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Tuesday Items

-- The Wolfpack Women rallied from 14 down to beat South Carolina in the second round of the WNIT last night:

"We told [Whittington] and Lucy Ellison that we weren’t always going to hit the first shot, so they had to be ready to rebound," Yow said. "And they did a really good job of that in the second half. It was a completely different intensity level and sense of urgency."

And that doomed the Gamecocks’ upset bid.

"They just dominated the boards," said South Carolina coach Susan Walvius. "The majority of their shots came from second-chance opportunities. The bottom line came down to their ability to hit second shots."

State grabbed 44.2% of its misses--23 offensive boards total.

-- Just hit him in the face!

Mazzulla took an inbound pass when he entered the game at the 14:06 mark and Paulus pounced. Mazzulla swung his torso left to right and caught Paulus with an elbow in the face.

It was no accident.

"I watched film of when they played N.C. State. Second play of the game, Paulus is guarding 94 feet from the basket and the N.C. State guy does the same thing," Mazzulla said. "Paulus didn't guard 94 feet from the basket the rest of the game and he didn't guard me 94 feet from the basket the rest of the game. I don't think he guarded me at all."

-- Occasionally, I get asked by online businesses (usually by ticket brokers) if I would be willing to place ads or links on the site. I received one such request on Monday from a guy running a merchandise website. After requesting a link, he closed the email with, "By the way, good luck with Tom O'Brien. You may like him now but he'll wear you down. Give him time." Which, I have to say, didn't really make me feel compelled to help him out.

-- Here's an interesting piece from 1987 on the proliferation of junior college players in division I basketball:

Even if you haven't heard the stories, Bob Knight has. Time was when Knight would sooner appear at the Feinstein family picnic than scour the junior college badlands for a quick fix. But times change, and last spring a junior college player (Keith Smart) sank a junior college shot (a cinder-block-and-tumble-weed number from the baseline with the clock ticking down) to give Knight and Indiana a national title. Says Ronnie Arrow, who coached for 10 years at San Jacinto (Texas) J.C., "Bob Knight may have been born at night, but it wasn't last night."

Poke around Jucoland these days and you'll find that just about every other clipboard-toting hombre in major college basketball has joined Knight. Most have concluded that a juco transfer may not be a future rocket scientist, or even a Rotarian-to-be, but neither is he someone today's coach can afford to do without. Even North Carolina's pious Dean Smith confesses to leaving the door open to recruiting junior college players. Says Wyoming coach Benny Dees, "Anytime Bob Knight does something, it becomes a trend. Keith Smart hits that shot, and it's like a damn gold rush."

Also:

Says Warkentien: "After Kentucky and Carolina hold their 'drafts,' six of the nation's top nine [high-school seniors] are gone. Then Illinois and DePaul carve up Chicago, the SEC takes everybody in the South—except for the Mississippi kids, who go to Louisville—and the elite high school players are basically spoken for. Guys who can't recruit them and won't recruit the junior colleges are selling insurance now."

And:

When juco gunner Kenny Drummond nearly sank North Carolina State last season with his selfish play, Wolfpack coach Jim Valvano vowed never to recruit in Jucoland again. It seemed an irrational pledge, particularly because Valvano had dipped into the jucos for Nate McMillan and Anthony (Spud) Webb, fine citizens both and NBA guards today. "If Valvano sticks by that," says Eastern Kentucky coach Max Good, "he'll be out of business."