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Looking back on a weekend that gave us one extra day of discussion...
March Madness in the air
- For most of the game, it looked as though North Carolina State would deny Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski's entry into college basketball's 800-win club, but the seventh-ranked Blue Devils managed to claw their way back as Coach K let his players do the deciding in a 87-86 come-from-behind win on Saturday after DeMarcus Nelson made both his free throws. Coach K joing immortals such as Dean Smith and his mentor, Bob Knight, in the rarified air of CBB success.
- The conference tourneys may be taking place within the next two weeks, but that didn't mean that some related excitement came about:
- Georgetown looked as though they would be thrown into the Upset Canyon at the hands of #21 Marquette, but the fifth-ranked Hoyas managed to fight back as Jonathan Wallace (who scored 20 points along with big man Roy Hibert]] banked a three-ball in overtime to help in a 70-68 win over the Golden Eagles.
- After getting pantsed in their previous game, Texas Tech head coach Pat Knight took a page out of his famous father's playbook and ran a practice on Friday that may have left TT students confused in thinking that spring football practice was being held. Well, whatever General, Jr. cooked up translated to an upset of fifth-ranked Texas, 83-80, thanks to a crucial string of six free throws by Alan Voskuil down the stretch.
- In a game devoid of any and all drama, Cornell defeated Harvard 86-53 to clinch the Ivy League and punch the very first ticket to the NCAA tournament.
On to the pros
- A week and a half after being traded from the Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers forward Ben Wallace praised his old mates, and then it was up to new playmate Lebron James to bury them with 37 points in a 95-86 home win.
- The second half of Sunday's coast-to-coast doubleheader saw more drama than the above, maybe because of one player. Among Kobe Bryant's 52 points, the 30 scored in the last 17 minutes of the Los Angeles Lakers' 108-104 overtime win over the Dallas Mavericks were the most notable. Bryant also contributed 11 rebounds and four assists in the effort.
Across the Pond
- Arsenal's 1-1 draw at home to Aston Villa (Gunners would have lost hadn't it been for Nicklas Brendtner's injury time goal) allowed Manchester United (3-0 shutout of Fulham at Craven Cottage) to get within spitting distance of the top of the Premiership standings.
- Frank Lampard had himself an interesting Saturday away at West Ham. The Chelsea striker scored on a penalty in the 17th minute, but wound up getting the gate later on after a push to the head of a West Ham player. Lampard's sending off was of little consequence as the Lions went on to a 4-0 win and a six-point deficit of the top two.
- Everton have been the surprise team of the FAPL in 2007-08; further edification came with a 3-1 win over Portsmouth. However, cross-Mersey rivals Liverpool lurk close behind in the hunt for England's last UEFA Champions League berth by one point with a 3-1 win away at Bolton.
- Maybe there was hangover from last week's League Cup win at le manse Tottenham Hotspur. Proof of same: Spurs' 4-1 upset loss to Birmingham City, with a hat trick by Mikael Forsell.
- This event was nicknamed "Pride of a Champion" for the fact that the main event was a unification match between UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva and Pride Fighting Championship top gun Dan Henderson. In the end, Silva prevailed with a rear naked choke submission near the end of the second round.
- In a heavyweight undercard match, American Heath Herring scored a split-decision upset of Frenchman Cheick Kongo.
Odds and Sods
- Carl Edwards may have done backflip for the second week in a row, but NASCAR officials flipped at a couple of things that were amiss about his win at Las Vegas. First, there was the case of an oil cooler which was shut off to allow Edwards to get more air, and thus more speed. Then, there was the matter of an old tire appearing on pit road; it turned out that a cameraman had bumped into Edwards' crew's way. The aftermath oughta be interesting, so stay tuned, gearheads.
- The NFL saw many free-agent signings, as well as some wheeling and dealing, over the weekend. Most notable of both included:
- The Super Bowl champion New York Giants lost two pieces of their defense, with linebacker Kawika Mitchell shuffling of to Buffalo (who will play alongside ex-Jaguar Marcus Stroud in 2008) and safety Gibril Wilson heading west to Oakland.
- Asante Samuel decided to foresake the Super Bowl runner-up New England Patriots and head for Philadelphia.
- The New York Jets were very active on the trading front, giving up Jonathan Vilma to the New Orleans Saints, but picking up Kris Jenkins from the Carolina Panthers for third- and fifth-round picks in this year's draft.
Dudes and Dopes get this week off
But look for them next week; until then, as always, let's all be good sports...