Jim Barnes.com
Duke Survives, Iowa Nearly Stuns  Vols
© Jim Barnes -2019 - All Rights Reserved
Monday, March 25, 2019
E-Mail to: j ab34@mchsi.com    
There   is   nothing   as   exciting   as   the   Final   Four   basketball   tournament,   one   loss   and   you   are   done.      Duke   faced Central   Florida,   coached   by   one   of   Mike   Krzyewski’s   early All-Americans   Johh   Dawkins,   escaping   77-76.   Central missed   two   shots   in   the   closing   seconds   that   had   a   chance,   but   bounced   away   from   what   would   have   wrecked   the bracket picks of millions. During   the   regular   season,   UCF   was   third   in   the   lightly   regarded   American   Athletic   Conference,   and   played with   more   intensity   that   the   Devils,   favored   by   13-points.   Dawkin’s   son   tallied   32   points,   and   7-6   Tacko   Fall   was   a nemesis in the lane - an area Duke’s Zion Williamson  normally controls. Prior   to   the   Duke-Central   Florida   thriller,   Tennessee   jumped   to   a   25-point   lead   over   Iowa   and   since   it   was   the only   game   on   television   at   the   time,   viewers   were   stuck.      Luckily,   so.      The   Hawkeyes   put   on   a   second   half   display of   offense   and   defense   that   sent   the   into   overtime   at   71-71.      The   miracle   ended,   UT   grabbed   the   lead   and   an   83- 77 victory. Saturday   saw   Gonzaga’s   leaping   giant,   Brandon   Clarke,   put   on   an   athletic   performance   that   totally   caught spectators   and   Baylor   by   surprise.      Recognized   for   his   defensive   talent,   Clarke   missed   on   just   six   of   18   shot attempts,   ending   the   game   with   36-points.   five   blocks   and   eight   rebounds.   The   Zags   downed   Baylor   83-71   and most of those that inserted Duke as the Final Four champion were having second thoughts. The   Final   Four   West   field   may   be   the   most   challenging,   a   trio   of   genuine   final   game   threats   are   still   breathing   - Gonzaga,   Florida   State   and   Michigan.   The   Seminoles   were   almost   ignored   after   the   Atlantic   Coast’s   top   trio grabbed No. 1 seedings in all but one bracket. With   head   coach   Will   Wade   suspended   for   allegedly   breaking   an   NCAA   recruiting   violation   rule,   Louisiana State   keeps   chugging   along.   A   number   of   analysts   figured   the   disruption   would   take   the   Bengals   to   the   showers, quickly. LSU is growing stronger and is an outsider that could go to the actual Final Four. The   Big-10   is   still   winning   more   than   its   share,   10-3   after   the   first   full   weekend   of   action.      The   SEC   and   ACC each have three teams still competing. The most impressive team this past weekend?  Purdue. 
Three   days   until   the start   of   2019   baseball’s     …    the   two   games   that   were played    almost    a    week ago in Japan. Seattle        is        2-0, Oakland      0-2      in      the American League. Tuesday   will   be   the last    day    teams    will    be either   in   Florida   and   Arizona   as   it   is   time to    break    camp    (leaving    warm    to    mild weather   to   be   greeted   by   wind,   rain   and probably some snow or ice). Baseball   in   the   last   of   March   is   as risky    as    as    denying    there    is    a    climate change gaining strength. The     Cubs     and     Padres     had     an unusual   spring   game   yesterday,   Chicago winning    24-6    as    both    team    used    nine pitchers   and   none   lasted   more   than   two innings.   In   their   two   innings,   both   hurlers gave up seven hits and six runs.
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