Saturday, March 30, 2013

Run, run, run all the way...HEY!

A GARY Ablett masterclass has secured Gold Coast a 13-point win over St Kilda in their AFL season opener at Metricon Stadium.
The Suns' captain kicked four goals, including three in the final term, to guide the home team to a shock 13.12 (90) to 10.17 (77) win.
Ablett sent the home fans into raptures when his second goal of the quarter put the Suns ahead but his best was yet to come.
The dual-premiership player stepped and fended his way through the Saints' defence, before sending a right-foot snap curling through the goal for his fourth major and a game-defining moment.
It was part of a remarkable best-on-ground display by the midfielder, who picked up a game-high 34 disposals.
The Suns' victory, their third in as many matches at their home ground after defeating Greater Western Sydney and Carlton at the end of last season, was secured through a gutsy second-half display as they made the most of a scrappy performance by an undermanned St Kilda line-up.Charlie Dixon and Luke Russell were the other multiple goal-kickers for the Suns, with Russell's second late in the fourth quarter a crucial settler after Steven Milne had closed the margin for St Kilda.
The Saints, led by captain Nick Riewoldt's two goals, had looked to have settled when they booted five-goals to none in the second-quarter to turn an 11-point first-quarter deficit into a 19-point halftime lead.
But the Suns bounced back with Ablett, Matt Shaw and teenage debutant Jaeger O'Meara kicking three third-term goals to move within two kicks of the lead at the last change.
From there the home team took control of the match through Ablett's inspiration and some St Kilda ill-discipline, the visitors conceding three 50m penalties and handing the Suns' their first two goals of the final term through free-kicks.
Late goals by Milne and Terry Milera gave the Saints hope of snatching a win but Aaron Hall's late breakaway major sealed the win and sparked celebrations.
Suns coach Guy McKenna made the claim after the match that Ablett is a better player than his father, Gary Ablett Snr.
He went on to suggest his captain's confidence in his young teammates was allowing the 2009 Brownlow Medallist to influence the game closer to goals.
“Gary's humble enough to say his old man is better than he is, I would beg to differ,” McKenna said.
“What we're seeing in Gary too is his leadership of understanding that he doesn't need to be in the middle now.
“That he has got the confidence and trust (of his teammates) ... his four goals clearly were telling.”
A disappointed St Kilda coach Scott Watters said his player's execution at key moments had proved the difference.
“From our point of view the effort was strong from the players, the efficiency was poor,” Watters said.
“You need both. You have to work extremely hard when you're not efficient.
“The players will be stung by that and they'll work hard to rectify it but obviously you lose a game on the back of it and that hurts.”

GOLD COAST SUNS 3.6 3.8 6.11 13.12 (90)
ST KILDA 1.7 6.9 7.14 10.17 (77)
Goals: Gold Coast Suns: G Ablett 4 C Dixon 2 L Russell 2 A Hall H Bennell J O'Meara M Shaw S Day. St Kilda: T Milera 3 N Riewoldt 2 A Siposs B Maister D Armitage J Steven S Milne.
Best: Gold Coast Suns: G Ablett C Dixon D Prestia J Harbrow J O'Meara R Thompson. St Kilda: J Geary D Armitage N Dal Santo L Hayes J Steven R Stanley. Umpires: Chris Donlon, Chris Kamolins, Andrew Mitchell. Venue: Gold Coast Stadium.

More bark...even more bite!

Western Bulldogs bring Brisbane Lions down to earth

Brett Goodes
Bulldogs mature-aged recruit Brett Goodes clears from defence against Brisbane at Etihad Stadium. Picture: Michael Klein Source: Herald Sun
THE Western Bulldogs have smashed pre-season premiers Brisbane by 68 points in a stunning round-one AFL upset.
The Bulldogs defied predictions of a tough season by dominating from the start and winning 19.13 (127) to 7.17 (59) at Etihad Stadium.
Ruckman Will Minson was outstanding and former Port Adelaide midfielder Nick Lower completely shut Lions star Daniel Rich out of the game.
Brett Goodes, the younger brother of Sydney star Adam, had a dream AFL debut at the age of 29 with his faultless game off half-back.
Another Bulldogs newcomer, ex-West Coast onballer Koby Stevens, also impressed before he left the game in the third term with a leg injury.
The win is a major confidence boost for the Bulldogs, who are a popular choice to finish in the bottom four this season.
By contrast, the Lions were unrecognisable from the powerful combination that easily beat Carlton in the NAB Cup final.

While Brisbane deserved favouritism after winning the NAB Cup, the Bulldogs' pre-season featured a 109-point pummelling from Fremantle - their opponents at Etihad Stadium next weekend.
Pearce Hanley was either reported or will come under video scrutiny for a late challenge on Daniel Giansiracusa, also in the third quarter.They were belted at the stoppages and adding to their woes, defender Matt Maguire was subbed off in the third term with a leg injury.
Bulldogs star Adam Cooney was playing despite being in hospital only days earlier with a knee infection and captain Matthew Boyd (calf) was a big absentee.
But the Dogs looked much better from the start, keeping Brisbane goal-less in the first term and taking a 31-point lead.
Lower restricted Rich to just only one possession in the opening quarter.
The Lions had their chances, but kicking 0.6 in the first term was disastrous.
Brisbane predictably rallied early in the second term, with former Demons Brent Moloney kicking their first goal in the first minute.
Another goal from Rich in the third minute reduced the margin to 20 points, but that would be the closest they would come.
The Bulldogs kicked three of the last four goals in the second term, giving them a 37-point lead at the long break.
They capped off a great day by kicking six goals to two in the third term for a 61-point lead at the last change.
Bulldogs forward Luke Dahlhaus was helped off the ground in the last term after a heavy collision.
WESTERN BULLDOGS 6.1 10.5 16.9 19.13 (127)
BRISBANE 0.6 3.10 5.14 7.17 (59)
Goals: Western Bulldogs: D Giansiracusa 3 S Higgins 3 A Cordy 2 L Dahlhaus 2 R Griffen 2 R Murphy 2 T Dickson 2 A Cooney J Johannissen L Jones. Brisbane: A Cornelius B Moloney C Beams D Rich J Brown J Redden S Martin.
Best: Western Bulldogs: W Minson N Lower B Goodes R Griffen M Wallis D Morris J Roughead K Stevens R Murphy T Liberatore. Brisbane: T Rockliff B Moloney. Umpires: Jeff Dalgleish, Robert Findlay, Dean Margetts. Official Crowd: 25,263 at Etihad Stadium.
AAP her sister!?

Don’t laugh, the Fremantle Dockers will be one of the AFL’s top sides in 2013. The Dockers may not receive a ton of attention in the football capital, however Saturday's win against cross-town rivals the West Coast Eagles deserves recognition as the beginning of what will be a strong year for the purple and white.
It took the Dockers a half of football to establish a scoreboard lead against the Eagles, but coach Ross Lyon’s game plan was dominant from the onset. Despite being down at the major break, Fremantle held control of the game for much of the first half as well and it will be their combined ability to defend and go forward with conviction that will make this team dangerous in 2013.
The Dockers are finally sporting a full and talented midfield, maybe the best in Fremantle history, and it showed on the scoreboard on Saturday. Dominant heading inside 50, Fremantle won the count 61-38 and controlled the same category at the half, eventually running out 28-point winners. Clearly shell-shocked in opening part of the game, but there wasn’t a lot West Coast could do with their opponents thereafter.
Ryan Crowley, cementing his status as the number one tagger in the game, did a number on Luke Shuey, while Michael Barlow and David Mundy showed how potent the midfield can really be. Complimented by cameo performances from the brilliant Nat Fyfe and Danyle Pearce, the Fremantle ball winners may not be among the competition’s best just yet, but there is the potential to create some significant damage against quality opposition. Barlow, Mundy and Pearce combined for six shots on goal and the usually attacking Fyfe, who wasn’t at his best Saturday, will also be a threat in future.
An off night from an underdone Matthew Pavlich allowed the Fremantle smalls to display what they are capable of in front of goal. Nick Suban’s career hung in the balance a season ago, but he now appears to have a heap of job security after a three goal performance against the Eagles and his ability to now play on the ball. Michael Walters was superb with three goals from his 13 possessions and Hayden Ballantyne even managed a major in what was a pretty rough night for the tiny antagonist while mid-sized option Chris Mayne was as accurate as ever with two goals straight. Even when Fremantle’s superstar Pavlich isn’t firing there are enough options forward to get them over the line against just about every team in the competition.
Ross Lyon has instilled a harsh, yet effective, accountability system in his time with Fremantle and the results deserve recognition. The potential falloff of top tier teams (Hawthorn, Sydney, Adelaide, West Coast) may mean Fremantle is able to notch a top four spot this season, however even if they don’t still expect a huge year from a club right on the cusp of turning a ton of heads.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

March Madness 2013: Sweet 16!

The Gators are on notice.

15th Seed Makes Round of 16 for First Time

PHILADELPHIA — After pregame player introductions, Florida Gulf Coast’s Sherwood Brown began to dance as his teammates, their arms interlocked, spun in a circle around him, their speed building and building until they broke apart and scattered.
In a sense, that was how the Eagles hoped to play against San Diego State on Sunday night at Wells Fargo Center: fast and exciting and borderline reckless, a bunch of grown children coloring outside the lines. Why not have some fun?
Florida Gulf Coast officially turned the N.C.A.A. tournament into its own big celebration, romping to an 81-71 victory over San Diego State in the Round of 32. In the process, the upstart Eagles became the first No. 15 seed in tournament history to advance to the regional semifinals.
“As everyone’s seen, we’re doing something special out here,” Brown said.
On Friday, Florida Gulf Coast will face Florida, the No. 3 seed in the South Region, for a spot in the Round of 8. Yes, you read that correctly.
Brown, the Atlantic Sun Conference’s player of the year, pushed his way through foul trouble to score 8 points in a late 17-0 run that blew apart a tight game. There were 3-pointers and dunks, fast-break layups and defensive stops. In other words, business as usual for the Eagles.
It was such compelling theater that many Duke fans — awaiting their team’s late game against Creighton — stood and cheered for the Eagles when they returned to their bench for a second-half timeout. Brown, who finished with 17 points, waved his arms, urging them on.
Bernard Thompson scored a game-high 23 points for Florida Gulf Coast (26-10), which shot 55.9 percent from the field. Brett Comer, the team’s sure-handed point guard, finished with 10 points and 14 assists. And Christophe Varidel, a sharpshooting guard, had three 3-pointers off the bench.
“We just want to make history,” Thompson said. “We live for moments like this.”
San Diego State Coach Steve Fisher, who has a condominium in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., not far from Florida Gulf Coast’s campus, said he was familiar with Coach Andy Enfield’s program, perhaps as familiar as any coach in the country could have been. It did little good.
“They play with a swagger, and they have a right to do that,” Fisher said.
Jamaal Franklin scored 20 points for San Diego State (23-11), which committed 17 turnovers after being sucked into Florida Gulf Coast’s vortex.
“I don’t like to slow our style down,” Enfield said. “I like to let our guys play.”
In just its second season as a tournament-eligible Division I program, Florida Gulf Coast has suddenly gone from one of the country’s most unknown teams to perhaps its most celebrated. On Friday, the Eagles pulled off the Round of 64’s most remarkable upset, knocking off second-seeded Georgetown. In the wake of that win, Enfield said he received 450 text messages, e-mails and voice mails.
But such was life in the spotlight, not that his team was going to change. After all, these were the same players who, just before taking the court for their Atlantic Sun tournament final earlier this month, opted to keep loose by partaking in a locker-room round of freeze tag. The players refer to Fort Myers as Dunk City — for good reason, based on the evidence they have provided.
“We don’t take ourselves too seriously,” Enfield said.
At the same time, Brown said he and his teammates were not satisfied with one win, with one upset. They wanted more. It might have sounded brash, considering the team played in Division II as recently as 2006 (and in the N.A.I.A. before that). Did they care? No.
The Eagles were amped from the start. When San Diego State’s Chase Tapley pump-faked on a 3-pointer on his team’s opening possession, Brown barreled into him like a bulldozer. At the other end, San Diego State’s aggressive defense continually forced Florida Gulf Coast into using the entire shot clock. This was not the Eagles’ preference. They wanted to leak out in transition and score easy baskets.
Still, Florida Gulf Coast looked to be easing into its familiar rhythm midway through the half when Comer found Eric McKnight for an alley-oop dunk — a play reminiscent of the team’s high-flying acrobatics against Georgetown. It spoke to the team’s carefree, go-for-broke style.
“We’re going to be in full attack mode the whole entire game,” Comer said.
The Eagles dealt with adversity against San Diego State. Brown picked up his third foul early in the second half, but his teammates took up the slack. Comer got into the lane for a runner, and Varidel hit a 3-pointer. By the time Chase Fieler raced in for a fast-break layup, Florida Gulf Coast was ahead, 52-46, and Fisher was desperately calling for a timeout. Brown hit another 3-pointer for a 58-52 advantage, and the lead grew from there.
“It’s hard when we keep going and going and going at you,” Comer said.
Nobody has been able to slow Florida Gulf Coast. Not Georgetown. Not San Diego State. The team’s next stop is Arlington, Tex., though Enfield did not seem entirely sure of the destination. “Where are we going?” he asked.
His players knew: Dunk City was headed where no No. 15 had been before. “Everybody be ready,” Thompson said.

Holy Week 2013

I've made it clear that I plan to eat the biggest burger at Carl's Jr. when it's Good Friday. I do like the insignia for Pope Francis...although to be fair it's essentially his former cardinal arms papabilized.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Meet The New Boss—Not Like The Old Boss...

PHILADELPHIA – Eleven years ago, the Florida Gulf Coast University athletic department consisted of trailers in a swamp.
The school hired a basketball coach, but there was no arena. There was campus life, but a lot of it was wildlife: bears, panthers, alligators, and snakes. Poisonous snakes.
At that point, in 2001, it had been less than a decade since the Florida Board of Regents selected the plot for the school: "760 acres of land," the school website reads, "located just east of Interstate 75 between Alico and Corkscrew Roads."
"We had golf and tennis," says associate athletic director Michael Estes, who remembers having a trailer for an office. "And a dream."
Friday night, with less than two minutes left in one of the most shocking upsets in NCAA tournament history, that dream rested in the hands of a point guard from Orlando named Brett Comer.
And he chucked it high into the air.
Brett Comer gets a hug from Sherwood Brown to celebrate Florida Gulf Coast's stunner over Georgetown. (USA TODAY …A nation of fans gasped. FGCU's double-digit lead over heavy favorite Georgetown dwindled, and any basketball expert with any common sense knew the upstart team should protect the damn ball. Dribble some. Kick it out. Reset. Drain the freaking clock. Just don't do that.
But that's the essence of Florida Gulf Coast University, the school built on a swamp on the edge of the Everglades. The whole idea of building a competitive athletic program in Ft. Myers was a complete toss-up. So that's what Comer did: he tossed it up. And out of nowhere, a lanky West Virginia swingman with a sick dorm room view of a campus beach leaped "12 feet in the air" and threw down an alley-oop slam that will likely go down as one of the best highlights of the year.
The guttural roar from the FGCU cheering section was unforgettable: "OOOHHHHHHHHHH!!!"
Less than two game minutes later, the Eagles swarmed the court, celebrating a 78-68 win that is the seventh 15-over-2 upset in NCAA tournament history, but certainly the first tournament win by a school that came into this century without a basketball arena. FGCU is now undefeated in NCAA tournament play at 1-0.
"When you're 16 years old," said school president Wilson Bradshaw, "you don't have a lot of history. This will go down as one of the greatest days in school history."

Sixteen years old. And that fits perfectly, because this team plays with the spirit of a kid borrowing his dad's car for the first time. Asked about his ridiculous alley-oop pass after the game, Comer shrugged and smiled and said, "I've thrown crazier ones to him."
During the conference tournament, which should have been a tense time for any team in only its second year of eligibility for the Big Dance, the Eagles decided not to do their usual pregame stretches. Instead, they played tag. Freeze tag. The same guys who won the hearts of a basketball-loving country on Friday night were chasing each other around an Atlantic Sun court only days ago, giggling like schoolchildren and yelling, "You're it!" Tourney officials stared in shock at the scene; the Eagles just laughed.
Think maybe FGCU had some nerves this week, flying to Philadelphia to play in a building five times the size of their home arena? Nah. It closed practice Thursday with a half-court shooting contest.
Florida Gulf Coast head coach Andy Enfield reacts during the first half of Friday's game against Georgetown. ( …Think head coach Andy Enfield sweated a little when his SID, Pat Pierson, told him Friday morning that his team would have the entire national viewing audience to himself for the first half-hour of FGCU's NCAA tournament history that night? Nah. He smiled his gap-toothed smile and said, "Then let's make some shots!"
Think maybe FGCU had a little bit of intimidation when it saw its draw and a date with historically potent Georgetown and John Thompson III? Nah. Here's what Fieler said on Selection Sunday: "Sweet 16, Elite 8 … we expect to make a run."
So the Eagles ran. They ran and ran and ran. The Eagles ran from the beginning of the game, attacking the rim with blinding speed and jarring leaping ability. Comer, who played in the same backcourt with Austin Rivers at Winter Park High, pressed the ball as if the team was down 20. He busted into the paint, laying it up or kicking it out. Even when he peeled back, he dropped a backdoor dime to one of his slashing bigs – Fieler or Eddie Murray, who won a dunk contest in high school yet somehow found his post game amid the muck and the mire of Ft. Myers.
The Eagles didn't just flood the Hoyas like favorites, they preened like favorites, too. Sherwood Brown flexed his muscles after made shots, Bernard Thompson looked knowingly over at commentator Reggie Miller. And Comer kept chucking up prayers that got answered by Dunkensteins Enfield must have created in a campus lab.
At halftime, with a precarious lead hardly anyone expected, Enfield actually told his team to speed it up. He told his players to perform FGCU basketball. He told them to throw more alley-oops. He wanted the gas pedal all the way down, like it was after midnight on Alligator Alley.
It's Enfield who is the true miracle worker here. It's Enfield, the former Wall Street tycoon who lived in Trump Place in Manhattan and wooed supermodel Amanda Marcum, transforming the swamp things into Cinderella.
"I got some crazy dudes on my team," he joked after the game, yet it's Enfield who is the ultimate crazy dude. It's the former NBA shooting coach and Rick Pitino prot&ecute;gé who seeks out risk like the rest of us seek out comfort.
"All Andy's done his whole life," said athletic director Ken Kavanagh, "is achieve."
Asked if there was a moment in the job interview that convinced Kavanagh to make the hire, the A.D. said, "When he said he was going to make us a winner."
That was only two years ago, before FGCU was even eligible to make the NCAA tournament. Enfield got on the phone right away, recruiting from the hospital room where Amanda was delivering the couple's third child, Marcum. She was not pleased.
"It got pretty heated," Amanda said Friday at halftime, holding Marcum on her lap.
But hell hath no fury like Andy Enfield on the recruiting path, and the coach found guys who were long and could leap. Those who couldn't shoot were taught. Players who were on the fringe of oblivion started developing their touch, almost overnight. Enfield's borderline arrogance – how many men would make work calls during their wife's delivery? – fed through the whole campus.
Florida Gulf Coast's Chase Fieler hangs from the rim after a dunk as Georgetown players look on. (AP)The shots started to fill up the hoop, and the arena started to fill up with fans. Last offseason, Enfield asked if the team wanted to play against Duke and VCU. Everyone said yes. In November, Miami came to Ft. Myers and the Eagles beat the Hurricanes.
"After that game," Comer said, "we felt we could play with anybody." And Friday, in the moments before the most pressure-packed game in the short history of a university with no football team, Enfield told his players that they were about to realize they were just as good as the Hoyas. In fact, they were better.
"Andy handles stress and tension pretty well," Amanda said at halftime. "I don't handle it quite as well as him."
The cameras found her and Marcum throughout the second half, and she looked just as nervous as the team looked at ease. The rest of the world wondered how FGCU could possibly do this, yet everyone on the court knew the impossible work had already been done. This was just the fun part.
"The whole game," Bernard Thompson said, "I didn't think they'd come back."
Standing in the locker room after the win, Eddie Murray looked around with a giddy gaze on his face. He's from North Ft. Myers, so he remembers what the campus looked like before the arena and the beach and the Enfield Era. The entire school had about 3,000 students back then, less than a quarter of the population now. The basketball team practiced at Edison Community College, Estero High School, Naples Christian, and Gulf Coast High School on the weekends.
"When the arena was first built," Murray said, "there was nothing else around it. Just empty fields."
Fields and dreams.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Up The Street

SALT LAKE CITY -- Just a few hours before Harvard won the first NCAA tournament game in program history, many on the team weren't saying a word to each other -- because they were napping at the Radisson just 300 yards from where they'd make history by night's end.
Crimson freshman guard Siyani Chambers even dozed as the team rode over to the arena. He couldn't so much as recall the music playing on his iPod.
"Sometimes you can overthink things heading into a game," Chambers said. "The nap helps you stay clear."
Chambers was the one who dribbled out the time on Harvard's shocking 68-62 win over No. 3 New Mexico, his face lighting up with realization of the history happening, his expression bigger and bigger as the clock clicked away. Up went the ball, instantly the pep band played and the Crimson earned themselves a beautiful TV moment.
"I was overwhelmed by that moment," Chambers said.
Prior to that rupture of celebration, the No. 14-seeded Crimson made history at EnergySolutions Arena Thursday night by toppling New Mexico and playing with such poise and straightforward focus, you'd never guess this was the team's first go-round to the Round of 32. Though the initial reaction in the immediacy and privacy of the team's locker room looked boisterous, by the time the media got in there, a different vibe settled.
It just didn't seem like history had been made. There were smiles and good feelings, but this was not a bounce-off-the-walls scene. There wasn't we-expected-to-do-this dogma being broadcast. It was just businesslike. Satisfaction, now on to the next one. This is Harvard. Pressure to succeed extends beyond what's done in a uniform.
That reflects Tommy Amaker's style, and to a man, both in casual conversation and for-the-record quotes, all redirected the credit for this one to him. The coach said this win was as meaningful to him as any other in his coaching career.
"We also had to be a little fortunate this evening," he said. "It means to the world to us, a significant moment for us to be in this position."
The way Harvard won remains most impressive. This was not a plucky upset by an Ivy League team that used trickery or quirk in order to bring down a big boy. Harvard had the lead more often than not during the game. It had some distance in its margin for much of the night. And it fended off foul trouble with three of the seven men total who saw playing time against a taller, more physical, well-rounded Lobos team.
Former Harvard players made the trip, bought the tickets and sat about 20 rows up in section 17. It was a convention of awkward high fives after the last buzzer. When the game was over, a member of the school band wielded its massive flag and waved it high as the players made their way into the locker room after a joyous few seconds on the floor to celebrate something that was more than 100 years in the making. Harvard is the oldest school in this country, and its fourth trip to the NCAA tournament ever -- reaching it in a second straight year after a 66-year drought -- has given the NCAA tournament one of its headline storylines for the next three weekends.
"This was for all the players and all the students who've gone to Harvard," sophomore Steve Mondou-Missi said. "We know nobody had this."
"It's unbelievable," Christian Webster said. "We were talking in the back. We're still in disbelief, can't believe it happened."

More record-book fodder from this game: Webster crossed 1,000 points for his career during this game and Laurent Rivard set the Harvard record for most 3s in a season.
Mondou-Missi added that the team, or at least he, started to believe winning the game was a realization by the end of the first half. Harvard went into the break with a 31-27 lead. Despite an eight-minute field-goal drought in the second half, the team never lost control of the game. Harvard utilized a careful method of possession basketball, waiting and waiting and waiting for the right shot. Often, it was Rivard (17 points) who sank the needed 3. The team hit eight 3s on 44 percent shooting. Wesley Saunders led the team with 18.
"This is so much joy after a season that was such a grind," Chambers said.
There is weight to those words. Harvard's been through a lot, and truth be told, if the team hadn't even reached the NCAA tournament few could have found blame. In the preseason Kyle Casey and Brandyn Curry were removed from the team for a year for being caught in an academic scandal. Harvard wasn't even picked to win the Ivy. Then came the token 14 seed against a New Mexico team that had legitimate claim to a No. 2 seed.
All of it went out the door Thursday night, except for the means of motivation by way of a number next to Harvard's name on every bracket.
"We had the mentality of a 14 seed," Kenyatta Smith said.
Yet the team didn't play for broke. It benefitted from subpar play by New Mexico's Tony Snell and Kendall Williams, who combined for 18 points. It was eye-opening to see a proven team like New Mexico play so small. Harvard's the one with the size disadvantage, but it kept going and finding answers. It was ready well before it even realized, too.
It was about shortly before bedtime on Wednesday night when the players first got to see video of the Lobos that assistant Yanni Hufnagel had been poring over for 72 hours. Hufnagel -- who recruited Blake Griffin at Oklahoma and received Twitter love from the Clippers star Thursday night -- was working off virtually no sleep since Selection Sunday. The staff didn't want to bog the team down with thinking of New Mexico's schemes. They wanted the players to be mostly focused on running their own stuff. Unbenknowst to the players, the coaches slyly mixed in some New Mexico "action," as it were, during practice.
But the team didn't even see tape on New Mexico until 9 p.m. Wednesday night.
And it won't see a second of film on Arizona until late Friday night.
At this point, Harvard's just a really cool story, and a truly unpredictable one. It wasn't a terrific opening Thursday, but it ended with an outcome that will be an all-timer. It wasn't dramatic, just bemusing in its casual endgame. I know I'll never forget being here for this one. I want to share this anecdote to wrap things up. As I was walking out of the arena and heading back to my car Thursday night/Friday morning, I heard them again, that snarky Harvard band.
At this hour? Midnight? Yes.
Oh, I get it.
The team was getting off the bus. Two rows of woodwinds, brass, cheerleaders and students had formed outside the hotel's main entrance. Inside, Harvard fans waited to greet the team.
How could any of them choose sleep now.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Can anyone stop Mado-er, Manchester United!?

Manchester United are a "killing machine", admits City goalkeeper Joe Hart

JOE HART has admitted Manchester City’s faltering title defence is being slowly crushed by rivals United’s “killing machine”.

Manchester-City-goalkeeper-Joe-Hart-is-worried-by-the-advance-of-Sir-Alex-Ferguson-s-squadManchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart is worried by the advance of Sir Alex Ferguson's squad
 and England goalkeeper Hart refused to concede the championship race was over, but admitted City’s inconsistencies have been brutally punished by the ruthless and clinical nature of Sir Alex Ferguson’s squad.
 boast a 15-point advantage over City at the top of the Premier League and Hart said hopes of back-to-back titles at The Etihad had all but faded as their run-in now needed to be “pretty perfect”.
“We worked so hard to get the title that we are never going to just give it away,” said Hart. “I’d imagine from the outside it looks that way but that’s just not the case.
Joe Hart, Manchester City, Manchester United, killing machine, Premier League, Joe Hart says Manchester City need to be 'perfect' to have any hope of winning back-to-back titles
We worked so hard to get the title that we are never going to just give it away
Joe Hart
“We are working hard. It’s a tough league. It’s hard to win games. Unfortunately when we do lose, United stretch that lead and it has been disappointing, but we will keep going.
“I don’t know what is different to last season. I’d love to know. It would have been rectified. We’ve done well, but we have been up against a killing machine that has kept turning out results no matter what.
“Maybe we’ve drawn more than we would have liked to. It has not been a perfect season and it needs to be pretty perfect to win this league. We are not in the position we want to be in. We remain focused and hard on the case of what we need to do.
“We are still in one cup, a little further away than we would like to be in terms of the league. But we need to nail down that second spot.
“In doing that it will push us to really go for the title as well. You can’t not go for it. It’s a long way off but we’ve an awful lot to fight for and it’s a big couple of months for us.”
Joe Hart, Manchester City, Manchester United, killing machine, Premier League,Manchester United's Wayne Rooney has plenty to smile about in race for championship
Despite the prospect of City being usurped by their neighbours, Hart admits he doesn’t hide away from United’s Wayne Rooney, Tom Cleverley, Ashley Young, Chris Smalling, Michael Carrick and Danny Welbeck on England duty.
Hart, who flies to Italy today with England for the World Cup qualifier against San Marino, said: “It’s definitely not a personal thing. What they are doing is exactly what I want to be doing right now this year. And vice versa last year. That’s how it is.
“It’s the same with the Chelsea boys, the Tottenham lads. We are all fighting for something. But we’re not fighting each other, we’re fighting for our teams and clubs. When you come away with England it has gone. We are fighting for England.”

ISML 2013: The Main Europe Map...complete!

Here it is, in all its glory. 72 of the world's best everywhere in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Where is your girl? Have a look, have a download and enjoy! If you like it, don't forget to leave a comment!

ISML 2013: An Alternate Europe Map...

This map is filled with characters that were the best-performing among those from the Nova that did not qualify for the regular season. Every country participating in the contest has an ISML Nova candidate assigned to it. As the best-performing of those that didn't get in, Sanae Dekomori gets to represent the defending champions, Sweden.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

ISML 2013: BoBA Tiara Odds, March 20, 2013

As of March 20, 2013

Kanade Tachibana EVEN
Eucliwood Hellsythe 3-2
Mikoto Misaka 2-1
Mio Akiyama 3-1
Asuna Yuuki 7-2
Ruri Gokou 4-1
Kuroyukihime 9-2
Eru Chitanda 5-1
Azusa Nakano 11-2
Rikka Takanashi 6-1
Shana 13-2
Shinka Nibutani 7-1
Yuki Nagato 8-1
Haruhi Suzumiya 9-1
Yui (Angel Beats!) 10-1
Yuri Nakamura 12-1
Sena Kashiwazaki 13-1
Kobato Hasegawa 14-1
Charlotte Dunois 15-1
Mashiro Shiina 17-1
Hitagi Senjougahara 18-1
Kirino Kousaka 19-1
Taiga Aisaka 20-1
Yui (Sword Art Online) 24-1
Suguha Kirigaha 25-1
Nadeko Sengoku 27-1
Tomoyo Sakagami 30-1
Kyou Fujibayashi 33-1
Yozora Mikazuki 35-1
Hinagiku Katsura 40-1
Erio Touwa 50-1
Nagisa Furukawa 55-1
C.C. 60-1
Victorique de Blois 65-1
Saber 70-1
Ayase Aragaki 75-1
Rin Tosaka 90-1
Holo 100-1
Illyasviel von Einzbern 125-1
Yui Hirasawa 130-1
Mato Kuroi 140-1
Ui Hirasawa 150-1
Masami Iwasawa 160-1
Konata Izumi 170-1
Last Order 175-1
Nymph 180-1
Keiko Ayano 185-1
Rin Natsumi 190-1
Nanami Aoyama 200-1
Inori Yuzuriha 205-1
Shinobu Oshino 210-1
Noumi Kudryavka 215-1
Mei Misaki 220-1
Mikan Yuuki 225-1
Kurisu Makise 250-1
Meiko Honma 275-1
Homura Akemi 300-1
Ririchiyo Shirakiin 350-1
Karuta Roromiya 400-1
Aria Holmes Kanzaki 500-1
Tsukihi Araragi 600-1
Karen Araragi 600-1
Rea Sanka 700-1
Nyarlathorep 750-1
Subaru Konoe 1000-1
Shouko Kirishima 2000-1
Touka Takanashi 2500-1
Momo Beila Deviluke 3000-1
Yui Kotegawa 4000-1
Fuuko Kurasaki 5000-1

ISML 2013: The field is now set!

ISML 2013: The field is now set!

By JR Salazar
March 20, 2013

We now have our field of 72 for this, the 2013 International Saimoe League. The Preliminaries wrapped up once and for all with Match Day 14 in the books, and some new familiar faces are back, along with new faces.

Touka Takanashi is in after her 4607-3044 rout of Riko Mine, Kurisu Makise returns after her 4325-2846 flattening of Tenri Ayukawa, Karen Araragi punches her ticket to the show after storming past Tsumiki Miniwa 3990-3164 and Ririchiyo Shirakiin sliced and diced Haqua du Lot Herminium 4152-3018.

Meiko Honma is in after defeated Yuiko Kurugaya 4309-3081, Karuta Roromiya will debut after defeating Tsubasa Hanekawa 3804-3331, Aria Holmes Kanzaki returns after shooting down Irisviel von Einzbern 3947-3576 and in the match of the day, Homura Akemi prevailed over Elucia de Lute Ima, 3747-3536.

To-Love-Ru will now come into the contest with a full head of steam. Despite Nyarlathotep punching Lala Satalin Deviluke out of the competition in her 4155-2920 route, sister Momo Beila Deviluke tore down Koneko Toujou 4022-2767 and Yui Kotegawa is in after prevailing over Sanae Dekomori 3918-3588. Tsukihi Araragi joins her sister in flying the flag for Bakemonogatari, taking out perennial K-ON! doorman Ritsu Tainaka 4257-3120.

Wrapping up Preliminary action, Shouko Kirishima returns to represent Baka and Test after blowing apart Himeko Inaba 3818-3270, Subaru Konoe will be a Stella candidate next year after shutting the door on Neko 3723-3211, Rea Sanka debuts in the regular season after sucking the life out of Shiori Shiomiya 3744-3339 and Fuuko Kurasaki will join Kuroyukihime in flying the glag for Accel World after defeating Anna Kushina 3559-3315.

Six other seeding rounds took place. In the first seeding pool, Kobato Hasegawa was first with 2873 votes. Yui from Sword Art Online had 2023 votes, Eru Chitanda won 1961, and Shinka Nibutana was last with 1343 votes. In the second seeding roung, Sena Kashiwazaki was first with 2389 votes. Inori Yuzuriha won 2377 votes, Nanami Aoyama earned 1934, and Suguha Kirigaya was last with 1386 votes. In the third seeding pool, Yozora Mikazuki made it a clean sweep for Haganai with 2232 votes. Noumi Kudryavka won 2125 votes, Keiko Ayano got 2000 flat, and Erio Touwa was last with 1637 votes.

In the fourth seeding pool, Mikan Yuuki, who will finally take part in the regular season after years of falling short, was first with 2100 votes. Shinobu Oshino earned 2075 votes, Ri Natsume got 1871 and Mei Misaki was last with 1843 votes. Shana, an underachiever in spite of being considered an overachiever, achieved first place in her seeding pool with 2406 votes. Kirino Kousaka got 2368 votes, Yuri Nakamura won 1841, and Saber held up the rear with 1618 votes. Finall, Yui from Angel Beats! won the sixth seeding pool with 2212 votes. Konjiki no Yami earned 2100 votes, Yui Hirasawa got 1921 votes and Nadeko Sengoku was last with 1850 votes.

The Regular Season is next. Aquamarine Match Day 1 is scheduled for Sunday, April 14, 2013. Vote for your favorite candidates at and join the ongoing debate. And keep it right here on the Bedlam on Baltic Avenue for continuing coverage of the 2013 International Saimoe League.

ISML 2013: The Last 16 In!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

ISML 2013: Eurovision far...

BoBA 2013 ISML Predictions: Preliminaries Match Day 14

ARENA 01: [Takanashi Tōka] Mine Riko by >=800
Over/Under: 9000

ARENA 02: [Makise Kurisu] Ayukawa Tenri by >=800
Over/Under: 9000

ARENA 03: Miniwa Tsumiki [Araragi Karen] by >=800
Over/Under: 9000

ARENA 04: Haqua du Lot Herminium [Shirakiin Ririchiyo] by >=800
Over/Under: 9000

ARENA 05: [Honma Meiko] Kurugaya Yuiko by >=800
Over/Under: 9000

ARENA 06: Hanekawa Tsubasa [Roromiya Karuta] by >=800
Over/Under: 9000

ARENA 07: Irisviel von Einzbern [Kanzaki H. Aria] by >=800
Over/Under: 9000

ARENA 08: [Akemi Homura] Elucia de Lute Ima by >=1000
Over/Under: 9000

ARENA 09: [Momo Belia Deviluke] Tōjō Koneko by >=800
Over/Under: 9000

ARENA 10: [Nyarlathotep] Lala Satalin Deviluke by >=800
Over/Under: 9000

ARENA 11: [Dekomori Sanae] Kotegawa Yui by >=800
Over/Under: 9000

ARENA 12: Tainaka Ritsu [Araragi Tsukihi] by >=800
Over/Under: 9000

ARENA 13: Inaba Himeko [Kirishima Shōko] by >=800
Over/Under: 9000

ARENA 14: Neko [Konoe Subaru] by >=800
Over/Under: 9000

ARENA 15: [Sanka Rea] Shiomiya Shiori by >=800
Over/Under: 9000

ARENA 16: Kurasaki Fūko (Sky Raker) [Kushina Anna] by >=800
Over/Under: 9000

ARENA 17: Hasegawa Kobato [Chitanda Eru] Yui Nibutani Shinka by >=700
Over/Under: 9000

ARENA 18: [Kirigaya Suguha] Aoyama Nanami Yuzuriha Inori Kashiwazaki Sena by >=700
Over/Under: 9000

ARENA 19: Nōmi Kudryavka [Mikazuki Yozora] Ayano Keiko (Silica) Tōwa Erio by >=700
Over/Under: 9000

ARENA 20: Oshino Shinobu Misaki Mei Yūki Mikan [Natsume Rin] by >=700
Over/Under: 9000

ARENA 21: [Shana] Nakamura Yuri Kōsaka Kirino Saber by >=700
Over/Under: 9000

ARENA 22: [Yui-nyan] Hirasawa Yui Sengoku Nadeko Konjiki no Yami by >=700
Over/Under: 9000

Monday, March 18, 2013

ISML 2013: The field thins once again

ISML 2013: The field thins once again

By JR Salazar
March 18, 2013

For 32 of the candidates in the 2013 International Saimoe League Nova Division, their luck officially ran out. For the 32 that remain, they have finally made it to Super Tuesday, the final day of the Preliminaries in this, the world's premier anime character competition. Here is a round-up of the action from Match Day 13.

Touka Takanashi thumped Ran Mouri 6167-1224, Riko Mine gunned down Kyouko Sakura 3584-3485, Kurisu Makise routed Toki Onjouji 4908-1934, Tenri Ayukawa blew past Komari Kamikita 3558-3137, Tsumiki Miniwa upset Madoka Kaname 3559-3416, Karen Araragi annihilated Yuuko Kanoe 4979-1800,
Hakua du Lot Herminium defeated Akari Akaze 3726-3051 and Ririchiyo Shirakin sliced and diced Kuro Matsumi 4760-1824.

Meiko Honma leveled Medaka Kurokami 4883-2080, Yuiko Kurugaya prevailed over Nobuna Oda 3423-3238, Tsubasa Hanekawa defeated Haruka Saigusa 3817-3049, Karuta Roromiya demolished Miho Nishizumi 4719-1803, irisvin von Einzbern knocked off Kyouko Toshinou 3706-3245, Aria Holmes Kanzaki shot down Watashi 4502-2321, Homura Akemi took out Hakaze Kusaribe 4573-2199 and Hanbee Takenaka blew past Elucia de Lute Ima 3790-2764.

Momo Beila Deviluke overpowered Erica Blandelli 4900-1554, Koneko Toujou demolished Mami Tomoe 3881-3011, Nyarlathotep tore down Mayaka Ibara 4874-2173, Lala Satalin Deviluke overpowered Yuno Gasai 3813-3056, Sanae Dekomori knocked off Akiko Himenokouji 4045-3023, Yui Kotegawa cruised past Mio Nishizono 3978-2622, Ritsu Tainaka squeaked by Minami Shimada 3629-3387 and Tsukihi Araragi eliminated Mayuri Shiina 4327-2392.

Wrapping up Nova action...Himeko Inaba defeated Sawa Okita 3628-2785, Shouko Kirishima demolished Asako Natsume 4160-2586, Neko flattened Morgiana 3574-2769, Subaru Konoe thumped Iori Nagase 3938-2554, Rea Sanka routed Shizuku Mizutani 4014-2700, Shiori Shiomiya upended Kumin Tsuyuri 3723-3424, Fuuko Kurasaki blew past Rias Gremory 4017-2416 and Anna Kushina defeated Wakana Sakai 3692-2902.

Match Day 14 of the 2013 International Saimoe League Preliminaries, the final match day of this phase, is scheduled for March 19, 2013. Vote for your favorite candidates at and join the ongoing debate.