April 08, 2008

Rocky Top Of The World

TAMPA, Fla. - God's favorite song is "Rocky Top" and He smiled on Pat Summitt and her Lady Vols one more time as they extended their strangle hold on women's basketball with an unprecedented eighth national title in back-to-back fashion.

For all the prognosticators who picked the trendy Cardinal, Tennessee made sure they knew just how wrong they were. The Lady Vols came out determined to show the country just how silly they were to ever doubt them. This one was over early as Tennessee cruised to a 64-48 victory.

Candace Parker was named the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player as she scored 17 points to lead all scorers and grab nine rebounds. But make no mistake, tonight's game belonged to Nicky "Sticky Fingers" Anosike.

Continue reading "Rocky Top Of The World" »

Nicky Ano-Sticky Fingers

TAMPA, Fla. - Well, if most of the country's prediction that Stanford wins the national title is to come true, it'll have to happen in come-from-behind fashion.

Jillian Harmon sank a jumper as time expired to close the gap, but Tennessee holds a 37-29 halftime advantage. And they're doing it without much help from Candace Parker.

Continue reading "Nicky Ano-Sticky Fingers" »

Why Do I Think Tennessee Will Win?

TAMPA, Fla. - I really don't understand how Tennessee does it.

Top-seeded and a top-ranked team all year, the owners of seven national titles somehow manage to find ways to fancy themselves underdogs every year.

Last year against Rutgers, the darlings of the postseason, the media tabbed the Scarlet Knights the juicy pick. And now, once again, Tennessee finds themselves up against a very chic Stanford team.

Well, the Lady Vols won last year, proving the truism that trends always fade, and this year, I think they are going to do the exact same thing.

Continue reading "Why Do I Think Tennessee Will Win?" »

April 07, 2008

This Goat Has Horns

TAMPA, Fla. - Alexis Hornbuckle played one of the worst games in her four year career yet nobody deserves more credit for sending the Lady Vols to Tuesday's national title game against Stanford.

With 7.1 seconds to play in the game the senior guard's stat line read 0-for-7 from the field, 0-for-2 from deep, 0-1 from the free throw line for zero points. Not only that, in the game's waning moments, with the score 45-44 in favor of Tennessee, Hornbuckle missed a shot that would have iced it and then fouled Erica White while she was driving down court. White promptly hit two free throws to give LSU the lead and what looked like the victory.

What happened next nobody could have expected, especially not Hornbuckle.

Continue reading "This Goat Has Horns" »

April 06, 2008

Slow First Half

TAMPA, Fla. - After the drama that unfolded in Sunday's first national semifinal game between Stanford and Connecticut, the first half of the LSU-Tennessee game was largely anti-climatic.

The score is 22-18 in favor of the Lady Vols, but outside of eight points and nine boards from Candace Parker and 12 points and eight boards from Sylvia Fowles, not much else happened.

Quianna Chaney had four points and freshman Allison Hightower added a deuce for LSU. For Tennessee, Alberta Auguste helped out the Vols cause by scoring six.

Continue reading "Slow First Half" »

Cardinal Dance On

TAMPA, Fla. - Candice Wiggins fell short of another 40-point performance.

Stanford didn't need it.

So much for that Tennessee-Connecticut national title game. The Cardinal crashed that party, 82-73, and was just too much for Connecticut to handle all night.

The Cardinal showed an incredible combination of size, strength and shooting ability as it didn't matter what UConn chose to defend. The Cardinal beat them in every way. And nobody, not Geno Auriemma, not Tara Vanderveer, not Candice Wiggins or the Stanford crowd really thought it was possible until it was over.

And as the clock ticked down to zero it was Wiggins with the ball in her hand ready for the celebration to begin.

Continue reading "Cardinal Dance On" »

UConn Can't See Over The Trees

TAMPA, Fla. - How many people out there thought Stanford would be up 40-33 at halftime? Come on, be honest.

Bottom line, Connecticut is having major trouble with Stanford's size. The front court duo of Kayla Pedersen - who has a game-high 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting - and Jayne Appel has been sensational in stopping Connecticut's power game.

The Huskies have been limited to jumpers and, frankly, aren't hitting them.

Continue reading "UConn Can't See Over The Trees" »

Four On The Floor

TAMPA, Fla. - The Final Four is set to get underway with the Huskies of Connecticut, the one seed in the Greensboro Regional, taking on two-seeded Stanford out of Spokane.

The national anthem has been played and the Cardinal are on the court warming up with some layup drills.

And here comes the Huskies, with their little corner of the arena - their designated cheering section - erupting as they form layup lines of their own.

Tonight's first matchup should prove a good one. Vegas thinks the Huskies should be about a nine-point favorite. What do I think?

Continue reading "Four On The Floor" »

Making Assumptions

The entire nation assumes Tuesday national championship game will pit UConn and Tennessee. It's going to be Pat vs. Geno. Maya Moore vs. Candace Parker.

Wait a second...don't they have the semifinals still to play?

As great as the Huskies and Lady Vols are, and as much as they do deserve to meet in the national title game, and as much as that would be the culmination of a great season of women's college basketball, the LSU Lady Tigers would like to think that they have fate and luck on their side.

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April 05, 2008

Smokey And Summitt's Bandit

Where was Smokey, the Tennessee mascot, when Pat Summitt needed him?

The Blue Tick Coonhound was nowhere to be found when coach Summitt dislocated her shoulder trying to chase one of the rascals off her porch.

The story is definitely worth telling, and nobody tells it better than Summitt herself.

Continue reading "Smokey And Summitt's Bandit" »

Much Ado About Losing

Greetings from Tampa, Fla., where the weather is a beautiful 85 degrees and clear.

At last year's Final Four in Cleveland, the media gift was a miniature guitar in tribute to Cleveland being the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This year's media gift...a big bag of oranges.

I kid. I kid.

It's practice Saturday at the St. Pete Times Forum and all four teams got a chance to take the court. All four teams got a chance to talk to the press, too. Here's a little sampling of what went down behind the scenes.

Continue reading "Much Ado About Losing" »

April 03, 2008

Bionic Lady Vol

Pat Summitt recently dislocated her shoulder while chasing a raccoon so she feels Candace Parker's pain.

Though it was suffered during Tennessee's Elite Eight game against Texas A&M and not chasing varmint off the porch, Parker's shoulder is the most important thing on the minds of Tennessee fans everywhere. And LSU would like to know if they have to prepare for the best women's player alive, too.

Well worry not. Her Airness says she's going to play. Of course she's going to play. She dislocated her shoulder twice against the Aggies and still came back to lead the Lady Vols. Didn't you realize? The Tigers aren't dealing with an average woman.

Continue reading "Bionic Lady Vol" »

April 02, 2008

Tampa Bound

I'm going to Tampa!

For the purposes of this blog, I guess I should mention so is LSU, Stanford, Tennessee and Connecticut.

Were the Lady Vols and Huskies so impressive in their regional final matchups? Not really, but that's what is so impressive about it.

It's like fate playing tricks on their opponents. Giving hope when there was none to give.

Everyone knows this is Connecticut and Tennessee's year to shine. The season where two teams who historically meet each year fail to find each other until the ultimate contest. But to say Texas A&M and Rutgers didn't make it interesting would be to disrespect God's design.

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April 01, 2008

Couldn't Be Denied

Candace Parker carried Tennessee on her shoulders all night - even after dislocating one.

Tennessee couldn't shake Texas A&M. More of a struggle than they could have hoped - Candace Parker dislocated her shoulder in the process - the Lady Vols couldn't be denied a return trip to the Final Four.

Playing in her last Elite Eight game Parker torched the Aggies for 26 points on 10-of-16 shooting, including one stretch in the first half where she scored 16 straight points for her team.

She injured her left shoulder with 18 points and proceeded to miss her first two shots following the injury, wincing each time. But like great champions do, she bottled up her pain and pushed on and will her team to Tampa.

Continue reading "Couldn't Be Denied" »

The Ones Strike Back

With Stanford and LSU doing damage and eliminating their region's top seeds to advance to the Final Four, you can only imagine the ideas running through Texas A&M and Rutgers' heads.

Not so fast, ladies. Maryland and North Carolina are no Tennessee and UConn.

This is the side of the bracket that everyone cares about. We all want to see the best two programs in the history of the sport meet for the national title on April 8.

Before that can happen, though, the other matchup everyone wants to see has to take place. And that matchup is coming tonight at 9 p.m. when two Big East rivals tangle for the third time on the season. Rutgers and UConn's season series is tied at one game apiece, and tonight we find out what kind of nerves they have.

Continue reading "The Ones Strike Back" »

March 31, 2008

Champagne For Ice

I'll never underestimate Kristi Toliver's fire and courage again. But with all due respect, tonight belongs to Candice Wiggins and Stanford.

Once again, for some reason, many doubted Stanford against the mighty Terrapins. Not I. How could you doubt Wiggins? Well, Wiggins made all her doubters eat crow tonight. Stanford's resolve was too much for the Terps. They played well.

Maryland shot over 60 percent in the first half and was still down 10 at halftime. Tonight was just Stanford's night.

Continue reading "Champagne For Ice" »

Expected Eight, Upsets Coming

On Sunday, as the Sweet 16 drew to a close, it became brutally obvious that if the little number indicated your seed was lower than your opponents, you were probably going to advance to the Elite Eight.

One seeds Connecticut and Tennessee cruised past 5-seeded Old Dominion and Notre Dame, respectively. Each team's star led the way. Freshman Maya Moore finished with 25 points and 11 rebounds and, not to be outdone, Candace Parker dropped 34 and 13 for the Lady Vols.

As for the two seeds, they both advanced with Texas A&M topping Duke handily, 77-63, and Rutgers holding off an upset bid from George Washington for an 11-point victory.

The Lady Vols, Huskies, Scarlet Knights and Aggies join two seeds LSU and Stanford and ones Maryland and North Carolina as the eight teams remaining in the Big Dance.

Yup, so much for parity. All eight top seeds remain.

Continue reading "Expected Eight, Upsets Coming" »

March 30, 2008

Maryland's New Long Range Weapon

Well, I said that Maryland needed a big game from Kristi Toliver to get out of their recent funk and advance to Monday's Elite Eight.

I was wrong. Maryland got just 8 points out of Toliver and the junior missed every three-pointer she took. She's now shooting 2-for-16 from long range. And the Terps still breezed into the round of eight.


Freshman Marah Strickland.

Continue reading "Maryland's New Long Range Weapon" »

March 29, 2008

Oklahoma State Gets The White Out

It was obvious watching Oklahoma State play LSU that the Tigers were simply physically superior.

Were it not for Andrea Riley over the first few minutes, LSU would have been shutting out the overmatched Cowgirls.

And to make things worse, the one thing LSU needed to become even more dangerous, the emergence of point guard Erica White's scoring talents, happened. White led the Tigers in scoring with 18 points and that total isn't as high as it should be. In the first half, White, usually the team's assist person, was looking for her shot. She would weave inside defenders and have open layups, but several rimmed out. In the second half, they started to drop.

Continue reading "Oklahoma State Gets The White Out" »

Advancing By A Foot

Told you Angel McCoughtry was going to need to score 40 points for Louisville to beat top-seeded North Carolina in Saturday afternoon's regional semifinal game from New Orleans.

McCoughtry, though, didn't heed my advice. She only managed to score 35. And guess what? The Cardinals lost by just four points. Had McCoughtry's total been 40, Louisville would still be dancing.

The Cardinals star was on fire in the first half and Louisville, who's men's team is also playing North Carolina in the Elite Eight later tonight, rushed out to an early 18-point lead over the Tar Heels.

But it wasn't to last.

Continue reading "Advancing By A Foot" »

Sweet Sunday

The Spokane and New Orleans Regionals are down to their final matchups and Sunday is Greensboro and Oklahoma City's turn to dance into the Elite Eight.

Four more games to whet your appetite await.

Sunday, however, won't have as many close matchups as Saturday. In my opinion, there could be three blood baths and one tight contest. Here's how they shake out:

Continue reading "Sweet Sunday" »

Let The Sweetness Begin

The first four of eight Sweet 16 games commences Saturday with the New Orleans and Spokane Regionals playing their semifinals.

In what can only be described as a weird and annoying schedule, North Carolina and Louisville and Louisiana State and Oklahoma State meet early with noon and 2 p.m. ET starts, respectively, while the Spokane games begin late at 9 and 11:30 p.m. ET.

That means that Pitt and Stanford won't declare a winner until the early morning hours on Sunday. But of course, She's On Fire will be here to let you know what happened.

Continue reading "Let The Sweetness Begin" »

March 28, 2008

The Head of the Snake

Raise your hand if you simply can not wait for the Tennessee-Connecticut national championship matchup.

Well, if Van Chancellor, Sylvia Fowles and LSU have anything to do about, those hand raisers will be waiting for something that never comes.

People seem to forget about the Tigers, who are the only remaining team playing their Sweet 16 and Elite Eight games in their home state. That's right, the Tigers have under a two-hour drive to get from their home in Baton Rouge to the New Orleans Arena where they will meet 3-seed Oklahoma State on Saturday.

Continue reading "The Head of the Snake" »

March 27, 2008

Good Enough Is Never Enough

Connecticut beat Texas by 34 points. Tennessee spanked Purdue by 26 on the Boilermakers own home court and trust me, it could have been worse.

The point I'm trying to make here is thus: It is unacceptable for Maryland, if they hope to win their second national championship in three years, to be beating Coppin State by 14 and Nebraska by 12.

I've never been much for style points or pouring it on but let's get one thing straight. There is a difference between coasting to victory and grinding out a win. Don't fool yourselves; the Terrapins were hanging on for dear life in that game against Nebraska. When Yvonne Turner converted on the four-point play to pull the score to 65-61 with the game clock winding down, I don't think Brenda Frese was feeling breezy about the situation.

Continue reading "Good Enough Is Never Enough" »

March 25, 2008

Meeting In Virginia

With about 20 seconds to play in the game and Virginia down by three. The Cavaliers had one last chance.

Playing on Old Dominion's home court, the Cavs missed once, twice, three times, four times, five times and finally...when they probably should have just taken a three-pointer with the clock rocketing towards zero...finally they hit a lay up. And the whistle indicated the foul. Aisha Mohammad hit the foul shot to send the game into overtime.

And in the extra period it was Virginia who took the early advantage. But at home, Old Dominion still had fight left in them.

Up one, they put the ball in Jazzmin Walters hands and she delivered with a long three to ice it for the Monarchs.

Old Dominion has now not lost in its last 26 games at home. They advance to the Sweet 16 where they will face top overall seed UConn.

Well, it was a good run.

Continue reading "Meeting In Virginia" »

Sweetness Engulfs NCAA Tournament

By the end of today there will only be 16 remaining teams in the NCAA Tournament. And boy will that be sweet.

Monday saw the 2-seeds and most of the 3-seeds in action. While the 2-seeds - Rutgers, Stanford, Texas A&M and LSU - had little trouble advancing, the 3-seeds weren't as fortunate.

Both Cal and Baylor dropped their matchups with George Washington and Pitt, respectively. And 11-seeded Florida State took Oklahoma State to overtime before losing by a single point to the 3-seeded Cowgirls.

There is only one more 3-seed left to play, and if Monday's games are any indication, it won't be an easy night for Duke.

Continue reading "Sweetness Engulfs NCAA Tournament" »

Maples On Ice

While the 3-seeds had a lot of trouble on the day with both Cal and Baylor losing their second round games, the 2-seeds had no such trouble.

Rutgers, LSU and Texas A&M all won easily and advanced to the Sweet 16 Monday. For them, it all went according to plan. For the other 2-seed, Stanford, it went according to plan, but with a special Palo Alto send off for Candice Wiggins.

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March 24, 2008

Cowgirl Heroes, Panther Prowess and Sarah Jo

Andrea Riley may be the resident superhero of Stillwater, Okla., but Maria Cordero deserves a heroes welcome whenever the Cowgirls' dance ends as well.

But thanks very much to both players, it didn't end Monday night against Florida State.

It started with Cordero. With just under two minutes remaining in the overtime, Cordero looked visibly tired as she stumbled back onto the court after a time out. But then, moments later, from the Oklahoma State offensive corner a three-pointer was launched by none other than the embattled senior and when it swished the Cowgirls had a 70-65 lead with 1:38 to play. She would finish with just nine points, but that might be the biggest 3-pointer in Cowgirls history.

They never looked back. Of course, it did get hairy thanks to Florida State's Mara Freshour.

Continue reading "Cowgirl Heroes, Panther Prowess and Sarah Jo" »

The Cinderellas Go Today...Both Of Them

Do you know how many upsets there were in the first round of this year's NCAA Tournament?

Three. Just three.

And 9th-seeded Purdue - the Big Ten Tournament champs - beating 8th-seeded Utah - a team that didn't win its smaller conference tournament - can hardly even be considered an upset.

No, in reality, there are only two teams remaining who even draw the slightest resemblance to anything considered a Cinderella remaining. OK three if you count 7th-seeded UTEP, but they were the higher seed in their first round game.

Continue reading "The Cinderellas Go Today...Both Of Them" »

Doing It With Defense

When Vanderbilt lost in the second round to Bowling Green in the NCAA Tournament last season, coach Melanie Balcomb probably thought her Commodores had missed out on a golden opportunity.

The Commodores were a senior-laden team who had just come off an impressive run to win the SEC Tournament. This was supposed to be their time. Instead, little Bowling Green ended their run prematurely.

With the season's end, so did the careers of Vandy stars like Carla Thomas, Caroline Williams and Dee Davis. The Commodores' two leading scorers and their best ball distributer gone, they weren't expected to compete at as high a level this season. How could they? Who would score the ball?

Well, as her 'Dores prepare for a second round matchup with the 5-seed West Virginia out of the Spokane regional, Balcomb and her team are back and looking for second-round redemption. And they're doing it with defense.

Continue reading "Doing It With Defense" »

March 23, 2008

Then There Was 32

The first round of the NCAA Tournament is written. One step closer are we on the road to crowning a new - or perhaps a familiar - champion.

Is there any question in anyone's mind which is the best conference in women's basketball this season? It's the Big 12 hands down, and they are proving it in a big way.

Eight NCAA Tournament teams, the most of any conference. Eight NCAA Tournament victories later, and the Big 12 makes up a quarter of the field.

And the eighth Big 12 victory was a microcosm of the difference between the two conferences of which the opponents belong.

Continue reading "Then There Was 32" »

Afternoon Of Few Surprises

Eight of Sunday's 16 opening round games are over and eight more teams are firmly implanted into the second round. And the resounding theme of the second day of NCAA Tournament action was double-digit wins.

Five of the eight games ended up with lopsided margins as only Nebraska and Xavier could play a close game until the buzzer sounded. The 8th-seeded Cornhuskers won that matchup, 61-58, as did all of the higher seeds in the morning and afternoon sessions.

There have been no surprises yet today.

Here's a look at some of the early actions top stories:

Continue reading "Afternoon Of Few Surprises" »

Sooners Advance...For Now

Illinois State gave a wonderful effort, but in the end, Oklahoma had too much firepower for the 13-seeded Redbirds to handle.

Point guard Kristi Cirone proved to be a stone-cold Goliath killer and showed the heart of a champion but it wasn't enough against the likes of Courtney Paris and the Big 12's Sooners. Oklahoma won 69-61 and advances to the second round.

But the underlying story in this game, to me, is Oklahoma's vulnerability. All season I've given them the benefit of the doubt. Surely, with a force like Paris, how could the Sooners go wrong?

Continue reading "Sooners Advance...For Now" »

Don't Forget About Us

Yesterday I gave you 16 names to follow on day one of the NCAA Tournament.

Many of them had big games. So, let's do it all again. Here are 16 more names that you have probably never heard of but will make a big difference in today's games:

Continue reading "Don't Forget About Us" »

Staying East Of The Mississippi

It's Sunday. The weekend is nearing an end. Thankfully, because the locations of today's first round games - College Park, Md., West Lafayette, Ind., Norfolk, Va. and Bridgeport, Conn. - are all in the Eastern Standard Time Zone, these games will be over at a normal hour.

There are 16 more games of opening-round action today, and just as all four No. 2s played on Saturday, Sunday sees the four top seeds hit the court.

I'll tell you right now. I'm predicting four victories by the top seeds. No need to even go over them.

Like Saturday, many of today's games have already been predicted and studied here. And the first game of the day falls under that category as we start in the Spokane Regional where Xavier (9) and Nebraska (8) get set to tangle.

I went with Xavier.

Here is the rest of the day's action:

Continue reading "Staying East Of The Mississippi" »

March 22, 2008

Day One Recap

Sixteen teams find themselves one game closer to the goal that was priority number one from the moment they set foot in their rickety gyms back home.

Sixteen are going back to those gyms empty handed.

There were some upsets. Most games went according to seeding. Here are some other notes and top performances from the first day of action: for the

Continue reading "Day One Recap" »

Tourney's First Upset

Five games had come and gone and five higher seeds advanced to the round of 32. The sixth broke the mold.

And I called it, too.

The Hartford Hawks, the 10-seed in the Oklahoma City regional, met the Big East's Syracuse Orange and juiced their northeast neighbors, 59-55, in Baton Rouge, La.

Continue reading "Tourney's First Upset" »

Welcome Back, Kia

It must be something about the NCAA Tournament that awakens a sleeping giant within Kia Vaughn's 6-foot-4 frame.

The last time Vaughn saw 20 points next to her name on the stat sheet was in last year's National Championship game. She went this entire season without putting up the magic number, and at times looked visibly uncomfortable on the floor for the defending national runners-up.

She just wasn't the same Kia that dominated on Rutgers' journey to Cleveland last year. As if the regular season was nothing but a long waiting period between moments to shine, Vaughn rose to the occasion in the tournament once again.

Continue reading "Welcome Back, Kia" »

Great Start

Often times, the difference between being lauded as the hero and chided as the goat can be entirely insignificant, yet altogether catastrophic.

For Georgia Tech junior Jacqua Williams, today's opening round game against Iowa State was one of those times.

And unfortunately for the ACC's leader in steals, it was one steal she didn't get that cost her team the free throws that increased Iowa State's lead to three and took the stinger out of the Yellow Jackets' chances. The 10th-seeded Buzz lost to the 7th-seeded Lady Cyclones, 58-55, in Des Moines, Iowa.

Continue reading "Great Start" »

If You Don't Know, Now You Know

There are 16 games on the first day of NCAA Tournament action. One of the best things about the women's NCAA Tournament is that teams who never get much publicity get to stand out in the spotlight for at least one game.

This country is full of excellent women's talent that most people have never heard of. Shoot, some of the best players on the best teams in the country slip the minds of even the most knowledgeable sports fan.

I couldn't believe my ears when my good friend and big-time sports enthusiast - he's a Buffalo Bills fan, though - asked me, "Who's this Candace Parker?"

So with 16 games today, I will highlight a player the country should be aware of in each.

Continue reading "If You Don't Know, Now You Know" »

March 21, 2008

My Final Four

North Carolina was the only team to make the Final Four last season out of my four predicted participants.

I was convinced of the ACC's superiority last season and predicted Maryland, Duke and North Carolina State would join the Tar Heels during the season's last week of action.

I was not correct as it was Rutgers, LSU and Tennessee - the eventual champs - that joined Sylvia Hatchell's club in Cleveland.

So this season, to make up for last year's blunder, it is my promise to not include ANY ACC teams in my Final Four. OK? Good.

Continue reading "My Final Four" »

Bracket Racket

Tennessee begins its quest for an eighth national championship in just a day, but Connecticut is the top overall seed and has designs on Geno's sixth. And Rutgers is ready to scrap, claw and defend their way past both of them.

North Carolina sets heel on the road to their third straight Final Four tomorrow, and LSU prowls for their fifth consecutive national semifinal.

Or was it Maryland trying to win its second national championship in three years. Or Stanford trying to prove they deserved the top seed while re-establishing dominant women's basketball on the West Coast.

Whatever the story, the NCAA Tournament will be a fantastic journey, but one that will ultimately reveal one of the aforementioned schools as the true champion.

Which school, you ask? Well, that is where I get to have my fun.

Continue reading "Bracket Racket" »

March 20, 2008

Representing The Sunshine

The NCAA Tournament selection committee had 63 teams already ensconced within the bracket. They just needed one more...

They went with experience.

Overlooking teams like Michigan State, who struggled under new coach Suzy Merchant, and Green Bay, who finished with 26 wins on the year, the committee went with a team that has been to the last three NCAA Tournaments and has advanced past the first round in all of them.

Last year, Florida State surprised Stanford in the round of 32 and advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time in school history. At 18-13, the 'Noles grabbed that last at-large bid as the 11 seed and will face the six seed, Ohio State, in the opening round Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa out of the New Orleans region.

Continue reading "Representing The Sunshine" »

March 19, 2008

Rutgers' Road Less Traveled

If Rutgers' coach C. Vivian Stringer had a motto for her team, Robert Frost would be the author.

Frost penned the famous words, "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."

Coming off a 2007 NCAA Tournament run in which nobody expected the Knights to advance much further than the Sweet 16 yet found glory as national runners-up, this was supposed to be Rutgers' year.

The season was up and down, but it wouldn't be a Rutgers team if that were not so. At times they were spectacular, at other times not so much. Their secret weapon, the 55 defense, can only be used if the team in playing at all cylinders. And unfortunately for the Knights, that didn't happen often this season.

Continue reading "Rutgers' Road Less Traveled" »

March 18, 2008

The Underdog Vols Strike Again

During last year's NCAA Tournament run for eventual national champion Tennessee, the Lady Vols managed to fly under the radar all the way to the title.

Which team ended Marist and Ole Miss' magical tournament runs last season? That's right, Tennessee. The media attention went to the darlings, but the spoils of victory went to the Lady Vols.

Here, I wrote about it: The Underdog Vols

Perhaps it was the fact that Tennessee sidled through the tournament without much hype. After all, Duke was the favorite, Maryland was the defending champs and UNC and LSU has been there before. Maybe coach Pat Summitt used that to her advantage. Fly under the radar and quietly beat the snot out of the opponents you face until there are no opponents left standing.

And now amazingly, after year in which the Lady Vols were No. 1 and looked indestructible for a good chunk of the season, Summitt has the Lady Vols as underdogs once again.

Continue reading "The Underdog Vols Strike Again" »

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