The big five for Monday:
If you watched Virginia’s 80-69 victory at Maryland on Sunday, you’d never guess that this was just the second ACC road win of season for the Cavaliers. Their deliberate offensive style and tenacious halfcourt defense put on a clinic on how to hush a hostile crowd. Remaining trips to UNC, Duke and Miami (see No. 3) figure to be tougher than this one, but UVa’s late-game toughness was encouraging. And hitting 58 percent from 3-point range? Well, you could win on Pluto doing that.
2. WHO WANTS IT?
You get the feeling we’ll all be throwing darts at our brackets next month. Another 14 ranked college basketball teams lost this past week, including six on Saturday. The AP poll comes out today and is expected to have a new No. 1 for the sixth straight week. With No. 1 Indiana, No. 2 Florida and No. 3 Michigan all losing this past week, the door was open for No. 4 Duke, which needed a defensive stop at the buzzer to escape Boston College with a 62-61 win last night.
3. STILL HOT IN SOUTH FLORIDA
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade were among those in attendance Saturday for the University of Miami’s 87-61 dismantling of North Carolina. You can make a strong case that the Hurricanes, winners of 11 straight, are playing better than anyone in the country right now. Miami coach Jim Larranaga credits a five-minute speech from Chris Bosh two summers ago for helping turn the program around. Miami hosts Virginia a week from tomorrow, while Virginia Tech visits on Feb. 27.
Not sure what else there is to say about Erick Green and the lack of help he’s been getting from his Virginia Tech teammates. That image of him collapsed on the bench from dehydration at the end of Tech’s loss to Georgia Tech on Saturday probably said it all.
5. RITE OF SPRING
Pitchers and catchers report today. Maybe that should be No. 1. Also, I saw in Baseball America that shortstop Xander Bogaerts, the teenage star of last year’s Salem Red Sox team and the top-ranked prospect in the Boston system, is expected to play for The Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic. All we need is some warmer weather and spirits everywhere are bound to rise.
ALSO RECEIVING VOTES: Snedeker sets tourney record at 19-under to win Pebble Beach Pro Am — his sixth top-3 finish in his past nine events…After seven-month absence, Nadal falls in singles finals in Chile, calls return “very positive”…Paterno family review calls Freeh report “profound failure.” Did you expect any other conclusion from them?
NAME THAT TUNE
I am tired of this Devil
I am tired of this stuff
I am tired of this business
Goin’ when the going gets rough
I ain’t scared of your brother
I ain’t scared of no sheets
I ain’t scare of nobody
Girl when the goin’ gets mean…