Posts Tagged ‘college basketball’

College basketball legendary coach John Wooden dies

June 5, 2010

One of college basketballs greatest coaches died today, Friday June 5 in the early morning after suffering a massive heart attack among other medical issues over the past few years.

John Wooden, 99, holds the record for one of the most winningest coaches in Division I college basketball. One of the greatest coaches of all time, Wooden’s stats will prove that he not only deserves to be known as such, but his character also is one to remember.

Wooden had 88 consecutive games during the 1971-1974 seasons as well as 38 consecutive NCAA tournament games  between 1964-1974. Wooden to this day holds those records.

Wooden also led the UCLA Bruins to 10 NCAA championships — at one time winning seven in a row — during a 27-year run that ended with his team cutting down the nets one last time in 1975.

Wooden coached basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton among many others and also had a few Neismith award winners under his regime.

Walton told The Associated Press from the NBA Finals that he last visited with Wooden a few days ago at the hospital.

“He’s the greatest,” Walton said, his voice catching. “We love him.”

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Get to know your Tiger Athletes: profile on Towson basketball player

April 26, 2010

Towson University’s basketball program boasts one of its top players, Robert Nwankwo. Known as “Big Rob,” this forward for the Tigers from Hyattsville, Md. has an average of 9.9 points per game and 8.9 rebounds per game.

The 6″8′ player helped his team’s journey in March 2010 to the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Championship basketball tournament in Richmond. After beating UNC Wilmington 91-74 in the first round, the Tigers lost 86-56 to Old Dominion (ODU would go on to play in the NCAA tournament).

Robert Nwankwo, #25 for the Towson Tigers basketball team.

Nwankwo scored 13 points and had six rebounds during that last game to keep the Tigers alive.  With one more season to go, make sure to keep an eye under the board for Nwankwo to dominate in his upcoming senior season.

Q. How did it feel to win that first big game against UNC Wilmington during the tournament in March?
A. I wasn’t surprised we got the win against them. We were the higher seed so it was expected of us to beat them.

Q. You also received CAA honors at the end of the season; what exactly did you get and what’s it mean for you?
A. I received an award for the “All Defensive Team” and was a vote away from the “All CAA team”… I put in a lot of hard work during the off-season, I guess it paid off in a way haha.

***Nwankwo is the third Tiger to receive these defensive honors from the CAA. Tony Dixon in 2004 and Brian Allen in 2002 were the other two.

Click here to read more about Robert Nwankwo

Butler and Duke to battle for the March Madness championship on Monday

April 3, 2010

The Final Four games were played tonight, April 3, with Butler and Duke advancing to the championship to compete against each other on Monday to take home the trophy.

In a classic cinderella team tale, Butler is on the radar and has been since their first game against UTEP.

I know I went back and changed my original bracket and had Butler losing to UTEP that first round. You can bet I am kicking myself now.

But ever since Kansas got knocked out of the big dance by Northern Iowa, I have been pulling for Butler and they have not failed.

Under coach Brad Stevens, Butler has impressed many, including themselves.

Butler head coach Brad Stevens

They have had home city advantage (the last occurance was in 1972 with UCLA who ended up winning the whole championship) and have been compared to the Indiana Hoosiers, made famous by Hollywood in the movie about the team.

Coach Stevens is an impressive 33-year-old smart leader for the Bulldogs. Stevens came into the scene during the 2000-2001 season as a volunteer and was later promoted to full assistant coach the year later.

In the 2007-2008 basketball season, he was named the head coach and after winning 30-games that first season, became the third youngest coach in NCAA history with a 30 game winning season.

The 33-year-old will go head-to-head as he leads his team for the first time to the championship game against one of the biggest and most well-known coaches to basketball players across the country.

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski

Coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke University BlueDevils has been coaching for 30-years.

He is experienced and knows how to win a basketball game, especially this big game.  It is somewhat interesting that the first year Coach K started coaching, Coach Stevens was only a 3-year old.

Coach K also has led his team to winning three NCAA championships and appearing in 11 Final Fours in those 30-years.

Who to look out for Monday night: (more…)

Breaking down the Final Four teams in the NCAA tournament

March 29, 2010

Out of about 4.8 million people who filled out brackets online at espn.com, only 200 people correctly guessed the Final Four.

Only 200 people.

That is 0.0046% of people were right. Crazy.

And not one person has a perfect bracket.

The last four teams are #1 #5 Michigan State, #5 Butler and #2 West Virginia.

Duke is the only #1 seed left in the tournament. This is the first time they have made it to the Final Four since 2004: it is also the 15th time they made it this far and the 11th appearance under Coach K (only UCLA and UNC have had more trips).

But it was not an easy ride, especially after Sunday’s game against Baylor.

Baylor kept the blue devils on their toes as they went on a 10-3 run in the first half. Baylor, who had 28 wins all season, played a great game. They tied it up against Duke a few times, but couldn’t hold onto the lead as Duke turned 23 rebounds into points and made 15 out of 18 of the games last points.

But give Baylor credit; they held Jon Scheyer pointless all game: not an easy accomplishment from this normally high scoring Blue Devil.

West Virginia, who beat out the young Kentucky team is playing Duke next. The Mountaineers aren’t a team that is willing to let go of a game easily. They fight hard. Tough. Angry. Aggressive.

This is also the first appearance in the Final Four in 51 years for Dub V. Coach Bob Huggins coaches smart basketball. They don’t rush and don’t seem to get phased when their opponents take the lead. The mostly junior and senior cast on this team understand how to end the game in their favor.

The two teams that knocked out many people’s brackets are the other two teams to make it this far. The two #5 teams, Michigan State and Butler have been interesting to watch.

Michigan State somehow manages to sneak into the tournament it seems. They impressively have had six appearances in 12 seasons; how many people expected them to make it this far again?

Mich St. also has made it far without their point guard Kalin Lucas, who tour his Achilles’ tendon in the second-round against Maryland, but the team has pushed through and torn up the court against Maryland, N. Iowa who took out #1 Kansas and beat out Ohio State.

Butler ready to continue the magic to beat Mich State Saturday.

And Butler is the Cinderella story team of the year, and considering this team plays in the same arena as the team in the movie “Hoosiers”, a lot of attention has been put on the team that is six miles away from the arena they are about to play Mich. State.

As I mentioned in my last post, this team has shown a lot to fear and this team will be playing in their home city.

Again, the last team that had that happen was UCLA in 1972–when UCLA also won the whole tournament.

What are some of your predictions for these last few teams? If you could start a new bet with just these four teams, who would you pick?

I might add another contest if people seem interested since this years brackets were so whacked out.

What you need to know in the rest of the mess of March Madness

March 27, 2010

Many of you have already thrown away your brackets.

A few of you have been so embarrassed by how you did, you don’t even want to watch the rest of the games.

“I did something I promised myself I wouldn’t—I looked at my bracket which I haven’t done since the end of the second round. I’m out,” said a loyal follower of the sportaholic, Mark Huber.

Do you feel this same sentiment? Well, don’t feel alone. This tournament brought an immense amount of upsets that there is not one perfect bracket left in America.

Even that autistic kid in Chicago is out after his winning team, Purdue,  lost to Duke last night during the last game of the sweet 16.

But there is no denying the excitement, the energy and craziness this years tournaments have ensued.

I don’t care if you are a basketball fan or not–it is games like these that make even the most anti-sports fan pause and actually get caught up in the yelling from the people standing in front of the TVs.

I think the biggest game so far that had me going nuts was the Kansas State vs. Xavier game. This was the first double over time game played in a sweet 16 in over ten years and the combined points (101-96 = 197) is the second highest amount of combined points in a sweet 16.

This game was intense. There were 17 lead changes. There were 13 ties.

And there was eventually a winner decided about one in the morning on Thursday night.

If you missed this game, I am truly sorry; games like this are why I got so into sports in the first place.

The drama. The energy. The excitement and movement.

The fast acting changing of who might win which changes just as much as the passing of the basketball itself. It is more climatic than any movie you might see in theaters.

If you didn’t at least stop and see why this game was so insane, then you might as well stop reading now.

Because a game like that is the best way anyone can ever get involved in sports.

The rest of the elite 8 games are set, and some have already been played. Here are some key points to remember while watching the last half of the NCAA tournament. (more…)

Maryland magic continues after a win against Clemson Wednesday night

February 24, 2010

After that big Cliff Tucker buzzer beating shot on Saturday night, did Maryland still have that magic to carry them to another win against Clemson tonight?

In what was a back and forth battle, the Terps proved that they have what it takes to overcome their opponents, even when it is an uphill fight, as they defeated the Clemson Tigers 88-79 after a 15-point deficit.

Sean Mosley scored 20 points in the 88-79 victory against Clemson

The first half of the game was nothing to remember: the Terps played sluggishly and you could tell that Greives Vasquez was tired.

With some of their key players in foul trouble early on in the game; like freshman standout forward Jordan Williams, and their other two top rebounders, who had already acquired two fouls before the end of the first half, this game didn’t look pretty.

At halftime, the Terps were lucky to only be trailing by nine points as they went into their locker room with the score 48-39.

Would the Terps find that ‘magic’ and turn this game around and beat the team that overcame them in late January?

You can bet on it.

The Terps shifted into third gear and the game quickly turned

(more…)

sNOw basketball tradition for rivalry game

February 11, 2010

Every year for the University of North Carolina and Duke University basketball games, I am sure to amuse anyone who happens to be out in public with me.

Two of the biggest games of the year for me…for one of the biggest rivalries in sports.

I get decked out. I wear the shirt I made myself declaring my support for the Tar heels and my disdain for the Blue Devils.  Everything I wear is blue and white…and there was one year I do believe I painted my face.

photo from rushthecourt.com

This would be acceptable if I was in Chapel Hill, NC watching the game, or even at my first college, East Carolina University.

But no, I show my fanatic side just uptown at local bars in Towson. Towson, a place where school pride in their sports teams is nonexistent.  Do I look crazy? Absolutely.

The huge snowmageddon kept me inside to watch the game on my couch and only talk ‘smack’ via text messaging and IMing others through Facebook. Would you be able to get excited and intensely into a game this way? Yea, I couldn’t either.

Why is this game so important?

For those who have never heard me during one of these games, or don’t keep up with sports, a poll conducted by ESPN in 2000 ranked the UNC versus Duke rivalry as the third greatest American sports rivalry of all-time. Sports Illustrated on Campus named it the #1 “Hottest Rivalry” in college basketball and the #2 rivalry overall in its November 18, 2003 issue.

The hugeness of the rivalry, which started in a game on Jan. 24, 1920 and played twice a year, is intensified by the proximity of the two schools, located eight miles apart.

Having lived in NC for two years, this rivalry is even a bigger deal than these stats, what you see on TV and what you may have heard.

As Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski once said about the uniqueness of the two school’s geography, “Forget the Big Ten … we share the same dry cleaners … There is no other area like this. It produces things, situations, feelings that you can’t talk to other people about. Because they have no understanding of it.”

Snow would never keep these two teams from playing each other,or ending the rivalry. A tornado wouldn’t keep this game from being played.

But in last night’s defeat to Duke 64-54, UNC buried itself and its season is now over. The chances of the Heels going to the big NCAA tournament this year are as good as all the snow here in Maryland melting by tonight.