Posted: Wednesday March 30, 2005 6:33PM; Updated: Wednesday March 30, 2005 7:44PM
Eight In The Box
1. The last most of us saw Memphis freshman point guard Darius Washington, he was crouching in agony at the free-throw line at the end of the Tigers' 75-74 Conference USA final loss to Louisville. Moments earlier, Washington, a 73-percent free-throw shooter on the season, had stepped up to the line with Memphis trailing the Cardinals 75-73 to shoot a trio of free throws. Washington swished the first, but clanged the last two.
It's funny: the diameter of the rim is double that of the basketball, but it never seems that way when you're shooting foul shots in the final seconds of a close game.
Three weeks later, Louisville is headed to the Final Four while Memphis is in New York to play in the NIT semifinal (the Cards never needed to win the C-USA final to qualify for the Big Dance; the Tigers did). And Washington? He has buried 18-of-20 free throws (90 percent), including 12-of-13 in a quarterfinal win against Vanderbilt last week.
Washington -- who recalls making 30 free throws in a row once when he was 15 -- hasn't given much thought to how far Louisville, a team that he was two fouls shots away from upending in early March.
"We're in a different tourney," says Washington. "We can't worry about them."
2. Speaking of missed free throws and Washington, did anyone have a less enjoyable two minutes in the NCAA tournament than Washington's Bobby Jones? Early in the Huskies' Sweet 16 loss to Louisville last Thursday, Jones was fouled as he attempted a 3-point shot. He missed all three free throws (looking mighty uncomfortable) and then as he hustled upcourt to play defense after the third miss, he ran full speed into a Cardinal player setting a screen at midcourt. After that sequence, Jones just looked as if he needed a hug.
3. The other day, I was so bored that I went onto IMDB (Internet Movie Data Base), typed in Quest for Fire, and then hit the link for "memorable quotes".
4. My all-NCAA Tourney Shameless Huckster Team:
David Spade: The definitive "Nos" job.
Darius Rucker, a.k.a., Hootie: I don't know if I'll ever be able to listen to Cracked Rear View again. Then again, I haven't since 1995.
Mike Krzyzewski: On an unrelated note, I'm guessing that the Blue Devils' Reggie Love is not the same one who shielded Brad Renfro from Tommy Lee Jones (he makes it into the blog again!) in The Client.
Dennis Haysbert: From the empty seats of that arena he finds himself in, I'm guessing it's a women's NCAA tourney game.
Lauren Miller: The cute med student, who's a former NCAA athlete, should hire an agent and angle for a role on Scrubs.
5. Reason No. 5,486 Why I Love College Athletics: During the recent ECAC hockey tournament semifinals, Cornell defeated Vermont in the opener. In the later game, Colgate and Harvard went into a second overtime, at which point Big Red fans began chanting, "Our team's sleeping!" (Thanks to SIOC stringer Matt Janiga for that one).
6. Denver may want to make room for another Dynasty beside the Carringtons and the John Elway-era. I'm talking about the University of Denver. The tiny school from the Mile High City is on the verge of winning its third NCAA national championship in the past 12 months (give or take a week or so). Earlier this month, DU won its 18th NCAA Skiing national title in Stowe, Vt., with men's cross-country skier Rene Reisshauer capturing the 20K freestyle. Next week in Columbus, Ohio, the Pioneer men's hockey team will attempt to defend the national title it won last year against Maine. In that contest the Pioneers, playing two men down (because of penalties) in the final 94 seconds, held off the Black Bears for a 1-0 victory.
With only 4,432 undergrads, DU is comparable in size to the larger Denver-area high schools. Yet the Pioneers, should they win, will match Southern Cal and UCLA for the most D-I national titles since mid-March of 2004. Further, the hockey team sold out all 20 home games this season at Magness Arena, which seats 6,026.
7. Reason No. 8,134: Each Kansas State baseball player was invited to pick their favorite tune to play as they approached the plate this season. Wildcat infielder Eli Rumler missed the deadline, or forgot, about this invitation. His teammates selected a song for him: Celine Dion's My Heart Will Go On from Titanic. Earlier this month, Rumler homered against St. Francis and as he rounded the bases you could hear "Near, far, wherever you are...." blaring on the loudspeakers. (Thanks to Deb Wallevand, our stringer at K-State).
8. And finally: So the other night, I'm watching Lost Boys for the first time since it was released in the late 1980s. There's a scene where the mom, played by Dianne Wiest, enters young teen Corey Haim's bedroom to say goodnight. And if you look closely, on the closet door in the background, there's a suggestive, sexy poster of then-young beau-hunk Rob Lowe. I don't get it. He's a 13 year-old boy.
Surely he should have gone with a Tom CruiseTop Gun poster.