If you tune to the Turner family of networks in the next four weeks, you can’t help but see “A Christmas Story” playing a couple hundred times. And there’s that one scene where Ralphie does something stupid, I can’t remember what it was, but it all unfolds in slow motion and he utters a fake expletive as it’s happening. And that’s exactly how a last-second half-court heave from Sean Dockery played out in my world. The minute he launched it things didn’t look quite right. Everybody acted like it had a chance. And as it descended, it was headed right for the hoop. And that’s when the word began to leave my mouth. You see, when you root for a team, as I do, that has won exactly five NCAA tournament games in its history, well, beating the #1 team at their place, and finishing the game with an 12-0 run to do it, is something you don’t dream up. And I don’t think #1 teams imagine winning a game on a desperation shot against a team picked for 8th in their conference, either.

OK, enough of the self-pity. Who do you think was most happy to see that shot go down?
a) Coach K. After milking the shot clock with unsuccessful results for the final three minutes, this would have been a rare case where he would have coached himself into a loss.
b) Texas coach Rick Barnes. Duke faces #2 Texas this Saturday and maybe they won’t be as ornery as they would have been had they lost as 21 point favorites to the Hokies.
c) Rick Pitino. For knowing that even if you assign a player to guard the inbounds, Duke can go the length of the court in two seconds and turn defeat into victory.

I know I promised a little something on the possession stats for today, but I’ll do it tomorrow when I’m thinking more clearly.

Lines o’ the Night


                           FG    3pt  FT   Reb
                      Min  M-A   M-A  M-A  O-T   A F S TO BLK Pts
Virgil Matthews        35  6-8   2-2  9-10 3-7   8 4 3  4  1   20
Result: Win. Montana 88, Stanford 69.

If you’re getting your mid-majority fix on the weekends, then you already know about Virgil. Hey, don’t feel bad, Stanford. It’s hard to go into Big Sky arenas and get wins.


                           FG    3pt  FT   Reb
                      Min  M-A   M-A  M-A  O-T   A F S TO BLK Pts
Kojo Mensah            44  5-10  2-6  8-10 4-14 11 1 1  3  1   20
Result: Win. Siena 82, Albany 74 (OT).

By my count, the first triple-double of the season, and against the cross-town rival no less.


                           FG    3pt  FT   Reb
                      Min  M-A   M-A  M-A  O-T   A F S TO BLK Pts
Shelden Williams       38  8-11  0-0  5-7  6-19  3 3 2  1  5   21
Result: Win. Duke 77, Virginia Tech 75.

It was probably past your bed time, but Adam Morrison posted 43 again, this time is a loss against Washington. Derek Raivio left the game early with an injury.

Thanks to all the people that are sending me their nominations for this feature. Just because I don’t pick yours doesn’t mean I hate you or anything. I’ve had some good ones sent my way, so keep ‘em coming.