MAKES YOU WONDER A BIT, DOESN’T IT? What if the big schools played road games against the lesser likes more often? Thanks to a scheduling conflict with the NCAA tournament, Kentucky had to play its first NIT game on the road last night. Result: Robert Morris stunned the defending national champions 59-57 in a raucous environment in Moon, Pa. You can see video highlights here.
Here’s a great paragraph from the AP story:
Robert Morris scored the game’s first 10 points while the Wildcats — who typically play in front of home crowds in excess of 23,000 — stumbled their way through a series of miscues and appeared rattled in a gym with wooden bleachers that swayed underneath the feet of a clamoring student section chanting “Bobby Mo” every chance it could.
Nice writing. Even nicer image.
Home courts and fields are important in any sport — the comfort level’s higher, travel fatigue is eliminated, etc. — but college basketball might be the most influenced by where games are played. The vocal crowds help swing momentum, and the nature of basketball gives officials more influence than they have in any other sport.
This is why the NCAA selection committee likes to see what you’ve done away from home. It’s also why, starting tomorrow, you’re going to see some upsets in the NCAA tournament as big meets small on neutral floors. Either way, I really wish they could find a way to create more of these types of matchups in the regular season.
UVA ADVANCES: Doughty writes that it wasn’t pretty, but Virginia beats Norfolk State 67-56 in the first round of the NIT. The Cavs improve to 19-1 at home and have won 18 straight at JPJ.
NCAA “FIRST FOUR”: North Carolina A&T eliminates Liberty, 73-72 in Dayton, while Saint Mary’s advances with a 67-54 victory over Middle Tennessee. Tonight’s games are JMU vs. LIU Brooklyn (6:40 p.m., truTV) and La Salle vs. Boise State (9:10 p.m., truTV).
Former Hokie Tyrone Garland is the third-leading scorer for La Salle. Berman spotlights him here.
THINK AHEAD: The Salem Red Sox have lowered prices on tickets sold in advance this season. A general admission ticket will be $6 instead of $8 (also last year’s price) if purchased at least one day before the game.
GRAPPLING WITH SUCCESS: Berman writes that the Hokies carry momentum into the NCAA wrestling tournament after winning their first ACC crown.
ENSHRINE ‘EM: Blacksburg High School will establish a permanent hall of fame for its greatest athletes. The four-member inaugural class will be nominated through April, selected in May and inducted in October. Rick — any nominees?
VIVA DOMINICA: The Dominican Republic defeats Puerto Rico 3-0 to complete its unbeaten run through the World Baseball Classic.
READER COMMENT O’ THE DAY: Good stuff yesterday from all. Wanted to highlight this thought from Crooked Road arguing that NASCAR should shorten races to 400 laps and try to keep the time to 3 hours.
[T]he reason I want concrete limits on the distance of races is due to the possible variance of the cautions, etc. A 3 hour time limit is good, but knowing how ‘they’ always cheat on the times, I’d prefer a limit that held some races to 2.5 hours, since it works for basketball, etc. and USED to work for baseball. Limit the race, and use the extra time to fluff the pre/post-race chatter. I really think there should be MORE time devoted to post-race talk with the drivers than the pre-race junk.
Just think if we’d had a fifteen time segment after the Bristol race, where we could have had some Hamlin/Logano discussion. That would be SO much better than hearing DW blather about JuneBug or Five Time, etc.
GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS: Letter writer today: “McFarling’s piece was sophomoric and small-minded.” Spam blog comment received today: “Thanks for the wonderful posting!” Win some, lose some.
NAME THAT TUNE:
Leaving flowers on your grave
Show that I still care
But black roses and Hail Marys
Can’t bring back what’s taken from me
I reach to the sky
And call out your name
And if I could trade
And it feels
And it feels like
Heaven is so far away
And it stings
Yeah it stings now
The world is so cold
Now that you’ve [song title]