Category: Sports Written by CNN
Michigan withstood a late rally by Syracuse to defeat the Orange in the Final Four on Saturday at the Georgia Dome, 61-56.
Syracuse had built a 14-9 lead with 12:44 remaining in the first half, but a three-point play by Jon Horford less than two minutes later put the Wolverines back on top, 15-14. The Orange took the lead again off of a Trevor Cooney three-pointer with 10:14 remaining in the first half, but Michigan went on a 21-8 run from there to close the half with a 36-25 lead.
Although Michigan's Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III led the Wolverines with just six points apiece at the half, Syracuse's Michael Carter-Williams, Brandon Triche and James Southerland combined to shoot 3-of-14 from the floor in the first 20 minutes of action. Michigan built a double-digit lead at the half despite star point guard Trey Burke scoring just three points on 1-of-5 shooting.
McGary's rebounding and passing ability was also big for the Wolverines. He notched seven rebounds and four assists in the first half alone. He also added two emphatic blocks.
Less than five minutes into the second half, Syracuse had to call a timeout after McGary's dunk off a feed from Burke. The Wolverines led with 15:08 remaining, 43-32.
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
The Orange began to inch back into the game after the timeout, though, going on a 10-2 run to trail 45-41 with 11:08 remaining. Leading scorer C.J. Fair, who was one of the few Syracuse players who shot a decent percentage, had 18 points on 7-of-14 shooting at that point.
After Tim Hardaway Jr. responded with a three-pointer, the Orange went on a 4-0 run before Michigan took a timeout with 7:41 remaining, clinging on to a 48-45 lead.
But the Wolverines roared right back, scoring five unanswered points, punctuated by a mid-range jumper by McGary at the center of Syracuse's zone. Syracuse called a timeout with 3:46 remaining, trailing 53-45.
It was only inevitable that the Orange would bounce back once again, going on a 4-0 run to cut the deficit to four points with 1:58 remaining.
But the Wolverines were ultimately able to hold on down the stretch, surviving a nail-biter against Jim Boeheim's squad despite missing four of their last six free throws.
Interestingly enough, Michigan was able to beat Syracuse at its own game, notching 13 offensive rebounds on Saturday night (including five by McGary).
- McGary proved to be a difference-maker for the Wolverines, posting 10 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and two blocks.
Fair finished with 22 points on 9-of-20 shooting for the Orange. Carter-Williams had a rough outing, scoring two points and managing just two assists to five turnovers.
Michigan emerged victorious despite Burke scoring just seven points in the game
Last Updated on Sunday, 07 April 2013 18:16
Category: Sports Written by Roz Edward
Anybody feeling the Fab Five right about now, as we approach the Final Four of the 2103 NCAA championship games. That legendary University of Michigan team comprised of Jalen Rose, Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Ray Jackson and Jimmy King represent Michigan's last hope since 1993 for winning it all. Now 20 years later, all of the memories are resurfacing, and with them a tide of emotions.
"That excitement, really just being nostalgic. When I thought about it, it made me more excited than I have been in a long time," says Jimmy King.
This weekend in Atlanta, a new pack of Wolverines will make the school's first Final Four appearance since 1993, when they face Syracuse, and the hope is that they will never know the tragedy and scandal that befell their predecessors.
Although that phenomenal group of players forever changed the way college basketball would be played, bringing an unprecedented level of finesse and boldness with their style of play, they also brought shame to the game and caused nearly irreparable damage to Michigan's athletic program with layer upon layer of scandal.
Chris Webber is remembered most prominently for the beginning of the end of that glorious era, because of his infamous connection to now deceased Michigan booster Ed Martin. According to a federal indictment, Martin lent Webber hundreds of thousands of dollars while he was at U of M.
Michigan inevitably faced sanctions, forfeited victories, removed both of the Fab Five's Final Four banners from the arena's rafters, and did all it could to erase the Fab Five from the school's history and the fans' memories.
Webber who received a 10-year ban from partcipating in Michigan basketball is still officially precluded from participating in Michigan sports events until May of 2013. However Webber, who lives in Atlanta, is free to attend the Final Four as a fan.
Whatever the outcome of the game, although we predict a victory for Michigan, there is no doubt that Webber, Rose, King, Howard and Jackson will at some point be remembered for the winners they once were.
True Michigan fans will never forget.
Last Updated on Saturday, 06 April 2013 11:45
Category: Sports Written by Roz Edward, National Content Director
Watch as Louisville's Kevin Ware is dealt that devastating blow when he breaks his leg Sunday, March 31, in the Duke v. Louisville game.
For a close look (if you can stand it) see below
Last Updated on Monday, 01 April 2013 16:59
Category: Sports Written by By Josh Martin (NBA Lead Writer
It was only fitting that on a night when the Los Angeles Lakers honored Shaquille O'Neal by retiring his No. 34 jersey to the rafters at Staples Center, the team reflected, in some small way, an ethos that made the turn of the 21st century such a success for the Purple and Gold.
That is, Kobe Bryant dishing the ball to his big men.
OK, so maybe racking up 11 assists (as part of a 23-11-11 triple-double, no less) wasn't exactly customary for the Black Mamba back in the day—nor is it so now.
But if the Lakers are going to parlay a massive 101-81 win over the Dallas Mavericks into something more than a late-season smackdown of an old rival, they could certainly use more of Kobe the Point Guard.
At first glance, that may seem like a silly request to make of Bryant.
With all the scoring Kobe does/feels he has to do for this squad, you'd think the guy already has enough on his plate with which to concern himself. And considering that Bryant shares a backcourt with Steve Nash, shouldn't he let another Hall of Famer handle the bulk of the passing and dribbling duties?
Harry How/Getty Images
Certainly not with Nash sidelined by a hamstring injury. That setback is just the latest in a long line that has derailed his inaugural season since pulling a pseudo-Benedict Arnold on the Phoenix Suns.
Nash missed 24 games between November and December after fracturing a bone in his left leg and often struggled to find any sort of rhythm or flow to his game even after returning—which isn't all that surprising when you consider that:
A) Nash is 39 years old,
B) He's adjusting to a new city and a new franchise after spending the previous eight years in Phoenix, and
C) Not since his first stint with the Suns had Steve been in a situation wherein he wasn't always his team's primary ball-handler.
That's a lot for a routine-oriented guy like Nash to deal with, especially in the wake of his most devastating injury in over a decade. He won't likely be anything close to his old self until next season, after he's had a full summer to work himself back into proper playing shape and adjust his expectations to better fit his role with the Lakers.
Even then, it wouldn't exactly behoove the Lakers to have Kobe relinquish the reins of the offense, at least not entirely. For better or worse, he's the player around whom L.A.'s basketball universe will revolve until he decides to hang 'em up.
Who should play the point for the Lakers for the rest of the season?
And, as Shaq can surely attest, Kobe knows a thing or two about playing with great big men—even more so than Nash.
Beyond the obvious personal friction between the Big Diesel and his No. 8-wearing sidekick, the partnership between O'Neal and Bryant proved plenty productive, to say the least. You could say that those Lakers teams "underachieved," considering they sported two of the game's three best players for the better part of a decade.
But three titles in four trips to the NBA Finals ain't bad, I s'pose.
It's that acumen for involving world-class giants that was most brilliantly on display from Kobe against the Mavs. Whether he was dishing off to Dwight Howard inside, setting up Pau Gasol in the post or dumping the ball into the Spaniard as a conduit to Dwight, Bryant did some of his best work integrating the Lakers' two All-Star centers into what appeared to be a more cohesive tandem.
Not that Nash is a slouch in this regard by any means. Steve just so happens to be one of the game's foremost proprietors of the pick-and-roll, and Howard and Gasol just so happen to be two of the better "roll men" around.
But, again, Nash isn't healthy and hasn't been all season. Bryant isn't exactly fit either, though he's certainly more than fit enough to handle the Lakers offense all by himself, thank you very much. In fact, the win against Dallas moved L.A. to 13-6 in games in which Kobe tallies eight or more assists—as opposed to 26-30 when he doesn't.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor
It's a lot to ask of Kobe, he of the bone-spurred foot and the sprained ankle and the 34-year-old body that's logged more than 53,000 minutes over the course of 1,454 games across 17 seasons.
But, for seven more regular-season games and (hopefully) at least a handful more in the playoffs, it might be manageable.
Beyond that, it's what the Lakers will need to salvage a lost season.
More than even the most nostalgic of jersey retirements could.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 April 2013 15:34
Category: Sports Written by Dr. Boyce Watkins
by Dr. Boyce Watkins
(YourBlackWorld.com)--I’ve always loved Chris Rock. I don’t respect him because he’s funny, rich or famous, everyone notices that. I respect him because he is also intelligent, progressive and courageous. He doesn’t just give Black people something to laugh about. He also gives them something to THINK about.
This week, while watching March Madness, that multi-billion dollar professional sports extravaganza that pretends to be an amateur sports league, Rock made some interesting and powerful remarks about what he was witnessing on television. Rock, a man who clearly understands the entertainment business, likely found himself confused about how a show can attract tens of millions of viewers without paying its star performers.
Speaking from his Facebook page, Rock had this to say:
“So I’m watching the Kansas North Carolina game on tv .And I notice there are 9 Black players and 1 White player btw the White player is amazing. Anyway I look in the stands and everybody is White. Since its known that college sports is big money, one could come to the conclusion that the nine Black and one White player are playing to put 100 thousand White kids though college. I know no one is getting whipped or beaten but economically college sports are no different than slavery. I know a lot of Black intellectuals will say we can do so much more than play ball and we can .But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t reap the benefits from sports, White kids that go to Syracuse and Georgetown do. These kids should be paid and allowed to get an education for themselves and their families for the rest of there lives. Black people not making money from college sports is like Arabs not making money from oil insane. We have our reparations lottery ticket right in our pocket and were not smart enough to cash it in.”
Everything that Rock says is right on point. The truth about college sports is that the exploitation runs deep, along with serious labor rights violations, in conjunction with operating practices that would be illegal in nearly any other industry in America. Whenever this many fans watch something on television, SOMEONE is getting rich. It’s amazing that those individuals are not the ones actually doing the work.
What I also love about Rock’s remark is that he wasn’t afraid to address the racial elephant in the middle of the room. Many conversations about the unethical nature of collegiate athletics are watered down, focusing solely on graduation rates in a race-neutral sort of way. But the fact is that anyone who follows college sports knows, without a doubt, that black men are typically running the show.
The wealth extraction from the Black community by the NCAA easily exceeds one billion dollars per year. This money could help address failing schools, Black unemployment, urban violence and many of the other issues that plague our community as a result of unchecked poverty and very few economic/educational opportunities. At the very least, it would get a few families out of the projects.
Sonny Vaccaro, the former Nike executive who conceptualized the Air Jordan sneaker, called to tell me about a multi-billion dollar class action lawsuit being filed against the NCAA. The attorneys were licking their chops over the numerous anti-trust violations being committed by the league, which has greedily taken athletes’ images and sold them to video game companies without compensating the players.
The lawsuit, should Vaccaro emerge victorious, could strike a tremendous blow to the toxic cash cow known as the NCAA. But an even faster route to liberation lies right in the hands of players and their families. Should blue chip athletes simply refuse to play without being compensated, then the show (and the money) will all come to a halt. As Chris Rock said, the power is in our hands.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and author of the book, “Black American Money”.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 April 2013 10:44
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