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NCAA notebook

Tar Heels uncertain of Lawson's status

Associated Press / March 18, 2009
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Ty Lawson's troublesome toe could keep North Carolina's speedy point guard sidelined for the Tar Heels' NCAA Tournament opener.

Coach Roy Williams says the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year must practice in order to play in tomorrow's NCAA matchup against Radford. Lawson has been hobbled since injuring his right big toe before the regular-season finale against Duke, an injury that sidelined him at last weekend's ACC tournament.

Williams says Lawson's recovery is going slower than he had expected. Lawson said at the ACC tournament that he was feeling better after several days of rest.

The Tar Heels are the top seed in the South Region and open the tournament in Greensboro, N.C., about an hour from campus.

Obama likes top seeds
President Barack Obama is picking Louisville, North Carolina, Memphis, and Pittsburgh for the Final Four.

Obama indulged in one of the week's most popular rituals, filling out his bracket yesterday for ESPN.

The network, which is posting Obama's bracket online and showing Andy Katz's report on today's noon "SportsCenter," will reveal the president's pick for NCAA champion then.

The president stuck primarily with No. 1 seeds. The sole exception was Memphis, seeded No. 2 behind Connecticut in the West regional.

"It was an educated bracket," Katz said. "He knew what he was doing. It wasn't some random kind of pick. There were no political favors or anything like that."

A private campaign promise earned ESPN the hoops scoop.

Katz interviewed Obama during the presidential campaign last October for a story about the president's brother-in-law, Oregon State head basketball coach Craig Robinson. After the interview, Obama invited Katz to play in a pickup basketball game on Election Day in Chicago.

Katz extracted a promise from Obama that if elected, the new president would reveal his NCAA picks to ESPN when the pairings were announced in March.

"They stayed true to their word and didn't hesitate to get it done," he said.

Even with a lot on his mind, Obama seemed up on the latest news, such as which teams had won conference tournaments and what players were injured, Katz said.

Tip-ins
After guiding Florida State to its best season in 16 years, Leonard Hamilton will be offered a contract extension that school officials said would make him a "happy camper." Hamilton, 60, is 131-95 in seven seasons at Florida State; the Seminoles (25-9) meet Wisconsin in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday . . . A former player at Cal State-Northridge and the coach's son have been ordered to stand trial on theft and burglary charges. Deon Tresvant and Jeffrey Robert Braswell will be arraigned on April 1. Braswell is the son of Cal State-Northridge coach Bobby Braswell, whose team plays Memphis tomorrow in the NCAA Tournament.

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