... the safe, smart AM read for college basketball fans
Sometimes the story everyone wants to write doesn't end up working out in the end. On Wednesday night, hundreds of college hoops scribes had already begun their quest to put North Carolina vs. Duke into words. The only problem, of course, was that the game hadn't actually ended yet.
For some, it made sense to throw in the journalistic towel. The Heels were dominating on the glass at the time, and Duke couldn't stop clanking shots from the outside. After an extremely exciting opening half that captivated often, it seemed as if Carolina was about to pull away and assert its dominance. So...then...everyone started writing. Why not get a jump on the rest of the country, right?
But then a funny thing happened: Duke started to make it interesting. Shot after shot, things got even more interesting. Then, all of a sudden, after a Tyler Zeller accidental tip into his own basket and a missed free throw at the other end, only two points separated the bitter rivals, effectively rendering all those half-written "game stories" into useless drivel.
The scene that followed next was two parts shock and one part madness. A game-winning three-pointer to cap off Duke-North Carolina, the greatest rivalry in the sport? C'mon now. Even the guys who had to begrudgingly re-write their articles on deadline shortly thereafter still couldn't hide the massive ear-to-ear grins on their face. They knew. This was truly one of the most amazing basketball games of the season, and quite possibly the greatest Duke-UNC finish of all-time. An instant classic.
* Harrison Barnes on the collapse: "It's terrible to be in control of the game, up 10, and then lose it on a last-second shot. We kind of laid back a little bit. We committed some terrible turnovers down the stretch. It caught up to us at the end." (Winston-Salem Journal)
* Wednesday gave us yet another POY-type performance from Draymond Green (23-12-5), but did anyone even notice? (Detroit Free Press)
* Upsets from left-field: Boston College slid by FSU in the second most shocking game of the night (Boston Herald)
* With millions of eyes tuned in, Jeff Withey and Kansas exposed Baylor on a national stage (Rock Chalk Talk)
Notre Dame - Mike Brey's Irish went into Morgantown, held the Mountaineers to 16 first-half points, and walked away with a 55-51 victory. It wasn't pretty, but the win marked Notre Dame's fifth straight in league play, with Syracuse, Marquette, Seton Hall, Connecticut, and now West Virginia each falling victim to the Irish over that span. And with the easiest schedule imaginable remaining, Brey's team is once again in a prime position for a favorable NCAA tournament draw.
Florida State - All Florida State needed to do was take care of business against the ACC's bottom feeders to have a legit shot at winning the league outright. Seems easy enough, right? Losing to Boston College, though, is not the best way to get that done. The Seminoles fell into a three-way tie for first place after Wednesday's woeful defeat, and are now forced to reel off a string of victories just to keep pace with Duke and Carolina. It's hard to believe Leonard Hamilton's squad won't look back on this game with complete angst in a few weeks. A bad, bad loss.
Every last soul in the Dean Dome knew Rivers was going to have the ball in his hands during the final seconds. And every single one of those people also knew the cocky freshman had his eyes set on a game-winning three, and wasn't going to mess around with anything inside the perimeter. Rivers' soul-crushing shot sailed through the net about as flawlessly as you could draw it up, forever sealing his fate in UNC-Duke lore. Rivers' 29 points were the most ever by a Duke freshman against the Heels. An unmistakeably brilliant performance by the youngster.
15 - First-half points scored by UAB's Cameron Moore in a 71-61 upset of Southern Miss. The 6'10" senior finished with 27 points, 12 rebounds, and three blocks, and the Golden Eagles simply had no answer for him inside.