ESPN To Get Vitale Far Far Away From Duke Game

ESPN is being forced to resort to desperate measures and ridiculous publicity stunts to keep Dick Vitale from calling Duke games. For the Jan. 7 Duke-Davidson game, ESPN will bring in its NBA announcers, while moving Vitale and co. to the Heat-Nuggets game later that day.

Dick Vitale

So that means Mike Tirico, Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy are going to have to do some cramming to figure out what the hell a one-and-one is, while Vitale and Dan Shulman are going to need to get used to the 24-second shot clock. But obviously, the real benefit to viewers everywhere, other than not being forced to hear Elliot Williams called a diaper dandy ever 2 minutes, is not having to deal with Vitale having an orgasm on-air anytime Duke does anything competently.

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Speed Read: Kings Turn Back Clock, Beat Lakers

Suddenly it was 2002 all over again for the Lakers vs. Kings rivalry last night in Sacramento. The Arco Arena crowd was hooting and hollering and the Maloofs were acting like giant cheeseballs, high-fiving, bear-hugging and giving lap dances to anyone within reach. Sacramento temporarily forgot how lousy they are in delivering a 113-101 beatdown of Los Angeles that really wasn’t that close. Wake up the echoes of Vlade and C-Webb, indeed.

John Salmons and Kobe Bryant

What the game came down to was defense, specifically the Lakers’ total lack of it. They were unable to stop the high pick and roll, leaving the Kings with huge lanes to the basket to score or dish for threes. This is not a good sign for the Lakers going into tonight’s game against Steve Nash and the Suns, even if Shaq isn’t playing.

That’s three bad performances in their last four road games against average to awful teams (Indiana, Washington, Sacramento), which should be enough to silence any talk about 70 wins. But before Lakers fans go calling their therapist for a new prescription of Zoloft, they should remember that the team is still 17-3.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Mo Williams

Meanwhile in Cleveland, a legendary Cavaliers superstar reached a huge career milestone. Congratulations to Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who had set the franchise record for career rebounds in the team’s 114-94 rout of the Toronto Raptors. And oh yeah, some guy named LeBron James tried to horn in on the Big Z’s big night by setting the team’s career mark for steals and chipping in with 31 points.

Other sports news to read while you consider calling in gay to work today:

    Wayne Rooney and accused killer Anthony Corsi

  • Apparently, about the worst thing you can do in England is tell someone they look like Manchester United star Wayne Rooney. THE SUN reports that drunken slur in a taxi line led to one man’s death while the Rooney lookalike is currently facing manslaughter charges.
  • The DETROIT NEWS has word that big-mouth former Michigan QB and mediocre MLB player Rick Leach thinks that former Wolverines coach Lloyd Carr should “support” the guy who replaced him, Rich Rodriguez.
  • An Australian politician rues to the HERALD SUN that having soccer players overstay their visas and apply for asylum is one of the risks of hosting the Homeless World Cup.
  • The WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL notes that Ted Turner and TBS have been found guilty of a breach of contract in the sale of the Atlanta Hawks and Thrashers and ordered to pay $316 million in damages. Turner immediately protests that this “was nothing like an episode of Law & Order.”
  • Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller is cross that a ref swore at him during Monday’s game against Pittsburgh, says the BUFFALO NEWS. Reg Dunlop does not approve.
  • A good hint for coaches: don’t tell the press that it’s impossible for your team to win a game against your No. 1 rival, and Real Madrid’s Bernd Schuster said ahead of his team’s game against Barcelona. Not surprisingly, the NEW YORK TIMES reports Schuster’s been sacked. Also, don’t believe any rumors that Stephon Marbury is heading there to be the next coach.
  • 20 years later, Billy Ripken talks to CNBC’s Darren Rovell about his infamous baseball card. He still gets recognized “a couple of times a week” because of it - three guesses what people call him. Hint: it rhymes with “duck race.”
  • Stephen Curry: he’s streaky, but he’s also really good, as anyone who saw his second-half performance against West Virginia can attest to. The NEW YORK TIMES has all the details.
  • The latest name to enter the CC Sabathia Sweepstakes? The San Francisco Giants, who apparently weren’t burnt badly enough by Barry Zito to swear off big money pitchers. But Giants’ GM Brian Sabean tells the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS his team is just a “fallback” option if Sabathia doesn’t sign with the Yankees.
  • Remember when Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell said there was a “great chance” that Mike Leach wouldn’t be back coaching the Red Raiders next season. Turns out he’s changed his mind, says the AP (via the SEATTLE TIMES).

Which high-priced free-agent is some team going to most regret signing this off-season?

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Speed Read: 24 Hours Of (Mostly) Lousy Hoops

So, did you survive ESPN’s 24 Hour College Basketball Orgy 2008? For the most part, it was a Marathon of Blowouts - nothing gets me pumped up for the season like watching a quality team like Baylor blow out some scrubs like Centenary. Or, like watching a powerhouse like North Carolina destroy an obviously outmatched and undermanned opponent like Kentucky.

Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie

Ah yes, the Wildcats - first another embarrassing loss to a non-conference minnow (VMI in 2008 replacing Gardner-Webb from 2007) and now a shellacking on national TV against North Carolina without the services of Tyler Hansbrough. Maybe it’s not enough for Kentucky fans to be sending “We’re Sorry We Ran You Out Of Town” cards to Tubby Smith, but head coach Billy Gillispie has got to be feeling more and more heat every day.

Oklahoma forward Blake Griffin

The game of the night was on opposite the Wildcats’ mauling, and featured a pair of preseason All-Americans in Davidson’s Stephen Curry and Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin.  And for once the game and the key players lived up to the hype: Curry scored a career-high 44 to (almost) lead the Wildcats back from a 21-point hole, but Griffin’s 25 points and 21 rebounds were enough for the Sooners to survive, 82-78.

Meanwhile, in the world where they pay you to play basketball (up front), the Lakers kept their dream of 81-1 alive by turning back the Bulls 116-109. The hero? For once, it wasn’t Kobe Bryant but Pau Gasol, who had an impressive 34 points on 14 of 21 shooting.

Other sports news that happened last night as you recovered from the shock of hearing a hoax that Miley Cyrus, like, had totally been killed in a car crash, and OMG you just had to go on MySpace with your friends to see if that had happened. LOL.

Which college basketball conference is the most overrated?

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Stephen Curry Staying At Davidson One More Year

After a missed three-pointer away from a trip to the Final Four, Stephen Curry apparently feels he has some unfinished business to attend to.

Stephen Curry

The sophomore star of Davidson’s surprising Elite Eight run says he’ll be coming back to school next season. As for an early jump to the NBA, Curry responded, “I don’t think I’m ready.”

Curry’s decision could also affect the job status of his college coach.

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Davidson Students Will Be Pulling All-Nighters

While Memphis is taking care of Texas, let’s give some attention to the Cinderella team, 10th-seeded Davidson, who announced that they would be busing their student body to the regional games. For free.

davidson bus

THE SPORTING BLOG points out that the Davidson students that will be beneficiaries of such a trip will getting back on the bus at game’s end and making another 11-trip, back to campus, before they can get to bed. Read more…

Musberger Visits Vegas, Tebow Hangs At Hooters

Jimmy Rollins has a vibrating bed; Now we’re afraid to use his bathroom.

Brent Musberger spotted at a Vegas sportsbook? You can bet on it!

Brent Musberger in sunglasses

Tim Tebow tallies another trophy, as the Gators QB and his teammates hang out at Hooters.

• The debut of Gilbert Arenas’ new Hibachi shoe has been put on the back burner.

• The father of an Oregon fan caught flipping the bird to UCLA’s Kevin Love has taken away his kid’s car.

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Davidson Borrows Good Luck Song From Red Sox

Wonder how underdog Davidson was able to slay Goliath Georgetown for a trip to the Sweet Sixteen? Was it Stephen Curry’s 25 points in the 2nd half? Was it the Wildcats’ D clamping down and causing the Hoyas to committ 20 turnovers?

Stephen Curry Davidson Georgetown

Could be. And it could also be a little good luck song the SoCon school’s fans has been singing this season, borrowed from the playlist of a certain baseball team in Massachusetts. Read more…

More March Madness Tickets Punched On Monday

ESPN Championship Week is in full swing, as all those mid-major teams are getting their annual two hours of attention from the Worldwide Leader.

George Mason William & Mary San Diego Gonzaga

On Monday night, four more tickets were punched for the Big Dance:

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