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Archive for November, 2008

  90d187d3df585e6eEvery so often, I’ll go to my map of Kansas, put my finger on tiny Sublette, and trace the long route to Manhattan. And think about how many times Shalee Lehning’s parents, Steve and Jane, have made that drive through the Sunflower State. 

Sheesh. It blows me away. It makes the two-plus hours it takes me to get to Manhattan from Overland Park seem like it’s just around the corner.

The Lehnings are used to lots of travel, though … one or the other or both have always been there for Shalee – in AAU ball, high school and now in her senior season at Kansas State. 

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831945799_5761949473While the celebration will still be going on in Norman after Oklahoma’s destruction of Texas Tech in football on Saturday, the Sooners will be trying to win an early championship in women’s hoops today.

North Carolina comes to Lloyd Noble Center in Austin for the Preseason WNIT title game at 2 p.m. Central time Sunday. The event’s bracket worked out just as organizers had hoped it would. One former Tar Heel, though, might feel a little melancholy about this game: Erlana Larkins, who’s now with the New York Liberty, always hoped to play against OU’s Paris twins in her college career. 

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How about the Huskies?

 uconn_basketballI was in Hartford, Conn., on Thursday watching No. 1 UConn dismiss San Diego State 99-55, and afterward Huskies coach Geno Auriemma gave his usual postgame press conference/lounge act that makes covering UConn different than any other program.

  He’ll answer the media’s questions, go off on a few tangents, provide nuggets of information on players’ habits or personalities … then when the press conference is “over,” he’ll hang out in the hallway answering even more questions.

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    854193487_0e20566dd83 JoAnn Hamlin’s loyalty is totally with her Iowa Hawkeyes … but it’s certainly not surprising that she, without even realizing it, hums the Kansas fight song when she hears it.  That’s what happened Tuesday, when Iowa faced KU at Allen Fieldhouse. 

   “One of my teammates at one point said, ‘You’re not singing along to that, are you?’ ” Hamlin said. “And I was like, ‘No!’ ”

   When busted, first deny. Then try to explain.

 “It’s just that … I know it,” she said. “I know all their songs. They’re in my head, so it’s just instinctual.”

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We did our first regular-season voting on Sunday, BEFORE Tennessee lost to Virginia, remember. I’m a notorious night owl and, thus, a notorious late voter. But one way or another, despite greater and lesser degrees of angst, I always do send in a ballot.

I’m not going to stew over these early ones (too much). Save that more for January. 

But here’s what I came up with Sunday:

1. Connecticut, 2. Rutgers, 3. Tennessee, 4. Duke, 5. Oklahoma, 6. 
California, 7. Vanderbilt, 8. North Carolina, 9. Baylor, 10. Stanford, 11. 
Louisville, 12. Maryland, 13. Texas, 14. Virginia, 15. Texas A&M, 16. Arizona 
State, 17. Notre Dame, 18. Oklahoma State, 19. Purdue, 20. Iowa State, 21. 
Pittsburgh, 22. Auburn, 23. Ohio State, 24. Utah, 25. Marquette 

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  virginiaflag1Monday night in Knoxville, the stars finally aligned right again for Virginia against Tennessee in an 83-82 victory.

  The Cavaliers’ star, Monica Wright, had her career high, 35 points. That, combined with the Vols being a bunch of youngsters, gave U.Va. just its second victory in the 13-game series, which dates back to 1981. The only other time U.Va. beat Tennessee was in the 1990 Elite Eight.

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Orange alert

318813891Sometimes, I think of Virginia as just another flower sheered off by the Tennessee lawnmower. It’s a slightly flawed analogy, but one that seems to fit well visually in my mind.

Virginia plays at Tennessee tonight (Nov. 17), and the game will be televised on Fox Sports South at 7 Eastern time. It will be the programs’ first meeting since 2003, and just the second in the last decade. Tennessee has a 11-1 series lead, although that one Virginia victory still sticks with coach Pat Summitt. I’ll get to that in just a bit.

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