College Blog
WEEI.com Blog Network

Ex-girlfriend of Colts LB Erik Walden arrested for allegedly assaulting him, friend

03.20.15 at 10:15 am ET
By   |   Comments

Erica Palmer, ex-girlfriend of Colts linebacker Erik Walden, has been accused of slashing his arm and breaking another woman’s arm with a baseball bat during an incident on Saturday.

Palmer has two children with Walden and was “arrested on numerous charges after the incident,” namely burglary and several counts of aggravated assault, according to police in Braselton, Georgia, who also said that Palmer “suspected that Walden was seeing another woman.”

She parked her car, with her two children inside, about a mile away from Walden’s house, walking to the residence and breaking in via a back door. Though Walden and his female companion were not in the house, Braselton Assistant Police Chief Lou Solis told 11Alive that Palmer sat on the couch and waited for them to return. She was holding the gun Walden kept in the house along with a baseball bat.

When the pair got home, Walden was able to wrestle the gun away from Palmer, but, Solis said, she was swinging the bat and she struck the other woman, breaking her arm. Solis added that Palmer ran away after that and Walden called 911.

After the police responded to the call, investigated the scene and took statements, they left. Walden was getting ready to take the woman to the hospital but Palmer reappeared from some nearby woods as they were backing out of the driveway and ran up to the vehicle. Walden got out and Palmer cut his arm before running away again.

The police were able to track her cellphone to a hotel near the Mall of Georgia and arrested her. The children have been placed in the care of Walden, who was treated and released from the hospital.

Read More: Erik Walden, Indianapolis Colts,

Friday’s Morning Mashup: Looking to build excitement, MLB schedules all games on final day of regular season to start at same time

03.20.15 at 7:57 am ET
By   |   Comments

Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Celtics at Spurs, 8:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, New Mexico State vs. Kansas, 12:15 p.m. (CBS)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Georgia vs. Michigan State, 12:40 p.m. (truTV)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Wyoming vs. Northern Iowa, 1:40 p.m. (TBS)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Buffalo vs. West Virginia, 2:10 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Indiana vs. Wichita State, 2:45 p.m. (CBS)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Belmont vs. Virginia, 3:10 p.m. (truTV)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, UC Irvine vs. Louisville, 4:10 p.m. (TBS)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Valparaiso vs. Maryland, 4:40 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Oklahoma State vs. Oregon, 6:50 p.m. (TBS)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Robert Morris vs. Duke, 7:10 p.m. (CBS)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Davidson vs. Iowa, 7:20 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Albany vs. Oklahoma, 7:27 p.m. (truTV)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Coastal Carolina vs. Wisconsin, 9:20 p.m. (TBS)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, St. John’s vs. San Diego State, 9:40 pm. (CBS)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, North Dakota State vs. Gonzaga, 9:50 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Dayton vs. Providence, 9:57 p.m. (truTV)
College basketball: NIT, South Dakota State at Vanderbilt, 9:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
NHL: Red Wings at Lightning, 7:30 p.m. (NHL Network)
College hockey: Hockey East semifinals, Vermont vs. UMass-Lowell, 5 p.m. (NESN, NBCSN)
College hockey: Hockey East semifinals, New Hampshire vs. Boston University, 8 p.m. (NESN, NBCSN)
MLB exhibition: Nationals at Astros, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB exhibition: Cubs at White Sox, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB exhibition: Reds at Giants, 9 p.m. (MLB Network)

AROUND THE WEB:

Major League Baseball is doing what it can to build excitement on the final day of the regular season, scheduling all games on Oct. 4 to start at 3 p.m. ET.

“If a game impacts another game, they’re all occurring at the same time, so no team would be put into a lame-duck situation because their fate already had been decided by an earlier result,” MLB chief operating officer Tony Petitti told the Los Angeles Times.

Added Petitti: We’re hopeful that the races will come down to the last day of the season. We want to make sure we celebrate the end of the season properly.”

The initial reaction from players contacted by the Times was to support the move.

“It’s a cool little wrinkle,” Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier said. “It will definitely make games more exciting that day. . . . Hopefully it adds excitement and a little bit of intrigue.”

The Red Sox close the season with a weekend series against the Indians in Cleveland.

— Bernard Pierce, cut by the Ravens after his arrest for driving under the influence Wednesday, found a new home Thursday, as he was claimed off waivers by the Jaguars.

Pierce, 23, has played three seasons, carrying the ball 353 times for 1,334 yards and five touchdowns. He had a disappointing 2014, with 93 carries for 366 yards and two touchdowns. He lost the starting role that opened when Ray Rice was suspended and ended up fourth on the depth chart by the end of the season.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bernard Pierce, Sean Kilpatrick,

Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Cowboys face harsh criticism after signing Greg Hardy

03.19.15 at 8:12 am ET
By   |   Comments

Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Bruins at Senators, 7:30 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Red Wings at Panthers, 7:30 p.m. (NHL Network)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Northeastern vs. Notre Dame, 12:15 pm. (CBS; WEEI-AM)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Harvard vs. North Carolina, 7:20 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Alabama-Birmingham vs. Iowa State, 12:40 p.m. (truTV)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Georgia State vs. Baylor, 1:40 p.m. (TBS)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Texas Southern vs. Arizona, 2:10 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Texas vs. Butler, 2:45 p.m. (CBS)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, UCLA vs. SMU, 3:10 p.m. (truTV; WEEI-AM))
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Mississippi vs. Xavier, 4:10 p.m. (TBS)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Ohio State vs VCU, 4:40 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Lafayette vs. Villanova, 6:50 p.m. (TBS)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Purdue vs. Cincinnati, 7:10 p.m. (CBS; WEEI-AM)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Stephen F. Austin vs. Utah, 7:27 p.m. (truTV)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, LSU vs. NC State, 9:20 p.m. (TBS)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Hampton vs. Kentucky, 9:40 p.m. (CBS; WEEI-AM)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Wofford vs. Arkansas, 9:50 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Eastern Washington vs. Georgetown, 9:57 p.m. (truTV)
MLB exhibition: Mets at Cardinals, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB exhibition: Giants at Brewers, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB exhibition: Phillies at Yankees, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB exhibition: Indians at Mariners, 10 p.m. (MLB Network)
Soccer: UEFA Europa, Everton at Dynamo, 2 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: UEFA Europa, Wolfsburg at Inter Milan, 4 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

Greg Hardy

Greg Hardy

— The Cowboys agreed to a one-year deal with standout defensive lineman Greg Hardy — despite the player facing a possible league suspension for a domestic violence issue that cost him all but one game of last season with the Panthers — and the reaction in Dallas was swift and strong.

Dale Hansen, sports anchor at Dallas’ WFAA-TV, might have been the most vocal. He was not pleased with the team’s decision to sign a player who was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list last season as he awaited a jury trial on charges of assaulting and threatening to kill his then-girlfriend. (Charges were dismissed last month after the woman refused to cooperate.)

Said Hansen (via The Dallas Morning News): “Just when I think the Cowboys can’t possibly sink any lower … they can’t fall from grace any more than they have … they find another shovel and dig a few feet deeper.

“Hardy’s only available because Carolina didn’t want him anymore, and only two or three other NFL teams did. Funny how so many teams would pass on such a great talent only because he beat up his former girlfriend.

“But your Cowboys didn’t, and so many of you are so happy.

“I don’t care how good he is. I don’t care if the Cowboys made a great deal. And I absolutely don’t care about the argument so many of you make that what he does off the field just doesn’t matter if he can help you win on the field.

“Is there no line you won’t cross? Is there no crime you won’t accept? Is there no behavior you will not tolerate?”

Added Hansen: “Cowboys coach Jason Garrett has been exposed. He’s one of two things: He’s either a fraud and hypocrite when he talks about having the right type of guys, ‘character’ guys, on his team … or he really has no say in this and he’s simply the puppet so many of you think he is.”

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones called domestic abuse “intolerable” six months ago, but he said he’s willing to give the 26-year-old Hardy a chance.

“We have spent a great deal of time over the last two days in meeting with Greg directly and gaining a solid understanding of what he is all about as a person and as a football player,” Jones said.

It doesn’t hurt that Hardy posted a Panthers-record 15 sacks in 2013 and the Cowboys struggled to put pressure on the quarterback last season.

The Buccaneers also were in the running for Hardy, but they claim to have pulled out of the running earlier Wednesday.

“At the end of the day, we didn’t feel good about it,” Bucs general manager Jason Licht told the Tampa Bay Times.

— The Ravens released running back Bernard Pierce on Wednesday, the third time this offseason they have cut a player who was arrested. Pierce was stopped for speeding early Wednesday morning in Baltimore and then arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bernard Pierce, Greg Hardy, Joe Thornton, Mike Milbury

Embattled Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim to retire in 3 years

03.18.15 at 12:08 pm ET
By   |   Comments

Jim Boeheim

Jim Boeheim

Longtime Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim, who recently was suspended for nine ACC games next season due to NCAA violations, will coach the team for three more seasons before retiring, the school announced Wednesday.

“Coach Boeheim has also told me that he intends to retire as head coach in three years,” Syraucse chancellor Kenty Syverud said in a statement to the university community. “His goal in making this decision and announcement now is to bring certainty to the team and program in the coming years, and enable and plan for a successful, longer-term transition in coaching leadership. Coach Boeheim’s commitment to ensuring that the men’s basketball program remains strong even after his tenure is just one more example of his deep loyalty to our university.”

Syracuse also said athletic director Daryl Gross has resigned but will stay with the school in another position. Peter Sala, a UMass alumnus who was overseeing Syracuse’s athletic facilities, will serve as interim AD.

The NCAA found that the school — particularly the basketball program — committed violations spanning over the last decade. Even before the NCAA announced its findings, the school self-imposed a postseason ban on the team this season.

Boeheim, a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, has been the coach at his alma mater for 39 years. He was closing in on 1,000 wins before the NCAA said he will have to forfeit 108 of those victories due to violations including academic misconduct, extra benefits, impermissible booster activity and failure to follow the drug-testing policy. The program also will lose 12 scholarships and be on probation for the next five years.

Boeheim has indicated he plans to fight his suspension.

Read More: jim boeheim,

Ravens RB Bernard Pierce arrested for DUI

03.18.15 at 11:51 am ET
By   |   Comments

Bernard Pierce

Bernard Pierce

Ravens running back Bernard Pierce was arrested early Wednesday morning in Baltimore and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. His is the third member of the team to be arrested this offseason.

Baltimore County Police said Pierce was pulled over near the Baltimore beltway shortly before 2 a.m. when he was clocked driving 55 in a 30 mph zone. He then was arrested after failing a field sobriety test.

The Ravens released a statement saying: We are aware of the situation and learning more about it. We take these matters seriously.”

Earlier this offseason nose tackle Terrence Cody was indicted on animal cruelty charges and cornerback Victor Hampton was arrested for driving while impaired. Both players since have been released.

The Ravens had five players arrested last offseason, most notably running back Ray Rice for punching out his then-fiancee in a hotel elevator.

Pierce, a 2012 third-round draft pick from Temple, was expected to replace Rice as the starter last fall, but he struggled with injuries and could not produce when given the chance. The 24-year-old ended the season fourth on the depth chart but was re-signed earlier this month.

The 6-foot, 215-pounder carried the ball 93 times for 366 yards (3.9 yards per attempt) and two touchdowns last season, his third in the league.

Read More: Bernard Pierce,

President Barack Obama picks undefeated Kentucky to win NCAAs

03.18.15 at 10:18 am ET
By   |   Comments

President Barack Obama is predicting Kentucky to run the table, going with the Wildcats to win the NCAA Tournament in his bracket that he revealed to ESPN’s Andy Katz.

Obama has an all-Wildcats final, with Villanova reaching the title game. His other Final Four teams are Duke and Arizona (another Wildcats).

In the regional finals, Obama has Kentucky over Notre Dame, Arizona over Wisconsin, Villanova over Virginia, and Duke over Iowa State.

While Kentucky is the safe pick, Obama did predict a few upsets, most notably 10 seed Davidson reaching the Sweet 16. He also has 12th-seeded Buffalo beating fifth-seeded West Virginia, 11th-seeded Texas upending sixth-seeded Butler and 12th-seeded Wyoming bouncing fifth-seeded Northern Iowa.

Last year, Obama had Michigan State beating Louisville in the title game (UConn beat Kentucky). He has not correctly predicted the winner since 2009 (North Carolina).

Read More: 2015 NCAA Tournament, Barack Obama,

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Bengals DL Devon Still’s inspirational daughter gets cancer-free test result

03.18.15 at 8:08 am ET
By   |   Comments

Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Celtics at Thunder, 8 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Magic at Mavericks, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Hawks at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Robert Morris vs. North Florida, 6:40 p.m. (truTV; WEEI-AM)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Dayton vs. Boise State, 9:10 p.m. (truTV; WEEI-AM)
College basketball: NIT, Arizona State at UConn, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: NIT, Green Bay at Illinois State, 8 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: NIT, Vanderbilt at Saint Mary’s, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: NIT, South Dakota State at Colorado State, 10 p.m. (ESPNU)
NHL: Blackhawks at Rangers, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL: Kings at Mighty Ducks, 10:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
MLB exhibition: Athletics at Mariners, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Manchester City at Barcelona, 3:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Leah Still, the 4-year-old daughter of Bengals defensive lineman Devon Still, got some good news in her battle with neuroblastoma. According to her father, the latest round of tests showed no signs of cancer in her body.

Still posted a photo on Instagram of him flexing alongside his daughter and wrote:

That moment you get the best news you’ve ever received and don’t know what to do so you just flex!! We got Leah’s MIBG Scans back tonight and the doctors told us they didn’t see any active disease in her body!!! We still have to wait for her MRI and bone biopsy results later this week. But the doctors feel very optimistic about them because of the results from today. So for now we celebrate!!

Leah was diagnosed with Stage 4 abdominal cancer in June and doctors were not sure if she would survive. Her battle became the inspirational story of the fall in the NFL, as the Bengals sold Devon Still’s No. 75 jersey and donated the proceeds to pediatric cancer research.

Devon Still, who was cut in training camp, was added to the team’s practice squad in part so he could keep his health insurance. He eventually was activated and made 19 tackles in 12 games.

The team have offered Still a deal for 2015, but the player has not yet decided — although Tuesday’s news might push him to play.

“Obviously if the news hadn’t been this good, I would have wanted to spend more time with my daughter,” he said in a story on the team’s website. “But now that it looks like things are headed on the right path, I’m ready to go back and play football.”

— Colorado senior guard Askia Booker apparently doesn’t think much of the College Basketball Invitational, as the Buffaloes star is choosing to skip the third-tier tournament rather than join his teammates. And Colorado coach Tad Boyle is OK with it.

“I don’t know if it’s fair or not, but I did mention to Ski, ‘You realize you’re going to take some heat with this decision,’ and he shook his head like he understood,” Boyle told the Denver Post. “It goes with the territory. Ski’s a big boy, he’s an adult now; he’s going to be a college graduate in May.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Askia Booker, Devon Still, Gregg Popovich, Leah Still

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Tim Tebow reportedly will not be offered contract by Eagles after tryout

03.17.15 at 8:02 am ET
By   |   Comments

Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Sabres at Bruins, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Bucks at Pelicans, 8 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Hampton vs. Manhattan, 6:40 p.m. (TruTV)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, BYU vs. Mississippi, 9:10 p.m. (TruTV)
College basketball: NIT, Iona at Rhode Island, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: NIT, George Washington at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: NIT, NC Central at Miami, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: NIT, Illinois at Alabama, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: NIT, UTEP at Murray State, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: NIT, Montana at Texas A&M, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: NIT, UC Davis at Stanford, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
MLB exhibition: Angels at Rockies, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB exhibition: Athletics at Mariners, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Arsenal at Monaco, 3:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Tim Tebow, who has not been part of an NFL team since his training camp appearance with the Patriots in 2013, had a workout with the Eagles on Monday but left the team’s facility without discussing a contract, according to reports out of Philadelphia.

Tebow has been working as an analyst for the SEC Network and ESPN since his brief stint in New England, but he’s made it clear he wants another shot at the NFL. He last appeared in a regular-season game in 2012 with the Jets, who acquired him from the Broncos after Denver landed Peyton Manning prior to that season.

“I will remain in relentless pursuit of continuing my lifelong dream of being an NFL quarterback,” Tebow tweeted after his release from the Patriots toward the end of 2013 training camp.

The Eagles present an interesting possibility for the former University of Florida standout. Coach Chip Kelly runs an offense that would be more suitable to Tebow’s style — an ability to run and improvise. The Eagles traded starter Nick Foles to the Rams this month for oft-injured Sam Bradford. Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley and G.J. Kinne also are on the roster.

There has been speculation that Tebow’s best chance of returning to the NFL would be as a tight end or fullback, but he is said to have no interest in switching positions, and he reportedly tried out at QB on Monday.

According to an ESPN report, the Eagles do not plan to sign Tebow at this time.

— The 49ers, already stung by Patrick Willis’ decision to retire last week, received another blow Monday when fellow linebacker Chris Borland announced that he is retiring after one NFL season.

Borland told ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” that he is quitting due to concerns about head trauma.

“From what I’ve researched and what I’ve experienced, I don’t think it’s worth the risk,” Borland told the show. “I feel largely the same, as sharp as I’ve every been. For me, it’s wanting to be proactive. I’m concerned that if you wait ’til you have symptoms, it’s too late.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Chris Borland, Patrick Willis, Pete Rose, Tim Tebow

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Harvard, Northeastern draw legendary opponents in NCAA Tournament

03.16.15 at 8:02 am ET
By   |   Comments

Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: 76ers at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Cavaliers at Heat, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Lakers at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL: Capitals at Sabres, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
MLB exhibition: Tigers at Cardinals, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB exhibition: Cubs at Padres, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)
Soccer: Premier League, Liverpool at Swansea City, 3:55 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— As a former Duke player, Harvard coach Tommy Amaker knows well the challenge of playing North Carolina. That’s the team his Crimson drew for its opening opponent in the NCAA Tournament.

“What a program they have had through the years with great teams and great players and great coaches that have been as good as any,” Amaker said Sunday, adding: “We’€™re excited to keep going, and I think these guys are going to be excited to get ready for an incredible program and team that has done amazing things through the years.”

The teams play Thursday night in Jacksonville, Florida, in a West Regional matchup of 4 vs. 13 seeds.

Northeastern, making its first tournament appearance since 1991, is a 14 seed in the Midwest and will meet another legendary program in Notre Dame on Thursday afternoon in Pittsburgh. The third-seeded Irish are coming off a victory over UNC in the ACC championship game.

“You don’t really believe it until you see it, but I’m very excited for our guys to see our name pop up and get to compete against such a great program as Notre Dame,” NU coach Bill Coen said. “We couldn’t be more excited.”

Providence is the only other New England team in the field of 68. The Friars, seeded sixth in the East, will play the winner of Wednesday’s Boise State-Dayton play-in game on Friday night in Columbus, Ohio.

Undefeated Kentucky is the overall top seed and the overwhelming favorite in the tourney field.

“I think I have the best team and the best players,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “Does that mean we’ll win? No, it doesn’t.”

— Georgia State punched its NCAA ticket with a 38-36 victory over Georgia Southern in Sunday’s Sun Belt Conference Tournament championship game, but coach Ron Hunter paid the price for leaping into his son’s arms in the postgame celebration.

“I tore my achilles on the right side years ago playing basketball,” Hunter said. “This was the exact same feeling and I knew when I jumped up. … I knew when I came down that I had done it [again], but instead of stopping right there, I wanted to go celebrate with my team. More importantly I wanted to go celebrate with my son. You don’t get many opportunities like that.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bill Coen, DeMaurice Smith, Ron Hunter, Tommy Amaker

Thinking Out Loud: Providence must put aside bad call, loss to Villanova

03.14.15 at 7:37 am ET
By   |   Comments

Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering whatever happened to Keno Davis.

— An absolute heartbreaker of a game for the Friars on Friday night at Madison Square Garden. If you saw what happened at the end, you know PC got hosed by the officials. It’s not an excuse, but the entire arena of 20K strong booed the call from referee Brian O’Connell so vigorously that they took the replay down off of the big screen. It’s just a shame players can’t decide games at the end — especially when the officials themselves have very little clue as to what constitutes an actual foul.

— Not for nuthin’, but Villanova’s Ryan Arcidiacono made a great play to drive to the basket at the end, yes. There was contact with PC’s Ben Bentil, and Arcidiacono then hit two free throws to win it, 63-61. But the inconsistency with foul calls was grotesque. The game wasn’t lost here, however. The Wildcats hit two big shots with the Friars breathing down their necks in the clutch moments late in the game (Darrun Hilliard, Josh Hart) that really won it for them.

— It’s important now, for the Friars, to put the disappointment aside. They’ve still got games to play this season — somewhere next week.

— Had a very uneasy feeling going into Providence’s Thursday Big East quarterfinal with St. John’s. That comes, of course, when a team physically pounds on you not once, but twice during the regular season. The Friars pounded back, however, holding the Red Storm to a season-low 31 percent shooting and getting an unprecedented three double-doubles (LaDontae Henton, Ben Bentil and Kris Dunn).  Five or six 3’s and a defensive effort like that? Yes, please — a couple more like that next week, too, while you’re at it.

— If you watched the games — I mean, really watched them — then you have no problem with the Friars’ Kris Dunn being named as the co-Player of the Year in the Big East along with Villanova’s Ryan Arcidiacono. I’m a little surprised that Arcidiacono got the nod from the coaches rather than his teammate Darrun Hilliard, but perhaps Hilliard’s unspectacular play late in the year cost him a bit? Austin Croshere called Arcidiacono the best pure shooter in the league, and while there are some good ones (Butler’s Kellen Dunham comes to mind) out there, to have a team dominate the conference when the Big East is strong this year? Gotta have a Wildcat share the honor.

— Dunn’s ability to create his shot, to penetrate a defense, to rebound the ball and then take it away from an opponent is what won him a piece of the POY pie. Henton’s year is still special, as he, Dunn and Hilliard were unanimous choices to the all-Big East first team. More than 2K points, 1K rebounds? Ridiculous. But so is Dunn’s ability to dominate. The scary part is, he’s not all the way there yet.

— I know, the elephant in the locker room. Is Dunn going to come back for another year at Providence, or will he head for the NBA? He is a junior academically, a sophomore in eligibility, and so many seem to believe he’s outta here just because his name pops up on NBA mock draft lists. Kris likes PC, he likes his teammates. He knows he’s got more to do in order to be the player (and the man) he wants to be. Maybe he’ll kick the tires on the pros after the season is done, maybe he won’t. But I’m enjoying his ride, and I hope it lasts a little longer. I think it will.

Read the rest of this entry »