J.J. Redick’s jump shot
finally showed up Friday afternoon after running away from home for a couple of
But, even while pulling out an
80-76 decision over the University of
Miami that snapped a two-game losing
streak, Duke continued to look, at times, like a team running on
Even more significant to the Blue
Devils’ victory in the ACC quarterfinal than Redick’s shooting (nine of 17 from
the field, including five of 11 on 3’s) was the boost that sophomore DeMarcus Nelson (14 points, including four of seven on 3’s) and freshmen Josh McRoberts (10 points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots) and Greg Paulus (eight points, five assists and zero turnovers) gave Mike Krzyzewski’s team.
The Blue Devils are a Sweet 16 team
if they have to depend on Redick and Shelden Williams to pretty much
carry the offensive load for them in each NCAA Tournament game. If they are
getting solid productivity from the likes of Nelson, McRoberts and Sean Dockery, they are a Final Four team.
It sounds pretty simple but it’s
also an accurate assessment.
BOUNCING AROUND THE
*As was the case with Seton Hall (with its 13-point loss to Rutgers in a Big East first-round game)
Wednesday, Air Force (to Wyoming, in the Mountain West), Florida State (to Wake Forest, in the ACC) and Michigan (to Minnesota, in the Big Ten) suffered
potentially NCAA Tournament bid hopes-crushing defeats in games most figured
they needed to win to secure at-large bid aspirations.
The Pirates and Wolverines have
slicker at-large resumes than do the Falcons and Seminoles (despite the latter’s
win over Duke last week).
Michigan has dropped seven of its
past nine games (albeit, five of those coming to teams that will be in the NCAA
Tournament). And Seton Hall has lost four of its past six games – all of those
coming at the hands of teams who have no shots at NCAA tourney bids.
That’s why Wolverines’ and Pirates’
players and coaches will have queasy stomachs waiting for CBS to unveil the
tournament bracket Sunday evening.
You’ve put yourself into that
isn’t exactly rolling into Selection Sunday with gobs of momentum.
The Volunteers’ 79-71 loss to
South Carolina was their fourth in
the past six games.
A few weeks ago Bruce
Pearl’s team was looking like a likely No. 2 seed. A four is probably as
good as it will get Sunday.
*Last month, it seemed likely that
Indiana would be playing host to
an NIT game in the third week of March.
But, after seven losses in a
stretch of nine games during which Mike Davis announced his resignation,
the Hoosiers are playing like the potential Sweet 16 team they appeared to be in
December. Their 61-56 victory over a very anemic
Wisconsin team Thursday in
Indianapolis was their fifth in a
If they’re an eight or nine seed
and survive their opening-round game, they would seem to have a reasonable
opportunity against any of the potential No. 1 seeds – at least, based on the
way they played in a narrow loss to Duke on Nov. 30 and a reasonably close game
with Connecticut on Feb. 4.
*Texas A&M ended any remaining
doubts about its NCAA Tournament at-large worthiness with its 86-33 thumping of
Colorado Friday, its eighth win in
Any Buffaloes’ followers who were
holding out hopes for an NCAA bid were welcomed back to reality in
Dallas. Get fired up for that NIT
*Washington Coach Lorenzo Romar,
in an effort to give Pac 10 Player of the Year Brandon Roy a little
rest over what shaped up as a potential three-day haul, removed Roy from the
Huskies’ quarterfinal game with Oregon Thursday night in Los Angeles with 13
minutes to go and a 13-point lead.
But the time
Roy could be ushered back into the
game, the Ducks had trimmed their deficit to five points and they’d gained the
momentum they needed to pull off an 84-71 upset of the Huskies.
finished with 30 points but didn’t get a lot of help from his teammates in an
attempt to stem the Ducks’ rally.
*When what had been rumored all
season – Arizona State coach Rob Evans’ firing – finally became official
Friday, it meant that speculation will only heat up more intently that Jamie Dixon (Pittsburgh), Lon Kruger (UNLV) and Randy Bennett (Saint
Mary’s) are three of the most prominent possible
Inducted into the USBWA Hall of
Fame last April, Frank Burlison is Scout.com’s national basketball expert and is
also a columnist for the Long Beach (Calif.) Press-Telegram. He can be reached
at email@example.com. Read more of Burlison’s pieces at