Tag Archives: NCAA South Regional

Last minute blog from Houston and the Southern Regional

SIngler signs - BDN Photo

HOUSTON – First of all, be prepared to watch Duke play on an elevated court today which, if you’re Kyle Singler, may mean watch it when you go into the sidelines for there is no safe fall.  As of minutes ago 40,000 tickets have been sold and the court is right in the middle of Reliant Stadium, home of the Houston Texans.

There is a serious lack of college hoops knowledge by local media.  The Houston Chronicle did a player by player match up article in today’s paper and they had Smith as a PG and, well, let’s just say four positions wrong.  During yesterday’s press conference, Duke was asked not only asked some ridiculous questions, but some intended to cause a rise with sharp questions.

The media room at Reliant Stadium is huge.  There are two media overflow sections, but BDN made it to the second row just  across from the Duke bench.  Oddly, and I mean disturbingly odd, is the fact that they have a grand total of two very small rest rooms in the area, meaning watching media members will have to be on the ball during breaks.

Coach K and Duke have pretty much stayed in their own world and there is natural concern over the long wait to play the game.  Players have all assured me that this will be no problem, but you never know.

I’m a bit bothered by fans who think Duke will win easily over Purdue.  Anything can happen as you have already seen by the many upsets, so looking ahead is not a good idea and Duke knows that.

They’ve just opened the gates to the stadium and the most colorful bunch are the St. Mary’s fans who seem genuinely delighted to be here.  There are a lot of green and yellow Baylor fans here as well and more than a little bit of royal blue in the stands.  The North Carolina area fans can be brutal towards Duke in that UNC, N.C. State and Wake share the territory, but nationally, Duke is much more of a darling to fans than many realize.  One Texan said it’s like the Dallas Cowboys coming to town, and it is clear that some Texan fans have adopted the Blue Devils.

You can get upper level tickets for twenty bucks a pop and one bill and a quarter for the best seat in the house, but many of those are far removed from the action.  The stadium itself is very nice and this is a test run for the Final Four will be held here next season.

And Pete Gillen, “Duke is Duke,” is here and he is quite a nice guy.  He’ll be doing the radio for CBS and his quick wit is always welcomed.

And the game itself?  Look for Purdue and Duke to lock up in a defensive battle.  A game in the sixties might be what we see.

So, I go to my seat and this guy from AOL Fan House tells me #55 is his seat.  What?  Where is your name then pal?  This guy then hovers above me until I show him the seating chart.  His comment, “I’m with AOL Fanhouse and we’re national, I should be dead center.”  Then an attendant from Rice University walked up and told the guy it was not his seat, it was Mark Watson from Blue Devil Nation’s seat and I kindly asked him to leave.  What arrogance!  I’m AOL Fanhouse and we’re the studs!  Heck guys, I’ve never even read your stuff.  As it turns out, his seat was one row up to the left and he still whined to the NCAA host that he should have better seats.  Please, AOLFH, you’re embarrassing yourself with behavior like that.  BTW, I have a good seat.

Wojo and Collins are sitting on my same row scouting Purdue and St. Mary’s.

Lastly, Go Duke!

NCAA South Regional Notebook – It’s Duke and Cal

Duke walks off the court after an opening round victory

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The NCAA South Regional is now one game old and here are a few thoughts on the tournament to date.

Some have said it’s like a a light went off when they attempt to describe the play of Brian Zoubek this season and that analogy is pretty much on target.  The one thing easily noticed is that Zoubek communicates with his teammates verbally and that is valuable to Coach Kryzewski who demands his players talk to one another.    But the thing which stands out to me is that Zoubek is playing faster, moving quickly to his assignments on the court, be it setting a pick or positioning himself for rebounding.  Zoubek is now moving without thinking which is something other bigs can learn from.  Knowing ones assignment makes things go smoothly and that’s why Zoubek will start the rest of the NCAA Tournament.

Every time I see Bob Valvano I get chills in that he looks so much like his brother Jimmy.  Valvano is working with the Louisville broadcast team doing color.

Speaking of Louisville a Cardinal writer sitting beside me asked during the Duke game, asked what time the two teams would play on Sunday.  Well, California knocked them back on their heals and Louisville never recovered and that means a lot of tickets became available.  After the game Rick Pitino addressed the media in the hallway of the locker room rather than the podium.  And the Louisville fans?  Let’s just say that a good many of them brought a raw smack talking way into the coliseum.  Another interesting note is that Duke was mentioned by many of their players in interviews and let’s just say there was no love lost.

One might think that Louisville overlooked California and that may be true, but make no mistake, the Golden Bears are a good ball club.  Cal is very quick and all of their players scrap and hustle.  They run a three guard lineup and yo can ill afford to leave Christopher, Randle and Robertson open beyond the arc.  Cal will make yo pay on long rebounds in that they will turn those into points quickly.  Cal like dribble penetration, but they are depth shy up front and that is where Duke should attack them.  Coach Mike Montgomery took a slightly veiled shot at Krzyzewski stating that he  had coached against him a couple of times.  Reading between the lines he was hinting that he was 2-0 versus Krzyzewski.  Word is that he never liked Stanford being called the Duke of the west during his tenure there.  FWIW, Cal held Louisville to 2 points in the last 6:37 of the game.

One of the complaints from media at the event is the cost of wireless internet service.  It costs $16.95 a day for wireless in the coliseum which seems a bit steep to many.  Of course, they had an early bird special of $9.95.  Where is the Blue Light Special?

A clash of red is in order tomorrow when Cornell takes on Wisconsin in tomorrows opening game.  Both fan bases have a solid contingent.  Of course, Duke lost at Wisconsin early this season but the Badgers barely slipped past a Wofford team that didn’t have a single made  three pointer or assist in the first half of the contest.

Duke will address the media at 3:15 today and then they will have a closed practice.  Duke of course, will play in the late game which will start thirty minutes after the conclusion of the Cornell-Wisconsin match up that starts at 2:20 eastern standard time.  BDN will bring you coverage of today’s press conference.

The Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Coliseum is not much to look at outside but it has a clean aesthetic look on the inside, meaning not an over abundance of court paint or advertising bling.  It’s built for theater as well as sports and there are not a lot of bad seats.

We will continue to put out interviews from Jacksonville and more, so stick around BDN this weekend as we are on the roaf to the final four with the team.

NCAA South Region Report – One on One with Andre Dawkins

Andre Dawkins Duke NCAA Southern Regional
Andre Dawkins is ready for his first NCAA Tournament - BDN Photo

Jacksonville, FL – After knocking down some key buckets in the ACC Tournament Championship game, Andre Dawkins hopes to keep the momentum going.  Dawkins and Duke just finished an open practice and addressed the media beforehand and BDN has a brief one on one with the Duke freshman.

Just press play –

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