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You know the promotional spots that universities run on TV during NCAA games? Penn State should get sophomore hockey player Andrew Sturtz to do one. Ask the guy a question and you get a testimonial about the school. You can almost hear music playing in the background. "You can try to explain it," Sturtz said by phone on Wednesday, "but until you actually experience it, …

Nine teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference were invited to the NCAA Tournament, reasonable considering its place on college basketball's landscape. The ACC was the top-rated conference based on RPI, which uses a formula calculating record, strength of schedule and other factors. Numbers don't lie, but statistics often fail to tell the whole truth in tournament play. …

Zach Brown was in Buffalo on Wednesday, reduced to peddling his services to his old team. Some people are surprised that Brown hasn't gotten a big contract in free agency. He's not pleased. He recently changed agents. But why would it be a shock that a Bills linebacker wasn't seen as some free-agent treasure? Over the final 10 weeks last season, the Bills played six eve…

A few months ago, somebody suggested tracking down people who had direct and indirect connections to the Duke-Kentucky epic in the 1992 NCAA Tournament East Region final. The greatest game in history ended with Christian Laettner taking a long pass from Grant Hill and hitting the winning shot at the buzzer. It was a natural story for Buffalo. Laettner grew up in Ango…

Am I supposed to take a stand against guys taking a seat? Last Saturday, the Cavs sat out LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love in a national TV loss at the Clippers. Resting players is rampant in the NBA, which is on pace for 300 healthy scratches, far and away a record. Critics say it's unfair to fans, who pay good money to see the top players. I agree with James,…

The Bills have had enough problems identifying NFL-caliber players who played college football, so I doubt they've spent much time scouting Atlantic 10 basketball players for their next tight end. If they have any questions, they would be wise to call St. Bonaventure and inquire about Mo Alie-Cox. Alie-Cox played football his freshman year in high school before transfer…

OK, so you didn’t survive the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament without your bracket getting blown to smithereens. You're drowning in regret while bracing for co-workers who can't wait to pounce and turn you into a punchline, the way they did last year with Mary from accounting. If you're looking for someone to rub your forehead and tell you everything is going to …

Moments after the most thrilling game of the NCAA Tournament, Nigel Hayes spoke in a low, impassive monotone. He sounded about as excited as a college kid who had just gotten back a C-plus on a term paper, or found out that his laundry was dry. "As you can tell by my demeanor, by my tone, I've been here before," Hayes said in the Wisconsin locker room Saturday afternoon…

Jevon Carter wasn't completely dismissing his team's trademark after the game Saturday because defense will be the top priority. Bob Huggins is the coach after all. His philosophy hasn't changed much after 32 years in the business, and he's not going to loosen up any time soon. Carter wasn't the most talkative guy in the locker room after West Virginia advanced to the S…

It's curious to think that a team coming off an NCAA championship could still carry around a reputation for getting bumped off early in the tournament. But there was still a lingering question about Villanova entering Saturday's second-round meeting with Wisconsin. After all, the Wildcats were the only No. 1 seed from a power league to lose before the Sweet 16 in the pr…

West Virginia has played the same way for so long that people automatically turn to its defense for its success over the years. It's an accurate assessment, but so much has been made over "Press Virginia" that the Mountaineers never seem to get enough credit for their ability to score. WVU played with its usual in-your-face intensity on defense, but they were terrific f…

Bronson Koenig says he generally plays his best when he's not thinking about the magnitude of the moment, when he pretends that he doesn't really care. So before Thursday night's first-round NCAA game against Virginia Tech at the KeyBank Center, Koenig told himself, 'It's your senior year, March Madness. Why not go out there and have some fun, be aggressive and let it f…

Bo Farrell couldn't help but laugh Friday while recalling his parents' reactions when they walked down the basement stairs to assess the damage. He and his younger brother, Matt, known nationally as Notre Dame's point guard, often played one-on-one Nerf basketball while growing up in New Jersey. As anyone with brothers or sons would attest, it was a matter of time befor…

Lamont West didn't know what to expect when he showed up last season for his first practice at West Virginia and sized up Nathan Adrian. With his long hair and beard, the 6-foot-9 forward looked like he came straight from central casting to play the lead in Jesus of Nazareth. This guy was a basketball player? West quickly found out who carried the cross for the Mountain…

All week long, Bonzie Colson had insisted that the right ankle was fine. So what if he had sprained it late in the ACC title game against Duke just five days earlier, causing him to walk around in a boot for a few days and sit out half of Wednesday's open practice? The ankle? Feels great. No problem. Come on, this is March, the NCAA Tournament. Just tape the thing up, C…