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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Christian Laettner doesn’t need the 24-second video, which has been replayed nearly 1.1 million times on YouTube alone, to revisit the pinnacle of his career. And the iconic photo, the one with his arms raised in victory and his mouth agape? He has a framed copy stashed away in storage. In a world in which perception of Laettner doesn’t agree …

It’s a Christmas tradition for me to declare that this is the year I’m cutting back on gifts. My kids laugh at me every year. So, you’re cutting back this year, right? Then I break down and overdo it again. That’s how I feel before my annual NCAA Tournament prediction column. Every year, I promise to be more frugal, less prone to wild, impulsive acts. I’m cutt…

My initial reaction when Rhode Island knocked off VCU to win the Atlantic 10 title Sunday was elation for my home state. Sure, they can claim those plucky Patriots, who play just over the border in Massachusetts, but Little Rhody gets few sports moments that are distinctly its own. We still haven't recovered from Providence losing in the 1973 Final Four with Ernie DiGre…

Don't feel sorry for Syracuse. The NCAA Tournament has become more and more about the power conferences in recent years. Given a chance, the selection committee probably would have picked all 15 ACC schools. But even they couldn't justify putting Jim Boeheim's team in the field this season. Syracuse had just two wins outside the Carrier Dome this season. Two. That shoul…

CLEVELAND -- Two summers ago, Felisha Legette-Jack told JoAnna Smith it was time for her stop deferring to her teammates. The UB women had lost 87 percent of their scoring. Smith needed to accept the role of a "volume" shooter as a junior. She heeded her coach's advice and became a first-team all-MAC player who helped the Bulls win their first league championship and NC…

PITTSBURGH – St. Bonaventure knew what was coming Friday against Rhode Island in the Atlantic 10 Tournament quarterfinals. It wasn’t as if Rams coach Danny Hurley had some secret game plan stashed away in a vault at the Federal Reserve. Plan A: Get the ball inside. Plan B: See Plan A. Rhode Island flexed its muscles and exploited its distinct advantage before …

CLEVELAND -- Felisha Legette-Jack wasn't exactly overwhelmed by Stephanie Reid's physical gifts when Reid arrived at UB as a freshman in December of 2014, just a few weeks after graduating from high school in her native Melbourne, Australia. "She couldn't shoot the ball well," UB's head coach recalled Thursday. "She was really undersized. But there was something about h…

PITTSBURGH – Mark Schmidt stood before his players in preparation for Massachusetts and shared his theory on the defense geared specifically to stopping Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley. Really, no matter how effective, the message from UMass was an affront to everyone else in the program. “It’s telling those other three kids: ‘You stink,’ Schmidt said. “It’s …

PITTSBURGH – Mark Schmidt laughed about the possibility Saturday after watching his team struggle in a victory over Massachusetts. He was asked about the advantage teams gain when playing early in the Atlantic 10 tournament over teams earning a bye based on their record. Davidson played an early game last year and carried its competitive edge into its second game be…

Well, we're into March, a great month for sports fans. College basketball tournaments have begun. So has baseball's spring training. The NBA and NHL playoff races are heading into the stretch run. Pro golfers are gearing up for the Masters. So what's the biggest issue in the mail this week? The NFL Combine, of course. People can't get enough of the NFL. They're obses…

ALLEGANY – OK, so the victory was hardly one for the ages. Mark Schmidt isn’t going to waste time scouring video of the Massachusetts game Saturday to show at the postseason banquet. The Bonnies grabbed an unsightly win, secured a bye and turned their attention to next week. In that sense, they arrived at their intended goal with a 60-56 victory over a stubborn UMas…

UB honored its seniors Friday evening with a brief ceremony before playing Bowling Green in Alumni Arena, so it would be appropriate to start with them. None of the five has ever lost a Mid-American Conference tournament game, and they would like to keep it rolling when the stakes are raised next week in Cleveland. Seniors Blake Hamilton, Willie Conner, Raheem Johnson a…

UCLA freshman Lonzo Ball quickly evolved into one of the nation’s best players and a likely finalist for Player of the Year. He’s a 6-foot-6 point guard, a complete player who was averaging 14.6 points, 6.2 rebounds and 7.6 assists per game. He’s a certain NBA lottery pick, a baller. If you haven’t heard of him, just ask his father. LaVar Ball has been running h…

March Madness, the best time of the year for college basketball fans, has finally arrived. Actually, it began before the calendar flipped. The Atlantic Sun and Big South began their conference tourneys early this week. On Thursday, the MAAC Tournament starts in Albany. On March 16 and 18 (Thursday-Saturday), the KeyBank Center will host first- and second-round NCAA men'…