Sunday, March 18, 2012

Creighton's Bus Driver Suffers Heart Attack

All day long, the North Carolina-Creighton game was set for 5:10pm ET. Then, all of the sudden, it was pushed back twenty minutes later. Usually tip times fluctuate due to when other games are ending but this wasn't one of those times. There were only two games scheduled in the Greensboro Coliseum today and the Xavier-Lehigh game was scheduled after the Heels-Jays game.

The reason for the delay was that the Creighton bus driver suffered a heart attack en route to the arena.

About 10 minutes into the trip from the hotel to the arena, Creighton head coach Greg McDermott noticed the driver getting sick. The driver, Bill Burrus, pulled the bus over and then slumped onto the steering wheel.

Creighton's team doctor, Doug Ramos, and his wife, Tammy, also a physician, were traveling in a SUV behind the bus. They, along with Mary Jo Merfeld, a cardiac nurse and the wife of Creighton assistant coach Steve Merfeld, managed to get Burrus out of the bus.

They provided care until emergency service personnel arrived about 20 minutes after Burrus had stopped the bus. A new driver was dispatched, and the trip continued, with the Bluejays arriving at the Coliseum shortly before 4 p.m., about a half hour later than planned.
Mr. Burrus' condition is unknown. The Tar Heels won the game 87-73.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Sportz Assassin's South Region Preview

TEAM TO BEAT: Kentucky. They are young, but boy they are talented.

TEAM THAT WILL WIN THE REGION: Kentucky. This is a strong region, but Kentucky is still that much better than the rest. And revenge sets up nicely. Indiana's last second buzzer earlier in the year will be on their radar. So will some team from Durham who hit some shot 20 years ago. The region itself should be a blast to watch ... especially for NBA fans. You have Anthony Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist, Terrence Jones, Austin Rivers, Andre Drummond, Jeremy Lamb, Cody Zeller, Perry Jones III and Tu Holloway.

TEAM TO WATCH FOR (LESS THAN A NO. 3 SEED): Wichita State. They have size and talent and can find their way to the Sweet 16. Knocking off Kentucky would be a tall order, but only 1 of 8 overall No. 1 seeds have ever won the tournament.

YOUR CINDERELLA: Xavier. A complete wildcard. Remember that this was a top ten team at the beginning of the year that spiraled out of control after their brawl with Cincinnati. They seem to have gotten some mojo back and have a player in Tu Holloway that can carry a team through the dance.

WORST SEEDING ERROR: Colorado. They shouldn't even be here ... even though they won the Pac-12 tournament. A No. 11 seed ahead of VCU or New Mexico State is a bit too much.
HOME COURT ADVANTAGE: Duke. Sure, Kentucky would seem to have a nice road with Louisville and Atlanta ... SEC country ... as the stops. But Duke has the same sort of road. They play in Greensboro and then in ACC country (Atlanta is an ACC city). While the regional final will be played in the Georgia Dome, Duke was just down there in Philips Arena for the ACC tournament.

MUST WATCH GAME: Iowa State vs UConn. UConn has the NBA talent but Iowa State presents some tough matchups. Expect a nice shootout between these two with the winner getting Kentucky.

MUST WATCH (POTENTIAL) SECOND ROUND GAME: Baylor vs UNLV. Kentucky-UConn would top this list if I thought UConn would beat Iowa State. There are many great possible matchups -- Kentucky-UConn, Indiana-Wichita State, Duke-Notre Dame or Duke-Xavier. But Baylor-UNLV should be the most entertaining to watch. Perry Jones vs Mike Mosier should be a great battle.

Sportz Assassin's West Region Preview

TEAM TO BEAT: Michigan State. Amazing the transformation of this team. They weren't supposed to be as good this year but turned it on into a No. 1 seed.

TEAM THAT WILL WIN THE REGION: Missouri. The Tigers scare me. They are not your average team. They are so quick, athletic and guard dominated that many teams just can't match up with that.

TEAM TO WATCH FOR (LESS THAN A NO. 3 SEED): Murray State. The West usually gets all shook up and Murray State is right there waiting for a chance to prove they are a Final Four contender. They could meet Mizzou in the Sweet 16.

YOUR CINDERELLA: Long Beach State. I nearly picked Virginia due to their defensive style that just slows down teams. But I went for LB State, a team who played at Pitt, at UNC and at Kansas. They have a stud player that could/should be in the NBA and a bracket where they have a good chance of reaching the Sweet 16.

WORST SEEDING ERROR: Memphis. This is a good team that is gelling at the right time. They will give Michigan State all that they can handle if they meet.

HOME COURT ADVANTAGE: Murray State. Since no Arizona teams are in this, Phoenix will give no one a home court feel. Still, the Racers get the first weekend in Louisville.

MUST WATCH GAME: Florida vs Virginia. The Cavaliers slow poke style of play against an athletic Gator sqad. UVa is a bit banged ip for this.

MUST WATCH (POTENTIAL) Michigan State vs Memphis. Two pretty good coaches on opposite ends of the resume front. Still, Memphis has enough talent to move Sparty out of their way.

Sportz Assassin's East Region Preview

TEAM TO BEAT: Syracuse. They've lost just twice all year, are very deep and provide matchup problems all over the place. I know there are people who are falling off their bandwagon due to their lack of blowing teams out, but this is a really good team.

TEAM THAT WILL WIN THE REGION: Syracuse. There are a lot of people picking against the Orange. Ohio State has the talent, Florida State has the toughness and Vanderbilt has the momentum. But the Orange will advance down the New Orleans.

TEAM TO WATCH FOR (LESS THAN A NO. 3 SEED): Vanderbilt. The Commodores have outstanding talent and were a top team early this season. While Vandy hasn't lived up to it, their trio of games against Kentucky (including their win over the Wildcats in the SEC final) showed they can play with anyone in the nation. This team could go far.

YOUR CINDERELLA: Montana. They are hot (winning 14 straight) and have a favorable matchup against Wisconsin. They could beat either Vandy or Harvard and sneak into the Sweet 16.

WORST SEEDING ERROR: Harvard. This is a bit of a stretch since I really think the seeding in this region is outstandingly accurate. Still, Harvard could say that they deserved to be seeded better than Texas or West Virginia. Really, no complaints.

HOME COURT ADVANTAGE: Syracuse. The Cuse get to spend the first weekend in Big East country (Pittsburgh). The next weekend would be in Boston. If Harvard could sneak into the Sweet 16, it would be awesome to see them play at home.

MUST WATCH GAME: Cincinnati vs Texas. This may just be a personal interest for me since there are several nice matchups (Wisconsin-Montana, Vandy-Harvard). But Cincy looked pretty good in the Big East tournament by beating G'town and Syracuse. Texas is so young yet so talented that you just don't know how they'll respond to the Big Dance.

MUST WATCH (POTENTIAL) SECOND ROUND GAME: Syracuse vs Kansas State. K-State is a fierce rebounding team and Syracuse struggles with that. The Orange could be the first of the No. 1 seeds to go down.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Sportz Assassin's Midwest Region Preview

TEAM TO BEAT: North Carolina. While the pre-season favorite showed some flaws during the season, this is still a team with five players who will be playing in the NBA very soon. They are one of the highest scoring and top rebounding teams in the nation and are big at every position.

TEAM THAT WILL WIN THE REGION: North Carolina. This looks like a collision course for UNC and Kansas. That will be a great game and the Jayhawks will have a home court advantage of sorts, but the Tar Heels stayed in school for a reason.

TEAM TO WATCH FOR (LESS THAN A NO. 3 SEED): Creighton. The Blue Jays kind of got screwed with getting the 8th seed. Still, they should beat Alabama and can give UNC all they can handle. With Doug McDermott leading them and a team that loves to run like the Heels, Creighton is capable of downing Carolina and then getting far into the tournament. McDermott was a high school teammate of Harrison Barnes.

YOUR CINDERELLA: NC State. The last team announced sat squarely on the bubble. Still, this is a team that can do some damage. They have a lot of talent and and NBAer in waiting in CJ Leslie. They also have a bit of a chip on their shoulder. They can upset SD State and give Georgetown some fits. From there, who knows?

WORST SEEDING ERROR: Creighton. They were a pretty dominant team (28-5) that won the Missouri Valley Conference and has one of the nation's top scorers. Drawing the No. 8 seed and possibly getting Carolina in the second round is a bit of a shame.

HOME COURT ADVANTAGE: Kansas. Both North Carolina and Kansas have great home court advantages in the first weekend ... Greensboro and Omaha, respectively. But if they do indeed meet in the regional final, the Jayhawk faithful will be in full bloom in St Louis.

MUST WATCH GAME: Georgetown vs Belmont. Belmont is tournament experienced and almost beat Duke earlier in the year. You never know what you're going to get with Georgetown.

MUST WATCH (POTENTIAL) THIRD ROUND GAME: North Carolina vs Creighton. Maybe I'm thinking too highly of Creighton, but this could turn into quite a barn burner.