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Legendary former Boston Globe writer, tennis analyst Bud Collins dead at 86

03.04.16 at 1:31 pm ET
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Bud Collins, here interviewing Venus (left) and Serena Williams in 2009, was known for his sartorial splendor. (Rob Tringali/Getty Images)

Bud Collins, here interviewing Venus (left) and Serena Williams in 2009, was known for his sartorial splendor. (Rob Tringali/Getty Images)

Bud Collins, who made a name as a tennis writer at The Boston Globe and became a national figure as a tennis analyst for multiple national networks — becoming one of the first journalists to make a successful transition to television — died Friday at his home in Brookline, the Globe reported. He was 86.

The U.S. Open’s media center last year was named for Collins, who attended the ceremony despite his failing health. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1994. In 1999 he won the Red Smith Award, presented by the Associated Press Sports Editors for outstanding contributions to sports journalism.

Collins, a native of Ohio, moved to Boston in the early 1950s after a stint in the Army to attend graduate school at Boston University. He started his journalism career working part-time for the Boston Herald. In addition to writing about tennis he had some success playing, as in 1961 he won the U.S. Indoor mixed doubles title with Janet Hopps.

He joined the Globe in the early 1960s, with his first dateline appearing on Dec. 22, 1963, when he was covering the Davis Cup in Australia. While at the Globe, he coached the tennis team at Brandeis University for five years in the late 1960s.

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Best HS basketball game ever? Minnesota sectional final goes 4 OT with 3 buzzer-beaters

03.04.16 at 10:05 am ET
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Minnesota’s Section 2AAA boys basketball championship game between Waseca High School and Marshall High School on Thursday night will go down as one of the most memorable ever.

In the final seconds of regulation, with Waseca leading by three points, Marshall’s Trey Lance pulled up for a 3-pointer at the buzzer. The ball hit the right side of the rim and appeared to have no chance to go in — in fact, a couple of Waseca players started celebrating. But the ball took a surprisingly dead bounce, hit the left side of the rim and fell through to tie the game.

In the third overtime, Marshall’s Reese Winkelman broke a tie when he banked in a shot with 1.7 seconds left while being fouled. After Winkelman completed the three-point play with a free throw, Waseca inbounded the ball to a streaking Nick Dufault, who immediately launched a shot from over 70 feet away. It went straight in, tying the score at 94 and forcing a fourth extra frame.

With 7.5 seconds left in the fourth overtime and the score tied at 100, Waseca appeared trapped by its own baseline before Cole Streich caught a pass on the run, raced upcourt and hit a pull-up trey just before the buzzer for a 103-100 victory.

Friday’s Morning Mashup: Ex-Patriot Albert Haynesworth says he ‘almost died’ from brain aneurysms

03.04.16 at 8:19 am ET
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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: Knicks at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Wizards at Cavaliers, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Hawks at Lakers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Ball State at Northern Illinois, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Kent State at Akron, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Austin Peay at Belmont, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Texas at Oklahoma State, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Morehead State at Tennessee-Martin, 9:30 p.m. (ESPNU)

AROUND THE WEB:

Albert Haynesworth's time in New England was short and unforgettable. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Albert Haynesworth’s time in New England was short and unforgettable. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

— Controversial former defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, who briefly played for the Patriots in 2011, said he had brain aneurysms in November 2014 that nearly killed him, forcing him to spend 11 days in intensive care in a Florida hospital.

“Nobody really knows: I almost died,” he told Nashville radio station 104.5 The Zone on Thursday. “I had two brain aneurysms that were nearly rupturing. I went and talked to my doctor in Florida, and he was like, ‘Man, your blood pressure is through the roof. I’m going to admit you.’ They did a lot of tests and found the aneurysm that was rupturing at that point.”

Haynesworth, who spent most of his 10-year NFL career with the Titans after starring at the University of Tennessee, also said he’s been having issues with his memory.

“I’ve been OK. It’s really hard to remember, and I’m not saying that just because of the concussion thing,” he said, referring to the league’s issues with CTE. “A lot of things, I just can’t remember. I don’t feel as sharp as I used to as far as problem-solving and answering questions and things.

“It sounds crazy, but sometimes, writing my own name, I kind of forget the signature of how I normally write. Or sending long texts, my words get backwards. It’s crazy, but hopefully as time goes on, I get better.”

Haynesworth, 34, said no one is saying for sure that his brain issues are related to his football career.

“They can’t say. They said I could have had it, but they said football definitely didn’t help. I don’t really know. I have no idea. I’m not a doctor,” Haynesworth said. “I don’t want to blame it on football, and I don’t want to say, ‘Hey, it didn’t have anything to do with it.’ ”

Haynesworth, who was a flop after leaving Tennessee to sign a seven-year, $100 million free agent contract with Washington in 2009, was acquired by the Patriots before the 2011 season in exchange for a fifth-round draft pick. He played sparingly in six games and was released in early November, days after a sideline confrontation with a Patriots assistant coach.

— With the Cavaliers having consecutive off days this week, LeBron James chose to fly to Miami and work out with former Heat teammate Dwyane Wade. James is not concerned that his trip raised some eyebrows, especially considering the teams could meet in the postseason.

“I don’t care,” James said after Thursday’s practice, adding: “What do I go there for? Go there ’cause I want to. I would love to go to L.A., but I’ll take 2 1/2[-hour flight] over 4 1/2. I’ve got a house in L.A., but it makes more sense for me to go south than go west. But I go because I want to.”

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Read More: Albert Haynesworth, LeBron James, Oscar Pistorius, Von Miller

Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Ex-teammate comes to defense of Peyton Manning regarding Tennessee incident

03.03.16 at 8:14 am ET
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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: Blackhawks at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NBA: Spurs at Pelicans, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Thunder at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: UMass at Rhode Island, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Memphis at Temple, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Illinois at Maryland, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Georgia at South Carolina, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: UConn at SMU, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Northwestern at Penn State, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Cincinnati at Houston, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: California at Arizona, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Stanford at Arizona State, 11 p.m. (FS1)
MLB preseason: Red Sox at Twins, 7:05 p.m. (NESN, MLB Network; WEEI-FM)
Soccer: Women, United States vs. England, 7:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Peyton Manning remains quiet about his incident with University of Tennessee trainer Jamie Naughright in 1996, but an ex-teammate and others have come to his defense.

Greg Johnson, a linebacker who was one of Manning’s Tennessee roommates, claims he was in the training room and witnessed the incident, which he describes as mooning of a fellow athlete and nothing more.

“[Manning] says ‘Hey’ to [track athlete Malcolm] Saxon and pulls down the back of his shorts, and I saw one butt cheek, and then he pulled his pants up,” Johnson told Sports Illustrated’s MMQB. “And Jamie said something like, ‘Aw, you’re an ass.’ Then I left. Thought nothing of it.”

Naughright described the incident similarly in a 1996 affidavit that was part of an employment discrimination complaint she filed against the school. However, Naughright filed a legal document seven years later alleging that Manning placed his bare behind and testicles against her face.

Johnson said he was not deposed in the 2003 case because he was serving with the Marines in Iraq and was not aware of the more serious accusation.

The MMQB story also quotes others who question Naughright’s integrity, including a woman who said she was friends with Naughright until Naughright sued her after allegedly slipping outside her restaurant.

“She sues people to make money,” Gretchen Anglero told MMQB.

Naughright also called the Knoxville News Sentinel for years to criticize the paper’s failure to adequately cover the training room incident and used “the most vulgar wording imaginable,” columnist John Adams said.

— Meanwhile, Manning was in a joking mood during an appearance in Jacksonville, Florida, Wednesday.

Before giving a speech on leadership at the Florida Forum, Manning hinted that he would say something about his impending decision whether to retire from the NFL or return for a 19th season.

Many of you have probably heard that I have a significant announcement to make, so I thought I’d go ahead and make it with all of you here tonight,” Manning said. “Papa John’s is offering 50 percent off tonight through Friday.

“I’m sure that was the response you were looking for.”

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Read More: Aubrey McClendon, Peyton Manning,

Knicks F Carmelo Anthony to heckler: “The owner’s right there. Ask for your money back’

03.02.16 at 10:52 am ET
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Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony

The Knicks’ season has been yet another disappointment, as New York is 16 games out of first place in the Atlantic Division. Coach Derek Fisher was sent packing last month, and interim coach Kurt Rambis has not had any success, either, going 2-6.

Fans have grown frustrated with the team’s play, and understandably so. Late in Tuesday night’s loss to the Trail Blazers, a heckler sitting near the Knicks bench directed his anger at forward Carmelo Anthony. Anthony responded by encouraging the man to direct his frustration to team owner James Dolan, who was sitting nearby.

“He kept calling my name, calling my name, saying, ‘You guys suck, you guys suck,’ ” Anthony said. “At that point I was trying to gather myself and I turned around, all I did was point at Dolan and told him, ‘Look, the owner’s right there. Ask for your money back.’ ”

Added Anthony: “He’s calling me and telling me he’s never coming to another game and we suck. Just don’t want to hear that. I pointed to the owner and told him you deal with that with him, maybe you can get your money back.”

Ownership has been under just as much if not more scrutiny than the players. Since Phil Jackson took over as team president last season, the Knicks have struggled mightily.

“It gets frustrating,” Anthony said. “The losing gets frustrating, disappointing. The way that we ended that game was disappointing. At that point I think my head was in the towel. I was just trying to breathe, just try to relax, kind of gather myself a little bit at that point.”

The Knicks are 3-15 over their last 18 games. They will travel to Boston on Friday for a date with the Celtics.

Read More: Carmelo Anthony, Knicks,

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Curt Schilling says Hillary Clinton ‘should be buried under a jail somewhere’ if she failed to protect classified information

03.02.16 at 8:12 am ET
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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: Trail Blazers at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Pistons at Spurs, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Thunder at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Miami at Notre Dame, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Texas Tech at West Virginia, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Tulane at UCF, 7 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: Davison at VCU, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Seton Hall at Butler, 8:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Creighton at Providence, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Oregon at UCLA, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: East Carolina at South Florida, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Oregon State at USC, 11 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Washington State at Washington, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Colorado State at Fresno State, 11 p.m. (CBSSN)
NHL: Blackhawks at Red Wings, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
MLB preseason: Tigers at Yankees, 1:05 p.m. (MLB Network)

AROUND THE WEB:

Curt Schilling

Curt Schilling

— Hillary Clinton is rolling toward the Democratic presidential nomination, and ESPN baseball analyst Curt Schilling is not happy about it.

Schilling, a staunch conservative who has gotten into trouble many times before for his unfiltered comments, jumped back into the fray Tuesday during a discussion on Kansas City’s 610 Sports Radio, saying Clinton “should be buried under a jail somewhere” if it is proven that she did not protect classified information due to her use of a private email server while serving as Secretary of State.

“If she’s allowed to get to the general election before she’s in prison, I’ll be stunned and I’ll be upset,” Schilling said. “Because I think she’s shown her true colors all along the way. I’ll ask you this: Do you see her being anything even remotely different than what we’ve had?”

Added Schilling: “If I’m going to believe — and I’m not sure I would have any reason not to believe — that she gave classified information on hundreds if not thousands of emails on a public server, and after what happened to General [David] Petraeus [the former Director of the CIA who resigned and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor after reportedly sharing classified information with his biographer], she should be buried under a jail somewhere.”

Schilling also criticized Republican front-runner Donald Trump. Although he’s publicly supported Republicans in the past, the former Red Sox star said he is a registered independent who is disgusted with and despises both parties.

“I’m tired of the [Trump slogan], ‘We’re going to make America great again.’ I get it, but what does that mean?” Schilling said. “Here’s the thing: If nothing else, Donald Trump has proven to politicians in every corner of the globe that America’s voting bloc is giving a gigantic middle finger to the establishment. Because, listen, he hasn’t elaborated on like two sentences for a policy. … There’s been no depth to anything he’s said. But look at the turnout. Look at the response. Absolutely staggering to me.”

Schilling joked that he’ll probably get fired from ESPN, but he said he won’t stop speaking out about what he believes.

“I don’t care,” he said of people’s perception of him. “I know who I am. My family knows who I am. I know what I believe. And I know that if you don’t stand up for something, you fall for everything. I’m proud of the things that I’m passionate about.

“I love my country. I love my country’s history. With all the warts its got, I love it. I love the things that this country was founded upon. I love the fact that the Bible was a central piece of the way this country was raised. So, yeah, obviously, I’m one of those people that looks around right now and is like, ‘What the hell is going on?’

“If you can’t speak to the things you believe in — I think a lot of the reason why we are where we are as a nation is because of people not saying things.”

— Florida International University women’s basketball coach Marlin Chinn was suspended after the team’s captain accused him of making sexual advances for much of the season.

Destini Feagin told The Miami Herald she was suspended four games for refusing his advances. She said she reported the coach to the athletic department and filed a complaint with the NCAA.

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Read More: Curt Schilling, Destini Feagin, hillary clinton, Marlin Chinn

Saints release WR Marques Colston after 10 seasons with team

03.01.16 at 11:31 am ET
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Marques Colston (Derick E. Hingle/USA Today Sports)

Marques Colston’s 10-year run in New Orleans has ended. (Derick E. Hingle/USA Today Sports)

After 10 years with the Saints, wide receiver Marques Colston was released on Monday after a failed physical designation, which is likely related to a chest injury he suffered at the end of the 2015 season.

A seventh-round pick out of Hofstra in 2006, Colston leaves New Orleans as the Saints’ all-time leading receiver with 9,759 yards. He also holds the franchise record for most touchdowns with 72. While he never made a Pro Bowl in his 10 seasons with the Saints, he was instrumental in their first-ever Super Bowl championship in 2006.

The move was generally expected, as it saves the Saints $3.2 million against the salary cap. Colston made it clear he harbors no hard feelings for the organization.

“To my fellow players: thanks to each of you for sharing this journey with me, challenging me to grow as a player, and an individual,” Colston said in a statement on his website. “It’s been an honor to work beside you, and as a team we achieved something that can never be duplicated — the first Super Bowl victory for NOLA.”

Added Colston: “To everyone from the Benson family, the front office, coaches, and the training and equipment staff: It has been a pleasure to be part of a family with so many great people.”

The 32-year-old Colston was the third option in the Saints passing attack last season, as he was overshadowed by the dynamic Brandin Cooks and 2015 breakout Willie Snead. He finished with the worst statistical season of his career — 45 receptions, 520 yards and four touchdowns.

Read More: Brandin Cooks, Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints, Willie Snead

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Tearful Erin Andrews testifies about stalker incident

03.01.16 at 8:28 am ET
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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: Flames at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Oilers at Sabres, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL: Penguins at Capitals, 7:30 p.m. (NBC)
NBA: Bulls at Heat, 7:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA: Hawks at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: DePaul at Villanova, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Virginia at Clemson, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Kentucky at Florida, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Dayton at Richmond, 7:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Baylor at Oklahoma, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Purdue at Nebraska, 8 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Georgetown at Marquette, 9 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Indiana at Iowa, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Texas A&M at Auburn, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: San Diego State at New Mexico, 9:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
MLB preseason: Blue Jays at Phillies, 1:05 p.m. (MLB Network)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Fox Sports broadcaster Erin Andrews gave emotional testimony Monday as part of her $75 million lawsuit against the operator of the Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University, where in 2009 a stalker filmed her naked in her room and posted the video on the Internet.

A tearful Andrews said she began screaming when a fellow reporter alerted her to the video of her.

“I even got a call from the hotel I was staying at because they wanted to know if everything was OK because I was screaming so loud,” she said.

Andrews, who was with ESPN at the time, said the situation became even more upsetting because some people thought she released the footage herself as a publicity stunt. In truth, Michael David Barrett found out which room she was in, requested the room next door, then cut out the peephole on her door so he could film inside.

“This is me naked. Nobody knew that it was a stalker. Nobody knew that the Marriott had put him next to me,” Andrews said. “It was being said that I did this for a publicity stunt. All we kept thinking as a family: ‘This is me! Who did this to me and who let this happen?’ ”

Andrews’ mother testified that her daughter has become less trusting, no longer interacting with fans unless she has protection.

“She’s always afraid someone’s going to touch her, to get to her,” Paula Andrews said.

Barrett was arrested in 2009 and sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for what he said was a “pretty ill-conceived plan” to film a naked Andrews and sell the tape. Andrews blames the Marriott for allowing Barrett to room next door without telling her.

— Warriors forward Draymond Green apologized to his team Monday for his halftime outburst during Saturday’s overtime win over the Thunder, and coach Steve Kerr said the team has moved on.

“I admit my mistakes. I made a mistake. I admitted my mistakes to my teammates, my coaching staff,” Green said. “I apologized to my teammates and my coaching staff, this organization. That wasn’t the right way to handle what needed to be handled. As a leader of this team, I can’t do that because it sets a bad precedent how everything is ran around here, how everything should be ran, how everything has been ran and how everything will run going forward. It won’t happen again. It’s something where my emotions kind of got ahead of me and I let my emotions get the best of me.”

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Monday’s Morning Mashup: Incredible finish to R.I. basketball championship game

02.29.16 at 7:19 am ET
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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: Jazz at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Pacers at Cavaliers, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA: Thunder at Kings, 10 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: Syracuse at North Carolina, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Oklahoma State at Iowa State, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Kansas at Texas, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Alabama State at Texas Southern, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
MLB preseason: Boston College at Red Sox, 1:05 p.m. (NESN)
MLB preseason: Northeastern at Red Sox, 3:45 p.m. (NESN)

AROUND THE WEB:

The Rhode Island high school Division 3 basketball state championship game had an ending that won’t soon be forgotten.

Burrillville took a one-point lead on a jump shot, then with four seconds left came up with a steal of Chariho’s inbounds pass. A Burrillville player threw the ball in the air, hoping to run out the clock, but a Chariho player came down with it just before time expired and called a timeout. The Burrillville players, hearing the buzzer, poured onto the court and started celebrating, but the referees put one second back on the clock.

Inbounding from the sideline, Chariho’s Jack Beauregard threw an alley-oop pass to Tom Longolucco, who sneaked past the defense, jumped and put the ball in just before the buzzer for the stunning 60-59 win.

“That was pretty crazy,” Longolucco told reporters afterward. “Coach drew up the play. I just finished. … I still can’t believe it. That was crazy.”

Said Chariho coach Corey Downey: “Think about the change of emotions and their attitudes from watching Burrillville and thinking the game’s over, and coming in and saying, ‘Guys, just run a play.’ They’re like, ‘What are you doing, Coach? We have one second left.’

“Again, I keep saying it, but it’s just what they do and who they are. That’s why we’re here, and that’s why we had a chance to win a championship.”

— Duke guard Grayson Allen escaped punishment for his trip of Florida State’s Xavier Rathan-Mayes last week — the ACC decided only to issue a reprimand — and Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski is dismissing calls for him to issue his star player a suspension for his second trip of the season.

“I would not suspend any player for what would be a flagrant 1,” said Krzyzewski, who met with Allen about the incident and apologized to Florida State. “What he got was the stiffest reprimand a player in our conference has gotten this year. I thought the [ACC] took action, and you’ve got to move on. The world doesn’t move on, because it’s Duke.”

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Read More: Grayson Allen, Johnny Manziel, Mike Krzyzewski,

Thinking Out Loud: As March Madness nears, inconsistent Providence fades

02.26.16 at 4:36 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering if the Round Mound of Rebound ever faced the weight-watching onslaught that Kung Fu Panda is experiencing.

— Feeling a case of “sweaty palms” coming on? That can only mean one thing for college basketball fans at this time of year — you’ve got a case of March Madness. It’s the only explanation. And there is no known cure, except to sweat it out.

— Oh, there might be a cure for Friars fans, at least a temporary cure, if the team can find a way to fix its current predicament. It goes to show you, we just can’t have nice things around here, can we?

— Maybe some of the players were sick. Or, maybe some of the players have forgotten how to shoot. It’s really as simple as that, after watching the pasting at the hands of Seton Hall on Thursday night. The Friars have turned into the “gang that can’t shoot straight” after missing an astounding 30 of the final 40 shots they took from the floor.

— Want some mo’? How ‘€˜bout this: In nine of the past 13 games the Friars have managed to shoot less than 40 percent from the field. In those nine games they are a mere 1-8. I gotta lotta mo’ just like that one, but will hold the rest for the sake of having some common decency. This could go downhill real fast.

— If you play defense every night in the Big East, you’ll stay in every game with a chance to win. For the Friars, the defense just isn’t consistent, as the team has a tendency to play in spurts or stretches. The 2-3 zone is OK, man-to-man has its moments but usually succumbs to mental lapses. Streaky defense with no offense is not a combination that will win games in this league, and we’ve known this for 30 years. Nothing has changed.

— The most frustrating part of watching this team lose five of six has been to see repeated mistakes. Mistakes that are made over and over again. Turnovers. Poor decisions. Lack of intensity at key moments. Other teams are making the plays the Friars made earlier in the year. It’s caught up to them.

— Now it’s “backs to the wall” time. At home against DePaul and Creighton and then on the road to finish at St. John’s. For the Friars to dance, when it seemed all but certain a month ago, winning these three can still seal the deal. Short of that? All bets are off.

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