Posted: Wednesday March 23, 2005 2:56PM; Updated: Wednesday March 23, 2005 2:56PM
Eight In The Box
1. Did you see the final 10 seconds of Wichita State-Vanderbilt in Monday night's NIT matchup in Nashville? C'mon! Are you kidding me? Had that been an NCAA contest, they'd be PTIing it, Around the Horning it, Woody-Skipping it, even McEntegarting it, for the next week. Or more.
The scenario: 0:10 ...Vandy up 61-60 with about 10 ticks left, and the Shockers run a perfect high pick play for Jamar Howard, who looks to have an open layup after receiving the pass from the left wing. Howard's shot falls short. The Commodores' DeMarre Carroll is credited with a block, but it looked as if Howard just alligator-armed the layup. Shocker coach Mark Turgeon goes crazy under the basket (remember, this is at Vandy, where the benches are on the baselines), wanting a foul, but doesn't get it. Vandy's Mario Moore is fouled and hits both free throws, making the score 63-60 with six seconds left.
0:03 ... Vandy fouls Wichita State freshman Sean Ogirri before he can attempt a 3. Ogirri makes the first foul shot, then perfectly bounces the second off the back of the iron. One Shocker tips the ball upward, and the second (Howard) catches the ball and puts in an uncontested lay-in with 0:00.7 seconds left. Tie score, 63-63.
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0:00.7 ... The Commodores' Jason Holwerda tosses a pass the length of the court, which falls into the hands of Corey Smith, who somehow got behind -- completely unnoticed -- three Shocker defenders. Here's how perfect Holwerda's pass was, and how near to the basket Smith caught it. Smith was able to catch the ball and hit the bucket in less than a second, and there was no doubt in anyone's mind that the play should stand.
Commodores 65, Shockers 63.
Shocker, alright. Easily the most exciting finish to any game this season.
2. Kenyon College recently won an unprecedented 26th consecutive Division III national championship in men's swimming. So you might ask what's in the water there in Gambier, Ohio? And the answer would be very fast swimmers.
3. L.A. Glory: In the past twelve months, UCLA and USC have each won three Division I national championships, more than any other school. The Bruins are the all-time leaders in D-I titles, and can thank their women for padding that lead with championships in golf, gymnastics and softball. The Trojans, No. 3 all-time (behind Stanford) won titles in men's and women's water polo and football (the last of which is not an official NCAA championship).
Five other schools have won two national championships since March 22, 2004. Can you name the schools and the sports? Answer in No. 8.
4. I know that I've alluded to this before, but do you think we could get an Amber Alert out for Kenny Mayne? I'm beginning to think Who Killed Kenny? is not just a South Park reference. Mayne? Mayne? Mayne? Anyone? Anyone?
5. About six weeks ago I wrote a column about Illinois and opined (that's right, I opined!) that even a fairly passionate college hoops fan couldn't name all five Illini starters. A few readers wrote in and called me an idiot. Others disagreed with them, calling me a moron. Then, last Sunday on The Sports Reporters, Mitch Albom said one reason college hoops is not as fervently followed as it once was (and I agree with him, despite CBS' ratings numbers) is that " fans know maybe one guy on even the best teams".
If Mr. Five People You Meet... agrees with me, that's all I need.
6. The Tuesday New York Times had a piece about the one original trend of this year's season, something we've seen a lot of this March especially: poppin' the jersey. You know, when a guy nails a 3, or delivers a savage dunk, or leads his team to an upset victory, his first response is to pull the area of the jersey with the school's name away from his body as if to highlight it. The piece says nobody seems to know for sure where it originated, but I contend that it was started by every seventh-grade wiseass who wanted to mock the over-developed girl in his class.
7. SI senior writer (and cover boy) Tom Verducci may only have hit a pop fly in his lone major league at-bat with the Toronto Blue Jays last month, but he knocked one out of the park with his on-line column yesterday about the losers at the Congressional Steroid hearings. It's rare for a writer who will spend his summer in and out of major league clubhouses to admonish baseball with such unabashed candor. My insightful observation from the hearings? If you had put a pair of sunglasses on Rafael Palmiero, he looked a lot like the titular character from Weekend at Bernie's.
8. And now the answer to No. 3: Connecticut: men's basketball and women's basketball. Colorado: men's cross country and women's cross country Denver: men's ice hockey and skiing (a co-ed sport) Louisiana State: men's outdoor track and women's outdoor track Notre Dame: fencing (co-ed) and women's soccer