Saturday, March 19, 2005


FINAL UPDATE at 9:05 p.m.

It's the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

For those of you on the West Coast, have breakfast with the Zags.

You know the drill. Comments are encouraged.

By the way, welcome to those who are coming from Yoni Cohen's College Basketball site. I posted a diary on my woeful bracket over at Yoni's site earlier this morning, so check it out right here.

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#6 Texas Tech 71, #3 Gonzaga 69

---I'd just like to remind everyone that Gonzaga has not reached the Sweet 16 since 2001. What am I trying to say here? I think a lot of people have been overhyping this program for what happened from 1999 to 2001. The evidence?

2002 - lost to Wyoming, 1st round (#6 seed)
2003 - lost to Arizona, 2nd round (#9 seed)
2004 - lost to Nevada, 2nd round (#2 seed)
2005 - lost to Texas Tech, 2nd round (#3 seed)

Does that mean that Gonzaga is an overrated program? Not at all. But for all their hype, just look at the last four seasons. It's too bad that Ronny Turiaf leaves the little Jesuit school in Spokane with no Sweet 16 appearances.

---That Northwest Elite 8 some people were hoping for, including myself? So much for that.

---I think it would help Gonzaga if they were able to play a major conference team in February. Although to be brutally honest, that won't happen anytime soon.

---Give credit to Texas Tech. After being down by 9 at halftime, they were the team that showed more energy than Gonzaga. That's what it looked like to me, anyway. Then again, the Zags don't have Bobby Knight to give them a halftime speech either.

---Once again, so much for that Northwest Elite 8 matchup.

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#1 Washington 97, #8 Pacific 79

---Nate Robinson scored 25 points today. Will that shut up the critics now? What the national media doesn't realize is that the Huskies are very deep. So Robinson isn't always going to score 25 points like he did today. As a matter of fact, I think he's a better player this year, even though he hasn't scored nearly as much as he did last season. Coming back to school for another season has helped Robinson out in more ways than one.

---Wait, I thought Pacific (or Pittsburgh) was supposed to knock out the Huskies in the second round? Too bad, so sad. The Huskies are still playing.

---And the Zags aren't. Surely, there's gotta be a few chuckles about that right now in western Washington.

---Bobby Jones had 19 points. He was on fire during the first half. If he keeps this up, look out.

---Pacific's Christian Maraker was shut out in the second half, being held to just 12 points. But I thought the Huskies couldn't beat teams with big guys in the middle?

---Did the Huskies look like a #1 seed today?

#6 Utah 67, #3 Oklahoma 58

---Well, what do you know? Utah isn't all Andrew Bogut. The Utes' leading scorer? Justin Hawkins. He had 20 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. Hawkins not only believes in a thing called love, he also believes his Utes aren't just a one-man team.

---The aforementioned Bogut had 10 points and 11 rebounds.

---Oklahoma's Kevin Bookout was held to 4 points and 1 rebound. He's not Big Country. As far as I'm concerned, he's Big Outhouse.

---Utah head coach Ray Giacoletti is in the Sweet 16 and Gonzaga's Mark Few isn't. Eastern Washington fans unite in this one little indirect victory.

---I'm so glad I decided to pick Utah over Oklahoma

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#1 Illinois 71, #9 Nevada 59

---While the attention is centered around Dee Brown, Luther Head, and Deron Williams, don't forget about James Augustine. The big man had 23 points for the Fighting Illini against Nevada. He's really improved his game this season, a season that keeps on going for the #1 seeded Illini.

---The Chicago regional games will be played at the Allstate Arena, formerly known as the Rosemont Horizon. Expect a lot of orange to fill the home of the DePaul Blue Demons.

#3 Arizona 85, #11 UAB 63

---I've bashed Salim Stoudamire on many occasions, but the kid can shoot. He had 28 in the win today in Boise. J.J. Redick is not the best shooter in America.

---The Wildcats are the only #3 seed to advance to the Sweet 16. How about that, 2 Pac-10 teams in the Sweet 16. But the Pac-10 is terrible, I've been told.

#12 Wisconsin-Milwaukee 83, #4 Boston College 75

---The Big East is not the best conference in America.

---Wisconsin-Milwaukee head coach Bruce Pearl just earned himself a lot of money after the tournament.

---BC's Sean Marshall to Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Ed McCants:

"I don't give a (hoot) if you beat Alabama. This is the Big East."

Enjoy the ACC next year, Sean.

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#2 Kentucky 69, #7 Cincinnati 60


---Andrew Bogut and the Utah Utes will take care of Kentucky in the Sweet 16.

#7 West Virginia 111, #2 Wake Forest 105 (2 OT)

---COTTON NEEDS NEW SHORTS! That's the best line I can give about this great ballgame in Cleveland tonight. Holy crap.

---West Virginia's Mike Gansey was a man among boys. He scored 19 of his 29 points in the two overtimes alone. Once again, holy crap.


---That's the 4th time in the last 5 seasons that the Demon Deacons have failed to advance past the first weekend. Skip Prosser has been part of three of the four first weekend collapses. As a matter of fact, last season (2004) was Prosser's only Sweet 16 appearance in his head coaching career.


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So far, we have 3 Sweet 16 matchups already set:

CHICAGO REGION: #12 Wisconsin-Milwaukee vs #1 Illinois

ALBUQUERQUE REGION: #7 West Virginia vs #6 Texas Tech

AUSTIN REGION: #6 Utah vs #2 Kentucky

I'd love to know how many people actually predicted a West Virginia-Texas Tech Sweet 16 matchup. Who would have thunk it?

The first half of the second round is over. The second half is tomorrow.

My mouth doesn't look dry anymore.

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Welcome to Saturday.

For the random...there's this interchange on south SR-3 over here south of Silverdale where four lanes merge into two, and it trips me out every time. One lane is merging onto the highway from Seabeck and the other lane is merging from under the overpass. It merges into two lanes when it should merge into three, though I don't know if there'd be enough room to merge a third lane in there. I've encountered weird traffic situations when going to other towns, though, so I'll probably have more material on this topic at some other times.

Dana Kirk swam in two events for Stanford yesterday at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships in the 200 medley relay and the 100 butterfly. The relay team was third in the prelims and fourth in the final. The Stanford junior was 8th in her prelims (53.38 sec) and fifth in her final (53.16). The meet ends today with Kirk most likely in the 200 butterfly.

I'll leave the hockey section for later at this moment due to more pressing issues, but I can tell you locally that the Tomahawks are now down 2-1 in their Cascade Cup series, thanks to falling behind and never quite coming back against the Queen City Cutthroats of Helena, Montana. They got back to within 4-3 before allowing two breakaway goals which pretty much sealed it.

To the post!

Could it be? Spring ball might finally be somewhat meaningful? I hope it gets there soon, because my interest with the actual gameplay right now is a bit low. I can only listen to the broadcast crew for so long just for their stories when the gameplay doesn't matter. We had Rick Rizzs yesterday saying that he and Kevin Cremin were going to be one of the volunteer stadium personnel at Scottsdale Stadium when they retire, i.e., the "men in blue," which correspond to the "ladies in lavender." Note that I did have the NCAA tournament on with the volume down while hearing this.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to follow Richie Sexson's homer too well with the camera they had out in Scottsdale. It went quite far though. Even more shocking is the fact that it was the first homer by a regular veteran, according to the P-I.

Also, Ryan Franklin's start had a conspicuous lack of suck, and Joel Pineiro and Eddie Guardado threw off mounds without pain. Guardado says he'll be ready for Opening Day, while Pineiro says he's "being realistic."

Masao Kida and Kit Pellow were sent to the minor-league camp.

If you want to find out what fantasyhead Tristan Cockcroft thinks about the Mariners, then read here. Yes, he's one of the many that have bolted from SportsLine in the past couple years.

Right tackle Chris Terry has been cut. No more false starts from him on 3rd and short. Pork Chop Womack filled in some for him last year, but is expected to be used at right guard. Hence, it's up to recent draft choices Sean Locklear and Wayne Hunter to fill the spot.

But the killer is this...
The Seahawks don't consider themselves a viable landing spot for free agent linebacker Edgerton Hartwell (Ravens) unless he lowers his asking price -- believed to include a $10 million signing bonus on a long-term contract.

Frankly, I'm hoping no one actually gives him that high of a signing bonus. Since football owners have the most power compared to their owners of any other pro sport, they've gotta collude here. Keep Hartwell's signing bonus down, and BRING HIM TO SEATTLE, DAMMIT!

The Seahawks will open camp with at least four players (Moore, Hutchinson, Hamlin, Trufant) having had shoulder surgery. Ced Woodard has also had knee surgery. I'm having a hard time telling whether I'm talking about the Seahawks or the Mariners' minor-league system.

The Miah Davis Update
The Roanoke Dazzle hosts Fayetteville today and tomorrow.

The Marvin Williams Watch
Reuters photo -- Robert Padgett

In the Tar Heels' first-round 96-68 win over Oakland of Michigan, Marvin Williams went nuts. He scored 20 points on 8-for-11 shooting from the field, hit one of two threes, and nailed three of four from the line. He also chipped in 8 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 blocks in 23 minutes off the bench. Dude's only a freshman. This is incredible.

The Tar Heels get 9th-seeded Iowa State tomorrow at 11:30a.

I never thought I'd read an article that starts out with "[i]n a narrow hallway of Taco Bell Arena..." Yes, it'll be size against quickness on the boards against Pacific, which sounds a lot like the Stanford game. At least part of the Huskies' success will depend on bench scoring and playing smart. Yes, from here on out, this group of guys is realizing that every time could be the last time.

First-seeded Washington will face 8th-seeded Pacific at 12:20p.

The Zags will be facing Bobby Knight and the motion offense, spurred by a solid backcourt. Two keys are Ronny Turiaf and Texas Tech transfer Nate Doudney (misleading headline in article), who has been trying to give the Zags some pointers on how the offense works.

Third-seeded Gonzaga will face 6th-seeded Texas Tech today at 10:10a.

For my thoughts on last night's game, scroll down one post or click here if this is the only post on the page.

So Vladimir Radmanovic is out 4-6 weeks with a stress fracture to the right fibula. However, no one knew until right before gametime that the Sonics would also be without Jerome James (sore hip) and Danny Fortson (left ankle sprain). Radmanovic has a black cast, and I saw him on TV and he seems to be rocking the goth chic look, if there is such a thing.

The Sonics got through it last night with a tie for a season high from Ray Allen, having Vitaly Potapenko and Ron Murray be fairly productive, and having Nick Collison start for Jerome James and get a double-double. The Sonics also outrebounded a team that had them quite undersized. Nick Collison is five inches shorter than Jerome James, and they had him start at center.

Ray Allen talking to Luke Ridnour on Thursday...

Ray: Luke?
Luke: Yeah?
Ray: Do what you were doing earlier in the season.
Luke: Okay.
Ray: Cool.
Luke: What time does Groz With Gas start?
Dave Grosby: Well, Luke, it starts at 3:05.
Mike Gastineau: It's 3.
Dave Grosby: It's ACTUALLY 3:05!!!

Unfortunately, I'm guessing only the people who get FSNNW in the Seattle area have seen the promo I just bit.

I also didn't see the Steve Francis photographer-kicking incident last night. It doesn't quite sound Rodmanesque, though.

Portland beat Seattle 2-1. The Winter Hawks got a 2-0 lead in the second period and never let the T-Birds tie it, despite a big shot differential favoring Seattle. Darrell May opened the scoring shorthanded just past the halfway point of the opening period. Brian Woolger then scored on what must have been a pretty quick goal because Portland goalie Blake Grenier was credited with an assist. Ladislav Scurko cut Portland's lead in half, but that was as close as the T-Birds got. Shots were 26-16 for Seattle. Gavin McHale stopped 14 for Seattle, and Blake Grenier stopped 25 for Portland. Grenier is 13-3-1-1 in his last 18 decisions.

Tri-City and Everett skated to a 2-2 overtime tie. Everett got the equalizer in the second period and the last 34:47 of the game went scoreless. Shaun Heshka scored in the first period for Everett, and Curtis Billsten scored in the second to tie it. Shots were 35-25 for Tri-City, and Mike Wall stopped 33 for Everett.

Kelowna beat Vancouver 3-2. The Giants quickly answered a Kelowna goal early in the third period to get to within one goal, but the score was frozen for the remainder of the game. The Giants were never closer than one goal, as they were also down 2-1. JD Watt scored in the second and Jason Reese scored in the third for Vancouver. Shots were 32-26 for Kelowna, and Marek Schwarz stopped 29 for the Giants.

Queen City beat Puget Sound 7-4. The Cutthroats scored twice in the first period, scored first in the second period, and scored four of the first five goals overall. Queen City led 4-1 after 40 minutes with three of their goals coming via the power play; the first goal came when the puck went off the top of Travis Cottom's glove and into the net. Eric Winkelman and Mike Miller scored in the third period to get the crowd into it and get the Tomahawks within one at 4-3 before Brandon Mayer broke away twice and deked Iggy Slepokourev with the same exact move to score both times. Thanks to that, Whit Garey's late goal was just that -- late.

Tonight: Portland at Seattle, Everett at Tri-City, Kelowna at Vancouver, Houston at Manitoba, Queen City at Puget Sound (Game 4 of Cascade Cup finals)
Tomorrow (end of WHL regular season): Everett at Seattle, Tri-City at Portland, Houston at Manitoba, Queen City at Puget Sound (Game 5 of Cascade Cup finals, if necessary)
Thursday: Saint John's at Manitoba

Have a great Saturday.

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SuperSonics 98, Magic 90

A few hours before the game, it became news that Vladimir Radmanovic would be four to six weeks with a stress fracture in his right fibula. The Sonic bench would be hurting to begin with. Then it became news a few minutes before gametime that Danny Fortson would be out again with an ankle sprain, and Jerome James would be out with a right quad contusion.

So how do the Sonics win this game? From what I heard (I didn't see the game), the remaining players were able to play some defense, and Coach McMillan threw a 2-3 zone at Orlando that they had no idea what to do with. They held Steve Francis to 19 points on 8-for-20 shooting and Grant Hill to 6-for-15 shooting (12 points). No Orlando player reached 20 points. The weird thing was, the Magic shot over 50% and lost. They only got to the free-throw line 10 times, though, and hit on six of those. That was a big difference.

It wasn't just the zone, though. There's no way Ray Allen was going to complain about not getting enough touches after this game, because he tied his season high, put up 21 shots and went to the line for 12 shots. Rashard Lewis didn't have too good a night, though Ray was on fire. Nick Collison, starting in place of Jerome James (who is five inches taller Collison), had 9 points and 7 boards in his first nine minutes of play. Reggie Evans was his usual boarding self. This was a game where even Robert Swift came off the bench, though. Antonio Daniels was the only regular off the bench, but Ron Murray and Vitaly Potapenko played some productive minutes, with the latter doing all his scoring in the fourth quarter. As for the former, I think I only want him taking midrange jumpers and driving to the basket.

Ray Allen 38 pts/7 reb/4 ast (12-21 FG, 2-7 3pt, 12-12 free throws), Rashard Lewis 13 pts/5 reb/4 ast/3 blk (4-13 FG, 1-7 3pt, 4-6 free throws), Nick Collison 11 pts/10 reb (5-9 FG, 1-2 free throws), Luke Ridnour 7 pts/6 ast (3-9 FG, 1-2 3pt), Reggie Evans 5 pts/8 reb (2-4 FG, 1-2 free throws)

Antonio Daniels 10 pts/2 ast (4-8 FG, 0-2 3pt, 2-2 free throws), Ron Murray 8 pts/5 reb/2 ast (4-11 FG, 0-4 3pt), Vitaly Potapenko 6 pts/7 reb (3-4 FG), Robert Swift 0 pts/0 reb (0-2 FG)

Jerome James Watch
out with a right quad contusion

shot 37-for-81 (45.7%) from the field, shot 4-for-22 (18.2%) from downtown, shot 20-for-24 (83.3%) from the line, outrebounded Orlando 44-35, turned ball over 9 times (forced 11), beat Orlando 15-8 on second-chance points, bench was outscored 35-24 (outrebounded Orlando bench 13-12)

I'm thinking without Radmanovic that we're probably not going to be able to expect 30-35 points a night from the bench for a while, unless Daniels, Vitaly, and Murray go nuts or something. We know that Murray did a great job filling in for Ray Allen last year, and now he's getting the minutes that I'm sure he wants. But kudos to Vitaly and Murray for not bitching about minutes this year, and as of now, thank goodness the Sonics didn't trade these two guys.

The other thing that makes all of this weird is the substitution patterns. One of the best things about Radmanovic was that he was that tall and could nail threes, so people had to bring their big guys out to the perimeter to defend him. When Radmanovic was firing on all cylinders, it also took some of the load off of Allen and Lewis. Radmanovic created matchup problems, and sometimes the Sonics would go with a very tall (for them) lineup of Daniels/Ridnour, Lewis, Radmanovic, Collison, and Fortson. Okay, four forwards. But now, it's Daniels and Murray off the bench, with Vitaly as the first big man off the bench until James or Fortson are back. Let's face it, things are pretty dire because Robert Swift got minutes in this game. Another byproduct of no Radmanovic is that the Sonics were terrible from beyond the arc in this game, though a busted-wrist Radmanovic would have probably shot 1-for-8 from long range himself.

This team has trudged through Fortson being out and/or injured this season, along with injuries to Reggie Evans, Rashard Lewis having knee tendinitis, Ray Allen being sick, etc. Missing Radmanovic for three weeks is quite the amount of adversity, as it would be with losing any sixth man that has been a key part of the offense for the season.

I guess I would have asked Jinkies if he can chew up some minutes in the middle for the Sonics off the bench.

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Friday, March 18, 2005


FINAL UPDATE at 9:20 p.m.

Same deal as yesterday, post your NCAA Tournament-related comments in the box.

Comments not related to the NCAA Tournament? Post them anyway.

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#10 N.C. State 75, #7 Charlotte 63

#4 Florida 67, #13 Ohio 62

#9 Iowa State 64, #8 Minnesota 53

#2 Oklahoma State 63, #15 Southeastern Louisiana 50

My thoughts on the first window of today's action:

---I'm never picking Charlotte again. I picked them against Texas Tech last year and I picked them against North Carolina State this year. Thanks a lot, Clay Aiken's alma mater. The Charlotte 49ers were certainly invisible in the tournament once again.

---Did Bob Huggins and Billy Donovan read Sports and Bremertonians this week? They must have, because their teams finally won a first round game (Cincinnati and Florida).

---Nice to see former Gonzaga head coach Dan Monson back in the tournament, this time with Minnesota. Fortunately for me, Iowa State beat Minnesota.

---Oklahoma State will be just fine. So they only beat Southeastern Louisiana by 13 points. Survive and advance, baby.

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#1 North Carolina 96, #16 Oakland 68
The Marvin Williams Watch
Marvin Williams led all scorers with 20 points as the Tar Heels defeat Oakland 96-68.

#5 Villanova 55, #12 New Mexico 47

#2 Connecticut 77, #15 Central Florida 71

#7 Southern Illinois 65, #10 St. Mary's 56

My thoughts on the second portion of the afternoon games:

---You are going to see that Marvin Williams dunk (middle of the 1st half) for the entire tournament in the highlight packages. If you haven't seen it yet, you will see it soon enough.

---So much for my Cinderella, New Mexico. I don't care if they came back. They could only score 11 POINTS in the first half. ELEVEN! The Oregon State folks don't miss Richie McKay at all. They're in very good hands with Jay John.

---There's a pattern with every #2 seed in this tournament. It's called surviving and advancing.

---It's a shame that St. Mary's couldn't have faced a major conference team. I didn't really care for the mid-major pairing of the Gaels and Southern Illinois to be quite honest. Good season for the boys from Moraga, California, though.

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#4 Louisville 68, #13 Louisiana-Lafayette 62

#6 Wisconsin 57, #11 Northern Iowa 52

#1 Duke 57, #16 Delaware State 46

#13 Vermont 60, #4 Syracuse 57 (OT)

My thoughts on the first portion of the evening's action:

---I've never been so happy to put red ink on my bracket than I was after Syracuse lost to Vermont. I had the Orange in the Elite 8. Why, I don't know. But hey, those are the breaks. Congrats to the Vermont Catamounts, who could very well be this year's Cinderella. This was by far the best game of the tournament up to this point. Oh, and screw the Big East.

---Good showing by the Sun Belt champion Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns. If Louisviile would have lost this game, I would have been laughing uncontrollably. After all, they were supposed to be a #1 seed instead of Washington (Dickie V, baby!).

---Duke didn't look like a #1 seed. But you won't hear about that in the press.

---I didn't watch a single second of the Northern Iowa-Wisconsin game. Both teams did score more than 50 points. Progress!

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#5 Georgia Tech 80, #12 George Washington 68

#14 Bucknell 64, #3 Kansas 63

#9 Mississippi State 93, #8 Stanford 70

#5 Michigan State 89, #12 Old Dominion 81

My thoughts on the final portion of the first round games:

---Raise your hand if you picked Bucknell to beat Kansas.

---I didn't think so.

---While he's feeling bad for his former players at Kansas, you have to believe that Roy Williams is feeling better about life right now, knowing that he doesn't have to worry about a possible Kansas-North Carolina matchup.

---Yes, I had Kansas-North Carolina in my Elite 8.

---For this Stanford team to even make it to the NCAA Tournament this year is an accomplishment in itself. But they just couldn't overcome Mississippi State and Lawrence Roberts.

---So much for my 5/12 upset, Old Dominion over Michigan State.

---I can't wait for that Georgia Tech-Louisville matchup on Sunday. Should be fun.

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Hey, we got ourselves a tournament now.

You want your upsets? You certainly got your upsets tonight, with Vermont and Bucknell screwing up many brackets across the country. Although I'd have to say that Bucknell over Kansas was a much bigger upset. Come on, the Jayhawks losing in Oklahoma City? That's basically Bill Self's homeland (he's from Edmond, OK). Hopefully for Self's case, he and his family are able to stay safe over the next few weeks. I wish I were kidding about this, but you know there are some crazed fans out there. Especially those who are huge Jayhawks fans.

Not that it matters, but I went 19-13 in the 1st round. Yes, my bracket is teh suck.

However, I could care less about that right now.


Because we got ourselves a tournament now.

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Welcome to Friday.

Anyone in the Kitsap County area that either is hockey-starved or really hates college basketball (I hope it's more of the former this time of year) is highly encouraged to high-tail it to the ice rink in Bremerton tonight to watch Game 3 of the Cascade Cup series (i.e., Northern Pacific Hockey League finals) between the Queen City Cutthroats of Helena and the hometown Puget Sound Tomahawks. The series is tied at one game apiece, but the rest of the series will be played out in Bremerton this weekend, with another game tomorrow, and a Sunday game if necessary. Yes, fans are encouraged to wear white, because it is playoff hockey, after all.

For the record, my best bracket yesterday was 13-3, with my misses being Iowa, Creighton, and LSU. Creighton almost pulled off their game, and if they wouldn't have held the ball beyond the perimeter for about 25 seconds on each of their last three possessions (that's what it seemed like), they probably would have beat West Virginia. As for the other two games, those teams barely showed up.

Also, Dana Kirk of Bremerton swam twice for Stanford yesterday at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships. She swam a butterfly leg of 53.29 seconds in the preliminary and 52.53 in the final of the 400 medley relay. Stanford finished third in both the prelim race and the final. The meet is in West Lafayette, Indiana (it's at Purdue), and will continue today and tomorrow.

For the random today...I'm dropping a link. I just think this ad is darkly hilarious, and I know when I first saw it, yellowcake uranium, eye-catching animated diagrams, and "Funkytown" were stuck in my head for days. Then I was asking myself about the weirdness of having a happy song like "Funkytown" attached to yellowcake, which if I'm not mistaken can be some vile stuff.

To the post!

Well, it was a day off yesterday, so that of course means that a meaningless baseball game did not occur. This seemed like a good time for Scott Miller to put out his Mariner preview article, and it was a time for Bob Finnigan to wonder what the roster going north might look like.

Heath Evans has officially bolted. Evans can attribute his time on the bench in Seattle to Mack Strong being so damned good. The Seahawks and some other teams are still awaiting a decision from Edgerton Hartwell, who would be quite a great addition to this team. Joe Jurevicius is also in town.

For Jeremy's game-by-game take on yesterday's NCAA tournament games, scroll down one post.

The Miah Davis Update
The Roanoke Dazzle hosts Fayetteville tomorrow and Sunday.

The Marvin Williams Watch
The Tar Heels face Oakland (Michigan) in the East 1/16 game, today at 11:50a. The winner gets the winner of the Minnesota/Iowa State 8/9 game. That second-round game will be Sunday at 11:30a.

Right before yesterday's game, it was announced that Lorenzo Romar would be locked up for the next eight years at Montlake. What a quick turnaround for the Huskies, and their coach has now been handsomely rewarded, and the school is committed toward him. He's definitely got some security.

As for yesterday's win, people have come away hardly impressed. Their defense wasn't too sharp, and Montana got their share of driving layups. It could have been worse, though -- Fairleigh Dickinson led at quite a few points in the first half against Illinois, which can't be said for this game, as the Huskies jumped out to a huge run. The main thing here was that the Grizzlies would get the lead into single digits (usually 9) and the Huskies would get the next basket or more.

The Huskies sold all their 550 tickets for the game, and once those were gone, it was fair game for the Pacific fans and anyone else in the building to root for Montana. Also, Missoula really isn't that far of a drive from Boise (369 miles). Okay, maybe it is. It's 497 miles from Seattle, which is only a couple hours longer.

Washington faces the West's 8th-seeded Tigers of Pacific tomorrow at 12:20p.

Gonzaga is still getting some Times ink, which is good to see. The Zags weren't very sharp in the first half themselves, as they weren't taking good care of the ball, none of their scorers had warmed up yet, and Winthrop was bombing threes and playing a 2-2-1 zone. I was wondering where Adam Morrison was for most of the first half, and wondering why he hadn't gotten hot yet, but he definitely was red hot in the second half.

Gonzaga will face the West's 6th-seeded Texas Tech team, coached by Robert Montgomery Knight, tomorrow at 10:10a.

Circling the wagons. That looks like the vibe out of Sonic headquarters the day after Ray Allen (and Rashard Lewis) said some stuff to the media after the game (view my post from yesterday to see my train of thought on the whole thing). McMillan repeated that Allen's minutes were off in the last game because he had gotten into foul trouble, and that McMillan was riding the torrid bench unit in the second quarter.

The Times article is worth it just for this Allen quote...
"I don't expect anybody to have a problem with (my shot selection). For what we do and who we are, there are going to be times when we take tough shots. I don't need to hear or want to hear somebody beefing. That's part of our nature. That's part of why we do what we do and get paid what we get paid. Same thing in Chicago. Do you think Will Perdue ever said anything to (Michael Jordan)? I'm not MJ. But there was a pecking order."

See, here I'm torn between typing out thoughts about the quote itself and raving about the name-dropping of Will Perdue. How about lobbing an alleyoop for Bill Wennington? A give-and-go with Luc Longley?

Tonight vs. Orlando (7:30p, FSNNW)
Sunday at Lakers (6:30p, FSNNW)
Tuesday vs. Milwaukee (7p, FSNNW)
Thursday at Portland (7p, FSNNW)

Manitoba beat Milwaukee 5-2. The Moose scored twice on the power play (Josh Green and Justin Morrison) in the first period, then scored another (Jesse Schultz) in the second. Manitoba had a 3-0 lead with the game half-over. Milwaukee scored just past the halfway point in the game, but Jimmy Roy built the lead back up to three. Alexandre Burrows capped the scoring in the final frame. Shots were 32-23 for Milwaukee, and Wade Flaherty stopped 30.

Tonight: Seattle at Portland, Tri-City at Everett, Vancouver at Kelowna, Queen City at Puget Sound (Game 3 of Cascade Cup finals)
Tomorrow: Portland at Seattle, Everett at Tri-City, Kelowna at Vancouver, Houston at Manitoba, Queen City at Puget Sound (Game 4 of Cascade Cup finals)
Sunday (end of WHL regular season): Everett at Seattle, Tri-City at Portland, Houston at Manitoba, Queen City at Puget Sound (Game 5 of Cascade Cup finals, if necessary)
Thursday: Saint John's at Manitoba

Have a great Friday.

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Thursday, March 17, 2005



Post anything NCAA Tournament-related in the comments box. If you have to post anything that isn't NCAA Tournament-related, you can comment as well. We aren't huge sticklers on off-topic comments, like other sites are. We're Sports and Bremertonians, dammit!

The road to St. Louis begins today. Hopefully for the teams that advance to the Final Four, they don't get run over by Leonard Little. Yes, I hate the Rams.

#1 Washington 88, #16 Montana 77
Washington defeated Montana 88-77 in Boise.

The Huskies started off the game on an 18-4 run. Brandon Roy led the Huskies with 17 points. Tre Simmons had 15 points while Nate Robinson scored just 9 points. While the Huskies only defeated the Grizzlies by 11 points, it's all about surviving and advancing in the NCAA Tournament.

The Huskies will face Pacific on Saturday (12:20 p.m. Pacific)

#3 Gonzaga 74, #14 Winthrop 64
It was the Adam Morrison Show at the McKale Center in Tucson.

The sophomore from Spokane scored 27 points as the Bulldogs were able to hold off Winthrop 74-64. J.P. Batista scored 14 points while Ronny Turiaf had 13 points and grabbed 14 rebounds.

Gonzaga will face the winner of #11 UCLA-#6 Texas Tech Saturday (10:10 a.m. Pacific)

If you aren't fired up for the tournament yet, then this little CBS diddy should do the trick. I believe in the power of that one shining moment.

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#2 Kentucky 72, #15 Eastern Kentucky 64
Chuck Hayes and Kelenna Azubuike each scored 16 points as Kentucky defeated Eastern Kentucky 72-64 at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis.

The Wildcats will face the winner of #10 Iowa-#7 Cincinnati Saturday (2:40 p.m. Pacific).

#3 Oklahoma 84, #14 Niagara 67
Oklahoma defeated Niagara 84-67 in Tucson. My local affiliate showed maybe 2 minutes of this game, tops.

The Sooners will face the winner of #11 UTEP-#6 Utah Saturday (12:40 p.m. Pacific)

#12 Wisconsin-Milwaukee 83, #5 Alabama 73
We've got our first 5/12 upset of the tournament, with Bruce Pearl's Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers upsetting Alabama 83-73 in Cleveland.

The Panthers were 12-of-27 from 3-pt range (57%), as they took an early lead in the 1st half and never let the Crimson Tide get into the flow of things.Wisconsin-Milwaukee will face the winner of #13 Penn-#4 Boston College Saturday (2:30 p.m. Pacific)

#8 Pacific 79, #9 Pittsburgh 71
The Pacific Tigers have defeated their 2nd Big East foe in as many years in the NCAA Tournament, eliminating Pittsburgh 79-71 in Boise.

Big West Conference Player of the Year David Doubley scored 17 points as the Tigers will face the winner of #16 Montana-#1 Washington Saturday (12:20 p.m. Pacific)

My thoughts on the first window of the tournament:

---I love the top-of-the-screen scoreboxes CBS is using this year.


---They should just rename the Dasani sideline reports the "Dasani Water Breaks".

---Coach K is everywhere.

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(Montana-Washington recap has already been covered)

#4 Boston College 85, #13 Pennsylvania 65
Boston College was led by Jared Dudley's 18 points as they defeated Penn 85-65 in Cleveland.

The Eagles will face Wisconsin-Milwaukee Saturday (2:30 p.m. Pacific)

#7 Cincinnati 76, #10 Iowa 64
Bob Huggins' squad finally shows up in March, defeating Iowa 76-64 in Indianapolis.

The Bearcats will face Kentucky Saturday (2:40 p.m. Pacific)

#6 Utah 60, #11 UTEP 54
Andrew Bogut scored 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as Utah defeated UTEP 60-54 in Tucson.

The Utes will face Oklahoma Saturday (12:40 p.m. Pacific)

My thoughts on the second window of the tournament today:

---I am already looking forward to Saturday's matchup between Utah and Oklahoma. The Utes' Andrew Bogut and the Sooners' Kevin Bookout are two of the best big men in college basketball. I have the Utes coming out of the Austin, I mean South, region. So go Utes!

---I hate Cincinnati. I also hate Kentucky. May both of these teams get locked in
their hotel rooms in Indianapolis, giving the winner of Utah-Oklahoma a free pass to the Elite Eight in Austin.

---I'm not worried about the Huskies. They should beat Pacific, although there's no doubt that the Tigers are a very good squad. We're no strangers to Pacific, considering that fellow Bremertonian Miah Davis was a Tiger last season.

---Would it kill CBS to allow the broadcasters to give the viewers analysis during the timeouts? Hell, I'd love to see more crowd shots during the timeouts as well. Gotta get that money, though.

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(See above for Winthrop-Gonzaga recap)

#9 Nevada 61, #8 Texas 57
Hook this.

For the second straight year, the school from the biggest little city in the world has knocked off a major conference team. This year, Nevada defeated Texas 61-57 in Indianapolis. Kevinn Pinkney scored 15 points for the Wolf Pack. Nick Fazekas, Nevada's leading scorer, was held to just 10 points, but grabbed 13 rebounds.

Nevada will face the winner of #16 Farleigh Dickinson-#1 Illinois Saturday (5:10 p.m. Pacific)

#3 Arizona 66, #14 Utah State 53
Salim Stoudamire and Channing Frye each had 17 points as Arizona advances to the second round, defeating the Big West Conference tournament champion Utah State 66-53 in Boise.

The Wildcats will face the winner of #11 UAB-#6 LSU Saturday (2:50 p.m. Pacific)

#2 Wake Forest 70, #15 Chattanooga 54
Chris Paul scored 20 points as Wake Forest held off Chattanooga 70-54 in Cleveland.

The Demon Deacons will face the winner of #10 Creighton-#7 West Virginia Saturday (5 p.m. Pacific)

My thoughts for the first evening session:

---Thousands of Americans are thanking God that Wake Forest and Gonzaga won their games tonight.

---My head won out over my heart when deciding to pick Arizona over Utah State. Head > heart, at least in this instance. Cue Queensryche "Hand On Heart".

---Screw Texas.

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#1 Illinois 67, #16 Farleigh Dickinson 55
After leading by just 1 point at halftime (32-31), Illinois went on a 14-2 run to start the second half, propelling them to a 67-55 victory over a gritty Farleigh Dickinson squad in Indianapolis.

Dee Brown led the Fighting Illini with 19 points.

Illinois will play Nevada Saturday (5:10 p.m. Pacific)

#11 UAB 82, #6 LSU 68
Marvett McDonald scored 21 points as UAB dominated LSU 82-68 in Boise.

UAB will play Arizona Saturday (2:50 p.m. Pacific)

#6 Texas Tech 78, #11 UCLA 66
Texas Tech was led by Ronald Ross' 28 points as they defeated UCLA 78-66 in Tucson.

The Red Raiders will take on Gonzaga Saturday (10:10 a.m. Pacific)

#7 West Virginia 63, #10 Creighton 61
In a game full of 3-pointers, how did Tyrone Sally win the game for West Virginia?

A dunk.

The Mountaineers knocked off Creighton 63-61 in Cleveland.

West Virginia will play Wake Forest Saturday (5 p.m. Pacific)

My thoughts on the final portion of the first day of the tournament:

---You want to know who #1 for Creighton is? If you guessed Jeffrey Day, you are correct. Day played his high school ball at Seattle Prep before going to Washington. He left Washington, went to a junior college in California (he did not play basketball at the JC) before transferring to Creighton in Omaha, Nebraska. That's right, Creighton is in Omaha, Nebraska.

---Screw the SEC. I'm sick and tired of the SEC homers shoving their stuff down my throat. Face it, it is an overrated conference. Especially this season. The top two teams in the SEC West, Alabama and LSU, just got beat by teams from the Horizon League and Conference USA. Yes, that's the almighty SEC, folks. I feel stupid for picking Alabama and LSU. Believe me, my mouth is very dry right now.

---Somehow, I don't think we're going to see any stories on the wire proclaiming that Illinois is not worthy of their #1 seed.

---Screw the SEC!

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That does it for the first day of the NCAA Tournament.

I went 11-5 today. Losses include Alabama, Iowa, Creighton, LSU, and UCLA. Is my bracket a "stinky bracket"? I'll let you know tomorrow night.

My throat is feeling very dry right now.

Thanks, LSU. Really. Great performance on the Rainbow Brite court in Boise.

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Welcome to Thursday.

***NOTE -- posted at 7:56a, to keep Jeremy's running comment thread post at the top

There's about an hour remaining until the brackets lock as I type this (which I usually type last), but if you haven't joined our insanely fun bracket group thingie, then knock yourself out and have some fun...
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Brackets lock at 9:20a.

For today's random...a couple last inches of the post to Lindsey Cardinale, my pick from the auditions to take it all, she of the "sultry, sexy" (Paula's words) voice who was an endless victim of song choice, week in and week out. Much to my chagrin was the contestant that got spared, who in my opinion is infinitely less talented and...dresses in a special manner, I guess is the nicest way I can put it. For God's sake, she did Streisand songs. Of course, one could argue that the show would be somewhat boring without a contestant to despise.

To the post! I guess my juiciest contribution in this one is where I try to wrap my brain around Ray Allen's postgame comments from last night; kind of like thinking out loud, except with a keyboard.

The Mariners' pitching is starting to not suck in Cactus League ball. More importantly, Gil Meche has cut out the slider and is going with 4-seam/curve/change, while Bobby Madritsch is putting in the slider more. Madritsch was great to watch last year with just the two pitches, and now I can't wait to see how he does with three pitches, because last fall I thought he'd desperately need a third pitch to get through a full season of major-league ball. If he nails it, hoo boy. Also, Joel Pineiro threw a bullpen and feels good, though he still worries about the shoulder a bit while he's throwing.

Yes, there were cuts. No, none of them involved Willie Bloomquist (foiled again!). Clint Nageotte, Shin-Soo Choo, Justin Leone, and Michael Morse are Tacoma-bound, Rene Rivera and Yuniesky Betancourt are San Antonio-bound, Wladimir Balentien is going to Inland Empire (remember the old San Bernardino Spirit?), and Jon Huber and Mickey Lopez are now in the minor-league camp.

The Mariners "Horse (bleep)" clubhouse manager has more Super Bowl rings than the Mariners franchise has World Series trophies. That article also made me hugnry because it's the wee hours of the morning and now I'm craving waffles.

Finally, the Weekly Zumsteg laments Mike Hargrove's insistence on taking 12 pitchers north with the club. Hopefully that extra arm in the pen isn't as much of a lead balloon as Luis Ugueto circa 2002. There is also some stuff about the cut players in that piece.

The Seahawks have signed Denver cornerback Kelly Herndon to an offer sheet of five years, $15M, with a $4.5M signing bonus. The Broncos have seven days to match. If unmatched, the Seahawks are off the hook for draft compensation because Herndon was never drafted. Oh yeah, Heath Evans is now a Dolphin.

Also, Dallas and Seattle will be facing off on Monday Night Football once again...in the preseason. Also, Tampa Bay wide receiver Joe Jurevicius was visiting, are awaiting Baltimore linebacker Ed Hartwell's decision, and have spoken with Houston linebacker Jay Foreman's agent.

While I agree with Steve Kelley that the Seahawks' doings in the free-agent period have been incredibly mind-numbing, a lot of that could change if the Seahawks manage to reel in Ed Hartwell. I'm not sure if Kelley is saying that the Seahawks need a running back before next season because Alexander will leave, but I'm not so convinced he will. Who's got the money to sign him long-term without having the rest of the team suck, and would it be worth the draft picks too?

The Miah Davis Update
The Roanoke Dazzle hosts Fayetteville Saturday and Sunday.

The Marvin Williams Watch
The Tar Heels face Oakland (Michigan) in the East 1/16 game, tomorrow at 11:50a. The winner gets the winner of the Minnesota/Iowa State 8/9 game. That second-round game will be Sunday at 11:30a.

Can we just go and play the games now? Nine articles on one team in one night is a lot for a man to read. Still, this provides some great halftime and commercial break reading material. People reading the final link will probably be reading about what they're doing at the time: being "sick."

The Huskies face the Montana Grizzlies in the West 1/16 game, today at noon. This game's winner will face the winner of the Pacific/Pitt 8/9 game. The second-round game will be at 12:20p on Saturday.

Gonzaga gets love too. Gonzaga fans can't be too ticked off over the Times' coverage of the Zags, because they're still getting decent-sized articles. Sure they'll never match the output of the more local team, but having Bud Withers fly down to Tucson to cover you bears something in itself.

Gonzaga faces Winthrop in the West 3/14 game, today at 4:25p. The winner will get whoever wins the Texas Tech/UCLA game. The second-round game will be Saturday at 10:10a.

For my take on last night's game, scroll down a post or click here if this is the only post on the page.


Ray Allen after the Chicago game two nights ago (P-I quote)...
"It's satisfying that the other guys can step up and make a play. But it is very frustrating when I run down the floor and I don't touch the ball. A guy is sitting there on me. He doesn't leave me, and I'm just an extra body on the floor. If a guy is guarding me tough or not leaving me, that doesn't mean you have to put me over in the corner and isolate me. You still have to find ways to exploit that defense."

Ray Allen after last night's game (Times excerpt)...
"No, I'm not getting enough looks. You've got to talk to the coach."

Predictably, you won't find the latter quote on the postgame quote sheet at SuperSonics.com.

For the record, Allen went 6-for-11 last night, with 11 attempts being his second-lowest amount of shots in a single game for the season. The last time he shot over 50% in a game was the home loss against Houston on the 8th where he went 13-for-25 and scored 32. Frankly, I'm looking at Ray's game log right now, and it appears that since the break, he's done great against all the West teams and crappy against Milwaukee (all the Sonics were crap that day though), Detroit, New York, and Chicago. Chicago and Detroit are two great defensive teams, and the Sonics did just play them a combined four times in a seven-game stretch. In those games, Ray went 3-for-17, 4-for-16, 5-for-18, and 6-for-11 (last night). If you want to throw in the New York game, he was 7-for-20 in that one.

There are probably a billion ways I could go with this. I'd already mentioned opposing defenses, which are making adjustments. Last night in particular, though, the Sonics didn't have Danny Fortson setting solid screens, and they really could have used him. Without Fortson last night, I'm not really keen on anyone else other than maybe Reggie Evans and maybe Jerome James once in a while setting a pick, and they're not going to be rock-hard shake-your-foundation-type picks like Fortson sets. They sure as hell beat the crap out of Radmanovic's screens. With Evans, there's no way you're going to roll him to the basket and expect anything, though we've learned lately you can do that with James once in a while and Collison whenever you want.

I guess one other reason I can think of as to why Ray Allen might have been doing crappy and not getting looks in these games is because Vladimir Radmanovic's wrist has been jacked since before the All-Star break. I can't say that other teams are leaving Radmanovic open or anything, but since his production has been way down lately, I would have to think that opposing teams might shy away a tiny bit and then stick more heavily on Allen if he's on the floor at the same time. If Radmanovic is ice-cold, and if they deny Ray Allen the ball or make him pass out, then we see things like Radmanovic bricking 7 of 8 three-pointers a night or whatever. Radmanovic has hit a couple of clutch shots lately, but he hasn't been red-hot at any point in quite a while.

What's my conclusion here? I'm not sure. But Ray Allen's gripes kind of coincide with games against the Bulls and Pistons, production deficiencies on the part of Vladimir Radmanovic, and missed games by and/or a maybe-not-full-speed-yet Danny Fortson. I think Ray Allen could use more solid screens and another option to draw defenders away from him. I'm just pulling stuff out of thin air, but oh well.

About the game itself, the Sonics had a great second quarter, a third quarter where the Pistons scored a ton of points, and then hung close in the fourth quarter before blowing it with about two minutes left.

In the injury report, Danny Fortson is day-to-day with a bruised left foot and may or may not play tomorrow against Orlando. Luke Ridnour's decreased minutes the last couple games can probably be attributed to back spasms.

Tomorrow vs. Orlando (7:30p, FSNNW)
Sunday at Lakers (6:30p, FSNNW)
Tuesday vs. Milwaukee (7p, FSNNW)

Everett beat Seattle 4-2. Seattle has lost all five times in Everett this season. This one was sort of punctuated at the end by James McEwan of Seattle "charg[ing] the goaltender from the blue line," acording to Everett coach Kevin Constantine. McEwan is awaiting league review of the tape; he is facing an intent-to-injure penalty (a "match penalty" in the NHL). The top performer of the night, though, was Everett's Karel Hromas, who netted the hat trick. Bretton Stamler scored with just under six minutes remaining in the first period, and Everett didn't draw first blood until Hromas got the ball rolling on the power play with under three minutes remaining in the middle frame. Denis Tolpeko got the T-Birds another lead early in the third, but what happened then was a Kyle Annesley goal sandwich, with Hromas goals as the meat. Annesley's winner came with 2:06 to go, and Hromas' capper was put in with around 25 ticks remaining in the game. Alex Leavitt also assisted on the first three Everett goals. Shots were only 22-20 for Seattle. Bryan Bridges stopped 17 for Seattle, and Mike Wall stopped 20 for Everett.

Portland shut out Spokane 4-0. Portland is 8-0-1 in their last nine road games, and haven't lost a road game in nearly two months. The entire first half of the game was 23 seconds from going scoreless, but Brandon Dubinsky tallied to finally dent the scoreboard in the second period. Though they wouldn't know it at that moment, it was the winner. Sasha Golin scored 3/4 of the way through the second. The Winter Hawks added another pair in the final frame, with Colton Sceviour and Dubinsky (again) scoring early in the period to account for the final score. Kyle Bailey and Cody McLeod had two assists each for Portland. Shots were 30-28 for Portland. Blake Grenier pitched his second shutout in three games, stopping all 28 in this one.

Tonight: Manitoba at Milwaukee
Tomorrow: Seattle at Portland, Tri-City at Everett, Vancouver at Kelowna, Queen City at Puget Sound (Game 3 of Cascade Cup finals)
Saturday: Portland at Seattle, Everett at Tri-City, Kelowna at Vancouver, Houston at Manitoba, Queen City at Puget Sound (Game 4 of Cascade Cup finals)
Sunday (end of WHL regular season): Everett at Seattle, Tri-City at Portland, Houston at Manitoba, Queen City at Puget Sound (Game 5 of Cascade Cup finals, if necessary)

Have a jolly fun Thursday, everybody.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2005


Pistons 102, SuperSonics 95

In the first quarter, the two teams pretty much traded baskets until the Pistons went on a 17-6 run to end the quarter. The Sonics were beat 10-0 on second chance points, 16-6 in the paint, and 15-6 on the boards. They also had zero offensive rebounds to Detroit's eight. The Pistons led 27-19 after one.

Then the Sonics awoke in the second quarter. They went on a 12-0 run to start the quarter, and Detroit didn't score until the 7:52 mark. Two Sonic baskets later, the run turned into a 17-2 run. The Sonics weren't whistled for a foul in the game until the 6:16 mark of the second quarter. The Sonics led 47-42 at halftime, thanks in part to going to a zone defense for the second night in a row, and they looked like they might have had some control over this game. Assistant coach Jack Sikma was on the broadcast at halftime crediting the big run to the zone and to the fact that the Sonics had a fast lineup off the bench during that time to turn Detroit's missed shots into fastbreak points.

The bench scored 22 points (Detroit had 2 bench points) of the Sonics' 47 points in the first half. Antonio Daniels had 8, Vladimir Radmanovic had 7, Ron Murray had 4 (some productive minutes), and Nick Collison had 3. As for the starters, Rashard Lewis had 14, and no other starter had over 4. Ray Allen had 1 point, and shot 0-for-5. The Sonics got pounded on the boards in the first half 25-15. Radmanovic had a very productive first few minutes of the second quarter, and ended up leading the team with 5 boards. Reggie Evans and Jerome James combined for two rebounds. The Sonics had 11 assists at the half, which might be somewhat surprising. Radmanovic had 4 of the assists, Luke Ridnour had 3, Ron Murray had 2.

The camera spotted Kid Rock courtside right before the second half, and Kevin Calabro had a hilarious line, though I can't remember exactly how it started. It was something like, if Kid Rock wasn't watching basketball/making music, "he'd be installing faucets somewhere." Hilarious stuff. It was just as good as when Calabro reads off the plugs for next year's season tickets. He'll mention that operators are standing by and then toss in something like how they're fluent in six languages or something, followed by some more ad-libbing before the ball gets inbounded.

The Sonics then proceeded to score 25 points in the third quarter. That's always a good thing. Twenty-five-point quarters are usually solid offensive quarters. They're also thoroughly negated when you allow the other team to score 36 points in the same quarter. There were a billion lead changes in the quarter, and the Sonics had five-point leads on multiple occasions. The score was pretty even until the Pistons ended the quarter on a 7-0 run for a 78-72 lead. For the record, Reggie Evans grabbed his only offensive rebound of the night at the 3:51 mark and laid it back in for two of his four points.

I'll touch on the fourth quarter after the peek.

Rashard Lewis 26 pts/5 reb/4 ast/3 stl (10-21 FG, 3-7 3pt, 3-3 free throws, 44 min), Ray Allen 20 pts/6 reb/3 ast (6-11 FG, 3-5 3pt, 5-6 free throws, 28 min), Luke Ridnour 5 pts/5 ast (3 turnovers, 18 min), Reggie Evans 4 pts/4 reb (3 turnovers, 24 min)

Antonio Daniels 10 pts/4 reb/4 ast (5-10 FG, 0-2 3pt, 31 min), Vladimir Radmanovic 9 pts/6 reb/2 ast (4-12 FG, 1-6 3pt, 30 min), Ron Murray 6 pts/4 ast (3-6 FG, 19 min), Nick Collison 3 pts/2 blk (1-3 FG, 5 fouls, 17 min)

Jerome James Watch
12 pts/4 reb/2 blk (6-11 FG, 29 min)

***shot 39-for-79 (49.4%) from the field, shot 8-for-23 (34.8%) from downtown, shot 9-for-11 (81.8%) from the line, were outrebounded 47-31, surrendered 16 offensive rebounds (got only 4), turned the ball over 13 times for 17 Detroit points, bench outscored Detroit bench 28-4 (were outrebounded 14-11)

Well, this is one of the few games where I feel afterward that the Sonics hung close the whole way and just plain lost in the end. Still, there's a few things that stick out like sore thumbs (in a bad way) in the boxscore. Reggie Evans was a complete nonfactor tonight, and he couldn't shake Ben Wallace down low for any rebounds. Luke Ridnour had very limited minutes, he turned the ball over three times, and I think all three of his fouls were dumb fouls. The Sonics shot crappy from beyond the arc again, and the Sonics in a way will be trying to win with a hand tied behind their back if they don't start hitting those three-pointers again. Directly related to that is Vladimir Radmanovic, who hit one of six threes tonight, though he did hit a few more shots inside the arc.

There's two things that stick out the most, though. One is that the Sonics only got to the free throw line 11 times, and hit 9. Antonio Daniels wasn't too bad tonight, and I know the Detroit defense is tough, but how does he not get to the free-throw line even once? Secondly, the Sonics were blasted on the boards 47-31. That's probably the death-knell stat of the night. Well, that and the fact that they only haf 4 offensive boards and gave away 16, which is just brutal. A lot of Seattle's game and flow depends on offensive boards, and not having those and not having the threes falling is a double-whammy, really. The Sonics could have used Danny Fortson tonight, sure, but he had the ankle injury. It also didn't help that Nick Collison piled up fouls Fortson-style in the fourth quarter to the point where James had to come back into the game. Speaking of James, he once again looked like a world-beater against Detroit, which I have fun seeing. He had a pretty solid night offensively, but like the rest of the Sonics, he didn't rebound much. Let's face it, when Ray Allen and Vladimir Radmanovic are leading this team in rebounds, that is never a good thing.

Really, though, the Sonics let this game get away with two plays in the fourth quarter. The first was with the Sonics up 90-87 and had the ball with 2:23 left. Antonio Daniels was bringing the ball upcourt and was going to wait to cross the time line before calling timeout. He slipped up or something, and Rasheed Wallace snatched the ball and dunked it. Rather than the chance to go up five, the Sonics were now up by only one. To drive the nail into the coffin, Vladimir Radmanovic had a pass intercepted on the very next Sonic possession, and the Pistons converted. That was basically the end of the game, which sucks because it was well within reach for the Sonics. The two teams had traded baskets back and forth in the quarter up to the two turnovers by Daniels and Radmanovic.

Yeah, it would have been a good road win. This wasn't one of those losses where the Sonics shot 35% and got blitzed or anything like that. Rather, it was a game where they hung close even though two staples of their game -- offensive boards and three-point shooting -- were either way off or nonexistent. The Sonics hung tough and lost it on a couple plays late when it could be said that they had no business even being in this ballgame. Still, it's weird how quarter-to-quarter this team is when it comes to opposing points. Tonight, it's 27 (ugh), 15 (yay!), 36 (vomit), and 24 (decent). This team just needs to play consistent defense for 48 minutes. Yeah, I know that's easier said than done.

I guess I'm really surprised that out of the two games this year in which these two teams squared off, the Sonics won the game with the lower scoring (197 points in this one, 182 in the game on the 4th). I'm really not sure what to think of this.

I would have asked Jinkies if he's riding the Mocs to the Sweet 16 in his bracket.

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There's a reason why I waited until today to unleash my 2005 NCAA Tournament bracket on you, the Sports and Bremertonians readers. It takes more than one day for me to finalize my bracket. I've done more than my fair share of brackets over the past 13 years to realize that it's not easy to fill out a bracket. Luckily for me, I've actually watched a few of these teams play. Yes, I've even watched more than a few games involving West Coast teams. In case you've forgotten, I'm in Arkansas, so you can't accuse me of having an "East Coast bias", or to be more exact, a "Southern bias".

In case you missed it, here's the first-round broadcast schedule. Oh, and don't forget about joining our ESPN Tournament Challenge group. As I've said before, please leave a comment in the box once you've joined the group. Thanks.

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So here is my 2005 NCAA Tournament bracket (bracket images courtesy of ESPN.com):


I had thought about going with Oklahoma State instead of Illinois, but the Fighting Illini simply won't lose in Chicago. At least I don't see it happening. Last year, Oklahoma State was the only team I correctly picked to make the Final Four. This year? I have the Cowboys losing to the Fighting Illini.

Best 1st Round Game: UAB vs LSU

Most Dangerous Game: Utah State vs Arizona

Sweet Sixteen: Illinois, Oklahoma State, Arizona, Alabama

Elite Eight: Oklahoma State vs Illinois


Speaking of biases, I have a "Northwest bias". A Gonzaga-Washington Elite Eight would sure piss off many folks, that's for damn sure. Too bad, so sad. This was a tough one to pick, because I like both teams. But since I'm originally from the west side of Washington, I'm going with the Huskies. Besides, they are due for a victory against the Bulldogs. And Brandon Roy should be able to play this time around. If you love guard play, you are going to love the Albuquerque region.

Best 1st Round Game: West Virginia vs Creighton

Most Dangerous Game: George Washington vs Georgia Tech

Sweet Sixteen: Washington, Wake Forest, Gonzaga, Georgia Tech

Elite Eight: Gonzaga vs Washington


The national media has called the Syracuse region the toughest region in this year's tournament. I would say that the Albuquerque region is more dangerous, but that's just me. I'm picking North Carolina, for obvious reasons. You really think I'm going to go against Bremerton native Marvin Williams here? He's a freshman in title only.

Best 1st Round Game: New Mexico vs Villanova

Most Dangerous Game: Northern Iowa vs Wisconsin

Sweet Sixteen: North Carolina, Connecticut, Kansas, New Mexico

Elite Eight: Kansas vs North Carolina


There's always one team in the tournament every season that comes out of nowhere. This year, I think that team is going to be Utah. The Utes lay claim to the best big man in America, Andrew Bogut. I will admit that I want first-year Utah head coach Ray Giacoletti to have a good run in the tournament. Giacoletti was formerly the head coach at Eastern Washington from 2000 to 2004. Bogut is likely to leave Salt Lake City after this season, but the Utah program is in very good hands with Giacoletti. The Utah football program went undefeated and won the Fiesta Bowl. Can the Utah basketball program shock America and go to their first Final Four since 1998? When you have a player like Andrew Bogut on your team, you definitely have a chance to play deep into the tournament.

Best 1st Round Game: Vermont vs Syracuse

Most Dangerous Game: Vermont vs Syracuse

Sweet Sixteen: Duke, Syracuse, Utah, Iowa

Elite Eight: Utah vs Syracuse

FINAL FOUR (Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis)

All four coaches in my projected Final Four have never won a national championship. But that doesn't mean that all four men aren't solid in their profession. Bruce Weber has had Illinois on top of the polls for most of the season. Lorenzo Romar has helped make Washington basketball a big deal in Seattle. Roy Williams is Roy Williams. The nation is starting to find out what I knew 4 years ago, that Ray Giacoletti is a damn good coach.

My national championship matchup is Washington vs North Carolina. Think about the subplots for this possible national championship game:

---Roy Williams' quest for his 1st national title
---Bremerton's Marvin Williams goes up against fellow Washingtonians
---Huskies head coach Lorenzo Romar heads back to St. Louis, where he coached the Billikens before accepting the job at Montlake

While I have appreciated the Huskies' stellar 2004-2005 season, I'm going to go with North Carolina to win it all. Once again, I refuse to bet against Marvin Williams. When in doubt, go with the Bremertonian.

The madness starts tomorrow.

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Welcome to Wednesday.

Once again, feel free to join our fun little group of tournament brackets...
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For the random...not that I ever actually ended up doing anything meaningful for spring break when I was in high school or college, but when you're out of school and you know that spring break is (or is about to be) underway at your old stomping grounds, it doesn't even matter anymore because the days just sorta blend together with no end in sight. This would be true even if I did have a job right now, because every day would be the same, except much more lucrative. I did experience that side of it a couple of summers ago. That was the thing about school -- every couple weeks you knew you were getting a bone thrown your way, in the form of an extra holiday or something, an hour off a certain day a week because the teachers' union negotiated that into their contracts, or maybe a professor cancels a lecture or two to fly to Tibet or to some conference. If you work, it's a batch of holidays and a vacation if you're lucky and/or tenured, but nothing more.

To the post!

Small news: Joel Pineiro will throw from the bullpen mound today, but yesterday, Ichiro sat out with a sore/swollen foot, Richie Sexson had a tight quad, and Jamie Moyer didn't get torched. From what I'm reading, only the first thing I mentioned actually matters. Eddie Guardado also may throw a bullpen on Friday if everything goes right. Also, Norm Charlton is a Mariners special-assignment coach, and an estimated date for a Pokey Reese return is up in the air.

I hope Bucky is up with the big club sooner rather than later, and I hope he's confident in his knee after he comes back.

It's got Niehaus quotes, so that's why I'm posting them here, but this satellite radio thing when it pertains to baseball and other sports is truly interesting. Surely someone has to get screwed if satellite radio proliferates and gets popular, right? Some people liken satellite radio as a cable-vs.-network TV thing, but would that really be the case if satellite radio takes hold? Do local listeners who are transplants instantly get lured away with satellite radio? I have no idea. One thing's for sure: I don't have a cell phone, PlayStation 2, HD television, or a cell phone. If there's anyone ahead of the technological curve, it's me.

Jeremy called this Bryce Fisher signing. The Seattle Prep grad will get four years and $10M and be reunited with Saint Louis teammate and defensive linemate Grant Wistrom. I don't mind the move myself. In other news, Orlando Huff has also fled to Arizona, but if the Seahawks somehow pull off a deal for Ed Hartwell, and those pieces just might be falling into place (his agent sure passes the raves in the Times article), I'd be doing flips over this defense compared to how I felt about a week ago. Names on the Seahawk visitor list included Denver cornerback Kelly Herndon, Tampa Bay defensive tackle Chartric Darby, and Tampa Bay quarterback Brad Johnson. Possible visitors include defensive ends Marques Douglas of Baltimore and Courtney Brown of Cleveland.

The Miah Davis Update
The Roanoke Dazzle hosts Fayetteville Saturday and Sunday.

The Marvin Williams Watch
The Tar Heels face Oakland (Michigan) in the East 1/16 game, Friday at 11:50a. The winner gets the winner of the Minnesota/Iowa State 8/9 game. That second-round game will be Sunday at 11:30a.

Are there enough Husky articles today? That's six articles for the day before the first tournament game for the local team. Huskymania has officially gripped Seattle, or at least its writers. Of course, that's what happens when the local team gets the #1 seed in the tournament.

The Huskies face the Montana Grizzlies in the West 1/16 game, tomorrow at noon. This game's winner will face the winner of the Pacific/Pitt 8/9 game. The second-round game will be at 12:20p on Saturday.

Adam Morrison would shoot every time he touched the ball if he could. Instead, he just hits a ton of the shots that he does take.

Gonzaga faces Winthrop in the West 3/14 game, tomorrow at 4:25p. The winner will get whoever wins the Texas Tech/UCLA game. The second-round game will be Saturday at 10:10a.

For my take on last night's game, scroll down a post or click here if this is the only post on the page.

To sum it up, Ray Allen was off again, Rashard Lewis was on again, Reggie Evans sparked the Sonics in the third quarter, and Nick Collison was instrumental in the fourth quarter. In my game post, I was going to say that I marvel sometimes at how quickly Danny Fortson piles on the fouls, but last night was pretty quick indeed, as he was tied for the fifth-fastest disqualification in NBA history. There were also 37 fouls whistled on the Bulls in the game, a United Center record. The Sonics were whistled for 34 fouls as well.

Tonight at Detroit (4:30p, FSNNW)
Friday vs. Orlando (7:30p, FSNNW)
Sunday at Lakers (6:30p, FSNNW)
Tuesday vs. Milwaukee (7p, FSNNW)

Vancouver beat Prince George 4-3. The Giants scored once in every period, but led only after their first and last goals. The first goal let in by Vancouver goalie Marek Schwarz was a Cloutierian shot from the penalty boxes. As mentioned, their second and third goals tied the score. Kyle Lamb scored in the first period to give the Giants an early 1-0 lead. Mitch Bartley scored on a late power play in the second period to tie the score at 2-2. Even more dramatic, Mitch Bartley put in a loose puck in front of the net with 10.2 seconds left in regulation to make sure the Giants got at least one point out of it. Cam Cunning got them the extra point 2:42 into overtime. Of course, the Giants might draw the Kelowna Rockets in the first round. That's rough unless Marek Schwarz goes Giguere/Kiprusoff on everybody.

Milwaukee beat Manitoba 2-1 in a shootout. The Moose were outshot 22-6 in the first period of play and 41-11 through two periods, and Wade Flaherty had only let one goal by in net. Ryan Suter had what would have been his second goal waved off instead after the net was knocked off its moorings. Ryan Kesler banked the puck off Justin Morrison and into the net with 4:12 left to get at least the tie. Overtime solved nothing, and Josh Green couldn't keep the shootout going past the fifth Manitoba shot. Shots were 51-27 for Manitoba, and Wade Flaherty stopped 49 of 50 in the Moose net.

Also, the Thunderbirds are trying to keep motivated through this end of the regular season even though they've had the division clinched for a week or two now.

Tonight: Seattle at Everett, Portland at Spokane
Tomorrow: Manitoba at Milwaukee
Friday: Seattle at Portland, Tri-City at Everett, Vancouver at Kelowna, Queen City at Puget Sound (Game 3 of Cascade Cup finals)
Saturday: Portland at Seattle, Everett at Tri-City, Kelowna at Vancouver, Houston at Manitoba, Queen City at Puget Sound (Game 4 of Cascade Cup finals)
Sunday (end of WHL regular season): Everett at Seattle, Tri-City at Portland, Houston at Manitoba, Queen City at Puget Sound (Game 5 of Cascade Cup finals, if necessary)

Have a great Wednesday. Drive through.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2005


SuperSonics 99, Bulls 93

After one quarter -- Chicago 25, Seattle 25

In the first quarter, the first Sonic possession was great, as they got multiple offensive rebounds (that continued throughout the quarter) and got a basket from Rashard Lewis. The Sonics hogged the ball for all of the first 55 seconds of the game. Then the Bulls went on a 10-0 run. Chicago started out by hitting their first six shots. Eventually, they cooled off a bit, and the Sonics were able to catch them and have a couple of short-lived leads before the Bulls got even again.

At half -- Chicago 57, Seattle 46

In the second quarter, the Sonics were undone by missing free throws (they shot 14-for-22 -- 63% -- in the half, and Evans nailed both of his) and surrendering too many second-chance points (Chicago 24-12). The play that ended the first half was horrific. Chris Duhon bricked his free throw, and Collison and Potapenko were down low trying to get the rebound. Duhon went behind the big guys and past Ray Allen to lay in his own rebound. Not to mention the play that got him to the line, when the Bulls were playing for the last shot and Duhon got some contact from Ridnour and banked in the crazy shot. Not to mention a possession before that where the Bulls had Eric Piatkowski take a three from the corner which missed, the Bulls got the rebound, then kicked it back to an open Piatkowski in the same exact spot. He didn't miss the second time. I've known since he was a Clipper that you can't leave the Polish Rifle open.

After three quarters -- Seattle 74, Chicago 69

Rashard Lewis had 13 at half, Ray Allen had 12, Luke Ridnour had 6. Allen led the team in assists with 2 (wow). Reggie Evans led the team in rebounds with 7. The Bulls were shooting 50% and outrebounding the Sonics 26-18. The Sonics were shooting 2-for-7 (28%) from beyond the arc in the half. The Sonic bench was getting outscored 26-14. Not good.

As horrible as the Sonics were in the second quarter, they were great in the third quarter. On the broadcast, Craig Ehlo was putting heavy stock in the 2-3 zone that the Sonics were throwing at the Bulls, and they couldn't seem to solve it. The Sonics clawed their way back from 15 down early in the quarter to tie it at 67 on another clutch Radmanovic three with 2:57 remaining in the quarter; his movement without the basketball on that play was incredible. All told, a good deal of the play was sparked by Reggie Evans, who by my count had 11 rebounds in the quarter. Ray Allen had a shot blocked two minutes into the quarter, and Evans got a hold of the ball and put in back in. Evans drew a charge at the 5:16 mark. With 3:38 to go, Evans grabbed a Daniels airball, put it back up and was hacked with one second left on the shot clock. Evans missed both free throws, but got his own rebound and hit one of his next two free throws. With 3:12 to go in the quarter, Evans drew yet another charge. On the next play came Radmanovic's tying three. The Sonics ended the quarter on a 20-3 run.

The Sonics erased their rebounding deficit with Reggie Evans' crazy quarter, and were outrebounding the Bulls 34-33. They were shooting 4-for-10 from 3, 19-for-31 (61%) from the line, 26-51 (~50%) from the field. More importantly, they held the Bulls to a 12-point third quarter. Lewis had 19, Allen 17, and Evans 6 and 18.

Final -- Seattle 99, Chicago 93

Reggie Evans more than likely got his minutes filled in the fourth quarter by Nick Collison, who is getting a good deal of time in the final frame lately. He was involved in some very nice plays going to the basket in the quarter. He cut to the basket and got an early layup off a Lewis pass. He dove to the floor for a long rebound past the three-point line and Ben Gordon got called for the foul. He hit a cutting Lewis, who laid in another basket. In the later minutes, Collison got another pass down low and was fouled, which was the sixth on Andres Nocioni. In the final minute, Daniels and Collison ran a beautiful pick-and-roll as well, and Collison got a layup.

Not to be forgotten is the play of Jerome James in the final quarter. After Danny Fortson fouled out early in the quarter, James got a pass from Radmanovic and cut to the basket for a slam and a foul with 4:12 left, and he nailed the free throw to double the Sonics' lead at 87-81. At 2:16 came the alleyoop slam feed from Daniels to James, which was quite nice, and put the Sonics up by six once again at 91-85.

Rashard Lewis 30 pts/9 reb/3 ast (11-14 FG, 0-2 3pt, 8-10 free throws, 39 min), Ray Allen 17 pts/7 ast (5-18 FG, 1-4 3pt, 6-6 free throws, 39 min), Luke Ridnour 8 pts/3 reb (4-6 FG, 0-2 free throws, 26 min), Reggie Evans 6 pts/19 reb (1-3 FG, 4-8 free throws, 27 min)

Antonio Daniels 9 pts/4 reb/5 ast (3-8 FG, 1-2 3pt, 2-2 free throws, 31 min), Vladimir Radmanovic 7 pts/5 reb/2 ast (1-7 FG, 1-4 3pt, 4-6 free throws, 22 min), Nick Collison 5 pts/5 reb (2-4 FG, 1-2 free throws), Danny Fortson 4 pts/3 reb (1-2 FG, 2-3 free throws, fouled out, 6 min), Ron Murray 4 pts (1-1 FG, 2-4 free throws), Vitaly Potapenko 2 pts (1-1 FG)

Jerome James Watch
7 pts/1 reb/2 ast/3 blk (3 turnovers, 5 fouls, 23 min)

shot 33-for-69 (47.8%) from the field, shot 3-for-12 (25%) from downtown, shot 30-for-44 (68.2%) from the line, outrebounded Chicago 51-43, turned the ball over 16 times, bench was outscored 42-31 (outrebounded them 18-16)

One thing that sticks out to me in the boxscore is the Sonics' three point numbers. Moreover, it's the fact that they only took 12 attempts. In the last couple games, they'd been in the low 20s, but they have been bricking a ton of them lately. Sixteen turnovers is still a little high though, though not as high as the New York game on Sunday when they turned over the ball 17 times. Hopefully that gets shored up sooner rather than later. The other thing is the free-throw shooting. Luckily the Bulls weren't shooting free throws well either, or else the Sonics might have kicked this one away. When you've got Luke Ridnour, Vladimir Radmanovic, and Danny Fortson all missing free throws, it's a weird night.

Also of note was that the Sonics played 11 guys rather than the usual nine. Basically that means they played Vitaly Potapenko and Ron Murray. Murray probably would have gotten more minutes tonight if it wasn't for a right hip bruise that sidelined him for the second half. Still, Vitaly and Murray contributed a couple of baskets, and Vitaly got a chance to dust off that midrange jumper of his.

Okay, I guess I should point out that Ray Allen had trouble against the Bulls again. Of course, the game was called a little more tightly than the one back in Seattle, though Ray still had trouble. The Bulls didn't like it, though, as they were whistled for a United Center record 37 fouls. They shouldn't whine too much, though -- the Sonics missed more free throws than they did. It isn't like the Sonics didn't get called for 34 fouls too, because they did. What a horrible free-throw shooting night for both teams, by the way.

For as off as Ray was from the field tonight (his excellent free-throw shooting aside), Rashard Lewis was great. An 11-for-14 night is nothing to scoff at, and he was rebound away from a 30-and-10 night. That's wild, weird stuff.

Yes, that's seven straight wins at the United Center. It's a good thing they didn't lose, because that would have been four of five. Their reward for this win? Facing Detroit the night after. Brutal.

I would have asked Jinkies if he's as perturbed by the little Bull insignias that the Bulls have but on the backs of their jerseys above the surnames. Those things bug the hell out of me.

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