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North Carolina-Marquette game thread

Final: North Carolina 81, Marquette 63. Roy Williams has to be proud of his "keeds."

6:54: Marquette shows some sign of life but the Heels are still winning, 63-45. Ohio State just walked into the locker room to prepare for its game against Kentucky to a standing ovation from Buckeye fans.

14:16: Buzz Williams is yapping with the ref. Probably wants to get kicked out and I can't blame him.

18:19: Carolina 46, Marquette 17. This is uglier than my fourth grade report card.

19:00 second half: One minute into the second half, Carolina has two quick buckets and Buzz Williams calls time out.

Halftime: 40-19 Carolina at the half. This is like a Bills-Pats game.

23.9: I think I heard someone call uncle. 38-15 Heels.

2:09: Where's D Wade when you need him?

3:09: Marquette's players look defeated.

3:23: Marquette went nearly nine minutes without scoring.

3:49: Jimmy Butler's jumper ends North Carolina's run. Finally.

3:59: Roy's "keeds" look good.

4:38: Marquette has already called four time outs and the Heels are still on a 19-0 run. Time for halftime adjustments.

5:12: Marquette is just 4 of 18 from the floor.

6:48: Barnes three-pointer makes it a 15-0 run. This is getting out of hand fast!

8:12: After Davante Gardner picked up his second foul, Carolina scored two quick baskets and now leads 18-10. Heels are on a 10-0 run. Good time out by Buzz Williams.

11:36: North Carolina can get shots inside any time it wants. Right now, they're missing.

13:13: Carolina and Marquette a combined 6 of 21 from the field.

---Sloppy start so far for both teams. Easy misses, jump shots way off.

---We're about 10 minutes away from tip off for tonight's East Regional semifinal between North Carolina and Marquette. The Prudential Center is only about half full but when Ohio State and Kentucky tip off after this game the place will be close to capacity.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

East Regional notes

State grad ---Ohio State has been placed in a negative light recently because of a football scandal but last Sunday in Cleveland there was cause for celebration.

Seniors Jon Diebler, Dallas Lauderdale, David Lighty and Nicola Kecman were surprised with an impromptu graduation ceremony prior to the George Mason game at Quicken Loans Arena. Miechelle Willis, Ohio State’s senior associate athletic director, came up with the idea.

“She had the ceremony put together for us and called out our names,’’ Lighty said. “We kind of walked up, shook her hand and got it. It was something it special for us since we couldn't make it down to Columbus and be with the rest of our classmates. For them to do that, it was real special.’’

Diebler said it caught the seniors by surprise.

“It was kind of crazy to get that diploma, but it was very nice for Miss Miechelle to do that and the university,’’ he said. “We didn't get to walk with our classmates. For them to take the time to do that and be thinking of us means a lot.”

---North Carolina State is in the market for a coach again but things might have been different if Kentucky's John Calipari took the job when it was offered six years ago.

“Yes, I was close to taking the job,’’ Calipari said. “And what had me saying I want to do that, I just wanted to be on the same footing with the Dukes and the North Carolinas. Now let’s go. We’re in the same league, let’s go have at it. That’s what interested me. But it’s obviously a terrific job and someone will go in there and do well.’’

---Hard to believe, but Friday will be one of the few times Kentucky will be an underdog. Ohio State has lost two games all season – Wisconsin and Purdue who were both seeded high coming into the tournament – and is the overall No. 1 seed.

But Calipari isn’t worried about the Buckeyes.

“We are worried about us,’’ he said. “We are worried about us playing well. We’ll give them what they need to play this game. But to this point we have been focused on us and I am not worried about who is favored, who is not favored, who is the underdog or who is the favorite. None of that matters in this stuff.’’

---It’s been quite a roller coaster ride the last three years for Tyler Zeller and North Carolina who went from national champions to the NIT to No. 2 seed in this year’s tournament.

“My freshman year was a great year, I didn’t do a whole lot, I was injured most of the year but to be able to be part of the ride was an amazing ride,’’ he said. “”Last year was very difficult. I mean we had a mediocre start and then AP preseason came around and we kind of plummeted and then we put ourselves in the NIT, made a little bit of a run and just couldn't pull off the last game.’’

The Heels started slowly again this year by going 6-4 in their first 10 games.

“I don’t remember when we had the meeting, but we had a meeting and … our team chemistry got better,’’ Zeller said. “We all pulled together and then I think throughout the whole season we've done a great job of just supporting each other and being confident in what everybody can do.’’

---After Carolina missed last year’s tournament, coach Roy Williams re-evaluated his system extensively. The last time he did so much soul searching was after the 1997 season when his Kansas team featuring All-Americans Paul Pierce and Raef LaFrentz were upset by Arizona.

“I thought we were clearly the best in the country and didn’t even get to the Final Four,’’ Williams said. “I have been doing [self evaluation] a long time now. It’s hard to, you know, evaluate everything you are doing over and over and over and over. But I try to do it a little bit every summer. And over the course of the summer you get a little more excited about what might be able to happen in the coming season and I think that's good for everybody.’’

---Marquette’s Darius Johnson-Odom is from Raleigh, N.C., home of N.C. State but also a place where many Tar Heel fans reside. Probably not too many Golden Eagles fans, however.

“I do have quite a few friends that do attend North Carolina and they have been giving me all types of jokes and things prior to the game,’’ he said. “They tell me that they are going to support me, but they are going to support their Tar Heels at the same time.’’

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Who says experience is a factor?

PJ-AZ986_SP_EXP_G_20110322175402
---Senior laden teams have flopped in the NCAAs which brings the question does experience really matter?

---Which Cinderella has the best chance to continue on in the Big Dance?

---The top ten most iconic moments in March Madness history.

---An updates on the search for the next coach at North Carolina State.

---Who will replace Rick Jackson for Syracuse in 2012?

---An in-depth list of candidates for the Tennessee job. The Vols are also targeting Jamie Dixon and Jay Wright. Good luck with that one.

---Michigan State assistant coach Mark Montgomery will become the new coach at Northern Illinois.

---NCAA Tournament success at a mid-major doesn't always guarantee success at the next level.

---Ed Cooley has vowed to turn the program around at Providence and win quickly.

---An interesting read on the financial structure of the NIT.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Report: Anderson to Arkansas

---Arkansas officials are expected to meet with Missouri coach Mike Anderson later Wednesday and, according to sources, a contract offer and Anderson's acceptance of it appear to be a formality, according to ESPN's Andy Katz. Anderson had wrestled with his decision the past few days, especially with the majority of the Tigers returning. Anderson had been negotiating a two-year extension that would raise his salary at Missouri to $2 million per season -- a $500,000 raise.

Anderson was a longtime assistant at Arkansas under Nolan Richardson.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Five objectives for UB this spring

The second year of the Jeff Quinn era of University at Buffalo football officially begins today with spring football. Coming off a lackluster 2-10 season the allotted 15 practices will be critical. Here are five objectives for UB this spring:

1. Find a starting quarterback: This won’t be settled until after training camp in August, but sophomore Alex Zordich starts the spring as the starter while junior Jerry Davis will back him up.  The other quarterbacks on the roster are redshirt freshman Rudy Johnson and senior Cory Jorgensen and in February, UB signed Williamsville South’s Joe Licata and Tony Daniel from Georgia. Only Zordich and Davis have been in the fire in the MAC. This position was a primary weakness a year ago and the Bulls have to find someone who can run the offense successfully.

2. Re-define offensive goals: The Bulls committed 33 turnovers in 2010, 23 through the air, so UB is moving away from the pass heavy spread to a more balance scheme led by new offensive coordinator Alex Wood, who has a lengthy coaching resume including stints in the NFL. Considering the Bulls are once again deep at tailback, it’s a wise move. 

3. Retool the offensive line: Quinn aimed for a leaner, meaner unit when he arrived but after it got pushed around and figured it was time for a make over so expect a bulkier line.

4. Rebuild the secondary: Davonte Shannon, Domonic Cook, Josh Thomas and Sherrod Lott are all gone but the potential replacements have talent. Carlos Lammons and Cincinnati transfer Romel Dismuke, both sophomores, have first dips on jobs.

5. Create some positive chemistry: The Bulls struggled with chemistry issues last season as the teams adjusted from the serene Turner Gill to the fiery Quinn. While a winning season would have been a reach considering the overall inexperience of the offense, no one could have predicted a 2-10 finish. Now that the coaches and players have spent a season navigating their way through the adjustment period, they must find the kind of bond that championship-caliber teams possess.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Officials made mistake in Syracuse loss

 

---Officials made a mistake in the final minute of Syracuse's third-round NCAA Tournament loss to Marquette, NCAA officiating coordinator John Adams said. An over-and-back call due to an inbounds pass from Dion Waiters to Scoop Jardine was not the correct call, Adams said in the statement.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Virginia is for hoops

62218_ncaa_vcu_purdue_basketball ---At least for the next few days, Richmond is Hoopstown, U.S.A. Here's an in-depth look at VCU's run to the Swee16.

---UB's season came to an end in the quarterfinals of the CIT.

---According to Coach-K, Kyrie Irving will get a heavy dose of playing time against Arizona.

---The Final Four is still weeks away, but with Duke/North Carolina being a possible match-up, it's just too sexy to ignore.

---It looks like Mike Anderson will stay at Missouri and will receive a hefty contract extension.

---Which underdog team has the best chance to make it to Houston?

---Here's 16 storylines likely to pan out during the Sweet 16.

---Bruce Pearl's had a rough six months. The search for the next coach at Tennessee begin. A look back at Pearl's career.

---Matt Norlander provides power rankings for the 16 remaining tournament teams.

---Eamonn Brennan and Andy Katz debate ESPN's power rankings.

---The first weekend of March Madness received the highest TV ratings in the history of March Madness opening weekends.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Cooley named coach at Providence

---Providence reached an agreement to hire Fairfield's Ed Cooley as its next basketball coach. Cooley and his representatives met with school officials on Monday when they apparently reached agreement on a deal. Cooley was at Fairfield on Tuesday morning where he met with his school president and then later spoke with his team.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

The fun is just beginning

NCAA+Gonzaga+BYU+Basketball
---Here are some winners and losers from the NCAA Tournament as we head into the Sweet 16.

---Score another one for the mid-majors.

---UB finds out how the other half lives.

---Syracuse' Kris Joseph will return for his senior season.

---VCU and Florida State found their identities at the perfect time.

---Vanderbilt has exited the NCAA tournament in the first round three years in a row. Likewise, the Georgetown senior class will graduate with just one tournament win.

---Are the Pittsburgh Panthers the Chicago Cubs of college basketball?

---Ray Mernagh believes fans need to stop worrying about officiating and just enjoy this time of year.

---The CAA is doing well on the court and in the bank accounts too.

---Mike DeCourcy provides four questions regarding the regionals.

---Mike Anderson will stay at Missouri and may even get a contract extension.

---Rick Barnes has been able to recruit talented players to Texas, but talent can only take a team so far in the NCAA tournament.

---Mark Price is interested in the job opening at Georgia Tech.

---The rosters are out for the 2011 Nike Hoops Summit, which includes Syracuse recruit Raheem Christmas.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Costly turnover or blown call?

---An over-and-back call against Scoop Jardine played a huge role in Syracuse's third-round loss to Marquette Sunday in the NCAA Tournament. But was it the correct call? According to NCAA rules, it wasn't.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

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About Campus Watch

Bob Dicesare

Bob DiCesare

Western New York native Bob DiCesare covers UB football, Big 4 basketball and writes an occasional column. He still holds a grudge against Chris Ford who, he's convinced, cost St. Bonaventure the 1970 NCAA basketball championship.

@TBNDicesare | bdicesare@buffnews.com


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered colleges for The Buffalo News since 1999. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | amoritz@buffnews.com

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