March Madness Is Set

16 03 2009
Gerald Henderson and Duke could be making an appearance at the Garden in the Sweet 16. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Gerald Henderson and Duke could be making an appearance at the Garden in the Sweet 16. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

By: Brendan Tyman

At last, the college basketball world is down to 65 Division I teams in the infamous NCAA Tournament that will begin on Thursday.

Three of the four top seeds are from the Big East Conference (Louisville, Pittsburgh, and Connecticut). The other number 1 seed is North Carolina (out of the Atlantic Coast Conference), who was considered one of the most dominant squads early in the season before falling off against some conference opponents.

Brackets are being made and there could be some interesting Cinderella stories this year. One crew to watch is Virginia Commonwealth, who is led by guard Eric Maynor. If you remember, he hit the game-winning basket against Duke two years ago. They play the sixth-seeded UCLA Bruins in the opening round on Thursday night.

UConn and Memphis should be able to play each other in the Elite Eight because the West bracket is not stacked. Meanwhile, the Midwest side presents many challenges for Louisville. West Virginia is a very tough  team in the sixth spot and they could be scary for the higher ranked clubs.

The most disappointed team today should be St. Mary’s as they were a Patrick Mills injury away from overcoming Gonzaga. Instead, they have to compete in the NIT, but they were being compared to Davidson. Mills was the point guard on the Australian group in the Olympics last summer blowing by Chris Paul

As Dick Vitale would say, “these next few weeks will be awesome baby! “


Bruins Stomp Panthers

25 02 2009

Boston's Chuck Kobasew

Boston's Chuck Kobasew

By Jim Chandley

After a 1-3-1 road trip, the Bruins just needed to sleep in their own beds for a night.  Back at the Garden on Tuesday, Boston dominated the Florida Panthers in every aspect of the game.

The Bruins were clearly a better team all night, taking a 3-1 lead into the 3rd period.  But in the 3rd, things just got out of hand.  Byron Bitz, Aaron Ward and Michael Ryder (back from injury) all netted goals in the third.

Between the fourth and fifth goals, Chuck Kobasew destroyed the Panthers Keith Ballard along the boards in the Panthers zone.  Ballard got up looking for a piece of Kobasew and didn’t get much.  The two danced, Kobasew landed a few shots and Ballard fell to his knees.  The fight was not one-sided, but Ballard had already lost when his clocked was cleaned seconds earlier.

Tim Thomas stopped 24 of 25 shots from Florida for his 26th win of the season.

The B’s will host the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night at the Garden.

Long Lay-off Leaves Bruins Flat

21 02 2009

The Panthers' Thomas Vokoun, who shutout the Bruins on Saturday

By Jim Chandley

The Florida Panthers handed the Bruins a 2-0 loss tonight in Florida.  Thomas Vokoun (pictured above) recorded his 6th shutout of the season, turning away 41 shots in all.  Radek Dvorak did all of the offensive work, scoring both goals for Florida.

The Bruins did not bring their usual intensity tonight.  One of Dvorak’s goals came shorthanded, leaving the Bruins powerplay unit -1 on the night.  Despite 6 chances, the powerplay team failed to net a single goal.

While the Bruins weren’t their usual selves, Vokoun was unbeatable.  He did everything but stand on his head (and had he needed to he might have).

The B’s will skate at St. Petersburg Times Forum in Tampa tomorrow at 5.  They will look to beat a Lightning team that is effectively done for the season.  Tampa is 2-6-2 in their last 10 and 18 points out of a playoff spot.