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Quick shots (cont.)

Posted: Tuesday March 27, 2007 3:58PM; Updated: Tuesday March 27, 2007 10:30PM
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UCLA star Arron Afflalo had plenty to celebrate as he broke out of his mini-slump to lead the Bruins back to the Final Four.
UCLA star Arron Afflalo had plenty to celebrate as he broke out of his mini-slump to lead the Bruins back to the Final Four.
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Joey Dorsey's pregame call out of Oden will go down in history. Anytime a player does that in the future, everyone will say, "It's just like what that Memphis guy said about Greg Oden back in 2007."

• I have a lot of admiration for UCLA guard Arron Afflalo. Here's a guy who goes 18-of-54 from the floor in his previous five games, yet scores 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting in the Bruins' win over Kansas. That's what you call a winner. Keep in mind that even though he was misfiring from the field, Afflalo kept grinding his way to the foul line, where he shot 21-of-28 during that same stretch.

• I can't recall seeing a college center play better defense 20 feet away from the basket than Joakim Noah does. Too many people focus on what Noah doesn't do, but his rebounding, defense, shot-blocking and emotional leadership more than makes up for whatever deficiencies he has on offense.

Tyler Hansbrough will face one of the more interesting will-he-stay-or-will-he-go decisions of the spring. Hansbrough has indicated he might come back to North Carolina, and I think that would be the right decision. He never developed an offensive game beyond bullying his way to the basket. All UNC needed down the stretch against Georgetown was one or two baskets in the half-court to stop the bleeding, but Hansbrough's only move was to back his way against 7-2 Roy Hibbert. You can see how well that worked.

• On the other hand, Hansbrough's froncourtmate, Brandan Wright, proves that if you're long, athletic and intelligent enough, you don't have to have shooting range to be an effective scorer. Wright has to be the most dominant scorer I've ever seen who can't hit a shot outside of three feet. I'd be very, very surprised if he comes back to Chapel Hill for his sophomore season.

• My NCAA tournament all-underrated team: Jonathan Wallace, Georgetown; Brandon Crone, Butler; Josh Shipp, UCLA; Jeremy Hunt, Memphis; Sasha Kaun, Kansas.

• If not having a bunch of upsets means getting this kind of high-powered Final Four, I'll take it every time.

• I was as quick as anyone to cite Memphis' free throw shooting as a potentially fatal weakness, but here's why we in the media need to look at the numbers inside the numbers. True, the Tigers were ranked 313th in the nation as a team at 61.2 percent, but much of that is attributed to Dorsey's 46.5 percent clip. (Because of his position, Dorsey was second on the team in attempts this season.) Memphis shot great from the line during the tournament because it got its better shooters to the line.

• I'm sorry to keep revisiting the Jeff Green did-he-or-didn't-he walk question, and I do agree with Grant Wahl that we TV folks tend to overdue the Zapruder thing, but I just want to make clear where I stand: Green walked, no question. I always thought that a player walks when he lifts up his pivot foot (and said so incorrectly on CBS), but the rules state that he can lift the pivot foot as long as he releases the ball (for a pass or shot) before it comes down.

However, when we examined the footage more closely it was apparent that Green did in fact shuffle his pivot foot before making his move. That means he walked. While some commentators continue to dispute that conclusion (despite the video evidence to the contrary), I've heard that others ripped the referees for not noticing the violation. I am in neither camp. The extra step was so quick that there's no way you can find fault with an official for not seeing it. It's also understandable that a ref would be more concerned with contact than with what the player is doing with his feet in that situation. I expect referees to be good, not superhuman.

• As good a player as I think Pittsburgh center Aaron Gray is, it will be interesting to see how the Panthers do next season without him. My hunch is they will be smaller, quicker and deploy a more up-tempo attack, all of which should be to their benefit.

• Seven young teams that lost before the Sweet 16 but gave their fans something to be excited about for next year: Purdue, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Arkansas, Texas and Louisville.

• Finally, longtime readers of this column will recall that the only thing I love more than college hoops is the world's greatest band, The Radiators from New Orleans. So if you're in the New York City area and looking to get over the post-Final Four doldrums, not to mention celebrate my 37th birthday, then be sure to check out the Rads at the Lion's Den in Greenwich Village on the weekend of April 20-21 as part of the Green Apple Music Fest. You can buy tickets here.

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