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Sully's court

Posted by Joe Sullivan, Globe Staff  January 29, 2007 01:56 PM
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Boston Globe sports editor Joe Sullivan provides weekly insights on men's college basketball until the champion is crowned at the Final Four in Atlanta.

Opening tip:

  • Poor Clemson. Why does it have to happen to them? A bad officiating mistake allowed Duke to escape with a win over the Tigers last Thursday night. My final thought: Even though the wrong amount of time was put on the clock, I still thought Duke used more time than was on the clock to get up the court for the winning basket. Didn't think the Dookies looked that great in beating BC Sunday night either.

  • I have to add a third member to the All-Sully team (players I just love watching). Mike Conley of Ohio State joins Jared Jordan of Marist and Kyle Weaver of Washington State.

  • Speaking of Washington State, it seems every Cougar game is compelling. The overtime loss to Oregon on Saturday had many bizarre moments. Washington State deserved to lose but could easily have won. Oregon guard Aaron Brooks is playing like an All-American but it's sometimes inferred that he came out of nowhere in this, his junior season. He was a McDonald's All-American and his finally playing like one.

  • Great DirecTV moment Saturday night: Trying to watch Oregon-Washington State, Nevada-Utah State, and Pepperdine-Saint Mary's at the same time. I finally had to desert Nevada, which had its game in hand. The other two went right down to the wire.

  • A Valley moment from last week: Southern Illinois and Northern Iowa engaged in hand-to-hand combat, an incredible defensive game that SIU won, 56-54.

  • An unexpected moment: In my quest to see all 65 teams before the tournament, I tuned in to Mississippi-Vanderbilt on Saturday. Vandy won 85-80 in a game that featured some of the most entertaining offense I've seen this season. It was unselfish basketball at its best by both teams. Ole Miss point guard Todd Abernethy might be an All-Sully candidate. He's the son of Tom Abernethy, a starting forward on Indiana's 1976 undefeated team.

  • Tim Brando did the game and I like listening to him and Larry Conley. I like Cliff Ellis on SEC games, too. Pete Gillen on CSTV games is a work in progress but he's got potential.

  • Duquesne’s Ron Everhart decided to change strategy in the second half of the season. Now, he has his team full-court pressing the entire game and looking to score quickly on offense. He made 61 substitutions, sometimes five at a time, in an upset win over Dayton, 93-89. The Dukes followed that up by beating Temple 96-92. The same strategy gave UMass problems too.

  • VMI Report (which Ron Everhart is obviously reading): A 102-97 victory over UNC Asheville, a 103-94 victory over Radford, forcing 41 turnovers; and a 122-117 loss to Liberty. Keep chucking'em up, Keydets.

    Five on the rise:

    George Washington: The Colonials beat Rhody and are in charge in the Atlantic 10 again.

    Virginia Commonwealth: Even Globe North sports writer Julian Benbow, a VCU grad, is on the bandwagon after the Rams beat Drexel for their 10th victory without a loss in the Colonial Athletic Association.

    Austin Peay: The Governors are back in a familiar place in the Ohio Valley Conference, first place, after beating Samford. Who remembers the great Fly Williams?

    Stanford: The Cardinal were totally overlooked this season but after Sunday's victory over UCLA (plus a win over Southern Cal Thursday), they're another tough team in the Pac-10 and an NCAA contender.

    North Carolina: The Tar Heels were awesome in crushing Arizona on Saturday. Maybe they're a Final Four team after all.

    Five falling:

    UConn: At some point, Jim Calhoun will turn this group into a good team but it's not going to be this season. Huskies lost to Providence on Saturday.

    LSU: Tigers lost at home to Vanderbilt and at the buzzer against Georgia.

    Rutgers: A loss to South Florida officially makes the Knights the worst team in the Big East.

    Temple: The Owls lost to Duquesne Saturday and are now 1-5 in the Atlantic 10.

    Iona: 0 and 20, and counting.

    This week's George Mason: Butler. The Bulldogs are still playing great.

    This week's Final Four: Florida, UCLA, Wisconsin, Pittsburgh. One of these four would have to beat North Carolina in a region final.

    This week's National Champion: Florida

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    About the college sports blog Updates and insights from Globe sports editor/hoop junkie Joe Sullivan and his college staff reporters, including Mark Blaudschun on Boston College football.

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