Archive for March, 2011

Kentucky men in the Final Four

March 30, 2011

Last Friday night, Kentucky beat Ohio State 62-60 in a  regional semifinal match-up in Newark, New Jersey. Kentucky slowed the game down, which kept the game close as Northwestern had done twice this year against the Buckeyes. Josh Harrellson had a great game for the Cats, in what appeared to be a big mis-match at the center position. Brandon Knight hit a 15-footer with 5 seconds left for the win. It was the second year in a row  that OSU was eliminated from the NCAA Tournament by an SEC team (Tennessee last year).

Kentucky went on to gain the Final Four with an exciting 76-69 win over North Carolina in the East Region final. That game avenged an early-season loss for the Cats in Chapel Hill. UK will play Connecticut Saturday night.

The UK women were not so fortunate against North Carolina, losing 86-74 in Albuquerque. After getting past Georgia Tech, the Ohio State women lost to Tennessee in Dayton, which also makes two tournament eliminations in-a-row at the hands of the SEC (Mississippi State last year).

 

 

 

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Tough games for the ladies

March 21, 2011

The Ohio State and Kentucky women’s teams were both seeded fourth in the NCAA tournament.

The Cats had to travel out west, and had to go to overtime to beat Hampton in the first round. Tonight, UK faces #5 seed North Carolina, a good team. The winner of tonight’s game in Albuquerque will next go to Spokane for the regionals.

Ohio State has MUCH less travel. The first two rounds are in Columbus. The Bucks beat Central Florida Saturday, and have #5 seed Georgia Tech tonight. Ohio State’s early exits from the NCAA tournament have been legendary, and their fans hope this is the year it’s different. The winner tonight goes to Dayton for the regionals, and the Women’s Final Four is in Indianapolis this year.

We’ve had temperatures in the 70s recently and although it won’t stay that way for long, winter seems to be in the rear-view mirror at last.

So far, so good

March 21, 2011

Between trying to get my taxes done (which they are as of Saturday) and watching basketball, I haven’t had time for things like radio and writing in this blog. Tonight I have a chance to catch my breath and get caught up on some things.

The Kentucky and Ohio State men won their conference tournaments. Both were placed in the East region of the NCAA tournament, the Cats as the #4 seed and the Bucks as the #1 seed. Both won their first two games, and will face each other late Friday night.

I think Las Vegas has Ohio State as a 5-point favorite. That sounds about right to me. I don’t expect a blow-out, even though the Buckeyes have routed their first two opponents in the tournament. I believe the way to beat OSU is to play a slow, deliberate game, and this young Kentucky team has developed the ability to do just that.

I would like to see Kentucky catch up to UCLA in total number of NCAA titles in my lifetime. That’s a tall order, but with a coach like Calipari it’s possible (UCLA was eliminated in the second round this year by Florida). Ohio State is not among the “elite” college basketball programs, but would take a big step toward joining the upper crust with a championship this year. It would be only the second in school history. One of those dreams will have to be delayed until later, unfortunately.

Springtime, and the DX is easy

March 13, 2011

March always brings us at least some nice weather, and we’ve had lots of sun so far this weekend. My lawn mower is checked and ready to go. Won’t be long now.

Even more significant for us weary ham radio operators, is that sunspot cycle #24 is finally starting to pick up a bit. The solar flux has been as high as 155 recently, bring DX to upper bands that had been mostly quiet for years. I have been concentrating on the twelve-meter band (24.9 MHz) where I don’t have a lot of countries confirmed. I’ve recently worked The Senegal, New Zealand, Greece and Sable Island.

It’s tourney time!

March 13, 2011

The Ohio State women won their third-straight Big Ten Tournament championship by beating Penn State 84-70 last Sunday. While the string of 6-straight regular season championships ended this year, the Buckeyes seem to be pulling things together at the right time. Tomorrow night at 7 PM the pairings for the women’s NCAA tournament will be announced.

Coincidentally, the Big Ten Men’s Tournament championship game also features Ohio State vs. Penn State. In the quarterfinals, the Buckeyes had yet another close game with Northwestern and had to go to overtime to win.  The Lions will be playing their fourth game in four days. The most interesting (or uninteresting, depending on your perspective) of those was Friday’s quarterfinal 36-33 win over Wisconsin.

The Kentucky women were no match for Tennessee last Sunday in the SEC Tournament championship. The Vols are almost certainly going to be a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

The Kentucky men will play Florida this afternoon for the SEC Men’s Tournament championship. The Cats have looked much better in March, and easily handled Alabama yesterday in a semifinal matchup. But Doron Lamb has a sprained ankle and may not be available today. Neither Kentucky nor Ohio State are deep, and injuries or foul trouble can create problems very quickly.

Another interesting game today will be Duke vs. North Carolina for the ACC Tournament championship. North Carolina seems to be in high gear after being completely off the radar earlier in the season. Kansas had no problem with Texas last night in the Big 12 Tournament championship, and will be one of the favorites in the NCAA.

In general, though, I think all the #1 seeds will be vulnerable this year, making for a wide-open tournament. I would not be surprised if none of the #1 seeds make it to the Final Four. Dark horse teams have an excellent chance to advance.

The Blue Jackets won at Carolina 3-2 last night, ending a streak of 7-straight losses. The win was a bit of a surprise to me, as Carolina is in the hunt for a playoff spot in the East.

Kentucky women headed to SEC title game

March 6, 2011

As I type this, the Kentucky women are way ahead of Vanderbilt in a semifinal game of the Southeastern Conference tournament. If they hang on to win, they’ll face Tennessee tomorrow afternoon for the tournament championship.

In the Big Ten tournament, Ohio State beat Iowa and earned a semifinal matchup with Michigan State. Currently a close game as I type this.

You can stick a fork in the Blue Jackets, they’re done. Columbus has collected one point in 4 road games.

 

Undisputed Big Ten Champions

March 6, 2011

Ohio State is the undisputed Big Ten champion due to winning in Happy Valley earlier in the week, and Iowa’s upset of Purdue today. The Buckeyes have a tough game tomorrow as Wisconsin visits for Senior Day. Jon Diebler, Dallas Lauderdale and David Lighty all graduate at the end of Winter Quarter in a couple weeks.

Kentucky and Vanderbilt are tied for second place in the SEC East with one game remaining. Kentucky plays in Knoxville tomorrow. Vanderbilt hosts Florida tonight.

Columbus active before trade deadline

March 1, 2011

The last remaining “original” Blue Jacket, Rusty Klesla, was traded to Phoenix along with a minor-league player. From Phoenix, Columbus received forward Scottie Upshall and defenseman Sami Lepisto. Both are expected to arrive in Vancouver tonight in time for the game against the Canucks.

To wrap up February, Columbus split two games with Nashville and beat Phoenix. The Jackets have lost 16 straight in The Music City, the longest such road losing streak in the NHL. Last Friday they came back from a 2-0 deficit to beat the ‘Yotes 5-3 in Columbus. The big news there was a natural hat trick by Matt Calvert.

The Blue Jackets remain 4 points out of eighth place in the West, but have played fewer games than anyone in that conference. The game Sunday in Nashville was the first of 5 road games.

OSU men maintain one-game lead in league

March 1, 2011

The Ohio State men travel to Penn State tonight for the last road game of the regular season. The Bucks are one game ahead of surging Purdue, with 2 games left for each team. The Boilers play host to visiting Illinois tonight. Either an Ohio State win or a Purdue loss tonight guarantees the Buckeyes at least a share of the conference title.

It’s Senior Night tonight in Rupp Arena as we say goodbye to Josh Harrellson. A win over Vanderbilt tonight gives 3 teams in the SEC East 6 losses. At stake is second place in the division which earns a bye in the first round of the tournament. Could make for an interesting weekend as the regular season wraps up.  The Cats lost on the road again last Wednesday, 77-76 to Arkansas. The home court has been a different story. John Calipari has never lost at home as he wraps up his second year in Lexington.

Jantel Lavender 4-time Player of the Year

March 1, 2011

Ohio State’s senior center Jantel Lavender, a native of Cleveland, won the Big Ten Player-of-the-Year award for all her four years as a Buckeye. She is the only player from a major conference to accomplish that feat. This excellent article from the Columbus Dispatch has more details, including a lot of statistics from her career at Ohio State.

http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/sports/stories/2011/03/01/lavender-now-is-in-league-all-her-own.html?sid=101

The Ohio State women will play Iowa Friday in the second round of the Big Ten tournament. Both teams had fairly disappointing years and will be looking to use the tourney to gather some momentum heading into the NCAAs.

The Kentucky women got a layup by A’dia Mathies with 4-seconds to go to beat Arkansas on Senior Night last week. The Cats had trailed most of the second half. They wrapped up the regular season with a 14-point win at Auburn Sunday. The 11 conference wins ties a record set last year. The Cats finished in second place in the SEC, and so got a first-round bye in the SEC tournament. They would not play Tennessee unless both teams make it to the final game.