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Tennessee vs. Rutgers Live Blog: 2007 NCAA Women’s National Championship

Posted by Mike on April 3, 2007

Tonight Tennessee plays Rutgers for the National Championship in Women’s basketball. The Vols will look to run a high tempo offense to tire their opponent, while Rutgers looks to stop them with their suffocating team defense in the halfcourt. Their game against LSU was a clinic on how to stop the fast break, and tonight they look to do the same. Whether or not they can pull it off will determine who wins this game.

8:28 pm: It’s official: Gail Goestenkors is leaving Duke to replace retiring legendary coach Jody Conradt at Texas. WHOOOO!!!

8:43 pm: Bobbitt vs. Ajavon and Anosike vs. Vaughn could go a long way to determine this game. All four players are from the New York metro area. Small world. Now would be a I time I should say something awkward like, NYC REPRESENT!!! But I think I’ll resist.

8:46 pm: 3-0, Tenn. The Vols win the tip. Anosike makes a great offensive rebound, and ultimately Shannon Bobbitt hits a three from the right wing.

Both teams are showing their cards early. Tennessee is trying to dictate a pace akin to a track meet, and Rutgers wants to make me watch paint dry.

8:47 pm: 5-0, Tenn. Sidney Spencer hits a turnaround jumper.

8:49 pm: 5-3, Tenn. We’ve already got controversy two minutes in. The refs are trying to determine whether a jumper by Ajavon hit a two or three point jumper. Ultimately it was called a three, which was a good call. But come on, refs, Ed Hochuli could make a call faster than that!

8:51 pm: If Rutgers wants to dictate the pace of this game, they need to get their defensive rebounds and prevent the Lady Vols from getting second chance points. They’ve already given up three or four offensive rebounds.

8:53 pm: 6-4, Tenn. Tennessee is running a full court press, trying to force turnovers. But the Scarlet Knights have thus far done a good job of offensive ball control. If only they can rebound now.

Official timeout, as we’re treated to a little of “The Message” by the Furious Five. A rare move in coolness by ESPN.

8:59 pm: 6-6. Essence Carson hits a nice midrange jumper to tie the game.

9:01 pm: Tennessee continues to dominate the boards, but they’re having a hard time making their shots.

9:02 pm: 8-6, Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights force a turnover, and are rewarded with a quick basket to take the lead.

Rutgers’ offense is decidedly faster tonight than I had expected, at least in their scoring possessions.

9:03 pm: 8-8. As we hit an official timeout, the fouls are already starting to pile up on Rutgers.

9:07 pm: 12-8, Tenn. The Vols take the lead as Candace Parker hits two straight jumpers, the first an easy one off a great inbound pass.

9:08 pm: 12-12. Kia Vaughn gets two straight baskets of her own to tie the game. Both of them came off offensive rebounds.

9:11 pm: 14-12, Tenn. The Vols take the lead off of free throws, but their press is paying off, as Rutgers commits two consecutive turnovers.

9:14 pm: 16-14, Tenn. Official timeout. The Scarlet Knights are going to reap the rewards of consistently attacking the inside, which Tennessee isn’t doing enough of right now.

9:18 pm: 18-14, Tenn. Parker gets a tough basket in the paint, but how does Horn buckle not shoot that open three?

Rutgers has done a good job of slowing the pace of the game, but their turnovers (7 so far) and lack of rebounding prevent them from taking full advantage.

9:21 pm: 22-14, Tenn. Alberta Auguste is playing well off the bench for Tennessee.

Sidney Spencer’s jumper extends the lead to 8.

9:22 pm: 22-16, Tenn. Ajavon hits a tough shot before the official timeout.

9:26 pm: 27-18, Tenn. Vaughn’s return to the lineup is helping Rutgers on offense, but Tennessee continues to win the battle in the offensive glass. The last one by Anosike leads to a three pointer by Spencer. The Vols have 13 second chance points.

9:33 pm: As the first half ends, Tennessee leads, 29-18, at halftime. Candace Parker is doing a good job of passing the ball, even if she isn’t shooting lights out. The Lady Vols are playing great defense, and while Rutgers has dictated tempo, they haven’t used it to their advantage, going cold on offense (they stopped attacking the inside) and letting Tennessee dominate the glass. For the Scarlet Knights to come back they will need to get rebounds and start hitting the three.

10:00 pm: 35-24, Tenn. I missed the first four minutes of the second half. Fortunately for me, not much has changed.

10:01 pm: 35-26, Tenn. Kia Vaughn gets another basket inside. She needs to get the ball more.

10:04 pm: More referee controversy, as Rutgers is wrongly called for a shot clock violation. The call is ultimately corrected, but Rutgers was denied an opportunity at second chance points.

10:05 pm: 35-28, Tenn. Vaughn scores again, this time off a putback. She has 12 tonight.

10:06 pm: 38-28, Tenn. More offensive rebounding by Tennessee leads to an open three by Bobbitt, and the Vols have a double digit lead once again.

10:08 pm: 43-28, Tenn. More great play by Bobbitt (a three, a steal, and an assist) gives Tennessee a 15 point lead with less than 12 points, and C. Vivian Stringer is forced to call a timeout. The wheels are starting to come off of Rutgers.

10:16 pm: 46-30, Tenn. Shannon Bobbitt cannot be stopped. She is on fire from the bonusphere, as Tennessee is finally beginning to dictate their tempo.

10:19 pm: 46-33, Tenn. The biggest reason why Tennessee is winning: 20 offensive rebounds. Even if they slow the game down, they aren’t in control is they can’t win the battle of the boards.

7:34 left.

10:25 pm: 48-35, Tenn. Vaughn gets the basket and the foul but Rutgers isn’t setting up their offense fast enough.

At this point I think that the Final Four’s MOP would be Nicky Anosike of the Lady Vols. She has done everything that’s been asked of her and more.

10:27 pm: 50-35, Tenn, 5:00 left. The Vols steal it, Hornbuckle hits the jumper, and the lead is back to 15. Against Rutgers’ gameplan, Tennessee has this game sealed.

10:29 pm: 50-39, Tenn, 3:44 left. Rutgers hits two straight baskets, the latest by Essence Carson, to bring the Scarlet Knights within 11. However, it’s likely too little, too late.

10:31 pm: 50-42, Tenn, 2:00 left. Matee Ajavon hits a three, but Tennessee’s offensive rebounds continue to kill Rutgers.

10:37 pm: 56-44, Tenn, 1:08 left. Wow. I just heard that the Russian Women’s Professional league is willing to play players like Parker over a million dollars per year. Meanwhile, as of 2004 the maximum salary of a WNBA player is $90,000. This has to change. Players like Lisa Leslie, Ivory Latta, Diana Taurasi and Candace Parker are worth a lot more than $90,000. I don’t care what you think about women’s basketball, these girls are that talented.

10:43 pm: 59-46, Tennessee, Final. The Lady Vols win their 7th Women’s National Championship, and their first since 1998. Even though Rutgers slowed the game down, the Lady Vols dominated this game from start to finish, not allowing the Scarlet Knights to get comfortable at all. In particular, Tennessee dominate the boards, which is why I think Anosikie should be the Final Four MOP. Congratulations to Tennessee for winning the National Championship, but I can’t but wonder what could have been, if UNC had managed to hold on to their lead in the end on Sunday night.

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Posted in #1, Basketball, Big East, Bracket, Championship, College Basketball, Digital Headbutt, Final Four, Live Blog, NCAA Tournament, Pat Summitt, Rutgers, SEC, Tennessee Volunteers, women's basketball | 4 Comments »

Ohio State vs. Florida Live Blog: 2007 NCAA Final Four

Posted by Mike on April 2, 2007

Tonight Ohio State plays Florida for the National Championship in basketball. If Ohio State wins, I will have lost my bracket pool to a bracket determined by coin flips and picked Davidson to face the Buckeyes tonight. At least I will be in the company of three friends:

Hurricanes Are For Drinking

Run Up The Score

The Sports Flow

8:39 pm: Watching the ESPN preview. If Bruce Pearl were a broadcaster, he would be the heir apparent to Dick Vitale. He has the energy, and he really knows his basketball. You probably knew that; the Vols would be in big trouble if he didn’t.

9:00 pm: Everyone is picking Florida to win. Under normal circumstances I would consider that a clear sign that the Buckeyes will win tonight. But Florida is such a good team, and this tournament has been so chalky, I don’t know what to think.

9:15 pm: Ladies And Gentlemen, Jim Nantz and Billy Packer!

9:23 pm: The game begins! Florida wins the tip, but misses their first shot. OSU fares no better.

9:24 pm: 3-2, Florida. A bad inbound pass is stolen by Mike Conley, who gets the easy layup. Florida runs the break and Brewer hits a quick three.

9:25 pm: 5-3, OSU. Great passing leads to an open three by Ivan Harris.

9:27 pm: 5-5. Noah steals a pass in the halfcourt, and Humphrey gets the easy layup on the break.

Considering the strength in the middle, I’m surprised that both teams are settling for outside shots so far.

9:28 pm: 7-5, OSU. Conley drives to the right and gets another layup to give the lead to the Buckeyes.

9:28 pm: 9-5, OSU. We finally have our first true points in the paint, as Oden hits a shot with his left hand.

9:29 pm: 9-7, OSU. Taurean Green drives in for a tough basket in the lane. The Gators did a good job of creating space for him.

As we hit the first official timeout, Florida is using their bench early, much more so than the Buckeyes.

9:33 pm: 9-9. Walter Hodge ties the game with another inside drive. I didn’t expect to see so much inside play by the guards against some of the best big men in America.

9:36 pm: 11-11. Florida is doing a good job of pressuring Conley. He’s being forced to make bad passes, and he almost threw one away there.

9:37 pm: Considering how tight the refs are calling this game, you think that Oden would have been called for a foul for elbowing Corey Brewer in the ribcage.

9:39 pm: 14-11, Florida. Green give Florida the lead on free throws. Jamar Butler comes in for Conley, who has two fouls.

9:40 pm: 17-11, Florida. Hodge steals the ball from Butler and gets three the hard way. Conley is being missed already. Florida has been very opportunistic, getting 10 of their 17 points off OSU turnovers.

9:42 pm: 17-13, Florida. Official timeout.

9:46 pm: 20-15, Florida. Brewer hits another three on the fast break.

Greg Oden has played for 10 straight minutes, but he’s been putting in a lot of effort. He needs a breather.

9:47 pm: 21-15, Florida. Conley is back in the game despite foul trouble. Ohio State needs the ball handling.

9:49 pm: So far it’s clear that Florida is the deeper team. I think they can take the approach UNC normally takes in their games, dictating a faster tempo until they run Ohio State ragged. It’s foolproof, because unlike the Tar Heels, I don’t see a mental collapse from these Gators.

Official Timeout. 7:59 left, first half.

9:53 pm: 23-17, Florida. Horford get his first basket, a bank shot from the left side. Conley drives in for a layup on the next possession.

A lot more points are coming from the guards today than one would expect.

9:54 pm: 23-19, Florida. A great pass by Conley, and Mark Terwilliger gets the emphatic dunk! The Buckeyes are a completely different team with Conley at point instead of Butler.

Florida is starting to miss free throws. This could become trouble later, as the game winds down and their legs get tired.

9:56 pm: 27-22, Florida. Ivan Harris hits a three to bring the lead to two, but Lee Humphrey responds immediately.

9:57 pm: 30-22, Florida. What a sweet shot by Brewer. He hasn’t missed one yet from three.

9:58 pm: 33-22, Florida. Taurean Green hits another three for the Gators, as they take the game’s first double digit lead. Florida has been on fire from the bonusphere. Their effectiveness is sort of sneaky, in that so much emphasis is put in Florida’s frontcourt, but games like this they kill you from the perimeter. Although Lee Humphrey shooting lights out should not surprise anyone.

10:03 pm: 35-24, Florida. Brewer swipes Conley clean, breaks away and delivers the windmill jam. Brewer has 11 points. Not that it matters now, but it would have been a lot of fun to see Brewer vs. Kevin Durant in a college game.

10:07 pm: 37-26, Florida. Oden has scored the last two baskets for Ohio State, but he’s looking very tired. He didn’t even challenge Horford’s jumpshot.

10:08 pm: 40-27, Florida. Green hits another three. The Gators are 6 of 8 for beyond the arc, and have made their last 5.

10:09 pm: The first half ends, and Florida leads, 40-29 at halftime. Florida dominated the pace of the game in the first half, and in particular did a great job taking Oden and Conley out of their comfort zone. To comeback in this game Ohio State will need to clamp down on perimeter defense, win the rebounding battle, and attack inside against Florida’s frontcourt, who already have two players with two fouls each.

10:31 pm: 40-31, Florida. As the second half begins, Oden gets position inside and gets an easy shot off the glass. He’s scored the last 9 points for the Buckeyes.

10:32 pm: 42-35, Florida. Conley steals from Green and makes a great pass to Ron Lewis, who posterizes Corey Brewer.

10:33 pm: 42-36, Florida. As I suggested, Ohio State is attacking the inside, and Noah picks up his third foul.

10:34 pm: 44-36, Florida. Chris Richard gets an easy dunk, a putback of a miss by Brewer.

This has nothing to do with the game, but I saw an ad for CBS featuring CSI: Miami, and I just couldn’t resist showing you the best CSI spoof ever.

10:36 pm: 49-38, Florida. Lee Humphrey cannot be stopped.

10:46 pm: 51-42, Florida. Conley brings the Buckeyes within five, as Ohio State finally gets to the free throw line. But Florida gets an easy shot inside on the next possession.

10:47 pm: 51-44, Florida. Ohio State continues to score in the paint, where they have 32 of their 44 points.

10:50 pm: 53-44, Florida. With 12 minutes left, Florida’s frontcourt is in deep foul trouble now. Let’s see if Ohio State can use that to take the lead back.

Official timeout.

10:53 pm: 53-46, Florida. Conley hits the tough revers layup, as Ohio State tries to attack the foul troubled frontcourt of the Gators.

10:54 pm: 56-46, Florida. On the very next possession, Lee Humphrey fakes out Jamar Butler and hits another three to give Florida a double digit lead.

10:57 pm: 58-47, Florida. In spite of the foul trouble, Florida is running Oden ragged. He can’t outfight the Gators for a rebound anymore, and Horford is able to slam it on the other end uncontested.

10:59 pm: 61-50, Florida. Noah picks up his fourth foul but Oden is absolutely exhausted now. Before the commercial break, I think I heard Jim Nantz say “The F—eyes!”

8:23 left.

11:01 pm: 64-52, Florida. A great initial block by Oden, but how can anyone leave Humphrey so wide open?

11:04 pm: 64-56, Florida. Ohio State scores two straight baskets, and is starting to run a press against the Gators. With Florida’s good passing, this could backfire.

6:14 left.

11:11 pm: 66-60, Florida, 5:00 left. You have to commend Greg Oden, He’s had to play three different Florida players for 33 minutes and is still producing a solid performance.

11:12 pm: 69-62, Florida, 4:30 left. Just as Oden cuts the lead to 6, Taurean Green hits a three at the top of the key.

11:13 pm: 73-62, Florida, 3:25 left. Florida is beginning to kill time. Richard and Horford both hit shots inside, and Florida regains a double digit lead.

11:14 pm: With two and a half minutes to go, the Gators up 11, and Ohio State running on fumes, this game looks pretty much over.

11:17 pm: So that’s why Ohio State is losing. Jim Tressel isn’t wearing the sweater vest.

11:19 pm: 75-63, Florida, 2:15 left. As Florida is closing in on being at the pinnacle of college basketball, I begin to wonder: whatever happened to Teddy Dupay, one of the players that first put Billy Donovan’s team on the map? He was their star point guard when they shocked Duke in 200 en route to the 2000 NCAA Tournament finals before losing to Michigan State. Yet I have not heard from him since.

11:22 pm: Damn. If you thought Joakim Noah was ugly, you should take a look at Yannick. Nnnyyyagghhh…

11:29 pm: It’s official: Florida wins, 84-75, and captures their 2nd consecutive national championship. Congratulations to the Gators, who executed a near perfect gameplan, giving Oden and Conley fits all night, shooting lights out from three, and silencing all the critics (myself included; I had them losing to Maryland in my bracket). Most importantly, with Ohio State’s loss I am spared the embarrassment of losing a bracket challenge to a penny. Corey Brewer is the Most Outstanding Player, which he deserves. His overall play was insane tonight.

I’ll be liveblogging the Women’s National Championship tomorrow night, but now I’m going to bed.

Posted in #1, AHHHHH!!! MY EYES!, Basketball, Big Ten, Billy Packer, Bracket, College Basketball, Digital Headbutt, Final Four, Florida Gators, Live Blog, NCAA Tournament, Ohio State, SEC | 12 Comments »

NCAA Final Four: Prepare Yourself for Billy Packer

Posted by Mike on March 30, 2007

It’s that time of year again, the Final Four, the time we finally determine the best team in college basketball. It also means one can no longer avoid listening to Billy Packer. So to help you prepare for the his onslaught upon your eardrums, I have assembled a collection of clips to help you prepare…and survive.

billy_packer2.jpgdr_weird.jpg

(Photo: Billy Packer looks into a mirror.)

First, the clip of Gerald Henderson’s elbow to Tyler Hansbrough. Who can forget this call by Packer?

By Comparison, here’s a call he made in a Duke-Kentucky NCAA Tournament game.

Here are some lesser known Billy Packer moments, many of his outbursts that never make it to television. I think this is what you’re most likely to see beginning tomorrow night.

I hope that you are now immune to whatever Billy is going to say on Saturday and Monday. Lord help us if he’s in a Taco Bell commercial.

UPDATE: I saw this after I posted and uhh…wow.

That’s it. I’m going to avoid him for the sake of my sanity and watch the Women’s Final Four. At least the Tar Heels are participating.

Posted in #1, ACC, AHHHHH!!! MY EYES!, Basketball, Big East, Big Ten, Billy Packer, Bracket, Buckeyes, College Basketball, Digital Headbutt, Final Four, Florida Gators, Funny Videos, Georgetown, Hoyas, NCAA Tournament, Ohio State, Pac 10, UCLA | 3 Comments »