Best of 2011’s March Madness

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first_imgThe NCAA Tournament is always great, but you know it’s been especially great and full of Madness when you find yourself asking people if they managed to get any of their Final Four teams correct.Every tournament is filled with highlights and great stories. Here’s the best-of-the-best from the 2011 tournament nobody saw coming.Best coach – Shaka Smart, VCUWith all the hullabaloo surrounding VCU’s improbable and grand march to the Final Four, there was never a shortage of efforts in finding out just who their coach was.Smart’s story went from obscurity to well documented in a matter of two weeks simply because March Madness enthusiasts couldn’t get enough of him.Most pundits loudly criticized his team’s presence in the tournament field, and he responded by leading them past five teams from power conferences (11th-seed USC, sixth-seed Georgetown, third-seed Purdue, 10th-seed Florida State, and first-seed Kansas).From the success of his team, to the stories of his journey to VCU, to the footage of him playing defense against his players in practice, Smart’s orchestration of the Rams’ journey from First Four to Final Four was the cr?me de la cr?me story and achievement of the tournament.Best player – Kemba WalkerEvery time UConn came away with a victory, it seemed like head coach Jim Calhoun was caught on camera hugging his star guard Kemba Walker. And for good reason.To slightly step away from the NCAA Tournament for a moment: UConn put together one hell of a masterful postseason. The Huskies won five games in five days – the first team to do so – in order to win the Big East Tournament. Then they won the six games necessary to win the NCAA Tournament.And none of it would have been possible without Walker.Of all the players in the tournament who participated in more than one game, Walker finished fourth in scoring by averaging 23.5 points per game. He also dished out 5.7 assists per game and hit .898 percent of his shots from the line.But the stats don’t do much justice. Walker proved to be as prolific at being a clutch college basketball player as anyone before him. Walker hit fade away jump shots with swift deftness and navigated past defenders – in midair – toward the rim like he could fly.Biggest tear jerker – Jacob Pullen’s post-game interviewWisconsin fans should be familiar with this one. In the round of 32, Wisconsin K.O.’d Kansas State and its senior guard Pullen in a 70-65 thriller.In what came to be the last game of his college career, Pullen showed tremendous heart in his effort to keep his career alive, scoring 38 points on 13-of-22 shooting.Pullen simply scored at will – the most memorable instance coming in the second half when he faked a behind-the-back pass on a breakaway to skip past Jordan Taylor for an easy layup. Taylor had the last laugh though, blocking Pullen’s last-second 3-point attempt to tie the game.Pullen poured out his heartbreak in the post-game press conferences, fighting back tears and eventually succumbing to them as he described his dashed wish of leading the Wildcats to the Final Four.Most heartbreaking moment – Butler comes up empty handed againLast year, the Bulldogs had the perfect setup – a Cinderella championship game appearance to be played just miles their campus. Evocations to “Hoosiers” were all over the place. But then a fateful half-court, buzzer-beating heave rimmed out.Although everyone was quick to remove the “Cinderella” tag from the Bulldogs this year, they were still just as unexpected to reach the finals again, especially since star guard Gordon Hayward departed for the NBA over the offseason.Yet they did it again with the young wizard Brad Stevens and the goofy-looking but dependable Matt Howard, only to lose in an ugly championship game to UConn.In 10 tournament games over the pat two years, Butler has defeated six teams seeded higher than itself, including two No. 1 and No. 2 seeds.The storylines seemed to emerge once again this season. The scruffy Bulldogs from the humble Horizon League had an ultra-rare (especially for them) second chance at a national championship – and a shot at redemption – but again the basketball gods said nay.Funniest moment – Josh Harrellson pegging Jared Sullinger in the chest with the ballEnough crying – lets talk about something funny.In the first half of a third round game between Kentucky and Ohio State, forward Harrellson came down with an offensive rebound in front of OSU’s Sullinger. Harrellson landed inches from the baseline and appeared to lose his balance.To avoid turning the ball over, Harrellson promptly turned around as he began to fall over, took a full wind up and slammed the ball into Sullinger’s chest, near his collarbone, from about three feet away. A resounding THUNK could be heard, and Sullinger could only step back in exasperation from the force of impact. Meanwhile, the ball flew out of bounds, and Kentucky retained possession.Although what Harrellson did had its practical reasons, it reminded me of vivid memories on the playground in elementary school. One kid would get so frustrated he’d resolutely catapult the ball at someone else. Good times.Best game – #8 Butler 71, #1 Pittsburgh 70While Butler again fell short on the biggest of stages, it still brandished quite a bit of magic once again during this tournament.There were many great finishes during the first weekend of this year’s tournament, but Butler-Pittsburgh provided a contest that featured both teams playing well and a finish that earned it an “Instant Classic” label.The contest had plenty of the ingredients for a great game. Both teams shot well: Butler shot .462 from the field while Pittsburgh hit .565, including .545 from the arc. There was even a comeback: The Bulldogs had to rally from a 12-point deficit with 10 minutes remaining in the second period.There were two great individual performances: Butler’s Shelvin Mack scored 30 points on 10-of-16 shooting, while Pittsburgh’s Gilbert Brown scored 24 on an 8-of-11 clip.Both teams had interesting backgrounds. Butler, the Cinderella from a year ago, was coming off a buzzer-beating winner against Old Dominion two days before and was attempting to make another inspiring run to the Final Four. Pittsburgh had been to the tournament 10 seasons in a row, and despite being a popular Final Four pick in previous seasons, never got past the Elite Eight.And lastly, there was a jaw-dropping ending. Both Mack and Brown committed colossal fouls in the final seconds. Mack seriously jeopardized his team’s victory by fouling Brown on a midcourt heave with 1.4 seconds left.Brown made the first free throw to tie the game at 70, but after missing the second, Pittsburgh’s Nasir Robinson inexplicably fouled Howard on the rebound.That sent Howard back to the line, where he hit the game-winning free throw, handing one-seeded Pittsburgh another disappointingly early exit from the tournament.Just like that the fortunes of one team were dashed, and the others’ blossomed. And then those fortunes quickly reversed.Oh, how the Madness can toy with people.Elliot is a junior majoring in journalism. What do you think were the best parts of the 2011 NCAA Tournament? Tell him about them at [email protected]last_img

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The Standard Life share price is up 34% in 6 months. Should I buy now?

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On this Day: Video killed the radio star

first_img Please enter your comment! On this day in history: August 1st, 1981From The History Channel  TAGSHistory ChannelMusic Television Previous articleBlue Darter takes 2nd at Bowling NationalsNext articleApopka Bowling Team Wins National Title Denise Connell RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR LEAVE A REPLY Cancel reply UF/IFAS in Apopka will temporarily house District staff; saves almost $400,000 Share on Facebook Tweet on Twitter You have entered an incorrect email address! Please enter your email address herecenter_img Gov. DeSantis says new moment-of-silence law in public schools protects religious freedom  “If advertisers make the video disco channel a success, the implications for cable television and the recording industry could be far reaching,” wrote a New York Times business columnist in the summer of 1981 about the upcoming premiere of a new cable television network dedicated exclusively to popular music. This prediction proved to be an understatement of historic proportions, though not exactly overnight.Though the premiere of MTV on this day in 1981 would later be seen as the beginning of a whole new era in popular culture, only a few thousand night-owl subscribers to a single northern New Jersey cable system were able to witness the televised revolution.It was just after midnight in the early morning hours of August 1, 1981, that the fledgling Music Television network flickered to life. “Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll” were the words that preceded on opening montage featuring a chunky guitar riff playing over the familiar image of an American astronaut planting an unfamiliar flag on the surface of the moon—a flag emblazoned with a big, block capital “M” and the smaller, handwritten letters “TV.”The video that followed was, famously and prophetically, “Video Killed The Radio Star” by the little-known English electronic new wave duo, the Buggles. Pat Benatar’s “You Better Run” followed, and from there a rotation that featured several songs and videos that might be considered classics of the early MTV era (e.g., “Rapture” by Blondie and “Love Stinks” by the J. Geils Band) and many more that might not (e.g., “Can’t Happen Here” by Rainbow and “Little Susie’s On The Up” by PhD).The roughly 80 different videos that made up that first week’s rotation on MTV probably represented nearly every promotional music video then available. This would change, of course, as MTV proved its ability to break new artists and as record labels responded with ever larger budgets for lavish video productions. But on that first night, as several employees of the fledgling MTV gathered to watch their creation in a New Jersey bar, it is impossible to say how many others actually joined them.Soon enough, however, MTV would spread to cable systems nationwide and begin to exert the cultural influence that has since been credited (or blamed) for everything from Flashdance and Miami Vice to Rick Astley and Attention Deficit Disorder.For more on this day in history, go here. Please enter your name here Florida gas prices jump 12 cents; most expensive since 2014 Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.last_img

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