Louisville was able to pull of an upset on Sunday when they defeated Pittsburgh 62-59 in overtime in Louisville. We use the term “upset” because the Panthers are the higher ranked team, but when you take into account the fact that the game was played in Louisville and the Cardinals are one of the best teams in the Big East the outcome isn’t that surprising — unless you’re Ashton Gibbs. Gibbs immediately took to his Twitter account after the game and called Rick Pitino and company bums.
He followed that statement with a graceful, “F*** it. On to the next.”
Damage control began almost immediately, with three consecutive tweets that read, “I apologize if my tweet offended any players, coaches, friends, or family members of the Louisville basketball program. I consider myself a competitor and we were outplayed tonight in a heated battle between two top Big East teams. I wish them the best on the rest of their season and we look forward to redeeming ourselves next game. Let’s go Pitt.”
Sounds like he wrote it, huh? Definitely had nothing to do with Pitt’s PR department. Gibbs’ comments wrapped up an interesting afternoon, one that the Pitt Panthers and the Louisville cheerleader who got a technical foul will certainly want to forget.
Note to all college basketball cheerleaders: don’t touch the ball. It may be hard to believe, but a cheerleading squad is eligible for a technical foul during a college basketball game. Those of who who were watching as Louisville sealed a 62-59 overtime upset over Pittsburgh on Sunday got to witness that first-hand. Jordan Alcazar, a male cheerleader for the Cardinals, was slapped with a technical foul for throwing the ball in the air right after Kyle Kuric buried a dunk to give Louisville a five-point lead. Check out the video, via Mocksession:
There’s already been a lot of “that could have cost them the game” talk, but let’s be serious — there was under a second remaining. Yes the free throws made it a three-point game, but Pitt needed a full-court three-pointer with 0.3 seconds left to tie it. That being said, I doubt Alcazar only threw the ball because he knew the game was sealed up. He got lucky, and for that reason it’s unlikely you’ll see a Lousiville cheerleader — or any cheerleader for that matter — putting their hands on the ball in the near future. Crisis averted.
- Louisville Basketball
UCLA pulled off a huge, emotional win on Saturday beating Arizona 71-49 in the final game at Pauley Pavilion before it undergoes renovations. The Bruins boat-raced the Wildcats, going up by double-digits and blowing them out in the second half. Reeves Nelson was unstoppable posting 27 points and 16 rebounds while Josh Smith added 17. With the win, UCLA is tied for first in the Pac-10 standings with Arizona and Thursday’s match in Seattle may be for the Pac-10 title.
The Bruins appeared to be emotionally charged the entire time knowing that this was the last game before the Pauley Pavilion remodeling. In the final minute, junior walkon Tyler Trapani got into the game and actually scored his first career points. Trapani, who is John Wooden’s great grandson, put back a missed three pointer for the final two points ever scored in the building. Wooden of course led the Bruins to 10 national championships, and two of his children were present for the final game. Trapani’s first career basket, and last ever at Pauley before the renovations, made Coach Ben Howland misty-eyed after the win:
In what’s been a rough two years for Bruins basketball and a time when many people, myself included, were questioning Ben Howland, this was the perfect storm of a great win, capped off by a meaningful moment. The wonderful ending to Pauley Pavilion truly helped bring the program and fans together at a time when we were unsure of its direction. Now, it feels like the guidance of John Wooden is still alive in Westwood.
Video via ESPN LA.
Even the most fervent college basketball fans will acknowledge that this is a down year for the sport. Of course a fantastic tournament could change all that, but aside from the exploits of The Jimmer, the play of Kemba Walker, and the overall dominance of the Big East, there aren’t too many titillating storylines across the sport. In fact, when you check the college basketball rankings, you’ll see a lot of good teams at the top, but no team will stand out as a dominant one.
Teams that can make it as a top seed in March include Duke, Ohio State, Pitt, Kansas, Texas, and possibly either BYU or San Diego State. As good as those teams may be, none of them strike me as anything near some of the best teams in recent history, nor anything near some of the best teams each of those respective schools have had.
The defending champion Blue Devils are 26-3, and their once-daunting non-conference schedule no longer is as impressive as it previously appeared. Kansas St., Butler, and Michigan St. have all turned out to be much weaker than we thought, and Duke has lost three road games recently, two to conference opponents. Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith pace the Blue Devils who lost emerging star Kyrie Irving early in the season, and their one vulnerability may be size inside. Still, this team has balance and experience, two factors that should help their chances in March.
- NCAA tournament 2011
If you’re a true baseball fan, you probably recognize Hank Aaron as the all-time home run king — not Barry Bonds, who “broke” Aaron’s record on Aug. 7, 2007. The next player most likely to challenge Aaron’s 755 career home runs is Alex Rodriguez, but Aaron told the New York Post on Sunday that he thinks A-Rod needs to focus on baseball if he is going to do that.
I think Rodriguez has got too many irons on the fire right now. I think his head’s not level enough to the point where he can have the kind of year that it takes in order to go past all of the records in the book.
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Now that’s how you dig deep and come up with a game day sign. We’ve featured our fair share of funny posters here on LBS, but there have been few that are this graphic and blunt. The way I see it, ESPN’s camera person had to have been either under the age of 30 and thought the sign was hilarious or over the age of 40 and missed the joke. Otherwise, they probably wouldn’t have shown the Missouri State “shock the Shockers” poster. We’re glad they did.
For what it’s worth, Missouri State defeated the Wichita State Shockers, 69-64. Since both teams have nearly identical overall and conference records, I don’t know how much of a shocker it was. Regardless, it’s the thought that counts. Thanks to Kegs n Eggs on Twitter for the pic, via Mocksession.com.
- funny posters
Jimmer Fredette is a college basketball god and local legend in Provo and upstate New York. He’s transcended into the rare category of national college basketball superstar thanks to his prolific scoring ability and unique name. And with that type of popularity comes crazy posters, fabulous merchandise, and tremendous swag.
We’ve seen personalized shirts and jerseys, but a personalized hoodie has to be a first. You know you’re a star when you have your own hoodie. And if anyone deserves it, it’s certainly The Jimmer. He is incredible.
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- Jimmer Fredette
We’ve noted that hockey ratings have improved on a national level, but that doesn’t mean there is a trickle down effect to all local levels. In Florida, where attractions include hot women and hotter beaches, the competition is the Miami Heat, and the Panthers are struggling to find an audience on TV.
The Panthers have averaged a .19 local TV rating, placing them last of the 22 teams studied by the Sports Business Daily. Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald took things a step farther and learned that the Panthers, who average around 3,000 viewers per game, are watched less than infomercials for the AbCoaster, and Ninja Professional Blender, Chopper and Ice Crusher. Now that’s sad.
I could go a few different ways here. We could easily blame the NHL for expanding to an area it doesn’t belong, but that is only a part of the problem. The real blame goes to the Panthers for putting out a poor product.
The Panthers haven’t made the playoffs since 2000, and haven’t finished higher than third in the division since then. With a playoff push or a winning team, I’m sure they’d have more people attending games and watching them on TV.
Look, South Florida has trouble getting fans to watch and attend Marlins, Hurricanes, and Panthers games, but the teams need to help. If you’re not winning, you’re not going to get viewers who have hundreds of other more appealing options both on TV and around the city. Fact.
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- Florida Panthers
Owen Marecic is an LBS favorite for being a true throwback player. In case you’re unaware of who he is, Marecic was a two-way starter for Stanford last season, playing both fullback and linebacker. In the Cardinal’s blowout win over Notre Dame, he actually scored a touchdown from both sides of the ball.
Our respect for a baller that plays both ways and at a school as academically imposing as Stanford is self evident, so obviously we’re rooting for him to have a successful NFL career. And when that career begins, Marecic will likely limit himself to the offensive side of the ball.
Marecic told the San Francisco Chronicle he will focus on playing fullback in the pros. “I feel more comfortable there, and that’s where I project the best at the next level,” Marecic said.
In addition to focusing on fullback, Marecic has made another change, going anti-Clay Matthews. He’s cut his long hair and donated it to be used on wigs for cancer patients. Does it get much better than that? It’s too bad there are so many passing teams in the league who don’t have much use for a fullback because that cuts down on his potential job market. Regardless, we have a feeling Marecic will find success wherever he goes.
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- Owen Marecic
Man, that Justin Bieber is quite the trend-setter. The guy just one day decides he wants the worst haircut in the male post-wig era and athletes and celebrities from all over the globe are mesmerized enough to follow suit. Since Tom Brady’s hair has grown beyond Beiber status, the pop star might need another target for his rap songs about his hair. He may have found one from Utah. Check out Andrei Kirilenko’s Justin Bieber haircut:
Word has it Kirilenko has already been hearing it from the fans. Accoring to SLAM Online via Ben Maller, Pacers fans were chanting “Justin Bieber” as he ran up and down the court in Indiana on Friday night. Needless to say, the Bieber legend continues to grow with each passing day.