lead. He has 11 points and six assists on 4 of 9 from the field.

Meadowlands: USC Extends

The Trojans have come out with a 7-2 run in the first 4:29 of the second half and now lead 49-35 with 15:31.

. . . Eli Manning of the New York Football Giants is in attendance tonight. He looks like he's about 15 years old and I swear I cuaght him eating cotton candy.

. . . Our update on the UNC mascot is as follows:

UNC student Jason Ray, a senior from Concord, NC was injured in a pedestrian/vehicle accident late this afternoon while walking outside a hotel in Fort Lee, NJ

Ray, a member of the cheerleading squad, has worn the mascot unifrom the past three years and was scheduled to have been at tonight's game.

Ray was taken to Hackensack Medical Center where he is in critical condition.

Meadowlands: Tar Heel Mascot Injured

Some sad news from the UNC sports info staff as news has circulated along press row that the UNC team mascot (more accurately the student wearing the mascot outfit) was injured earlier today. The mascot - we're not sure if it's a male or female - is in critical condition at a local hospital.

We're efforting more information but needless to say our thoughts go out to the mascot and the student's family.

Meadowlands: Halftime Stats and Observations

For the most part, USC simply outplayed and outshot the Tar Heels in the first half. USC was 17 of 34 from the field while the Heels shot just 15 of 40 and only 2 of 12 from 3-point land.

Nick Young had 11 first half points and Taj Gibson had 12 points to lead USC. Gibson also has a game-high nine rebounds. UNC was led by eight points and five rebounds from Brandan Wright and the strep throat of Reyshawn Terry has limited him to just seven points in four minutes.

. . . Postgame quotes from the Georgetown press conference are now posted at ASAPsports.com for your viewing pleasure.

Meadowlands: Trojans Up at the Break

In another mild surprise from the Swamps of Jersey, USC is up 42-33 at the half.

The Trojans have not been initimidated at all by the beefy front line of the Tar Heels and Gabe Pruitt (nine points) has had moments of absolute briliiance for USC including a fast break dunk and the foul with under a minute left that gave the Trojans a nine point lead.

UNC is 3-4 this season when it trails at the half.

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

Meadowlands: Tight One Again

The Continental Airlines Arena is providing the venue for even more close March Madness as the Trojans hold a slim 34-33 lead with 3:37 left in the half.

Nick Young and Taj Gibson have 21 of the Trojans' 34 points and the Tar Heels already have nine players who have scored in the game. UNC leads the board battle 18-14 and both teams are shooting the ball pretty well from the field (UNC at 44 percent and USC at 50 percent).

Meadowlands: USC Leading

With under 8:00 to go, the Trojans continue to lead 24-20.

. . . A very touching scene on press row as Vandy assistant King Rice, 37, a UNC alum and former player (1988-91), took a seat and got a consolation kiss from his son Alexander. This was Rice's first season as an assistant at Vandy.

Rice, a native of Binghamton, NY, has been mentioned for the open Binghamton job.

. . . The Vandy players came out of the locker room and received hugs and consolation from many of their fans seated behind press row, opposit ethe scorer's table.

Meadowlands: Trojans Up Early

USC has gotten out to a 10-5 lead and has already had four different players score.

Still no sign of Terry in the Tar Heel line-up, but he is on the bench and dressed to play.

. . . The USC Trojan mascot is downright frightening, but the cheerleaders more than make up for the scare factor of the Trojan Man.

Meadowlands: Underway in Game Two

We're just underway in the second game and Reyshawn Terry is not in the starting line-up, replaced by Marcus Ginyard.

. . . These HO Guys really make things happen. My man, Matt, also of Red Sox Nation, has somehow positioned us on the far baseline opposite the UNC bench and in front of the UNC cheerleaders. I specifically requested the USC cheerleaders, but anything is better than peering over the Photog Well up in the Overflow area.

Have we mentioned how much we like these Hoops Odyssey guys?

. . .We already have been booted from the Matt-side seat by one of the evil ESPN the Magazine bozos, who probably has nothing to write for the next two weeks or so. They have about eight people here and none of them are doing a damn thing. Amazing, really.

Meadowlands: Still Buzzing

The arena is still abuzz over the Hoyas last second win over Vandy and the pro-UNC crowd let out a big cheer as the Tar Heels took the court for pre-game warm-ups. The USC Trojans were received with mostly boos except from their one main section of fans opposite the home bench.

. . . Some final stats from the first game that really tell the story: The Hoyas out-rebounded the 'Dores 40-26 and shot 60 percent from 3-point land in the second half (8 of 19, 42 percent for the game). Vandy was 9 of 27 from 3-point land, but just 3 of 12 in the seocnd half (33 percent for the game).

Both Derrick Byars and Dan Cage had 17 points each for Vandy to lead all scorers, as the Hoyas got 15 each from DaJuan Summers and Jeff Green.

Shan Foster had 16 points for Vandy and Roy Hibbert finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds in 27 miunutes, after fouling out with just under five minutes left in the game.

. . . The UNC-USC game tips in 10 minutes and the officials for that one will be Tom Lopes, Mike Sanzere, Michael G. Roberts and standy official Zelton D. Steed.

. . . The Tar Heels' lone starting senior, Reyshawn Terry (strep throat) is expected to play.

. . . Vandy had just five turnovers for the game and 17 assists on their 21 field goals. The Hoyas had 11 turns , but just four in the second half.

Meadowlands: Green Mean in the Final Seconds

Georgetown's Jeff Green scored his 14th and 15th points of the game on a contested turn-around, bank shot on the low block with just over two seconds left to give the Hoyas a pulsating 66-65 win over Vanderbilt.

Green was double and triple-teamed and still managed to get off the shot that he kissed in off the glass to send the Hoyas to the Elite Eight for the first time since 1995-96 when they lost to UMass 86-82.

Meadowlands: Hoyas with the Ball and a One Point Deficit

Georgetown has taken its final timeout of the game with 14.4 seconds left and the 'Dores leading 65-64. Dan Cage (17 points) sank two free throws to give Vandy the lead.

The Hoyas' Jonathan Wallace had one point in the first half, but now has nine for the game, including a top of the key jumper that put GTown up 64-61 with just over a minute to go

Hold on tight, folks. . .

Meadowlands: OT Looming?

Back during conference tourney time, we were on quite a roll at predicting overtime games. We're tempted to pull out the Carnac prediction with this one as we're in a tight one with 1:36 left and the Hoyas leading 62-61.

Jeff Green (game-high 16 points) now has four fouls for Georgetown.

. . .Our pick for the national champion, Florida, got by Butler but the Bulldogs fought the Gators tough the whole way. You'd think Todd Lickliter would need to be in the discussion for some of these high-major jobs that are open.

Meadowlands: Hibbert Out, Foster Sweeoping In

Hoya big man Roy Hibbert picked up his fourth personal of the game with 5:43 left, sending him to the bench. Vandy immediately capitalized as Shan Foster hit a 3-pointer next time down and then swept into the lane the 'Dores' next possession to give VU a 58-54 lead, causing a GTown timeout. Hibbert was then re-inserted by Coach John Thompson III (seemingly too early).

On the next possession, Hibbert fouled out of the game with a silly foul on Byars as he was attempting a deep 3-pointer.

Vandy now leads 58-57 with 3:58 left in the game.

Without Hibbert in the game (he finished with 12 points on 5 of 7 from the field), Vandy is going to be able to work ths ball inside and then kick it back with greater ease. You can almost feel the tide turning for the 'Dores, and we are certainly a bit surprised by this turn of events.

Meadowlands: Hibbert Out, Foster Sweeoping In

Hoya big man Roy Hibbert picked up his fourth personal of the game with 5:43 left, sending him to the bench. Vandy immediately capitalized as Shan Foster hit a 3-pointer next time down and then swept into the lane the 'Dores' next possession to give VU a 58-54 lead, causing a GTown timeout. Hibbert was then re-inserted by Coach John Thompson III (seemingly too early).

On the next possession, Hibbert fouled out of the game with a silly foul on Byars as he was attempting a deep 3-pointer.

Vandy now leads 58-57 with 3:58 left in the game.

Without Hibbert in the game (he finished with 12 points on 5 of 7 from the field), Vandy is going to be able to work ths ball inside and then kick it back with greater ease. You can almost feel the tide turning for the 'Dores, and we are certainly a bit surprised by this turn of events.

Meadowlands: Seesaw Affair

We're going back and forth with a bit of anything-you-can-do-I-can-do-better action as the Hoyas now lead 51-49 with 8:42 left in the game.

Georgetown is 4 of 5 form 3-point land in the second half and Vandy is 2 of 8.

Meadowlands: Hoyas Take Lead

The Hoyas have taken the lead on the strength of a 19-10 post-break run and now lead 43-42 with 11:42 left in the game.

Hibbert now has 12 for Georgetown (nine in the second half) and DaJuan summers laso has 12 (six int he second half). For Vandy Dan Cage continues to lead all scorers with 15.

. . . Ted Skuchas picked up his fourth personal for Vandy with 14:20 left in the game and had to go to the bench. Jeff Green immediately took it to the rim for a lay-in that gave Georgetown the 39-38 lead. Green now has eight points in the game, twice his first half total.

Meadowlands: Hoyas Get Back to Even

Georgetown has tied the game at 36-36 on a 3-pointer from DaJaun Summers, who now leads all scorers with 12 points. The Hoyas are on a 12-4 run since the break and are definitely looking to get hIbbert involved more.

. . . Halftime afforded us the opportunity to catch up with one of our all-time favorites, Kelli Raftery, from CBS's entertainment division. She is the daughter of Bill Raftery and a former CBS Sports PR staffer. Kelli, like her dad, is one of the friendliest, most engaging folks around and it's always good to catch up with her

Meadowlands: Hoyas Get Back to Even

Georgetown has tied the game at 36-36 on a 3-pointer from DaJaun Summers, who now leads all scorers with 12 points. The Hoyas are on a 12-4 run since the break and are definitely looking to get hIbbert involved more.

. . . Halftime afforded us the opportunity to catch up with one of our all-time favorites, Kelli Raftery, from CBS's entertainment division. She is the daughter of Bill Raftery and a former CBS Sports PR staffer. Kelli, like her dad, is one of the friendliest, most engaging folks around and it's always good to catch up with her

Meadowlands: Hoyas Get Back to Even

Georgetown has tied the game at 36-36 on a 3-pointer from DaJaun Summers, who now leads all scorers with 12 points. The Hoyas are on a 12-4 run since the break and are definitely looking to get hIbbert involved more.

. . . Halftime afforded us the opportunity to catch up with one of our all-time favorites, Kelli Raftery, from CBS's entertainment division. She is the daughter of Bill Raftery and a former CBS Sports PR staffer. Kelli, like her dad, is one of the friendliest, most engaging folks around and it's always good to catch up with her.

Meadowlands: Halftime Stats and Observations

This one is a bit of a shocker at the half although the stats are trending to a second half comeback for the Hoyas, who trailed 30-26 at the half of their last game against BC before oustcoring the Eagles 36-25 in the second half. In that game, Hibbert scored 15 of his 17 in the second half. He has three at the break tonight.

. . . Vandy has an incredible 11 assists on its 12 field goals as bothe Derrick Byars and Dan Cage have four each.

. . . The Hoyas bench has kept them in the game with 10 total bench points to zero for the 'Dores with the Hoyas' leading scorer Ewing, Jr. (seven) and Tyler Crawford accounting (three) for the reserves scoring.

. . . Georgetown has been to the line ten times, hitting six and Vandy is 2 of 4 from the charity stripe. From the field, the Hoyas are 8 of 24 (33 percent) and 2 of 9 from 3-point land. Vandy is 12 of 26 and 6 of 15 from beyond the arc.

. . . The Hoyas have seven turnovers to only two for Vandy.

. . . Dan Cage of Vandy leads all scorers with 11 points and a team-high five rebounnds. He is 3 of 6 from 3-point land.

. . . The key for Georgetown in the second half will be getting Hibbert involved more and Vandy is going to need to continue to share the ball and hit its 3-pointers.

. . .We've now confirmed that all the courts for the Round of 16 are the same, a nice touch by the NCAA to give some uniformity to the Sweet 16 sites.

Meadowlands: Vandy Maintains Lead

The Hoyas cut the lead to three points before Vandy extended out again to a 32-24 lead at the half despite the fact that the Hoyas hold a 20-12 edge on the boards (Vandy has just two offensive rebound for the game).

. . . Eagle eye Jake of the HO crew spotted Patrick Ewing, Sr. after he was shown on the video scoreboard. he's now efforting a candid shot of the BIg Man.

Meadowlands: 'Dores Continue to Impress

The Hoyas are showing signs of life and are attempting to work the ball inside with more regularity, but Vandy still leads 27-19 with 3:59 left in the half.

. . . Vandy's Shan Foster has nine points to lead all scorers and is 4 of 6 from the field. DaJuan Summers leads the Hoyas with six points.

. . . Hibbert's first field goal came with 4:57 left in the half.

. . . Our HO guy, Jake, got a picture of the dude in the Scooby outfit. Hopefully he'll post it tomorrow with today's re-cap.

. . . We're giving the cheerleader edge to Vandy in this one.

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

Meadowlands: Hoyas Look Flat

Goergetown is making more of a concerted efoort to try and go inside, but Vandy continues to lead by a dozen, 25-13 with 7:38 left in the half.

Georgetown is shooting just 5 of 15 from the field and Roy Hibbert has yet to score. The game is somewhat similar to the Hoya's win over BC where they were trailing to the Eagles in the first half and didn't get in gear until late int he game when they began to find Hibbert in side.

. . . Vandy averages 9.3 made-3-point field goals per game and has hit five through the first 12 minutes of this one (5 of 9).

Meadowlands: Vandy Controlling Things Early

With 11:07 left in the half, Vandy remains up by five with am 18-13 lead. The 'Dores had led by 12 (18-6) with 12:57 left in the first stanza.

Vandy is 7 of 14 from the field and 4 of 8 from 3-point land with Dan Cage having hit 2 of 3 from beyond the arc for his game-high eight points. Vandy holds an 8-5 edge on the boards.

. . . We're mostly watching the game through the lens of our friendly photog in front of us. We will never know what the thinking is of putting stand-up photographers in front of sit-down writers. Seems a bit counter-intuitive to us.

Meadowlands: Vandy Up Early

After a slow start, Vandy has heated up and done so in a hurry as they hold a 12-5 edge at the first media timeout.

Dan Cage has five early points for the 'Dores, who are firing away from deep.

Meadowlands: For $30 a Day, You Too Can Have Internet Issues

We'll have to make our weekly blanket statement to cover for the fact that despite paying $30 per day to the NCAA for Internet access, we are experiencing a brutally slow connection from our "media overflow" seating spot. The useless telecommunications personnel have basically explained that we're S.O.L. Thanks for your help, folks.

Beyond that, we have also have still photographers inexplicably stationed IN FRONT of us, standing, and obscuring our view of the court. If you're sensing our frustration, you're probably onto something.

. . . A Hoya fan dressed in a Scooby-Doo outfit and a No. 33 Patrick Ewing shirt just ambled by our perch looking for Scooby snacks. We suggested he go bite the telecommunications haters.

Meadowlands: Stretching It Out

We're about an hour from tip and both the Hoyas and the Commodores are on the floor going through stretching and running drills and some light shooting.

The Hoyas are in blue shooting jerseys and sweat pants with their grey uniforms underneath. The 'Dores are in black shooting jerseys with white trim and black sweat pants with black uniforms underneath.

There are a few hundred early arrivers in the arena, including Matt Waxman, the second intrepid HO guy. Waxman has no Jake beard to speak of, but he does wear the look of a guy who has seen a full season of college hoops.

Now, at long last, the two Odyseers are on either side of me - I'm the buffer in between - and it's like sitting in between the Wright Brothers after their initial flight. These guys are pioneers and their aura reeks of having seen things. Things they can't speak of, but things that define what college hoops is all about.

Oh, and Waxman is a Red Sox fan, likie me, so we're already thicker than thieves. We even did the secret Red Sox nation handshake which probably scared Jake a bit.

. . . Tonight's officials are Richard E. Cartmell, Verne Harris, Randy McCall and standby Zelton D. Steed.

. . . The Georgetown band is tuning up while the Vandy band is already in fine fiddle and the Hoya cheer squad has just entered the arena.

Meadowlands: Stretching It Out

We're about an hour from tip and both the Hoyas and the Commodores are on the floor going through stretching and running drills and some light shooting.

The Hoyas are in blue shooting jerseys and sweat pants with their grey uniforms underneath. The 'Dores are in black shooting jerseys with white trim and black sweat pants with black uniforms underneath.

There are a few hundred early arrivers in the arena, including Matt Waxman, the second intrepid HO guy. Waxman has no Jake beard to speak of, but he does wear the look of a guy who has seen a full season of college hoops.

Now, at long last, the two Odyseers are on either side of me - I'm the buffer in between - and it's like sitting in between the Wright Brothers after their initial flight. These guys are pioneers and their aura reeks of having seen things. Things they can't speak of, but things that define what college hoops is all about.

Oh, and Waxman is a Red Sox fan, likie me, so we're already thicker than thieves. We even did the secret Red Sox nation handshake which probably scared Jake a bit.

. . . Tonight's officials are Richard E. Cartmell, Verne Harris, Randy McCall and standby Zelton D. Steed.

. . . The Georgetown band is tuning up while the Vandy band is already in fine fiddle and the Hoya cheer squad has just entered the arena.

Meadowlands: Two Hours Til Tip

We're about two hours from tip of Game 1 and the media types are starting to filter into the Continental Airlines Arena as the ushers are having a meeting under Section 219.

Our HO video man, Jake, has departed the "Hang Time" perch to venture out into the parking lot to find tailgaters and other degenerate basketball fans. We have great faith that the Meadowlands parking lot will provide him a steady stream of candidates to choose from. Can't wait for that video.

. . . Georgetown and Vanderbilt are meeting for the second time this season as the Hoyas won at Vandy on Nov.15, 86-70. Both teams have downplayed any significance of that game as it was early in the season and does not present nearly the same teams that were just being formed in that contest. Last season, Vandy beat Georgetown at the MCI Center (68-61). Still, the 16 point spread from this year is telling and is likely a big part of why the Hoyas are a substantial (in the 8 point area) favorite tonight. Georgetown leads the all-time series, 2-1 and is 17-14 all-time against SEC teams.

. . . Georgetown game notes are here.

Vanderbilt game notes are here

. . . USC game notes are here

UNC game notes are here

. . . Come to Xanadu with us, after the jump:

Continue reading "Meadowlands: Two Hours Til Tip" »

Meadowlands: Welcome to the Swamps of Jersey

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Welcome to the Continental Airlines Arena for tonight's doubleheader that tips off at 7:27 EST with No. 2 seed Georgetown and No. 6 seed Vanderbilt. The nightcap will see No. 1 seed North Carolina face No. 5 seed USC about 30 minutes after completion of the first game.

We're positioned, as legednary Boston radio voice Johnny Most used to say, "high above courtside" in the overflow media seating area at midcourt. Joining us for tonight's action is the "Hoops Odyssey" (HO) duo of Jacob Osterhout and Matt Waxman, or as they're better known Billy Packer's best buddies. So far, we've only met Jake and his beard is much fuller in person. We haven't been able to confirm whether the Odysseers are actually on speaking terms this far into their voyage, but it's pretty clear they are independent enough where they don't travel in tandem at ALL times. Matt is believed to be scoping out the Cheerleader Warm-up area (kidding, NCAA people who would frown on such things, kidding).

For those of you keeping score at home, this means that CSTV.com is TRIPLE-STAFFING these games this evening. I'm thinking we should divvy up the teams this way: Jake gets UNC and USC; Matt gets Vandy and GTown; I get the four cheear/dance squads.

Seems fair, right?

. . . We'll be back in a few with some actual game-related info - unless the HO men kidnap us and take us into their secret video-editing lair where the HO groupies feed them grapes and massage their aching feet - after carefully removing the duo's New Balance mudslingers.

March 22, 2007

Meadowlands: All's Quiet on the Continental Front

The Continental Airlines Arena has been cleared, all teams have gone through their press conferences and open practices and the lone folks on press row are some CBS technicians and a couple of lowly blogger-types.

This might be an indication that it's time to go back to the "Hang Time" Hotel and brush up on our post-season media guides for use in tomorrow night's live-blogging which will begin in the 5:30 p.m. EST-area.

. . . Some worthwhile quotes we can share with you:

Georgetown's Jeremiah Rivers on the legacy of his dad, Celtics coach Glenn "Doc" Rivers:

"He has been a great resource for me. I have talked to him all week and he keeps telling me that Vanderbilt is dangerous and they have great shooters. I need to watch out for them. He is giving me coach stuff. He won't be able to make this game [the Celtics host Dallas this Friday night] but if we win he will be able to make Sunday's game."

USC's Chris Penrose on the impact of the late Ryan Francis's memory on the team:

"I think about him 30 times a day. We have his number on our jerseys and his mom, Paulette, is on the trip with us. She'll be here tomorrow. I've made it so when we go out on the court, we say, '1-2-3 Franchise' [Ryan's nickname] in memory of him. Whenever I'm at school or practice and I'm feeling down, I think about him and how he's not there. If he was here, he would do everything 100 percent and you can't slack off. You have to do everything just like Ryan would."

Vanderbilt's Dan Cage on being the 'underdog':

"It's always more fun to be the underdog. Georgetown has all the pressure on them. If we beat Georgetown, we're the heroes. So we're going to gho out and play loose and have fun."

. . . We leave you with that and urge you to enjoy tonight's live-blogging of the Thursday night games and then join us tomorrow night for Georgetown/Vanderbilt, followed by UNC/USC.

Meadowlands: Tar Heels Draw Biggest Crowd of Day

The University of North Carolina Tar Heels took the court at 3:10 p.m. after several of the players and Coach Roy Williams signed autographs for a few minutes.

The largest crowd of the day is now present (with many young people who were likely hitting the books during the early sessions). Senior Reyshawn terry is sittiong on the first seat of the UNC bench and not participating in drills, most likely because he is suffering from strep throat. He is expected to play tomorrow night.

Tar Heel players are going through stretching in their sky blue shorts and white parctice jerseys. Williams is in a sky blue sweater vest with a white golf shirt underneath and navy blue UNC sweatpants.

There are about a dozen TV cameras shooting the practice as well, the high for the day.

. . . If you're interested in finding out what has been said in the formal press conferences today (and yesterday), we'd encourage you to check out ASAPsports.com, where transcripts are posted in a timely fashion.

Meadowlands: Hoyas Take the Floor

Georgetown is currently on the floor going through shooting drills as head coach John Thompson III stands at halfcourt supervising the proceedings.

As expected, there are more fans in the arena now with large crowds of young people congregating near the tunnel where players enter and exit from.

. . . We were able to catch all of Tim Floyd's presser and a portion of the time with players, Taj Gibson and Gabe Pruitt. Floyd took a good chunk of his time to sell his program, its new $147 million arena and what he hopes will be a Duke-UNC type rivalry between his school and UCLA. An emerging (or emerged) theme is that USC is a bit ahead of schedule with the arrival of mega-touted OJ Mayo coming next season.

. . . We were interested in what Floyd's advice this week has been from Hall of Fame coach, Don Haskins, whom Floyd served under at UTEP and who remains a close confidant of the coach.

"We talk about five times a week," said Floyd. "We haven't departed a whole lot from what his teams did at UTEP and he has some thoughts (on UNC) that we shared with our team."

Evidently, Floyd didn't give credit to the legendary Bear as neither Gibson nor Pruitt were aware of who Haskins was. We found that a bit sad, but we probably shouldn't be surprised. Did they at least see the recent movie based on Haskins' 1966 NCAA Title team, "Glory Road."

"I think we did see that movie," said Pruitt.

. . . Probably about time we comment on the firing of Jeff Ruland at Iona. As some of you may be aware we have a longtime friendship with "Rules" and although the firing is not exactly a shocker, it is another sign of how brutal the coaching business can be. The Gaels finished 2-28 this year after making the NCAA Tournament last season. Ruland, an alum and former player at the school, never stored up enough goodwill during the good times to be able to weather a storm like this in the bad times.

Ruland is on a cruise with his wife and was not available for comment. You can expect some prominent Big East assistants to be mentioned for the coveted MAAC job including Syracuse's Mike Hopkins and Providence's Steve DeMeo. There will also likely be some groundswell in New Rochelle for a "New York Guy" like CSTV's own Pete Gillen, although that's strictly conjecture at this point.

Meadowlands: Welcome to Open Practice

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Welcome to open practice for the Round of 16 at the Meadowlands Arena. Vanderbilt is currently on the court going through shooting drills. There's a smattering of fans in attendance, probably numbering a couple of hundred and both Jim Nantz and Billy Packer (who will call the game for mothership, CBS) are being de-briefed by the Vandy Sports Information Director.

With 17:00 left on the practice clock, players began taking free throws.

Our schedule of Pressers and practices follows after the jump.

. . . We'd expect the attendance to increase gradually over the course of teh afternoon, especially for the Hoya and Tar Heel practice sessions.

. . . It appears to be a brand new court that will be used for the three games that will be played here - the familiar faux parquet of the Nets is not down, instead there's a traditional hardwood floor with a black border, blue coloring filling the tops of each key and a blue NCAA logo at center court. There are also two red "Rs" representing Rutgers, the host institution for this site.

. . . We'll do our usual stop-ins for pressers and player interviews and check in with you regularly for what's going on both on-court and off.

Continue reading "Meadowlands: Welcome to Open Practice" »

The Sloggers... CSTV.com Links CSTV Basketball Blogs Posts By Site Archives...