Category: Sports Written by Associated Press
LOUISVILLE head coach Rick Pitino celebrates with Chane Behanan, left, and guard Russ Smith (2) after their 85-63 win over Duke in the Midwest Regional final in the NCAA college basketball tournament, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
(AP)—After a season of uncertainty, there's a clear favorite heading to the Final Four.
The Louisville Cardinals.
While the other No. 1s have fallen by the wayside, the top overall seed romped to the Georgia Dome with four dominant wins in the NCAA tournament. And, if the Cardinals need any extra motivation, they’ve got it.
Sophomore guard Kevin Ware, who played his high school ball in the Atlanta suburbs, sustained a gruesome injury in Sunday’s regional final against Duke. Before he headed off to surgery, he courageously urged his teammates to finish the job.
Now, they would like nothing more than to win it all for Ware.
“We talked about it every timeout, ‘Get Kevin home,’” coach Rick Pitino said.
Next stop, the A-T-L, where three rather unlikely teams will be looking to knock off the mighty Cardinals.
First up, the surprising Shockers from Wichita State in the semifinals Saturday. The No. 9 seed has already pulled off two major upsets, but this would be the biggest stunner yet.
If Louisville makes it through to next Monday night's title game, the opponent would be either Michigan, sporting a new group of Fab Wolverines, or Syracuse, which comes at you with the stingiest zone defense in college basketball. The two No. 4 seeds will meet in the other semifinal game.
All are underdogs to the Cardinals, who are winning by an average of nearly 22 points a game in the tournament.
“I thought we had a chance there, and then boom,” said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who watched Louisville pull away for an 85-63 victory in the Midwest Regional final. “That’s what they do to teams. They can boom you."
In the other game Sunday, Michigan captured the South Regional with a 79-59 rout of Florida, leading from the opening tip. A day earlier, Syracuse shut down Marquette 55-39 to win the East Regional, while Wichita State punched its Final Four ticket with a 70-66 upset of Ohio State out West.
In the final year of the Big East before it splits into two new conferences, Louisville and Syracuse provided a fitting send-off to a league that quickly became a basketball powerhouse after it was founded in 1979.
Before it goes, this version of the Big East has a shot at one more national title.
With two teams, no less.
The Cardinals—who, like Syracuse, are moving to the Atlantic Coast Conference—shook off the incredible shock of Ware's injury with about 6 1/2 minutes to go before halftime and blew out the second-seeded Blue Devils. The sophomore snapped his lower right leg after coming down awkwardly while defending a 3-point shot. The injury occurred right in front of the Louisville bench, where the players gasped and turned away quickly at the sight of Ware’s dangling leg, which was broken in two places.
Russ Smith collapsed onto the floor, along with several players, and was crying as doctors attended to Ware. While Ware was loaded onto a stretcher, the Cardinals gathered at midcourt until Pitino called them over, saying the injured player wanted to talk to them before he left.
“All he kept saying—and remember, the bone is six inches out of his leg—all he’s yelling is, ‘Win the game! Win the game!’” Pitino said. “I’ve never seen that in my life. We’re all distraught and all he’s saying is, ‘Win the game.’ Kevin is a special young man.”
This is a special team. Smith scored 23 points. Gorgui Dieng had 14 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks.
The Cardinals (33-5) simply refused to lose, breaking open a game that was tied at 42. They dove on the floor for loose balls. They pounded the boards ferociously. They contested every shot and swarmed around the Blue Devils like they had an extra player on the court.
In a sense, they did, as Pitino reminded them during every timeout.
“This is a gritty bunch,” the coach said. “From the beginning of the year to now, they've not had a bad game. I’m really proud of these guys.”
Wichita State was the most improbable team to advance. The Shockers lived up to their nickname in the West, knocking off top-seeded Gonzaga in the second round and No. 2 seed Ohio State in the regional final Saturday night.
Wichita State (30-8) built a 20-point lead on the Buckeyes, then managed to hang on through a nerve-racking final five minutes to pull off the latest upset in a tournament filled with them.
That other team from Kansas isn't content yet.
“It feels very good,” said Cleanthony Early, a junior forward who, like most of his teammates, was passed over by higher-profile programs, “but we understand the fact that we've got to stay hungry and humble, because we've got two more games left to really be excited about.”
Old-timers might remember Louisville and Wichita State as former conference rivals. The Cardinals were a member of the Missouri Valley Conference in the 1960s and ’70s, which meant annual games against the Shockers.
Louisville holds a 19-5 edge in the series, but the teams haven’t played since 1976.
Michigan (30-7) is headed back to the Final Four for the first time since the Fab Five era of the early 1990s, when the Wolverines lost in back-to-back national title games.
Last Updated on Thursday, 04 April 2013 09:55
Category: Sports Written by Bill Neal
:10 “The Moon Will Surely Rise Again” and no words will ever be more true. By now, you know that the legendary Tyrone “Moon” Howard has joined “Heavens Hoopers,” the greatest collection of basketball talent playing way above the rim known to mankind. The legend of “Moon” grew early as did he. Everybody was talking about this 9th grade kid over at Mellon Park tearing it up. Then one day, I get this call from former great Westinghouse player Terrence Taylor telling me I’ve got to go see this kid. Of course “T” was right except for one thing, it was a kid alright . . . it just so happened he was in a man’s body.
Now, there’s all the things you already know. He could play, flat out play. Not just normal play, but exceptional play. Shoot it, run the floor like a guard, even though he was 6’8” and every bit of 250 lbs. Block shots of course and needless to say “D” you up like you stole something. And look, I know I say this about different guys, but this part is really, really true—“Moonie” would dunk on you in a heartbeat . . . but not like Sonny Lewis or Myron Brown or Morrie Cox. Those guys needed a step or two to go airborne. Not Moonie. He would go up on ya and slam wherever and whenever…Just…Bam …and that was it all you could hope is that he didn’t tear your arm off in the process.
But not on purpose. That’s for sure. Moon was that guy. You know the guy that wouldn’t hurt a fly. Always a smile on his face. Always the peace maker, the Pied Piper of kids and always, always, always respectful to everybody. To this moment, I can tell you without question, I never heard him raise his voice or use foul language…not even in a game when he was getting pounded on. A great young man with extraordinary talent who went on to have a great college career, pro career and special time that he spent with the legendary Harlem Globe Trotters. One of the all time great Connie Hawkins League ballers and slam dunk champions whose blacktop games will remain legend that we talk about forever. “Moon” now joins “Heavens Hoopers” the all Pittsburgh team playing daily with no worries, no pain and no personal fouls. Kenny Durrett, Jeep Kelly, Jim McCoy, Sonny Lewis, Armon Gilliam, Larry Richardson, Darryll Gissendanner, Kenny West, Tuna-Fish, Maurice Lucas. Good By Pryor, SiHugo Grazen, Chuck Cooper, Sr., Maurice Stokes…all gone but never forgotten, playing at a different level. Going to the hole without fear and on that squad everyone averages a triple-double. (and don’t ask me who’s starting. I am not the coach…at least not today!!)
God Bless you Tyrone “Moon” Howard and may God Bless your family.
:9 Happy belated Easter to each and every one of you and continued blessings to you and yours. By the way, for those of you that are not quite sure…let me know when you get a better plan than the one he has for you! And that, you can surely take to the bank.
:8 By now, you know the streak is over. Miami came up short to Chicago as I said they would. Yes I did…just go back and check your Couriers. Now maybe…just maybe, Mike Booker and “Zik” will shut up about “King James” and his band of gypsies (“Band of Gypsies”…c’mon man. Jimmy Hendrix 1969). Of course it’s going to be hard to shut Zik up cause he cheers for three different teams. One week it’s The Heat, the next week it’s The Knicks and when the Cav’s win, he lays claim to them too. I’m just saying!
:7 The broken leg suffered by Louisville’s Leon Ware is second worse only to Joe Theisman’s break delivered by Lawrence Taylor.
:6 What about O. J.?
:5 Speaking of being right, and getting back to sports, thank you very much. The Heat will not repeat!!! Happy now! ? ! ?
:4 Late entry on the streak list. “The Wizard of Oz” the great short stop Ozzie Smith. 13 straight gold gloves. Nuff said!
:3 Charles Smith, the former great Pitt basketball star was in town last week. #1. You forgot he’s Pitt’s all-time leading scorer and shot blocker. No. 2. You forget he was an NBA super star for The Knicks, not just another guy. No. 3. I know you forgot he used to tear up the Connie Hawkins League down at Champions Park behind the police station in East Liberty…oh, now you remember!
:2 Speaking of great names from the asphalt jungle, here’s a few Pittsburgh cats you forgot about, but you would remember real quick if you were playing them.
“The Twins” from bump yes, Milton Miles, Nate Duck, Ronnie McRae, Jimmy Nichols, Jimmie Cox, Kenny Lewis, Ricky Richburg, Donny Johnson, Melvin Paul, Stan “The Man” Mahan, Eric Jefferson, D.J. Johnson, Gerald Lovelace, “Dr. Hook”, John Moore, Reggie Cox, Davie Burris, Lloyd Moore, Mel Keys, “Big John” Tate…ooohhh now you remember!!!
:1 At the Buzzer. Hhheeerrreee We Go
•The 38th Annual Champions Western Pa. High School All-Star Basketball Classic is set for Sunday, April 7th at the new and magnificent Penn Hills Senior High School.
Middle School Girls—9 a.m.-12 noon, Middle School Boys—12 noon-3 p.m., Senior Girls City vs. WPIAL—3 p.m. Senior Boys City vs. WPIAL—5 p.m. Free parking in lower level. Refreshments. Vendors. Celebrities. Slam Dunk. 3 Point and foul shooting contest and an amazing half-time show by Karate Master Jacquet Bazemore. For more information, call the Champions at 412-628-4056.
~ GAME OVER ~
Last Updated on Thursday, 04 April 2013 09:54
Category: Sports Written by Aubrey Bruce
Well here we are at another opening day for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The press box is packed and I mean really filled to the rim with folks that in a few weeks from now will probably not venture anywhere near PNC Park or its press box.
The 2013 opening day was the first ever opening day start for Pirates right hander Sean Burnett. I was moved by the violin virtuoso performance of “God Bless America” and “The Star Spangled Banner.” But you know what? That was the extent of excellence for the Pirates in regards to ringing the opening bell for the 2013 season. At one point aside from giving up a walk and a double Burnett had recorded eight straight strikeouts. But in between those “K’s” the Cubs were hitting the ball hard. The 10 strikeouts by A.J. Burnett were the most by a Pirates pitcher on opening day since 1983 when John Candelaria struck out 10 at St. Louis. The Cubs starter RHP Jeff Samardzija had the Pirates number because he allowed only two hits through eight innings also only throwing 110 pitches including 71 strikes. He also struck out nine batters.
The win was preserved by the Cubs right handed relievers Carlos Marmol and Kyuji Fujikawa to seal the deal by the score 3-1.
What is it about the Pittsburgh Power Football Club that causes most professional football aficionados to perceive that the team doesn’t seem serious? Well looking at the way the team has performed so far in the season the team, at least the offense anyway seems to be searching near and far for its “collective” groove.” The Power dropped their first game of the season 64-33 to the Utah Blaze. Now the loss to the Blaze was not really unexpected and not so unusual because Utah is a tough and talented squad. What was so unusual was that against the Blaze, the Power only gained 183 total yards offensively a dismal outing in Pittsburgh’s first home game of the season. In the AFL that may be as close to being shut down if not shut out that the Power should want to be. From the outset, Friday’s game against the Jacksonville Sharks did not bode well for Pittsburgh in light of the fact that they had lost both of the previous meetings against the Sharks. Both of the losses occurred at the Consol where the Power had been outscored, 129-79. At halftime the Power were losing to the Jacksonville Sharks by the score of 34-21 even though Pittsburgh had a time of possession advantage of 15:29 to 14:31 and Jacksonville only had a 15 yard advantage in total offensive yards. The second half only became worse because at the end of the third quarter the Power were down by the score of 42-28. The game ended with the Sharks prevailing by the score of 61-35. The “suspect” offensive line of the Power also allowed Jacksonville to record seven sacks. The offensive line for Pittsburgh had better improve in a hurry or it is going to be a long, long, season.
Forty acres and a donkey
Just a few weeks ago I penned a column titled “50 Million Dollar Chattel.” I recalled that as I was viewing the latest smash hit, “The Bible,” that a myriad of sports and social issues were dancing around in my head, one of those being slavery. Hollywood depicts the inhumanity of forced servitude as almost being “noble.” As far as Black athletes are concerned they will probably never understand their true value because it will never be revealed to them. As far as I am concerned the NFL compensation process is biased, corrupt and flawed as it relates to Black athletes. There is nothing noble about it. Well as I have been preaching for over three decades the NCAA is far worse.
On Easter Sunday as I viewed the Louisville, Duke NCAA Elite Eight faceoff late in the first half Louisville guard Kevin Ware suffered a broken leg at Lucas Oil Stadium that quieted me and all of my family members watching the game with me at home. Even coach Rick Pitino was caught on camera wiping away tears.
A report by Associated Press writer Michael Marot stated that; “Ware’s right leg bent in such an awkward and frightening angle that CBS stopped showing replays shortly after the fall in the NCAA tournament
Match up against Duke. “The bone’s six inches out of his leg and all he’s yelling is, “Win the game, win the game,’” Pitino said. “I've not seen that in my life…Pretty special young man. The bone was literally out. I saw white, it was literally out,” said Behanan, who collapsed to his hands and feet at the sight. The two spoke at halftime. “He said ‘Don’t worry about me, I’m good, I’ll have my surgery tonight,’” Behanan said. “Go win it for me.”
I have been standing on my “soapbox for pay” in regards to paying athletes for performing in college. In a recent article penned Dr. Boyce Watkins, comedian Chris Rock had this to say. “I know a lot of Black intellectuals will say we can do so much more than play ball and we can. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t reap the benefits from sports White kids that go to Syracuse and Georgetown do. These kids should be paid and allowed to get an education for themselves and their families for the rest of their lives. Black people not making money from college sports is like Arabs not making money from oil, insane. We have our reparations lottery ticket right in our pocket and were not smart enough to cash it in.”
Maybe we had better forget about reparations and focus on compensation for performance in the year 2013.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 April 2013 09:45
Category: Sports Written by Ulish Carter
PLAYER OF THE YEAR ROBERT BAILEY
Even though Obama dominated the regular season with a 9-1 record, which was far ahead of their nearest rivals, Brashear and Westinghouse, 6-4, they only had three players selected to the All-City team compared to 5 from Brashear and 4 from Westinghouse.
Allderdice and Perry also had 3, and Carrick, which went winless, had 2.
After dominating City-League play the past two years behind the brilliant play of Justin Dobbs, the Allderdice Dragons dropped to 4-6 in league play opening the door for a new champion, which Obama Academy easily took with a 9-1 league record and 16-3 overall. But it was the surprising Westinghouse Bulldogs who took it all in the championship tournament.
Robert Bailey from Westinghouse, who was on the second team last season, was easily the Player of the Year this year, and his coach, Tariq Francis is the Coach of the Year behind turning the Bulldogs program around. Last season they were 5-9 and near the bottom, where as this season they were tied for second.
Repeating on the First Team are Shakeem Cox from Perry and Deandre Byrd from Obama. Other players repeating are: Devin Lyles, D. J. Porter, JaVaughn Moultrie, and Jordan Smith.
Even though Obama only had three players make the team two, Lamont Butler and Deandre Byrd, were on the First Team and one, D. J. Porter, on the Second Team. Mike Williams from Brashear was the other First Team selection.
Brashear had the most players selected with five. Joining Williams is Mike Molinaro, Second Team; Aaron Langnese and Deyshawn Martin, Third Team; and Jamil Alteri, Honorable Mention.
Congratulations to all 20 players who earned a spot on this years’ All-City Basketball Team.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 April 2013 09:48
Category: Sports Written by Associated Press
SERIOUS INJURY--Trainers check on Louisville guard Kevin Ware (5) after an injury during the first half of the Midwest Regional final against Duke in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
by Michael Marot
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A gruesome injury that left Louisville guard Kevin Ware with a broken leg plunged Lucas Oil Stadium into horrified silence, with coach Rick Pitino wiping away tears and shocked teammates openly weeping during Sunday's Midwest Regional final.
Last Updated on Sunday, 31 March 2013 22:49
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