Week Log: Big Dance Comes To Town

The four top East seeds have advanced to TD Banknorth, where #4 Xavier takes on #1 Pittsburgh and #3 Villanova takes on #2 Duke in Sweet Sixteen action tonight. College Sports Blog has Xavier not wanting to be judged by its conference, and Villanova looking to spend more time in Boston as the Wildcats and BC Eagles talk cross-scheduling next year. Mike Petraglia has Xavier’s rebounding a threat to make Pitt the NCAA Tournament’s Chicago Cubs. Touching them all, Little Man on Campus has Xavier bent about the “mid” in mid-major, Pitt finding it an Elusive Eight these last eight years, Villanova finally having to play a road game, and Duke Coach K juggling his backcourt in search of a friendly ball. Tonight’s Duke game will be a homecoming of sorts for Thanks For Playing‘s Dan, as he holds the ultimate I-was-there-when trump card. WGS Celtics Blog is ripped that a story starting out with Blue Devils’ F/G Gerald Henderson should seguey into a dissing of the Celtics.

Hardwood Paroxysm says a lack of more upsets will sap the nostalgia from the tournament and divert our enthusiasm to individual performances. The Dagger is your program to help sort the good guys from the bad among our 16 survivors.

So, if the UConn Huskies beat Purdue in Phoenix tonight, will the New York Post add their obligatory, never-grows-old asterisk? Sox & Dawgs gives their take on the breaking UConn recruiting violation allegations over short-timer Nate Miles. On his UConn Men’s Basketball blog, David Borges goes out to Idaho where Miles may have his share of court problems but, hey, he still loves the Huskies. Finally, I couldn’t resist adding this In Storrs Now entry from Phoenix that ran a day before the Nate Miles story broke. How’s that for an apocalyptic title? Wishful thinking if you ask me!

Red Sox

Yes, it’s only spring but Clay Buchholtz had another strong outing yesterday. Terry Francona ascribes Buchholtz’s extra work this winter to his spring success. It is John Smoltz who is wowing Don Orsillo this spring with his inner drive and willingness to be held in check. Full Count has a 70%-intense Smoltz struggling to tame the beast within. The Bottom Line says Smoltz is chomping at the bit to get out there. Caught Off The Wall thinks George Kottaras as the next DKC will be Tim Wakefield’s new crutch, though the unkind misspelling of his name tends to demean the catcher’s true value, whether accidental or intentional. Over The Monster has Kottaras calling a good game and giving this Sox season some tremendous upside potential. And Keith Olbermann debuts as Baseball Nerd on MLB.com and is in disbelief that Daniel Bard’s delivery can generate such velocity. Believe, Nerd.

In as unique a post as you’ll find in any market, one of our own bloggers announces his retirement . . . from Major League Baseball. Curt Schilling uses his 38 Pitches to bid us adieu. Red Sox Hen returns the favor, remembering all Curt gave to the Sox, while daughter Cyn on Toeing The Rubber has Schill deeply affecting her life. Year Of The Sox thinks he’ll stay retired. Fire Brand of the American League concedes that not all Hall of Famers are created equal, but Schilling has the stuff to be among them. However, John Chandler stops short of saying Schilling should join his bloody sock in Cooperstown.

Eric Ortiz has our own Mr. March taking home more hardware at this year’s WBC.

Celtics

The C’s went down to the Magic after another gritty near-comeback in Orlando last night, 84-82. Ball Don’t Lie says the battle for home court advantage between these two teams is overrated and is a subordinate concern to KG’s pitch count. Red’s Army points to one key play early in the game that turned this one against the C’s. Green Street isn’t concerned with the Magic come playoff time, while Fantasy NBA Zone has seen enough to pronounce the C’s repeat hopes as DOA. Full Court Press says the C’s will need every advantage if they are to repeat, and that includes homecourt against the Magic.

TrueHoop has the C’s defense throwing fits at the geekometric Player Efficiency Rating. Tommy Heinsohn’s fastball is still popping as Touching All The Bases ranks him and Mike Gorman the best broadcast crew in Boston.

Patriots / NFL

A few new rules changes were handed down this week, ostensibly with the Patriots’ welfare in mind. However, Pats Pulpit suggests they’re more to keep the Steelers in line. PatriotsBlog has more on the second rule to be intimately connected with Tom Brady. National Football Post looks at the issues surrounding an expanded NFL season.

My Two Cents has Bill Belichick a little out of focus yesterday at UConn’s Pro Day. It Is What It Is has Huskies RB Donald Brown the probable apple of Belichick’s eye, but the Courant’s UConn Football reported Belichick juggling lots of balls, working out a QB at safety and D-backs at wide-out. Does Mel Kiper see a Wildcat offense in New England? Apparantly so, as The Point After has him liking West Virginia QB Pat White for the Pats.

First And Ten From Foxborough loves kicking off Monday Night Football with T.O. in the house. Patriots Gab has this an early opportunity for the Pats to try out their new toys against Owens.

Shutdown Corner seems to have found a few morsels of humor in the Donte Stallworth story. I guess that’s how he made the big time.

Bruins / NHL / AHL

For the first time all winter, the B’s are going last today. Sure, we’re a hockey town again, but there’s a bye week on the ice and basketball, baseball, and football never go away. Big Bad Blog looks at how the down time is affecting various B’s heading into the home stretch. Naoko Funayama casts her vote for Most Valuable Bruin. Stanley Cup of Chowder looks in on the B’s college prospects. Puck Daddy acknowledges Tuukka Rask’s recent meltdown after losing a shootout at the Dunk in Providence as a top goalie-gone-wild moment.

Wicked Bruins Fan says the tight packing of playoff contenders renders speculation of a first-round opponent useless, but he doesn’t want it to be the Canadiens. Caveman Strong isn’t worried about the B’s in the playoffs and thinks the Habs will go down faster than his 401(k). Kathryn Tappen says that, between the NCAA tournament and Stanley Cup run, New England is coming into the best time of the year.

That will close things out, but be sure to join Ken Fang with his Megalinks tomorrow afternoon. I’ll be back Monday afternoon with a review of ’78, Bill Reynolds’ new book that will hit the shelves next week. So you see, here at BSMW we’re not just for breakfast anymore.

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Celtics Can’t Complete Comeback

Down 16 points in the second half last night, the Celtics turned it on and had a chance to steal last night’s game with seconds remaining and trailing only by one. The officials swallowed their whistles in the final two minutes, however, and the Orlando Magic survived the Celtics comeback 84-82 in Florida.

Marc J. Spears has the Magic taking over the #2 seed in the Eastern conference with the win. Steve Bulpett says that the Celtics might not have won the game, but they did get into the heads of the Magic with their comeback. Paul Flannery says that the Magic may have won last night’s game, but they still do not have the look of a contender. Jeremy Gottlieb has a home stretch edition of the Five Pack on the BSMW Full Court Press.

Spears’ notebook has Doc Rivers planning on expanding KG’s minutes starting next week. Bulpett’s notebook has more on Rivers’ ramp-up plan for KG. Check CelticsLinks.com for more coverage and chatter about last night’s contest.

NCAA

The NCAA Tournament hits Boston tonight with the regional portion of the tournament. Xavier takes on Pitt at 7:27pm tonight, followed by Duke and Villanova at about 10:00. Bob Ryan conjures up five of the best regional games in his memory. Jeff Goodman has 10 storylines to watch in this weekend’s NCAA games.

Mark Blaudschun has the mystique of the Duke Blue Devils following them to Boston. Jerry Spar says that Duke stirs up hoops fans’ worst passions. Andy Vogt has Duke returning to the big time.  Julian Benbow has a look at Villanova’s place as a “poor man’s Duke,” though they may not have to take a back seat here. Adam Smartschan looks at the similarities and contrasts between the two schools and teams. Spar examines the Love-hate relationship many have with Duke.

Dan Shaughnessy and Jennifer Toland have the obligatory but still interesting Gerald Henderson Jr columns. However, Spar notes that teammate Nolan Smith is also the son of  a former Celtic, the late Derek Smith. Jim Fenton has more on Henderson getting a chance to play in the city where his dad made his name.

Dan Ventura has a piece on Villanova’s Dwayne Anderson, who stuck with the program even when things weren’t going well for him. Ryan goes inside the Villanova-Duke matchup tonight. Fenton notes that the Big East has become the nation’s power conference in this tournament. With five teams in the sweet 16, Bill Reynolds agrees that the Big East is the best.

Michael Vega looks at how Xavier plans to deal with Pitt big man DeJuan Blair. Jim Clark has more on Blair. Blaudschun has Xavier out to make waves in this regional. Dan Duggan has a look at Xavier coach Sean Miller, a Pitt alumn. Bill Doyle has more on Miller taking on his former team.  Alan Siegel has a look at Pitt point guard Levance Fields, another in the line of New York City point guards.

Matt Viser says that no one in Boston cares that the one of the biggest sporting events of the year is taking place here.

Mike Fine remembers the 1979 title game with Bird and Magic as the game that changed college basketball.

You can check the Hartford Courant for the news about the UConn recruiting scandal.  

Benbow’s notebook has former Big East rivals Boston College and Villanova hoping to hook up on the schedule in the future. The Duke-Nova Notebook has the Big East living up to the hype thus far. Pitt-Xavier Notebook has Xavier dismissing the mid-major label. Vogt’s notebook looks at a bumpy ride for Pitt thus far.

Other

John Smoltz threw off a mound for the first time this spring. Check the other Red Sox stories at RedSoxLinks.com.

Chris Warner has an interview with Iowa defensive back Bradley Fletcher on Patriots Daily. Michael Felger has his latest mailbag and says that it is all about Bill Belichick in 2009. Get the rest of your Patriots fix at PatriotsLinks.com.

The Bruins don’t play until Saturday, check their preparations at BruinsLinks.com.

Discussion continues in the BSMW Group Project – Worst Boston Sports Columns post.

Be sure to check out the now-extensive comments section of that post for the many suggestions that have floated in over the last few days.

You’ll have a chance to win prizes from the TV show AX MEN (Mondays, 10pm HISTORY) by submitting your choice for the worst Boston sports column of recent memory.

Twitter Updates for BSMW on 2009-03-25

  • Touching All The Bases: Voicing an opinion, Ranking the Boston Sports Announcing Tandems via @GlobeChadFinnhttp://is.gd/oXP8 #
  • BSMW Seems to need a restart – checking with the web host now. #
  • Pos: Frank Deford’s description of Boston sportswriting in the 1960s: “One step up from illiteracy, one decibel down from shouting.” #
  • Joe Pos on Curt Schilling and the Media: http://ow.ly/1qkt #
  • The Boston Globe makes Wall Street 24/7’s updated list of top 10 newspapers likely to fold or go digital: http://ow.ly/1q1n #
  • Jon Duke tears apart Harvey Araton’s NY Times Article Ripping the Celtics: http://ow.ly/1pJX #
  • BSMW Network Post: THE FIVE-PACK – HOME STRETCH EDITION http://tinyurl.com/d878ms #
  • BSMW Network Post: Contest Reminder http://tinyurl.com/d4xmxf #
  • Adrian Wojnarowski and Dan Wetzel investigative report exposes UConn recruiting violations: http://tinyurl.com/dz8dt5 #
  • BSMW Network Post: Paul Kruger Q&A With PD http://tinyurl.com/cxo25b #

Contest Reminder

Discussion continues in the BSMW Group Project – Worst Boston Sports Columns post.

Be sure to check out the now-extensive comments section of that post for the many suggestions that have floated in over the last few days.

You’ll have a chance to win prizes from the TV show AX MEN (Mondays, 10pm HISTORY) by submitting your choice for the worst Boston sports column of recent memory.

It’s a crazy day here at BSMW headquarters, so the linkage is a little light. Be sure to look in the Twitter widget to the right for miscellaneous links throughout the day.

Schilling Gives First Post-Retirement Interview

At the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco today, Curt Schilling gave his first interview since announcing his retirement via his blog yesterday.

Mike D’Alonzo says that Schilling “sat down with X-Play host and G4’s Editor-In-Chief Adam Sessler at GDC and talked about his reasons for the timing of the announcement, which he jokingly referred to as a clever business decision to gain some publicity for his gaming company, 38 Studios, but then seriously noted that being away from Boston when he made the announcement made it easier for him to avoid intense media scrutiny.”

http://g4tv.com/lv3/37391

Schilling…avoiding the media?

Twitter Updates for BSMW on 2009-03-24

Celtics Getting Vintage

Be sure to check the post below this one for a chance to win prizes from the TV show AX MEN (Mondays, 10pm HISTORY) by submitted your choice for the worst Boston sports column of recent memory.

They’re not quite all the way back, but you’re seeing the signs. Last night contained another, as the Celtics put together a devastating 18-2 run in the second half, putting away the Los Angeles Clippers en route to a 90-77 win at the Garden.

Mark Murphy has Kevin Garnett sparking the Celtics with his defense, even in limited minutes. Frank Dell’Apa likewise has Garnett productive in his 18 minutes. Bill Doyle has Rajon Rondo kicking the Celtics into another gear in the third quarter last night. Scott Souza has the Celtics surging again. Robert Lee has the Celtics playing three good quarters last night and one poor one. Jim Fenton has the Celtics taking another step in the right direction last night.

Lenny Megliola says that KG is the difference for the Celtics. Gary Dzen has Garnett again making the most of his time on the court. Dan Duggan has Garnett impatient to increase his workload. Jeff Howe chips in with three things we saw last night. Paul Flannery has Rondo and KG getting their special connection back.

Dell’Apa’s notebook has Doc Rivers saying that health is more of an advantage than home court in the playoffs. Murphy’s notebook has Stephon Marbury’s former teammate Zach Randolph happy for the former’s fresh start with the Celtics. Doyle’s notebook has Rivers saying that he will continue to limit KG’s minutes. Lee’s notebook has rookie Bill Walker still trying to earn his way into the rotation.

Red Sox

Where do we begin on the Curt Schilling retirement?  Curt’s archenemy, Dan Shaughnessy is a good place to start. Shaughnessy mostly plays nice, lauding Schilling’s postseason performances, even calling him the “Bill Russell of pitchers.” Still, Dan refers to him as an “uber-blowhard” and suggests that there are some hard feelings between he and the Red Sox front office.

Sean McAdam says that by sheer will, Schilling changed the course of Red Sox team history. Adam Kilgore looks at Schilling putting his retirement in writing…on his blog. Jon Couture says that Schilling wasn’t always well-received, but he always gave his all. Gerry Callahan says that Schilling has served as Boston anti-ARod. Alex Speier says that Schilling was an all-time bargain buy for the Red Sox. Chad Finn says that we’ll see Schilling in Cooperstown.

Bill Burt says that everything changed when the Red Sox acquired Schilling from the Diamondbacks. Mike Fine checks the Pros and Cons of Schilling. Adam Smartschan says that Schilling’s October performances will land him in the Hall of Fame. Dan Lamothe reviews some key Schilling moments. Howard Ulman of the AP also weighs in on the retirement.  McAdam has Curt Schilling’s Red Sox greatest hits.

Donna Goodison looks at what’s next for Schilling and his 38Studios.

For the rest of the Red Sox news from yesterday and more Schilling chatter, check RedSoxLinks.com.

Other

The Bruins are off until Saturday. Check in with the week of practice at Bruinslinks.com.

The Patriots will be opening their season with a home game on Monday night football against T.O. and the Buffalo Bills.

Chris Warner on Patriots Daily has a Q&A with Wyoming running back Devin Moore, who has drawn some interest from the Patriots.

Bill Barnwell of Football Outsiders has their mock draft, and they have the Patriots trading up for once, targeting USC linebacker Brian Cushing.

Get the rest of your Patriots news at PatriotsLinks.com.