The Syracuse Orange, the best team in the NCAA, lost against the Louisville Cardinals this Sunday 78-68. It was the team's final game in Freedom Hall; subsequent games will be played at a new court downtime. This is the second time this season the Orange have lost against the Cardinals. The first time was just a few weeks ago, on February 14th, 66-60. These two losses are only two of Syracuse's three losses aE" total aE" this season. The team won the Big East regular season title early this past week and is likely to be the first seed in the NCAA tournament. With this victory, the Cardinals also look likely to find a spot in the tournament. Both teams entered the first half aggressively, although the Orange were scoring a bit better in field goal, shooting for 51.7% while the Cardinals were only at 35.3%. Unsurprisingly, then, Syracuse took an early lead with 6:30 left in the half. Rick Jackson had scored off of an assist from Scoop Jardine, putting the score 21-20. Minutes later, the lead was extended to 8 points with a three-point shot and a layup from Jardine, moving the scoreboard to 35-27. And with just 3 seconds before the end of the half, Egdar Sosa scored for Louisville to make it 35-30.Both teams started the second half cold, together combining zero points over the opening three minutes.
Abruptly, however, the Cardinals came to life with a 10-2 run in a four-minute stretch, taking control of the game. Syracuse cute the Cardinals' lead to just five points, 66-61, after Onuaku made a shot with 5:20 left to play. The Cardinals may not have needed a savior, but they got one in the form of Kyle Kuric. He came off the bench to lead with 22 points, including 4 three-pointers in the second half. Despite the Orange's effort, their poor shooting was evident, and Kuric's performance was so strong that he pushed the Louisville into an assured victory, 78-68. At the end of the game, Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim praised the efforts of his players even when their scoring inside the paint became weak from the Cardinals' much-improved defense in the second half. He also gave credit to the Louisville's offense, which knew how to counterattack the Orange's zone defense and make use of rebounds.Sometimes in this league it just comes down to matchups.
Louisville's a zone team, they practice against it everyday, and they're the best team in the league against our zone. That's what we do well; rebound the ball. I thought Louisville just went after it harder and did a better job on the boards than we did," said Boeheim. Syracuse forward Wes Johnson stated that his team lost control of the game in the second half; the players had become a little desperate when they realized they couldn't score. aEoeI think we lost our composure in the second half a lot more than in the first half. It got loud and after that I think we just lost our composure, and that's something we rarely do and we did today,aE?????? said Johnson.
The second-seeded K-State defeated seventh-seeded BYU 84-72 this past Sunday to reach the Sweet 16. It's the first time K-State has done so in 22 years, when the team got to the Elite Eight. Guard Jacob Pullen led the Wildcats with 34 points while BYU star Jimmer Fredette, who was roughed up by the KSU defense and Pullen in particular, contributed 21 points for his team. Denis Clemente also added 19 points for K-State. The Wildcats started the game, played at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City, at a very slow pace, missing their first three attempts while the Cougars took advantage for a 10-0 run. KSU reacted intelligently; however, cutting BYU's lead until the score was nearly tied at 29-28 with 4:21 left before halftime. K-State then took a 10-0 run of its own and turned the score around, gaining a 10 aE"point lead of 41-31 at halftime. Pullen alone added the last 11 points with 5 three-pointers; he scored 20 of his 34 points during this half as well. BYU spent the second half trying to get back into the game, cutting the difference to 6 points in the first three minutes of the half.With 14 minutes left in the half, Fredette had an opportunity to cut the Wildcats' lead to just 3 points with a three-pointer, but the ball went out for him. Just seconds later, Clemente made a similar attempt that added another 3 points for K-State, extending their lead to 9 points. Minutes later, with BYU fighting to get back in the game and down 68-61, Pullen again destroyed the team's illusions. Pullen made a three-pointer to give the Wildcats a comfortable 10-point lead, 71-61, with 2:46 left. BYU was unable to close the gap to less than five points for the rest of the game.
Kansas State took the victory, 84-72. At the game's conclusion, Pullen said he was very excited to have reached the Sweet 16 with his team; he was also pleased with his own contribution of 34 points. aEoeIt's an amazing feeling.It's a childhood dream. I've watched basketball my whole life. I watched all of the NCAA tournaments since I was a kid, so for me to be able to be in this position, I thank Frank all the time. It's an amazing thing that he was able to give me the opportunity,aE?????? said Pullen. BYU guard Fredette, on the other hand, lamented his team's loss, although he gave credit to K-State for a strong game. aEoeWe had a great season. We were able to get past the first round finally, but we ran into a really good team. They did a good job, were aggressive and sometimes that happens. They had a good game plan, executed it pretty well and played good defense,aE?????? Fredette said. The Wildcats will now play Xavier in the West Regional Semifinal at the EnergySolutions Arena on March 25th.
LeBron James still has at least eight or nine more seasons of good basketball in him. He started straight out of high school, and even though it took him 8 years to finally get an NBA Championship, he is the best active player in the NBA. But is he just good enough, does he have the athletic and mental strength to reach the heights of the all-time best? The issue is out there. The virtual head-to-head is perhaps as fascinating to the NBA fan as an impossible matchup between the 1992 Team USA Olympic Dream Team and it's 2012 London homologue. And yet, Micheal Jordan's resume is so much more impressive than that of LeBron. But the credentials, the rings, is not all there is to this comparison.For intance, Kobe Bryant has 5 NBA Championships, just one less than Jordan, and yet, it seems that James is so much closer to be in the same stratospheric league as Jordan than Bryant. Perhaps the issue at hand here is that James physicality is just something that we haven't seen yet in a basketball player. And perhaps that gives him an edge over the field. At 6 feet 8 inches tall, and weighting in 250 pounds, the 27-year-old James has an unique skill set. He can run just as fast as any point guard in the league, he has the mobility of a much smaller and agile player, he can jump as high as any center, and he can certainly shoot and defend like few others.
Now, joining Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade at the Miami Heat, LeBron James has managed to get a very good to seasons since he made the decision to leavel the Cleveland Cavaliers and take his talents to South Beach. James signed off a remarkable year earlier this month with an Olympic gold medal for Team USA. In the last 12 months James won his third league MVP, his first NBA championship and an NBA Finals MVP. But what has certainly sparked up the conversation lately has been the comments given by James teammate Dwayne Wade. "I don't know if (James) has the ability to surpass (Jordan) or not," said in an interview last week "That's yet to be seen. My version as LeBron being on par with Michael is this: They're both on the golf course. Michael's on the 18th hole.LeBron is somewhere on like the fourth hole. He's got a long way to go, but he's on par to get to the 18th hole." From a safe distance, it looks as if Wade's evaluation seems very fair based. James is young, his potential is still as important as his achievements. If he can continue building up around him in Miami, many good things are still to come. "He's now playing with that confidence, that swagger that you need, and he's right in the smack of his prime. We've all seen it from all the best players in this game, all the future Hall of Famers, that age -- 27, 28, 29 -- that's like the best years, and then after that if you stay healthy, then you have even more great years like a Michael Jordan, like a Kobe (Bryant) has had, when they reach their 30s." It seems as if only time will tell.
It really seems as if the Boston Celtics know exactly what it takes to keep the Miami Heat under the radar. The Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo had a triple-double and Kevin Garnet came in with 19 points, 7 boards and 3 assists to guide the Celtics on a 85-82 come from behind win against the Miami Heat. In clutch time, the Heat took their chances and went for a three-point shot that would have sent the game into overtime. But surprise, surprise, it wasn't Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh or LeBron James who took the shot, but Mike Miller who went for it and missed.There are a couple of ways we could look at this situation. The Miami Heat has made a multimillion-dollar investment in signing in three of the hottest players in the league early in the season. The renovated team that included players of the caliber of Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron James had a bit of an extended break in period but once all the mechanisms were working together and things got oiled up, the Miami Heat was capable of impressive wins over the strongest teams in the nation, including a Christmas Day win over the defending champions the LA Lakers.But they have yet to know what it feels like to defeat the National Championship runner-up, the veteran-wise Boston Celtics. Here are the extra kicks: playing in the eastern conference the Celtics are expectedly the team that is going to dominate the Playoffs where they will probably face the Miami Heat (which is arguably the other strongest team in that conference). And that is where the situation takes an interesting turn.Take a look at this: The Boston Celtics have won 12 of the last 13 games against the Miami, that is including a 4-1 series victory in the first round of last year's playoffs. Yes that was before King James came over from Cleveland. But if you look back at that series you would realize that they then knocked LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers out in the next round. So sure, in the summer James made his move to Miami to join Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, but not muchas has changed: the Heat still haven't been able to beat Boston.Now, this is where it gets a bit scary for most Boston fans or at least those of us who have our high hopes, and made an early bet on the Celtics to go all the way: head coach Doc Rivers should really find a way to keep his squad healthy, as the Big Three, Paul Pierce, Ray Allan and Kevin Garnett, are all in the twilight of their careers and no matter how well they do in the regular season, it is all worthless if they are not as strong and as motivated as they are right now when the playoffs kickoff.This was enough for the Celtics two snap a two game loss streak and maintain their healthy record of not losing three consecutive games so far this season. The Celtics will now play the New Jersey Nets on Wednesday and hitting the road to play Golden State, Denver, Los Angeles Clippers and Utah this upcoming week.
For residents and visitors of Scottsdale, make sure to get out and get involved in this year's March Madness. March Madness is really heating up and watching the excitement with like minded sports fans always enhances the enjoyment. Here are just a few of the hot spots where you can go to share the thrill of the season.Four Peaks Brewery : This is a terrific experience for beer enthusiasts and sports fans alike. Four Peaks takes pride in their on-site brewery, which has produced a number of award winning brews since they opened their doors. Four Peaks has two locations, a fun and historic environment, relaxed atmosphere and tasty food. It's a good choice for watching the final four excitement while sampling some of the most unique and enjoyable brews. 15730 N.
Pima Rd., Scottsdale.Zipps Sports Grille: With various Valley locations - and each one differing as to its favorite pick, no matter where you go they still offer the same delicious homemade menu and large selection of your favorite libations served by a very friendly crew. You can watch the game on H.D. flat screen TV's, or play a game of pool or shuffleboard in your Neighborhood Sports Grill. Remember to bring your friends along or if you like, make new ones at a Zipps location near you. Check their website for the various locations.Blue 32: Here's another place where you can enjoy your favorite team on one of their 28 flat screen hi-def televisions. Relax and enjoy a tasty burger or some spicy wings. The friendly staff there prides themselves on preparing quality food and ensuring that their visitors have a fantastic dining experience. 7293 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale.Arcadia Tavern: Even though it's only been open for about two years, Arcadia Tavern can host March Madness like any of the more seasoned taverns.
The bar has twenty-four, 50-inch flat screen TVs surrounding it. The all day special on Saturday, is bottled beer for half price. They serve delicious wings which you can order in a number of ways: tavern-style, with cayenne pepper sauce, with sweet citrus teriyaki or with southwest honey chipotle. By the way, if you can't find a babysitter just bring the kids with you. There are Xbox and Wii stations set up to keep the wee one entertained so the grown-ups can unwind. 4801 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix.