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The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference announced the fields for the 2007 and 2008 Old Spice Classic tournaments this week and they're terrific. Here's hoping Canisius or Niagara get involved some year. The MAAC began the tournament last year and runs it at Disney's Wide World of Sports in Orlando. Marist was the MAAC rep and the Red Foxes beat Minnesota and Western Michig…

Wednesday was the first day of the spring signing period (it runs until May 16) and new St. Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt easily has the most work to do. He currently has just five returning scholarship players on hand for 2007-08 (seniors-to-be Tyler Relph and Michael Lee, incoming juniors A.J. Hawkins and Tyler Benson and incoming sophomore Jourdan Morris). And five is …

John Beilein is already at work at Michigan but the $2.5 million buyout he owes West Virginia doesn't look like it's going away anytime soon. The former Canisius coach fired agent Dennis Coleman last year after the buyout was a big factor in why he couldn't leave Morgantown to take the top job at North Carolina State. Several sources in the Big 4 and in the Detroit-area …

There's a chance Canisius might benefit from Wichita State coach Mark Turgeon's departure to Texas A&M. The Griffs and Shockers were among the final teams battling last fall for 6-foot-7 forward Guy Ntang of New Hampton, a New Hampshire prep school. Ntang signed with Wichita in October but it's reasonable to think he's going to at least study his options now that Turge…

OLEAN -- Some comments and thoughts from Tuesday's press conference introducing Mark Schmidt as St. Bonaventure's new coach: ---Athletics Director Steve Watson: "The reason Mark is here today is because he wants to be. He wants to be the head coach at St. Bonaventure and I can't express how important that is." Translation: Albany's Will Brown scum-bagged Bona j…

Gail Goestenkors started it this week when she left Duke to take over the women's basketball program at Texas. As if the coaching merry-go-round in women's basketball wasn't going to be interesting enough this spring, Goestenkors has officially kicked off hunting season for athletic directors. Duke is now one of several high profile women's programs looking for head coac…

CLEVELAND -- Sometimes you look at Candace Parker and think -- not fair. She has the total package: she's a great basketball player, smart, pretty and funny. You almost want to dislike her -- if she wasn't so nice. This morning she earned yet another honor winning the U.S. Basketball Writers Association player of the year award. Her older brother, Marcus, was on hand to …

ATLANTA -- Over the last couple years, the NCAA has made it a priority to turn the Final Four into a Super Bowl-like event, with plenty of ancilliary activities for folks without tickets to the actual games.  Centennial Olympic Park, the focal point of the '96 Olympics (and the place of the infamous pipe-bomb blast that marred those Games) is a huge gathering spot dur…

CLEVELAND -- Coaches are fond of saying that defense wins championships. Of course, the other half of that adage is "But offense sells tickets." The national semifinals were defensive struggles and, frankly, ugly affairs. Rutgers won, 59-35, as LSU scored the fewest points ever in a Women's Final Four game. The Tennessee win over North Carolina wasn't much bet…

ATLANTA -- It's not up there with having Christian Laettner as the main character in the Final Four. But Greg Oden was born in Buffalo and lived there until he was nine. He still has a lot of relatives in town. So I felt obligated to pursue the local angle with Ohio State's 7-foot freshman in Sunday's breakout session. "Aside from my mother and brother, all my relativ…

CLEVELAND -- In tonight's second semifinal game featuring Tennessee and North Carolina the top billing usually goes to Candace Parker and Ivory Latta. But don't forget to watch for UNC's Erlana Larkins. One of the most underrated players in women's basketball, the junior forward has played third fiddle to Latta and teammate Camille Little when it comes to national recognit…

ATLANTA  --There is nothing like spending an hour listening to Florida forward Joakim Noah. He easily had the biggest crowd of reporters during the NCAA's annual pre-championship game interview session and he didn't disappoint the dozens of media members. Where else can you hear a 22-year-old athlete speak on subjects like his favorite African studies class, 3 a.m. w…

CLEVELAND -- Walking around Hoop City -- the official fun spot of the NCAA women's tournament -- I passed by the AT&T sponsored area and noticed an unusual entry on the chalkboard. Among the list of college coaches holding autograph sessions was Marist coach Brian Giorgis. A month ago, no one would have known who Giorgis was -- or even have heard of Marist College. But…

ATLANTA -- St. Bonaventure has an open head coaching job but there is virtually no scuttlebutt about the post here at the Final Four. It's so quiet, it's bizarre. Athletics Director Steve Watson doesn't return phone calls and no one -- absolutely no one -- seems to be talking about this job. Last year in Indianapolis, there was all kinds of hotel lobby chatter about the op…

CLEVELAND -- You know those promos that ESPN runs that end with North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell screaming "Are you ready? Are you ready?" That's something she's done before every game since she became the Tar Heels' coach in 1986. "She does stuff like that all the time to keep us loose and get us to smile," senior point guard Ivory Latta said. &q…