Billy Donovan, Brad Stevens, Butler Bull Dogs, College Basketball, Duke (Blue Devils), Elite Eight (Elite 8), Final Four, NCAA Basketball Championships, NCAA Tournament, NCAA ............, Shelvin Mack, Sports

Mack The Knife …………………….

Mack The Knife …………………….

Well the Florida Gators when the chances were there to put the game ( 74-71 ) away the Butler Bull Dogs simply outplayed the Gators as Brad Stevens’ team make their second consecutive Final Four in the NCAA Tournament .


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Slide show for your perusal.

Destiny was there for the Bull Dogs’ as Shelvin Mack literally stuck the dagger in the backs of the Gators and having impaled Billy Donovan’s team , Mack and his teammates turned and stuck that knife even deeper into the wound as the Gator’s hopes bled incessantly with no way of stopping the flow. Along with that win it now adds further legitimacy as to what Butler has done and in particular it makes the young Brad Stevens perhaps an even hotter prospect as a potential candidate for a NBA coaching position should one become vacant this offseason within the NBA .

This game was as exciting as one would expect and a thriller it turned out to be but at the same time would one say that Butler was a team of destiny ? Or did they simply to their strengths while the Florida Gators fall apart under the mountain of expectations albeit that may well have been the perception of their rabid and vociferous fans ? These are the questions that may well be asked and are still to be answered over the course of the next few days. And while I’ve no doubt that to their credit the Gators under Billy Donovan overachieved with this team . The players to their credit can certainly take something away from this defeat but at the same I don’t think that they can hide the disappointment of this loss and what it meant to them as player but also the Gators’ fans up and down the country.

From my own perspective this tournament has been one to be appreciated from all perspectives but this much I do know seeing the Duke Blue Devils fall (93-77) to the Arizona Wildcats was enough for me to know that this wasn’t to be Mike Krzyzewski’s year to win his fourth national title . So 2012 becomes a another year and another chance to aspire to add to his legacy and that of the Blue Devils’ program.

For Billy Donovan I can’t help but feel sorry for coach and his team as they were never really expected to get this far much less competing with this much competitiveness during the tournament . And for Donovan having won consecutive titles in 2006 and 2007 the coach was seeking to win his third title overall with the Florida Gators. This has been a spectacular run by the coach , this program and what it has done for the school in terms of the publicity gained .

As to the remainder of the tournament the berths have now been set with regard to the Final Four and the teams now chasing collegiate basketball immortality. It has to be said that each of the participants left are deserving of their fate and whatever they achieve from hereon in has to be seen as an added bonus for those teams and their respective fans across the country. Collegiate basketball at the D1 level offers a spectacle unlike any other collegiate tournament presided over by the NCAA or BCS in terms of the FBS and their national championship. The BCS for all of its merits to my mind pales into insignificance in comparison to the NCAA Tournament. And inasmuch as fans across the country have been in awe of the BCS National Championship as a thrilling spectacle is something to appreciate but I for one believe that it elicits nowhere near as enough excitement as that of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament . College football may well be the more popular of the two sports by far of which there’s no denial but there’s every reason to believe that while over the course of the season it has the fans showing their passion for the game . This much we do know is that come time for the NCAA Tournament it grabs even the uninitiated amongst us and has in awe and appreciation for the game the teams and all of the excitement it brings .



Picture gallery for your perusal .

In terms of what you’ve witnessed during the tournament do you feel that it has lived up to your expectations and what if anything are you now expecting to see during the Final Fours and which teams do you expect to be playing for the national title ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on the matter and thanks as always for the continued support !

Alan aka tophatal ………………………..


Picture and slide show details

(1) Butler’s Alex Anglin holds up the Southeast Regional Trophy as the team is greeted by fans as they arrive at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Sunday, March 27, 2011. Butler defeated Florida, 74-71 , to advance to the Final Four. AP Photo/Darron Cummings ……..

(2) Butler head coach Brad Stevens talks to the fans that greeted the team at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Sunday, March 27, 2011. Butler defeated Florida, 74-71, to advance to the Final Four. AP Photo/Darron Cummings …..

(3) Erving Walker #11 of the Florida Gators fouls Matt Howard #54 as Chrishawn Hopkins #20 of the Butler Bulldogs tries to block his shot in the second half during the Southeast regional final of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at New Orleans Arena on March 26, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images ………..

(4) Shelvin Mack #1 of the Butler Bulldogs reacts during their game against the Florida Gators in overtime of the Southeast regional final of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at New Orleans Arena on March 26, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images ……..

(5) Shelvin Mack #1 of the Butler Bulldogs dunks against the Florida Gators during the Southeast regional final of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at New Orleans Arena on March 26, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images ……

(6) Head coach Brad Stevens of the Butler Bulldogs celebrates defeating the Florida Gators 74 to 71 in overtime by cutting down part of the net during the Southeast regional final of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at New Orleans Arena on March 26, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images ……

(7) Head coach Billy Donovan talks to Patric Young #4 of the Florida Gators during the second half of their game against the Butler Bulldogs in the Southeast regional final of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at New Orleans Arena on March 26, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images ……


NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament

Elite 8 results

Final Four

Games scheduled for Sunday 27th March to decide the final two berths

Kentucky Wildcats vs North Carolina

Kansas vs VCU

Already through to the Final Four ……… U Conn and Butler


Brooke  Burke

Eye candy ………… Brooke Burke


Mase ……. feat’g Total …………………. “Tell Me What You Want From Me”

Fredro Starr ….. feat’g Jill Scott ………………. ” I See Your True Colors”

Basketball, College Basketball, Duke (Blue Devils), Jalen Rose, Jamie Dixon, Michigan (Wolverines), NCAA Basketball Championships, NCAA Tournament, Sports, Sports & Social commentary, Sports Commentary

Brackets ? What Brackets ? Aren’t They Meant To Support Things ?

Brackets ? What Brackets ? Aren’t They Meant To Support Things ?

Well it’s Kaput , Auf Wiedershen , Dasvadiniya , Sayonara , Bonsoir as far as my brackets go in the men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament . My choices are as bad in the choice I made in having gotten married after living with the ex for over a decade. Not the wisest of decisions I’ve ever made in my life but I think that I can live with it ! Well she’s gone her way I’ve gone in mine after a somewhat lukewarm divorce and I can say is that I survived. Now on to the tournament itself where we’ve seen surprises and the teams we thought would excel have done so with legitimate ease. Perhaps the biggest surprise however may well have been the quick departure of Jamie Dixon’s Pitt Panthers’ team who many well have felt were a legitimate contender for this year’s title. The Panthers’ demise at the hands of the Butler Bull Dogs in the round of 32 shows us all why we can’t really take anything for granted . That apparent one point loss 71-70 essentially ended the Panthers’ season and that of their fans.


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Slide show for your perusal .

Now while I’m under no illusion that there’s still a great deal to play for as far the tournament now goes I can’t help but wonder how many of the fans and their brackets now seem to be panning out ? I’ve heard it said that President Obama’s picks in part are still in tact and that if anything tells me that he’s more concerned with the tournament than the more pressing needs that he , his cabinet , the House and Senate face in dealing with many of the acute issues that the country presently faces. Hell there’s an unemployment rate of 9.5% , the economy a mess , and need we be reminded that the budget deficit is almost 10% of the nation’s $14 trillion ($14,000,000,000,000) economy (GDP) ? But I doubt that the President much less the Congress is that overly concerned with that issue much any of the others that the country now faces as they’re simply only paying it lip service . I’ve yet to see this or any other administration actually make a legitimate attempt in dealing with the fiscal woes of the country. Hell the vast majority of the idiots in Congress wouldn’t know the difference between balance sheet and baking sheet !

As I alluded to earlier there were surprises to be had once the tournament commenced on the 15th March 2011 with a litany of games that started the ball rolling . The tournament now kicks into high gear because from hereon in it’s all about the glory acclaim and fan worship for the teams now left to compete. And at this moment in time I for one don’t feel that there’s a clear cut favorite that stands out in spite of what many analysts are saying . If anything they’d rather make those comments solely for the sake of making them to elicit some commentary from the fans and beat writers alike covering the tournament nationwide. What might be more different in the coverage of this season’s tournament is the fact that it is being shared by broadcast and cable networks alike . You have the primary programmer in this case being CBS who in conjunction with TNT , Tru Tv and TBS are sharing the television. However, CBS will take over the scheduling once the tournament comes down to the Elite 8 , Final Four and the championship game itself. Though I’m not totally against this , it does as such throw my planning completely out of the window unless I’m fully aware as to the scheduling of the games to be televised and in particular the ones that are of interest to me .

As an avowed Duke Blue Devils’ fan I’m looking to see whether or not Mike Krzyzewski and this Duke team can become the first to successfully defend a national men’s title in two different decades since Krzyzewski , himself , accomplished the feat in 1991 and ’92 . Having won it all in 2010 defeating Brad Steven’s Butler team 61-59 , this would be Krzyzewski’s fifth title overall in his illustrious career and perhaps further cement his career as one of the best coaches ever in collegiate basketball . Perhaps someone ought to remind the outspoken and now somewhat ridiculous Jalen Rose the pride of playing for the institution doesn’t come down to color but character and integrity ? His denigrating of African American players past and present who’ve played for Duke speaks to his stupidity and lack of respect not only for some of his peers but also how little respect he has for his race and in particular the environment he’s eschewed as it relates to the background of the players he’d chosen to denigrate as well as the program. And less we forget his alma-mater Michigan is not without controversy as it relates to the basketball program and that a teammate of his at the time Chris Webber was embroiled in some NCAA violations while attending the school.

Now with many of the top seeds still remaining in the tournament and the thought being that it’s now about viewing who stands the best chance of making it through to the Elite Eight amongst those contenders left. Among those left as #1 seeds are Ohio State , Duke , #2 seeds —- North Carolina and San Diego State and Florida the two time national champions under coach Billy Donovan . The coach will be looking to add a third title to his resume’ in the last five years having won national titles in 2006 and then repeating 2007 . Adding a third title for the young coach and this team at this stage of his career would be a remarkable feat. But that’d be predicated upon the Gators being able to get by the BYU Cougars led by the nation’s leading scorer and one of the main candidates for Player of the Year Jimmer Ferdette .

These series of games will go a long way in telling who amongst the likes of Marquette , Florida State , Arizona , Wisconsin , Ohio St, Butler , Kansas and Kentucky are likely to proceed on to the Elite Eight . And at this juncture many a fool and his money have been easily parted but that’s certainly not the case for those who still have their brackets in tact. I’d dare say that this is the one time of the year with regard to a sporting event where the whole nation is engrossed such an event. Other than the Superbowl I for one can’t think of any other sports’ event that literally has the viewers and nation at large so engrossed. Most certainly it becomes the water cooler topic amongst employees at work who are either discussing the merits of their picks or where they went wrong in making those picks. I know that’s definitely the case for myself amongst my colleagues at work but also my own close personal friends outside of the work environment. Gladly, it hasn’t taken a toll on my personal relationship although the girlfriend whose interests in sports lay somewhere between the AVP Women’s Tour (Beach Volleyball) and perhaps once in a while the odd NFL game that might just have Tom Brady on view. For some reason she thinks he’s the closest thing to an “Adonis” there is in the world of sports ?

There have been some outstanding players on display during this tournament and I dare say that we’ll be hearing a lot more about the likes of Jared Sullinger , Jon Diebler , Nolan Smith , Kemba Walker , Kyle Singler , Kyrie Irving and a slew of other players who will be parading their skills for not only the fans but the NBA scouts , general managers and no doubt coaches who’ll be watching the latter stages of this tournament with a great deal of interest . It gives many of these players in question another chance to showcase their talent with a view to making and then taking that inevitable next step to the professional ranks. I know this for fact , the NBA and the NCAA wouldn’t want it any other way. Because it’s a mutually beneficial thing for all parties concerned from a competitive and financial standpoint !


By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in its original formatted


Picture gallery for your perusal .

As to the the tournament itself , how do you see the whole thing panning out how are your brackets now holding up ? For myself it simply imploded within the first two rounds of the tournament. Beyond that I can only redeem myself if Coach K and the boys pull through . So I’m now hoping that will definitely be the case , hoping for something good ! Chime in with your thoughts on the tournament and which teams or players have impressed you the most ?

Alan aka tophatal ………………..

NCAA Sweet 16 Draw games scheduled for 24th and 25th March , 2011 .

Picture and slide show details below .


(1) Butler guard Shelvin Mack , right, fouls Pittsburgh forward Gilbert Brown (5) during the second half of the Southeast Regional third-round NCAA tournament college basketball game, Saturday, March 19, 2011, at the Verizon Center in Washington. Butler defeated Pittsburgh 71-70 . AP Photo/Alex Brandon …..

(2) Andrew Smith (44) of the Butler Bulldogs puts up a shot against Ashton Gibbs (12) of the Pittsburgh Panthers during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at Verizon Center on March 19, 2011 in Washington, DC. Butler won the game 71-70. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images …….

(3)Members of the Pittsburgh basketball team including Nasir Robinson (35), Ashton Gibbs (12), and Brad Wanamaker (22) walk off the court following their loss against Butler in the third round of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at Verizon Center on March 19, 2011 in Washington, DC. Butler won the game 71-70. Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images ……….

(4) Nolan Smith (2) of the Duke Blue Devils talks with his teammates in the second half while taking on the Michigan Wolverines during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena on March 20, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images ………

(5) Darius Morris(4) of the Michigan Wolverines and Kyle Singler (12) of the Duke Blue Devils go up for a rebound alongisde Jordan Morgan (52) of the Michigan Wolverines during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena on March 20, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images …….

(6) Billy White (32) of the San Diego State Aztecs and Juan Fernandez (4) of the Temple Owls look for a rebound during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at McKale Center on March 19, 2011 in Tucson, Arizona. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images ………..

(7) Jared Sullinger (0) and Jon Diebler (33) of the Ohio State Buckeyes look on from the bench late in the second half against the George Mason Patriots during the third of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at Quicken Loans Arena on March 20, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images ………

(8) Scottie Wilbekin (5) of the Florida Gators drives for a shot attempt against the UCLA Bruins during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at St. Pete Times Forum on March 19, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. Florida won 73-65 . Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ……



Eye candy ……….. Sybilla


Temeca Freeman


UB 40 ………….. “Higher Ground”


UB 40 …. feat’g ……… Chrissie Hynde ……….”Breakfast In Bed”


College Basketball, Connecticut, Duke, Louisville, Memphis, NCAA Basketball Championships, NCAA Tournament, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Wake Forest

Well Duke Just Can’t Seem To Get Over That Proverbial Hump …………….


Well  Duke  Just  Can’t  Seem To  Get Over  The Proverbial  Hump  …………………..






Last  night  at  the  Cameron Indoor  Arena   two  of  the  titans  of the  college  game  basketball  fraternity   got  together.   At  stake  was  the  battle  to  seek   supremacy  within  the  state  as  to    overall  bragging  rights.   Perhaps  the  Wake  Forest  Demon Deacons  may  well  have  something  to  say    about   at  this juncture  ?     The University of  North  Carolina  Tar  Heels  squared  off  against their   instate   rival  the  Duke   University  Blue  Devils.




However  what’s   painstakingly   clear     is  that  within the  realms  of   men’s   college  basketball  there  isn’t  a  more  sought  after   rivalry. Many of  you  may  well  disagree  with  that.  But  I  for  one   would  like  to  hear   your  thoughts  on that   if   you  feel  that  I  am  indeed  wrong ?     You  have  two   storied   programs  and   two   equally   well   respected   coaches  in  Mike  Krzyzewski    of Duke  and   Roy Williams   of   North  Carolina . Two  finer  coaches  of  men’s  basketball   you  may   find  anyone   better  than  these  well   respected  individuals.   Not  only   respected   by  their   players    but  also   amongst  their   peers.   And  that    speaks   highly  as   to  the  esteem   with  which   both  are  held. 






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Geno Auriemma, John Wooden, Kentucky, NCAA Basketball Championships, Pat Summitt, Sports, The Huskies, The Lady Vols, UCLA Bruins, University of Connecticut, University of Tennessee, UTEP, Women's Collegiate Basketball

One Isn’t Quite The Loneliest Number …………..


One Isn’t Quite  The Loneliest Number  ………….





It probably hasn’t  gone  unnoticed  by  many of  you. But  recently  the  Lady  Vols of  Tennessee  and  their   coach  Pat  Summitt  sits on  the  cusp  of  winning  1,000  games  in women’s   collegiate  basketball.  Summitt  easily the  most  successful  coach  in  women’s college  basketball . In the women’s   game  she  has  been  the  quintessential  individual  who  everyone else  is  judged by when it  comes  to  the  game.   





 A  disheartened   Summitt  deep  in thought  after  her  team's  loss to  Oklahoma  80-70 in Oklahoma City ,OK .......
A disheartened Summitt looks deep in thought after her team's loss 80-70 to Oaklahoma in Oaklahoma City , OK. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Sue Ogrocki ..............



A disheartened  Summitt  looks  deep in thought after  her  team’s  loss 80-70  to Oaklahoma  in Oklahoma  City, OK.  picture appears  courtesy of ap/photo/Sue Ogrocki ………….





We’ve  had  John Wooden the  coach of  the  heralded  UCLA  Bruins  whose  records  bear  no  introduction.  The  program is  the  pedestal against  which  all  in men’s  basketball  hopes  to  aspire  to.  However when  it  comes to  the  women’s  game.  It  has  to  be  said  the  achievements  of  Summitt  and  the  University  of   Tennessee  is  simply  astonishing.  No  other  program  even  comes  close  .  OK so  Geno  Auriemma  and  the University of  Connecticut  (Huskies)  may   well  think  that   his  program  is  equal  to  that  of  the  Vols.  But when  I  look  at  Auriemma   I  tend  to  see  a  guy  who  thinks  so  highly  of  himself   that  he  tends to  forget   where  comes  from. 



Sooners' fans acknowledge  Summitts  attempt at making  history but  they  also  acknowldge Soonners'  coach  Sherri Coales' attempt  at winning  her  273rd game  .  picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Sue  Ogrocki  ..........
Sooners' fans acknowledge Summitt's attempt at making history but they also acknowledge Sooners' coach Sherri Coales' attempt at winning her 273 rd game. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Sue Ogrocki ......




Sooners’ fans  acknowledge  Summitt’s attempt at  making  history  but they also  acknowledge  Sooners’ coach  Sherri Coales’  attempt

at  winning her  273rd game . picture  appears  courtesy of  ap/photo/Sue Ogrocki ………….. 





His  Huskies  have  been  very   good  over  the  time  of  his  tenure. But  he’s  yet  to  reach  the  heights  that  Summitt  has  reached. He  may  well  bark  louder than  most.  But  his   bite  has  been nothing  more than   that  of  a  puppy.  






For  Summitt  this’ll  be  an  extraordinary   achievement   when  she  reaches  that  unprecedented  height.  No  other  coach  within the  collegiate  game  has ever won  1,000  games.   Not  only  does  it   say  something   about   longevity  but  also  the  very   fact  that  much  of  this   has  been  achieved   with  the  Volunteers’   program.   She  may  well have  failed  when   the Lady  Vols   succumbed  to  Oklahoma.   But   there’s   every   reason  to  believe  that  when they  face  Georgia  tonight.  This   may  well  be  the  game  where   this  magnificent  achievement   will  take  place.  








It has  been  said  that  were   Summitt  a  male  she’d  be  coaching   in  the  men’s   ranks.  That  may  well  be  the  case.   But  with the  glass  ceiling   still  in  existence . It’s unlikely  that  we’d  ever  come to see the  day  where  a  female   will  be  coaching  a  men’s  team  at  the  collegiate  level  much  less  in the  NBA.  And   that’s   not   said  as  a  disservice to the  abilities  of  Pat  Summitt.  But   I  for  one   believe    the   NCAA  much  less the  NBA  is yet   ready   for   such  a  distinction.   It’s  still   the  old  boys’  network    in   many   a  case. And   they  make   what has  taken  place  when  it  came  to  minorities  within  their   midst   either   as  players   or   coaches    much  more  than an  egregious  error.  Hell  were  it  not   for  UTEP’s  victory over  Kentucky   in the  mid  sixties   the  face  of college  basketball  much  less  the  NBA   wouldn’t  have  seen  such  a  seismic  shift.







But  it’s as   they say   good  things’ll  come  to  those  who   wait.   I  know that   we   now  have   the   existence  of  the  WNBA    as  a  basis  for  the   professional   game   for  women.  But  as  to  its  competitive   nature   it  pales  into   significance  when  measured  against   that  of  the  NBA.








As  for  Summitt  the  road  traveled   for   her  has  been  one  filled  with  success.  And   much  of  it  has  been  appreciated   by  the  alumni , fans,  and  the  public  in  general.  They’ve  seen  the  highs  and  lows  with the  program   and  its  teams.   Thankfully  their  highs  have   far   exceeded  the  lows   under   Summitt’s   tenure.  The  eight  national  championships  won  under  her  tenure  are  a  record.  With  her  closest  rival  being  the  five  won  by  Auriemma  with the  Connecticut   Huskies.   Obviously  atop of  all  this   in  collegiate   basketball  world  stands  John  Wooden’s  10  titles  won over  his  tenure  with  the  storied UCLA  Bruins.   John Wooden  is   still   beloved  by  all  and  his  significance  to the  men’s   game  is without  doubt  indelible.  The   same   can  be said  of   Summitt’s  mark   on  the  women’s   game  as  well.








This   year  it  may  well  be  viewed  that  there’s  a  chink  in  the  program’s  armour  as  they’ve  struggled  somewhat  to   avail  themselves  of  wins.  But within  the  SEC  they sit  at  (5-2) fifth  within the  conference  and  17-5  overall with a  number  17  ranking  nationally.  You’d be  somewhat   foolish  to  think  that  the  program  is  declining.  If  nothing else   it’s  that   we   know that Pat Summitt  knows  how  to   motivate  her  players  and  bring   out  the  best  in them.    They  may  well  struggle  this  season   but  it  won’t  be   for  the  lack of   effort  on their   part   or   that  of  their   coach.  Her   determination  is  that  of  her  players    and  they’ll  reciprocate  accordingly  with  their   effort  on the  court.







So  as  we  await   this   landmark  that  will  probably  remain  unbroken.  It  says  much  as  to the  esteem with   which   Pat  Summit  is  held  with  the  collegiate  game  of   basketball.  No one  else  has  perhaps  personified  what  the   game   has  been  about    better  than  her   when  it  comes  to  women’s   basketball.    A  feeling   long  held   by  many.