One Shining Moment
Whether it's the Luther Vandross or the David Barrett version, we all dig the One Shining Moment montage that follows the NCAA championship coronation on Monday. Let's do the CBS grunts a favor and create a thread of our favorite shining moments from this year's tourney. We'll start it off with Big Baby in a boa, Chris Lofton's fall-away three and a Joakim Noah pane-rattling scream. Now it's your turn.
The ball is tipped/and there you are...
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The Duke Lacrosse Scandal
By now you've read the news about the Duke men's lacrosse team. If not, here's the Cliff's Notes Version: On March 13, two exotic dancers were hired to perform at an off-campus party hosted by three members of the lacrosse team and attended by as many as 40 players. Alcohol was present. While some upperclassmen at the party were of legal drinking age, many of those in attendance were not. The alleged victim, a black single mother of two and a student at nearby North Carolina Central University, told police she was pulled into a bathroom, beaten, choked and raped by three men. Police have ordered 46 of the 47 members of the lacrosse team to provide DNA samples to compare with ones taken from the accuser (DNA was not taken from the lone black member of the team because the woman said her assailants were white). The test results should be in early next week. Meanwhile, Duke president Richard H. Brodhead announced the suspension of all of the team's games until the investigation is complete. For more details of the story, check out this story by SI.com's Tim Layden.
On the campus at Duke, students, faculty members and Durham residents have staged at least a half-dozen vigils and protests during the past five days, including a "Take Back the Night" march last night. Many students feel the school hasn't done enough to pressure players into telling authorities what happened.
Today, we want to know if you agree with Brodhead's decision. Did he do the right thing in suspending the team indefinitely or should he have waited until all the facts of the case are in? Should he be doing more? Would he have acted in the same manner if this was the men's basketball team right before the NCAA Championships? What's your take?
The Women's Final Four
Most hoops fans have spent the last couple of weeks enjoying the rollercoaster ride that is this year's NCAA Tournament. Now that the smoke has cleared, everyone can throw away their busted brackets and enjoy some good old-fashioned Final Four basketball this weekend. But the men aren't the only game in town. The women's tournament has also been exceptional, and after last night's games, that Final Four is set and it eerily resembles the ACC Conference Tournament from three weeks ago. Three of the four teams (Duke, UNC and Maryland) are in the field with lone outsider LSU.
Today, we want to hear your predictions for the women's Final Four. We think that despite this ACC-heavy field, LSU will end up on top with Seimone Augustus taking home the Most Outstanding Player Award. What's your prediction?
The Other Cinderellas
Outside of Florida, Louisiana and the lower half of California, the entire country seems to have pig-piled onto the George Mason bandwagon. The chatter among passengers is focusing on where the Patriots' run ranks in the pantheon of unforeseen upsets. Someone from the back of the bus hollered something about Indiana State's 1979 title run, and while the Sycamores were the only other mid-major to go to the Final Four, it's important to point out that ISU was an undefeated one-seed that year led by one of the greatest players of all-time - Larry Bird.
In terms of sheer odds-defying unpredictability, our analogy to George Mason's streak is Northwestern's wild Rose Bowl run in 1995. The less-than-storied Wildcats kicked off their season defeating Notre Dame in what was dubbed "the upset of the century" and later plowed through their Big Ten schedule, winning eight straight memorable games before bowing to USC in the Rose Bowl.
What other NCAA postseason runs are comparable to George Mason's? Is there a D-II volleyball parallel we're missing, a shocking baseball or rowing run from the '70s we've forgotten? Inquiring minds want to know.
Looking Ahead to Saturday
What a weekend. In what is becoming one of the best NCAA Tournaments of all time, the Final Four teams are ready to take the floor on Saturday in Indianapolis. And we'd be willing to bet that nobody in the millions of office pools around the nation predicted a Final Four of Florida, UCLA, LSU and George Mason. But that's the beauty of the Big Dance. This year especially, it seems like anything can happen.
Looking ahead, we're hoping for an LSU-Florida final just to see the Gators' frontcourt of Joakim Noah and Al Horford match up against Big Baby and Tyrus Thomas. But in order for that to happen, we need Florida to knock off George "Cinderella" Mason. This game is hard to predict because the Gators have the advantage over the Patriots in just about every category. But so did Michigan State, North Carolina and Connecticut, and look at what good it did them. But as much as we hate to crash the party, we just don't see George Mason getting past Florida. As much of an upset Sunday's win over UConn was for the Patriots, the Huskies looked out of sorts throughout most of the tournament whereas the Gators have looked unbeatable. We just don't see any way that the undersized Patriots can handle the size and talent of the Gators.
LSU-UCLA is the game we're really looking forward to and it comes down to one thing: Can the bigs of UCLA match up with the bigs of LSU? We know Big Baby and Thomas are future NBA studs who can dominate a game, but can Cedric Bozeman and Ryan Hollins keep up? We don't think so, and the Bruins' awful free-throw shooting won't help matters much, either. That's why we like the Tigers to keep rolling all the way to the championship against the Gators.
What are your thoughts on Saturday's games? Will George Mason ever lose? Can the Bruins keep up with the Tigers? What are the keys to each game?
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