Posted on: March 20, 2010 3:43 pm
Edited on: March 20, 2010 4:51 pm

Australians Follow Ogre King to Victory


You have to love Omar Samhan. The belles of the Providence ball Saint Mary's were led by the giant center to a 75-68 victory over Villanova today with 32 points after Samhan stated Wednesday to press that "God is a Gael."

Maybe there's something to that. After all, Saint Mary's offed Richmond Thursday in Providence's first round play in a move no one really expected, prompting even Samhan's mother to reportedly text him that he and his teammates ruined her bracket. He asked her if she was coming to Providence's second round and she told him she was buying a ticket directly to Houston for the Gael's third-round matchup instead.

How can you not be a fan a team that not only lives and dies by a beast like Samhan but also boasts five Australians? Not one random Australian. Not a couple. Five Australians. You couldn't find five Australians in a Barcelona youth hostel. Their locker room must look like a FOX sitcom. 

That makes, if you're counting, a team that features three Aussies starting, a center who's also the high point man and a sharpshooter from Arizona in cool-headed Mickey McConnell, who backed up Samhan with a clutch 15 points today. And from a big-picture standpoint, Saint Mary's is quickly becoming not only one of the most likeable and plucky cinderellas in the Tourney thus far but a valid threat as well. These kids are fun to watch.

Other points from Providence's second-round opener:

-If we're being honest, Villanova was on the clock anyway. The Wildcats just squeaked past Robert Morris, and prior to that had lost five of their last seven games. They were clearly coasting on fumes. But you can't take anything away from the Gaels today, who capitalized on that to lead them almost the entire way, despite a late second half surge that threatened to kill Saint Mary's buzz. Call it a perfect storm situation for Saint Mary's to progress yet another round. 

-You can follow Samhan on Twitter here and read his blog here. His blog includes video entries from as late as last night, talking with his teammates about today's game. And he tweets up until, apparently, less than an hour before game time ("40 Minutes from the Sweet Sixteen!"). He also offers philisophical insights like "life is so PRICELESS" and "ICE BATH sooooo cold!!!!" He only has 108 followers. He deserves more.

-Matthew Dellavedova looks like the tallest seven year-old I've ever seen. The baby-faced Australian freshman doesn't look nearly old enough to be playing basketball for a university except for the fact that he's thirteen and a half feet tall. In Australia they call a kid like that a "great winky bonzer." (Or probably something ridiculously equivalent. Australians talk funny, that's what I'm saying.) 

-The Villanova Wildcats are guilty of treason for disobeying the President. Barack Obama famously had the Wildcats in his Final Four -- something I'm not terribly sure I understand, but okay. It was decreed. Andy Katz was there, people. Villanova is in direct defiance of the Commander-in-Chief and justice should be dealt appropriately. 

So there you have it. The Gaels move on to play the winner of Baylor-Old Dominion -- a game later today which Old Dominion and Blaine Taylor's awesome moustache actually stand a strong chance to win as well. Either way, the path is looking interesting for the Gaels, who cruise into a Sweet Sixteen game that, at this point, is winnable for the party crashers. Can this talented cast of characters keep it rolling?

If God is a Gael, that's probably a big yes.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 18, 2010 4:14 pm
Edited on: March 18, 2010 6:12 pm

Didn't We Almost Have It All?


All you needed to see was the visual of 5'9 Karon Abraham doling out post-game handshakes to the towering behemoths of Villanova to really get a good feel for how hard Robert Morris University had to work today in their unfortunate (but close) 73-70 overtime loss to the Wildcats. The game was a barnburner from beginning to end, with most of the regulation play spent with about a 2-4 point difference between teams and a plucky, determined Colonials team hanging on to their lead with everything they had. You also got to see Robert Morris head coach Mike Rice mouthing some pretty horrendous profanity and hear Bill Raftery use the phrase "stroking" approximately 7,000 times in a multitude of contexts, all of them uncomfortable and slightly creepy. 

Here's the strange thing, however. The life of Robert Morris University's Constitutional Conventioneer namesake and Robert Morris' performance today share several strikingly similar qualities. It's almost eerie. See for yourself:

ROBERT MORRIS: Was colonial.

ROBERT MORRIS: Attended many conferences in the Northeast.
ROBERT MORRIS UNIVERSITY: Contends in the Northeast Conference.

ROBERT MORRIS: Assisted local merchants in protesting the Stamp Act.
ROBERT MORRIS UNIVERSITY: Had 8 assists on the day.


ROBERT MORRIS: Dumped on by John Hancock.
ROBERT MORRIS UNIVERSITY: Dunked on by Mouphtaou Yarou.

All in all, the third of three great games to kick off the tournament today. Plus, did it hint that Villanova's not exactly what they're cracked up to be? We shall see. Onward and upward.
Posted on: March 14, 2010 6:47 pm
Edited on: March 14, 2010 7:51 pm

15-Seed Robert Morris Is Bowling -- Er, Dancing


In NCAA tournament play, it has by and large been an unspoken law of the basketball cosmos that schools named after a person (first and last name, it should be noted) don't traditionally perform well. Oral Roberts University. Sam Houston State. Jim J. Bullock Technical Institute. The University of Colorado at Hal Linden.

That's not to say that there aren't exceptions to this rule. Our hearts were stolen away by a plucky George Mason team in 2006, for instance, when the Patriots famously crashed the Final Four. And this year another team based on a lesser-known constitutional conventioneer hopes to do the same. The Robert Morris University Colonials, who just won their bid by squeaking past Quinnipiac and stealing the Northeast Conference Tournament, picks up a fifteen seed today in hopes of dazzling us all and offing number two Villanova in the South Region.

A private university in Moon Township, Pennsylvania -- a suburb of Pittsburgh -- Robert Morris University began in 1921 as the Pittsburgh School of Accountancy, and that institution became Robert Morris Junior College in 1962, Robert Morris College in 2002, and will likely become Robert Morris Space Station in 2067. Taking the name of a Continental Congressman who signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, the team adopted the moniker of the Colonials, so there would be little doubt that everyone was really into the whole "1770's" theme.

But while basketball is king in Moon right now, however, bowling's big. How big? The well-established Robert Morris men's bowling team are regular national contenders and have produced several bowling professionals. And Colonials basketball head coach Mike Rice even took his boys bowling after the quarterfinals of this year's NEC tourney to clear their heads.  They were going to need it if they were going to continue their trek and eventually face rival and one-seed Quinnipiac.

It worked. The Colonials eventually faced the Bobcats in the NEC finals, where solid defense and two well-placed free throws earned them the NEC Championship. And now Robert Morris finds itself in the deep end of the pool again, a fifteen seed assumedly being prepared for sacrifice next weekend to a juggernaut. But they have a little ammunition. After all, Karon Abraham was the NEC freshman of the year and a fresh force behind the Colonials, and point guard Velton Jones has stepped in to shoulder the duties left after his predecessor Jimmy Langhurst suffered a season-ending knee injury.

Despite cleared heads and good intentions however, they're still a fifteen seed playing Villanova. And that's one tough row to hoe. But senior Rob Robinson thinks the Colonials could surprise. "Shock the world," he says.

The Colonials might want to hit the bowling alley again. Just to be safe.

Posted on: March 12, 2010 10:58 am
Edited on: March 12, 2010 11:09 am

Big East Day 3 Recap


A tremendous day of basketball capped by the first major buzzer-beater of Championship Week. Three of the four double-bye top seeds go down, including No. 1 Syracuse and No. 2 Pitt, and 11th-seeded Cincinnati nearly causes bubble teams across the country to lose control of their bowels. 

If you picked this final four then you can have my envy...and a roll of smarties...send me your address. 


8) Georgetown 91, 1) Syracuse 84
5) Marquette 80, 4) Villanova 76
7) Notre Dame 50, 2) Pittsburgh 45
3) West Virginia 54, 11) Cincinnati 51


Since this is going to be posted on the website of CBS Sports, home of the Jim Nantz, I'm contractually obligated to start this blurb with "The Butler did it." I'd rather not do it, but I seriously have no choice. This is just a precursor to the blurb, not the actual blurb itself. The blurb starts now. 

The Butler did it.

Da'Sean Butler banked home a deep and heavily contested three-pointer at the buzzer to lift third-seeded West Virginia into the Big East Tournament semifinals and end the improbable run of No. 11 Cincinnati. 

"When I got the ball, (UC freshman Lance Stephenson) kind of pressed up on me. So I kind of lost my balance, and by the time I squared up, I only had time to take one dribble instead of two or three. And when I took the one dribble, I put it up," said Butler.

Da'Sean Butler nails a shot beyond the arc, giving West Virginia a quarterfinal win over Bearcats.

Cincinnati, which trailed for the vast majority of the night, had a shot to win it with 6.4 seconds to play and the length of the court to go, but Dion Dixon, who had just been brought into the game by UC head coach Mick Cronin, mishandled the ball and lost it out-of-bounds. That set the stage for Butler, who finished the night with 15 points. 

The Mountaineers, the only one of the Big East's top four seeds still alive in the tournament, will face No. 7 Notre Dame in tonight's second semifinal. 



Since the team of the day is Georgetown, I'm contractually obligated by CBS to start this blurb with a mention of the old saying about beating the same team three times in one season. I actually don't believe in the validity of the adage at all, but what can you do? I also prefer other car rental services to Enterprise. Blurb starts now.

You know what they say about beating a team three times in one season. 

Georgetown avenged a pair of regular season losses to arch-rival Syracuse by stunning the top-seeded Orange, 91-84 in Thursday's first Big East Tournament quarterfinal. 

Adding injury to insult for 'Cuse was senior center Arizne Onuaku hitting the floor and clutching his knee late in the game. His status for the NCAA Tournament is still unknown. 

Chris Wright led the Hoyas with 27 points, while sophomore center Greg Monroe added 15 more to go with ten rebounds and seven assists. 

"It's definitely a confidence boost," Wright said. "I don't think this team lacks confidence. I just think we're ready to play."

The loss was the second straight for regular season champion Syracuse, which entered the postseason coming off a loss at Louisville. The Orange still appear to be in good shape to capture a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, if only because they didn't have much competition for the spot heading into this week. 


Pitt could only muster a season-low 45 points against the 1986 Chicago Bears Notre Dame in a 50-45 loss. The Panthers, who could have made a move to rename this thing the P.I.T. (Pittsburgh Invitational Tournament) after advancing to the title game in four straight seasons, lost in their tourney opener for the second straight year. 

"Right now we don't feel good," said Panthers head coach Jamie Dixon. "I think this will be a good learning lesson for us."

Luke Harangody and Tory Jackson each scored 12 point for Notre Dame, which has come out-of-nowhere to win six straight. 


--Chris Wright (Goergetown) - 27 points

--Da'Sean Butler (West Virginia) - 15 points, game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer

--Greg Monroe (Georgetown) - 15 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists

--Wesley Johnson (Syracuse) - 24 points, seven rebounds

--Darius Johnson-Odom (Marquette) - 24 points, five assists

--Corey Stokes (Villanova) - 22 points

--Lance Stephenson (Cincinnati) - 19 points, seven rebounds


"I think that’s what is great about tournaments. You don’t have to worry when they say you have to prepare one day after, it’s not a big deal. We’ve all played each other.We know each other. I think that’s what makes these games great. It’s been great games throughout the tournament. Our familiarity with each other is, it makes it tough beating any team." --Jay Wright


Semifinal time...

#5 Marquette vs. #8 Georgetown (7 p.m.)
#3 West Virginia vs. #7 Notre Dame (9:15 p.m.)

Posted on: March 11, 2010 5:20 pm
Edited on: March 11, 2010 9:24 pm

The Afternoon Scoreboard


All it takes is two weeks of following every conference tournament to realize that there there are so many conferences and D1 teams in this country that it could drive a person crazy trying to touch them all.  This afternoon's rounds saw games from the Mountain West, the Big East, the Big 12, the SEC, the ACC, the MAC, the Pac-10 and several others. That's a full plate, America, so let's dive right in, shall we?

Marquette 80, Villanova 76: Yesterday, we reported that "cartoon thug" Buzz Williams said that close games are "all they know." Guess that knowledge came in handy as traditionally marginal producer Darius Johnson-Odom stepped seemingly from nowhere as the rocketsauce the Golden Eagles needed to bust down the #10 (and no slouch) Villanova. I kept waiting for this one to go into overtime, and Marquette just kept denying that there would be any overtime for them today. So far, you really have to like this Marquette team. They're manufacturing wins any way they can, and they probably have a good shot against #5 Georgetown tomorrow. The Golden Eagles look to have the steam to off some giants if the invisible laser beams shooting out of Buzz Williams' giant, magical head can continue to empower these guys. 

Utah State 84, Boise State 60: The first game of the WAC Tourney was a bit of a snoozer (you'd think Boise State would want this thing more, because if they lose they have to go back to Boise) at a 24-point deficit, but you can't take anything away from the Aggies' Tai Wesley's 18 points and 10 rebounds. In case you're wondering, Boise's bench player Zack Moritz only saw two minutes, because he was busy distracting Mr. Belding from the secret party the team was arranging in the school library. 

New Mexico 75, Air Force 69: The Mountain West Tourney was in full swing today in Sin City as my new favorite-named player Darington Hobson (that's Lord Darington Hobson to you) walks away with 28 points and a stellar 15 rebounds. 

Michigan 59, Iowa 52: It's no secret that the Wolverines need to win the Big Ten Tourney to get onto the mainstage, but beating a similarly limping Iowa isn't the way to do it. Michigan's Manny Harris turned in 22 points and 9 rebounds to lead his crew to a victory, even though Iowa's Cully Payne was doing his thang with 25 points. They'll step forward to play the 1-seeded Buckeyes tomorrow.

Miami 83, Wake Forest 62: The Canes exorcise the Demon Deacons in the ACC Tournament, which is bittersweet for the Canes -- on one hand, they advance and get to play Virginia Tech tomorrow. On the other hand, they're probably going to miss a really good boat party on Friday night. Nevertheless, Miami was propelled into the second round by freshman Reggie Johnson with 22 points. A second half where the Deacons couldn't even get within sixteen points of the Canes means that it was a very, very smart move not to nationally televise this game. 

More's on the way as scores are ticking in constantly. Stay tuned.
Posted on: March 9, 2010 3:52 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2010 3:56 pm

Status of 'Nova's King still unknown


The playing status of Villanova forward Taylor King, who was benched by head coach Jay Wright during the Wildcats' home loss to West Virginia on Saturday, is still unknown. 

Wright said Monday that he's trying to make a "teaching point" with the sophomore, while King claimed he was going through some "personal stuff right now." Wright did note that King did not violate any team rules and is in no trouble. 


Fake sources close to One Blogging Moment indicated that King's "personal stuff" may be directly linked to the fact that he "ain't playin' good right now." 

King has seen his playing time slowly diminish over the course of the season and hasn't scored in double figures since Jan. 11, but he used to play at Duke so this story still demands the attention of all of us.

Though King is Villanova's second-leading rebounder, fellow forward Antonio Pena has been more effective on offense of late and freshman Mouphtaou Yarou has made tremendous strides since becoming eligible, so this potential loss shouldn't hurt nearly as much as it would have in early January.

'Nova doesn't take the floor in Gotham until Thursday afternoon. 

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com