Expertise's Politics and Sports Blog


Monday, March 28, 2005
Minutemen volunteers targeted by Central American gang.

I haven't discussed the Minuteman Project, which is a volunteer group that will monitor the Arizona/Mexico border and run off illegal immigrants.  After all, Barber and Malkin do a better job cheerleading that and other immigration issues than I do.

But my ears did perk up when I read about "Mara Salvatrucha", which is a South American gang threatening to attack the Minutemen in order teach them "a lesson".  Here's why:

The MS-13 gang has established major smuggling operations in several areas along the U.S.-Mexico border and have transported hundreds of Central and South Americans -- including gang members -- into the United States in the past two years. The gang also is involved in drug and weapons smuggling.

Gang members in America have been tied to numerous killings, robberies, burglaries, carjackings, extortion, rapes and aggravated assaults. Authorities said that the gang has earned a reputation from the other street gangs as being particularly ruthless and that it will retaliate violently when challenged.

In other words, they'd lose too much money.  Organizations like these make a fortune smuggling illegal immigrants across the Mexican border, and I wouldn't be surprised to hear that these guys set up black market operations in the U.S. to provide assistance to them (driver's licenses, SS numbers, bank accounts, etc).

The Minutemen shouldn't blow this threat off.  It only takes one death to give Bush an excuse to act upon it (and the fact that he's labelling them as "vigilantes" is a crying shame).  I think Bush's attitude towards the Mexican government shows he'll be more concerned about the supposed trouble the Minutemen are causing rather than foreign gangs smuggling illegal immigrants in the country and are willing to attack any American that stands in their way.

Posted at 05:44 pm by Expertise
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Terri Schiavo and Elian Gonzalez.

Drudge linked to a column by John Fund of the Wall Street Journal that exposes the hypocrisy of leftists calling for Terri Schiavo to die, in which they contradict many of the same overtures they made during the Elian Gonzalez trials:

What's ironic about the Schiavo case is that this was another custody battle, it climaxed during Easter Weekend, and it involved the same courts.  In the Gonzalez case, Janet Reno acted on a completely criminal search warrant to raid the Gonzalez home and send Elian Gonzalez back to Fidel Castro.

If you don't remember it, here's how the case went down:

The stalemate continued for another three months. On Thursday, April 20, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals--the same court that rejected the pleas of Terri Schiavo's parents last week--turned down the Justice Department's request to order Elian removed from the home of his Miami relatives. Moreover, the court expressed serious doubts about the Justice Department's reading of both the law and its own regulations, adding that Elian had made a "substantial case on the merits" of his claim. It further established a record that Elain, "although a young child, has expressed a wish that he not be returned to Cuba."

The Reno Justice Department acted the next day to short-circuit a legal process that was clearly going against it. On Good Friday evening, after all courts had closed for the day, the department obtained a "search" warrant from a night-duty magistrate who was not familiar with the case, submitting a supporting affidavit that seriously distorted the facts. Armed with that dubious warrant, the INS's helmeted officers, assault rifles at the ready, burst into the home of Elian's relatives and snatched the screaming boy from a bedroom closet. Many local bystanders were tear-gassed even though they did nothing to block the raid. Elian was quickly returned to Cuba; because he was never able to meet with his lawyers a scheduled May 11 asylum hearing on his case in Atlanta became moot.



Why Janet Reno wasn't placed in jail for this I have no idea.  There's no question that it was illegal; she knew it and Clinton knew it.  But the mainstream media gave them a pass, as they always did with the corrupt Clinton Administration.

As I stated here, I was awake when I heard the news of the Saturday morning raid.  In fact, I had been discussing the case with a immigrant from the Dominican Republic, who had been to Cuba and knew about the decrepit conditions and the corrupt Castro regime.  And as we know, from that moment on that child was never going to be Miguel Gonzalez's child.  He was Fidel Castro's, and Castro was going to use him how he wished.

Same scenario, different tyrants.  Now we have a "husband", a high profile attorney, and a trial judge making a mockery of true justice.  But the same federal courts that didn't have the stones to stand up for Elian while Reno and Clinton overrode their orders, violating Elian's due process rights, and they don't have the stones this time to stand up to Michael Schaivo, George Felos, and George Greer for Terri Schindler is involved with this one also.

The ones whining about federal intervention in the Schiavo case had no problems with it when it came to Elian Gonzalez.  They weren't yelling about how the decisions of the courts needed to be respected.  But that isn't surprising, considering the "ends justify the means" thought processes in both scenarios.

And "moderates" threaten to abandon the Republican Party due to the conservatives?  Oh well.  As Alexander Hamilton said, "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything."  If you don't stand up for injustice in this case - and especially if didn't stand up for Elian - when will you?

Posted at 02:26 am by Expertise
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Sunday, March 27, 2005
Elite Eight Sunday: Kentucky vs. Michigan State.

Alright, here's the game for the final spot in St. Louis.  I got Michigan State pulling away late.

I'm listening to Carolina radio right now.  It's great to hear Woody Durham sound as enthusiastic as he does.

Tipoff's coming up...

5:08:  Alright let's go.  They traded threes, and then Michigan State starts to use it's quickness to score points from the fast breaks.  MSU's up by one early.

5:19:  A physical game, not too many calls by the refs so far.  Both teams are coming out sloppy though.  They can't execute on either end.  A three by MSU's Ager gives them the lead by one with 11:10 left in the half.

5:27:  Michigan State is using their quickness to take advantage of Kentucky's defense.  Tubby Smith might have to go to a zone to get something going defense-wise.  Kentucky also looks rusty on the offensive end.  23-16 MSU.

- Sorry guys, I was eating dinner for the last 10 minutes of the first half.  That's my bad, but I am ready for the second half of this one.  37-33 Kentucky lead.

6:20: Second half starts and Michigan State comes out strong to tie the game.  Huge three by Brown gives them the lead. 40-39.

6:34:  This is like a heavyweight title fight, with one landing a punch and the opponent landing a counterpunch.  This could be tight throughout.  Neither team seems as if they have a standard plan and everyone on the court is contributing.  MSU after a huge alley leads by three.

6:43:  MSU's Shannon Brown is having a big game, as he's hit back-to-back threes.  MSU's on a hot streak, and it'll be interesting to see if Kentucky can endure it.  MSU's up 61-57 with 8:34 left.

6:47:  Well my question was answered:  No.  Michigan State is on a hot streak much like they were against Duke on Friday.  Anderson hits a three, MSU gets the steal, and Anderson hits another jumper.  MSU's lead is the biggest of the game, 66-58.

6:55:  An excellent stretch of basketball with both teams using athletic moves to put points on the board.  Kentucky's Rondo Smith is in foul trouble, so that hurts them for their post game.  Kentucky has cut the lead in half, though...70-66.

7:00:  MSU's Paul Davis is really stepping up on the boards, tipping in a missed shot, and then going to the other end to grab a defensive rebound.  He was a big reason for Duke's loss on Friday and will be tough for May to deal with if he faces UNC in the Final Four.  MSU leads 72-66 with 2:41 left.

7:05:  MSU slipped up and left a wide open Ravi Moss open for a three pointer.  After Davis was fouled and hit 1-1, Kentucky comes right back with ANOTHER three pointer by Kelenna Azubuike.  I think comebacks have been a signature theme of this tournament.  MSU leads by only one with 35 ticks left.

7:07: Ooooo....a BRUTAL foul on Kentucky's Bradley, as he lands on his head.  He's done for the day.  I think that could have been called flagrant, but the ref made the right call.  Tubby gets to bring someone off the bench to shoot the fts.  Great sportsmanship by the crowd and both teams today.

7:08:  Patrick Sparks misses the 1 and 1.  MSU gets the rebound and calls the TO.  Not good for Kentucky.  Kentucky fouls and MSU goes to the line with 19.8 left, 73-72.

Shannon Brown hits the first of a 1-and-1.  Brown....hits the second. Kentucky takes the TO down by three with 16.7 left at half court.

Folks, they gotta give him that three!  Sparks earned that, and there is no conclusive evidence that he was on the line.  I dont think he was on it!

MORAL OF THE STORY:  Do not wait for the final shot!  Sparks shot his first basket with 7.7 seconds left, and it game them time to try two more times to tie this game.

THE REFS GAVE HIM THE THREE!!!! OVERFREAKINTIMEEEE!!!!  What a game!!

7:25:  it's Overtime, and Kentucky seems rejuvenated.  Michigan State is a little off as Kentucky is up by two with 4:15 left.

7:28:  MSU is tenacious.  Missed three 3-pointers but were still able to get rebounds on each of them and finally hit one of them.  This is an excellent game.  79-78 UK with 2:30 left.

7:35:  Game is tied, Kentucky will have time to take the last shot of the game:

What in the world were they doing?  I guess they didn't read my "moral of the story".  He didn't even get the shot off.  Oh well; DOUBLE OT!

Great game.  Really.

7:41: Michigan State is coming out strong this time.  Kentucky lost Azubuike, who fouled out.  They aren't executing offensively and are in danger of being down by two possessions.  84-81 MSU with 2:31 left.

7:47:  Folks, boxing out is important, as Paul Davis's dunk showed.  Kentucky has yet to score in this overtime, and are in deep trouble.  UK's Morris misses one, but gives them their first point of the double OT.  86-82 with 1:52 left.

7:49:  This game should have some hellafied ratings, especially after yesterday's thrillers.  Anyway, Michigan State hits two fts to make it six, but Kentucky hits a basket on the the other end.  They cancel out, so MSU still leads by four with 1:24 left.

7:52:  Good post up by Hayes for UK, which makes it a two pt game.  UK takes too much time in fouling MSU, and now....MSU hits both, and that might have locked up the game.  90-86 with 12.2 left.

7:54:  Rondo goes coast to coast to cut the lead to two with 7.5 left.  They need a quick foul and hope MSU misses.  MSU's 20-26 from the line today.  Not good odds.

UK fouls, Anderson hits both.  That's tough.  Izzo is damn near on his way.  7.1 left.

- Well, this was one of the more entertaining games I've seen, and not just at the end of it, but throughout the game (although I missed a good chunk of the first half.  Hey, I had to eat dinner.)  Kentucky lost, but it was a loss that they shouldn't be ashamed of or feel bad about.

Unlike Georgia Tech with Lethal Weapon 3 and the clutch shot that sent them into overtime in the Elite Eight back in 1990, Kentucky couldn't get it done.  But they made it a fight throughout.

As for Michigan State and North Carolina, Carolina better be ready for a team that likes to play physical and use their speed to slash the basket.  Paul Davis has already gotten the best of Duke's Shelden Williams, now let's see how well he fares against Sean May.  However I doubt if Michigan State will be able to launch the three like a number of teams in this tournament, so keeping Felton out of foul trouble should lead the Tarheels to victory.

Posted at 05:04 pm by Expertise
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Elite Eight Sunday: North Carolina vs. Wisconsin.

We should get started in the next few minutes.  I'm liveblogging this all the way through.

This will be a battle of wills.  Carolina prefers the fast tempo game, while Wisconsin is more methodical and sharper with their execution.  Carolina will have to get out to a good start, and get a comfortable lead early.  Wisconsin will have to frustrate Sean May down low like Villanova did and hit some threes behind the arc.  Of course, I'm a Tarheel, so I got Carolina winning this one.

Tipoff is about to begin...

2:42:  Carolina is starting precisely the way they're supposed to:  using their talent and imposing their presence in the paint.  Sean May is starting up already, and if Wisconsin doesn't start getting physical with him, they're going to have problems throughout this game.  Only bad spot is that the Heels give up their first three of the game.  10-5 Carolina.

2:52:  Wisconsin is following the same mantra, and they have some big forwards in order to do it with on the offensive end.  Only problem is, they aren't finishing the shot.  Carolina is 9-10 from the field and leads it by seven.

2:56:  May is on a roll and doesn't look like he is going to go cold anytime soon.  Wisconsin has started picking up the pace however, and they are starting to score more often and are making their possessions count.  They're still a little shaky on the arc, but they are having some success in the paint.

They called the charge on Felton while Wisconsin was reaching in.  Bad call.  McCants hits a three, 25-18 UNC.

3:07:  Somebody better get a hold of May.  Dunks, jumpers just in front of the line, he's doing everything right now.  Wisconsin seems as if they don't know what to do with him.  They do hit a three however to get out of being behind by double digits.  30-22 UNC.

3:18:  Carolina and Wisconsin are starting to trade threes.  Carolina needs to contest that shot a little better.  May is continuing to beast in the paint, as they are lobbing the ball over Wisconsin's defenders and they're getting the baskets in the paint.  42-33 UNC with 3 mins left.

3:24:  Carolina blew a double digit lead THAT QUICK.  Ridiculous.  It's as if they fell asleep on defense and simply stepped aside to give them open baskets.  Wisconsin's defense came through in the last two minutes and are battling for rebounds.  44 a piece at halftime.

Williams will probably be hoarse once he comes out of the locker room at halftime.

3:45:  Second half starts.  Let's see how both teams react.  Wisconsin starts it off with a turnover.

3:49:  Wisconsin comes out continuing their run from the last half.  Carolina is a little more aggressive for this half, and after Wisconsin gets a five point lead, Carolina goes on a 8-0 run to lead 52-49 with 16:41 left.

3:57:  Wisconsin seems a little off right now.  Missing some good looks inside, and missing the chance for an open look outside.  They don't seem too sure of themselves after that Carolina run.  However, Carolina can't take advantage of it, and it's still 52-49.

4:05:  Sean May has now turned into a point guard, with three straight assists in the paint.  Felton is out of the game with what looks like an ankle injury, so someone has to take his spot.  But Wisconsin is starting to get their offensive groove back, and are attacking the basket more often making some pretty tough shots.  64-58 UNC with 11:34 left in the game.

4:12:  Wisconsin is having some success with the fast break, which is fooling carolina to converge inside for the feed outside and hitting the trey.  Carolina is still battling for rebounds, as they have 11 offensive rebs for the game.  This is a chess match.  70-67 Carolina.

4:18:  All of a sudden, the refs want to call those little fouls.  Bill Raftery calls them "nickel/dimers".  I call them "penny/nickels".  Anyway, Carolina needs to stop trying to collaspe on the ballhandler, because he's able to get it out on the perimeter to the open three.  Carolina leads by one, but they've gone cold.

4:25:  May will have to place this team on his back, because everyone else is cold.  And they need to stop shooting threes, as they've gone for a three 3 times in their last four attempts, and haven't made one yet.  Carolina goes to the line leading by one, 73-74 with 2:40 left.

4:30:  McCants comes up with a HUGE block on the perimeter.  And they do exactly what they should do:  feed it to May, draw the foul.  May hits both and it's a five pt lead, 78-73 with 1:46 left.  Carolina's D is starting to lock Wisconsin down.

4:32:  God; not another one of these.  It looked as if Carolina was ready to close this one out with a huge three by McCants but Tucker comes down the other end and answers it.  Carolina up 78-81 and the ball with 55 seconds left.

4:34:  Wisconsin is starting to foul, as they're trying to get them in the bonus.  Whoaaa Felton stopped short of poppin dude with the elbow.  May goes and calms him down, like the leader that he is.  Felton hits....both fts....Carolina's up by five.

4:36:  Carolina's finishing this game at the line, as you're supposed to with this kind of lead.  Carolina's perfect from there in their last six attempts, and they're up 85-78 with 34.5 seconds left.

- Carolina closed out this game the way they should have against Villanova on Friday and how Arizona should have yesterday.  Good job by the refs too for not swallowing their whistles too.  Other than a couple of calls, it was well called.

This game helped Carolina in more ways than one.  Wisconsin was one of the smartest and methodical teams in the country; in fact, no one had scored over 75 points on them this season until today.  Sean May showed he is a COMPLETE player; pounding the paint, making jumpers, completing great passes, and just showing he is a great leader and motivated this team.  McCants and Felton played great on both ends of the court.  It's amazing to see him mature as a player.  Whether it's Kentucky or Michigan State, I'm confident they can get to the national championship game.

I'll have Kentucky/Michigan State in a few minutes on another thread.  Click "home" below.

Yeaaaaahhhh North Carolina's headed to the Final Four!

Posted at 02:27 pm by Expertise
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Saturday, March 26, 2005
Elite Eight Saturday: Illinois vs. Arizona.

I told Molotov over at Booker Rising that her boys (Illinois) were going to go down.  We'll see what happens.

Illinois has the home field advantage, as this game is in Chicago.  You can hear them in the crowd, and they are the six man.  Illinois starts out hot, hitting a couple of treys to start off the game.  8-4 Illinois.

7:25:  Arizona isn't playing games tonight.  They seem to have a little attitude, as if they have something to prove.  They go on a 10-0 run, and then here's Luther Head with a big three to cut the lead to one, 12-11 Zona.  Plenty of time left in the half.

7:35:  Both teams are playing hard so far in this game and are putting up a high amount so far.  It reminds me of "The Contender" where they are evenly matched and the one that stays the busiest will win the game.  Illi up by one but that could change at any moment.

7:45:  This is becoming a game between the sharpshooters vs. the beasts.  Illinois continues to hit their shots from the perimeter and Zona is killing the boards in absence of Stoudamire's contributions.  Illi is getting the better of them right now, as they lead by five.

7:50:  Arizona has gone cold for a bit.  Illinois has adjusted to their points in the front court and are keeping them from penetrating.  Illinois leads by seven with 3:13 left in the half.

8:00:  Illinois's D got a little lax for a second, and Zona is taking advantage of it.  Stoudamire hasn't done anything in this game, as he has two points on fts.  It is good to see everyone else for Zona stepping up, and that's precisely what Kellogg and Davis, to their credit, said Zona needed to do.

Zona's Shakur hits a nice floater to end the half.  38-36 Illinois leads at the half.  They can't be happy to only lead by two with Stoudamire not contributing anything in this game so far.

8:25:  Second half starts.  Let's see if Stoudamire will join the rest of his teammates.  Right now Zona is pushing the ball through the lane and drawing the foul.  Stoudamire misses his first fg of the half, but Zona is showing a lot of hustle.  Zona leads by one early.

8:30:  Is Stoudamire ever out of his range?  I don't think so.  He hit a three that was a good six feet behind the arc.  That and a Radenovic three puts Zona up by six.  Illinois can't let these guys get hot, or they'll run away with it.

8:37:  Illinois gains momentum, and eventually ties it up.  Illini's Augustine is having a good day.  But so are Radenovic and Frye, who are making up for Stoudamire's lost production.  Zona up by one with 12:14 left.

8:45:  I am really impressed with Channing Frye.  He is really exposing Illinois in the interior and is making key baskets to keep Illinois behind in this game.  Meanwhile, Deron Williams is putting up some clutch shots.  Illinois's perimeter defense is solid and creating turnovers, but they are leaving the paint open.  Illi leads 64-58 with 7:30 left.

8:55:  Channing Frye is killing them.  Now he's hit a three pointer after dominating in the paint so long.  Hey; big time players step up for big time games, and Frye is showing some people he's a big time player.  Illinois meanwhile has abandoning any attempts to feed it down low on the offensive end, and almost half of their attempts today have been beyond the arc.  You guys aren't West Virginia.  Illinois leads 73-60 with 4:54 left.

9:02:  Okay, I'd just like to say that I had UNC vs. Arizona playing in the national championship in all of my brackets.  Just want to make sure everyone knows that in advance.  Deron Williams finally gives Illi their first three, but methinks this is too little too late.  75-63 with Zona going to the line and 3:28 left in the game.  Time is running out.

9:10:  This game isn't exactly over yet.  Zona has to get the ball down the court and stop giving up turnovers in the backcourt.  That's been their one problem in this game.

McClellan to the line....misses first ft....hits second, 78-70...now 78-72 with 1:03 left.  Zona is pulling the same thing Carolina did last night.

9:13:  Luther Head hits the three, but then they get the steal on an obvious foul and get the layup.  Zona's blown a 14 pt lead and it's cut to three with 45 ticks left.

Maaaaan I can't understand why the refs aren't calling those obvious fouls.  That's twice Stoud was fouled in the back court. 

ANOTHER OVERTIME:  Wow.  I'd be really pissed if I was Stoudamire right now.  The refs allowed it to turn into a mugging for Illinois to get back into this game.

9:22:  Illinois continues to shoot it well behind the arc.  Zona has lost focus but Channing Frye is trying to get them back to the post game.  Illinois is up by one with 3:02 in OT.

9:25:  Zona looks like the wind has just been knocked out of them.  But Hassan Adams gets a chance for a three-point play. ...he....hits the ft, cutting it to three with 1:30.

9:28:  Adams has decided to carry this team on his back.  He grabs a huge offensive rebound and gets the putback.  90-89 Illinois with 34.5 left on the clock.

9:30:  Luther Head slashes, but can't finish.  Adams AGAIN with the rebound, and they call TO at half court with 11.8 left.  This could be the game right here.

- Adams held the ball too long, tried to shoot the three at the end, missed, couldn't put it back up in time, Illinois won 90-89. 

Crying shame how they won it though.  Referees are there to make sure the game isn't a mess, and that's exactly what happened in the fourth quarter.  If someone is able to get a turnover with any kind of body contact, the referee isn't doing their job.  Period.

Posted at 07:18 pm by Expertise
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Elite Eight Saturday: Louisville vs. West Virginia

Sorry guys; I had nodded off before the game and woike up to catch the last five minutes of the first half.

Anyway, it's halftime now.  I saw West Virginia send the lead to 20, but Louisville has now cut it to 13 at halftime.

Well I doubt West Virginia can come out shooting like that again. 10-14 from the arc in the first half?  Unreal.  And shooting 65% from the field is akin to playing on NBA Live.  (Which reminds me; when will EA Sports put NCAA March Madness on PC?)

Louisville is facing their biggest deficit of the season, and they have the firepower to come back from it.  However, they need to step up and make plays early in the second half.  They don't need to look at a 10-11 point deficit midway through the second half and think they are going to make their move then.

Anyway, I'll liveblog the second half, and the Illinois/Arizona battle later.

5:50:  They're back for the second half, and Louisville is starting exactly the way they're supposed to, already making two defensive plays and attacking the basket.  Now, if they can only make some free throws.  Huge three cuts it to ten.

5:55:  Man this is becoming a huge shootout, as both teams have hit a combined 19 three pointers in this game.  For a while it looked like Louisville was going to cut further into this lead, but WV simply keeps drilling them.  That's not good.  52-40 WV.

6:05:  NOW we have a ball game.  Louisville's defensive posture is impressive right now, and they are really frustrating West Virginia, who can't make a basket in the paint and aren't too confident on the arc right now.  Huge threes by Louisville's Taquan Dean cuts this lead in half and is on an 8-2 run, 54-48 with 11:48 to go. 

6:13:  Just when you think Louisville was going to put West Virginia on the ropes, here comes Pittsnoggle and Gansey going back to their ole bread-and-butter:  the three-pointer.  Louisville briefly cut it to three, but it's now a nine point WV lead.

6:19:  Louisville is pushing on, but everytime they get something started, here comes another WV three.  And it isn't that they aren't playing perimeter defense, WV is just hitting their shots.  And just as I said that, Pittsnoggle hits a three that hits the front rim and drops in.  WV's up 68-58 with 6:41 left.  Louisville better hope WV goes cold in these last minutes; they are 16-21 from the arc so far.  Wow.

6:27:  Kevin Pittsnoggle is becoming a March Madness legend before our eyes.  He has played at a higher level than almost anyone in the tournament.  Taquan Dean is back in the game after catching cramps.  Louisville is starting to slashing the basket and place pressure on the defensive end.  However, Francisco Garcia has fouled out.  71-67 with 4:00 left.

6:35.  Louisville's trying to put up what could possibly be their last run.  They are starting to hit the offensive glass and making plays.  Now they are going to have to find a way to keep Pittsnoggle, Herber and Gansey off the arc.  74-71 WV with two and a half left.

6:38:  Pittsnoggle AGAIN.  This guy is unstoppable.  Otis George made a great jumper just inside the line for Louisville.  77-73 WV with a minute and a half left.

Velacio gets one in the paint and cut it to two...one minute left.

6:39:  Pittsnoggle MISSED a shot.  Is that possible?  Louisville gets the rebound and has the ball with 48.3 ticks left.

OVERTIME:  What a game!  Larry O'Bannon slashed to the basket to tie the game for the first time since early in the first half.  They can't handle that kid's speed.  Afterwards, Velacio got a huge shot block and Louisville got it with about six seconds left, but Dean couldn't convert on the other end and the clock runs out.  Let's hop to it.

6:48:  Tyrone Sally's fouled out for WV.  Meanwhile Taquan Dean is placing this team on his back, as he hits a huge three pointer.  Louisville fouled on the other end, WV hits the two fts, steals the ball on the other end and ties the game at 82 with 3:29 left in OT.

6:55:  Louisville looks like they are on their way.  O'Bannon and Velacio has stepped up while Garcia and Dean are off the court (Dean's still having problems with that leg).  However, Velacio goes to the line and misses both fts.  WV is still cold, though, and Louisville leads 88-83 with 1:05 left and at the line.

7:00:  Why WV decided to slash the basket instead of shooting threes is beyond me.  Maybe they thought they'd catch Louisville off guard, but they didn't, and they got a couple of blocks from that.  You got to put that ball up beyond the arc, and although Louisville has not been hitting their fts, this game is over.  92-85 with 30 secs left.

- Louisville is the first entrant into the Final Four, 93-85.

A hell of a game for two halves.  In overtime, WV simply had no juice left, and O'Bannon and Velacio played an inspired overtime overcoming the absence of their two leaders.  It was sloppy at the end, with Louisville missing a lot of fts and WV missing a lot of shots, to which I can't understand why they didn't start trying to air it out within a minute and a half in OT.

Another thing to note:  Louisville never took the lead in that game until overtime.  Rick Petino has to be commended for getting his guys motivated enough to push their way back into this game after being down by 20 in the first half and enduring the hellacious shooting beyond the arc by WV.

West Virginia has nothing to be ashamed of.  They played a hell of a game against a team that had much more talent than them.  They simply couldn't send that sharpshooting into overtime, and they went cold.  That's a tough way to lose, but nothing to be ashamed of.

I will start liveblogging Illinois/Arizona on another post in a few minutes.

Posted at 05:36 pm by Expertise
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Saturday Morning Detective Work.

Ugh.  I swear I checked In The Agora before I went to bed last night, but I suppose I was too sleepy to see this little gem.

Joshua Claybourn is reporting that four staffers from Senators Rick Santorum and Mel Martinez's offices believe a "renegade" staffer from Sen. Harry Reid's office was the author of the memo.

Originally, Claybourn didn't give the name of the staffer accused or the staffers making the accusations, which prompted Friday night vampire (kidding, folks...this was all going on in the middle of the night) Michelle Malkin to initially question the validity of the source.

Claybourn has been all over this story, gathering sources on Capitol Hill and at ABC headquarters throughout the week.  However, I think I would have asked for a little more information that was given. 

We were only given the name of the accused, and a little bit of his background.  In a quite interesting fact, he used to work for ABC News.  That could possibly explain how they got the memo.  However, that bit can't stand on it's own; more evidence is needed in order to prove the staffer, Nathan Ackerman, is the culprit.

That doesn't mean the memo wasn't a hoax if Ackerman wasn't the culprit, and this was bad information given to Claybourn.  But I would think an accusation of this magnitude being levelled on Capitol Hill is considered a serious charge, thus you'd have a little more than a hunch that Ackerman was behind it.  And to be honest, I don't think the names of the staffers are needed more than the evidence showing Ackerman wrote it. 

Powerline's Hindrocket and Trunk have responded, and Hindrocket brings up a good point; the New York Times reported they had seen Democratic staffers with the memo first claiming it was being distributed by Republicans.  Why hasn't the New York Times stepped up and revealed which Democratic staffers they saw on the Hill with the memo?  I asked that question too, and I think the answer will go a long way in finding out who was actually behind it.

In fact, both roads could lead right to Ackerman.  You never know.  But I will make this point; the Kinkos fax number that led the media to Bill Burkett was a very fortunate turn of events, and I'd guess it usually isn't that easy.  It's going to be a lot harder to find who was truly behind this one, and there's going to be a lot more "he said, she said" information and sources as the days go by.  In fact, I'd be willing to bet that the only way we'll find out who did it is by someone ratting him or her out.

UPDATE:  There's been some people commenting at ITA and trackbacking at Malkin's site that thinks this may be a smokescreen to hide a Republican who was truly behind this.

I don't think that's possible just yet.  As Hindrocket and I have said, the primary piece of evidence came from the New York Times.  I don't think any journalist has reported seeing this memo on Republican staffers, and right now we can only go on the information that's given to us.

I think people are jumping the gun in pointing fingers at either side.  Let's gather the information first.

As for the ones attacking Claybourn for using unnamed sources, that's not how this started.  Claybourn has the names (or at least I give him the benefit of the doubt that he has them) of the staffers, and Malkin is correct that he should burn them if they tried to screw him.  ABC and the Washington Post had none in relation to where this memo came from, yet automatically implied it came from the Republicans.  That's a big difference between the two.

UPDATELaShawn Barber's doing a memo roundup today.  Check it out.

UPDATE:  Claybourn contacted the NYT's David Kilpatrick for the names of the staffers who were seen distributing the memo.  Kilpatrick refused due to a matter of policy.

Whatever.  He could have named who they were if he wanted.  I didn't expect much participation out of him anyway.

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Posted at 10:56 am by Expertise
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Friday, March 25, 2005
Sweet Sixteen Friday II

New games, new liveblog thread.

10:06:  UNC and Villanova tips off.  There are a lot of ACC critics that are hoping Villanova completes the ACC sweep.  And as I talk they hit a three to make it 5-0.

10:12:  Keep in mind Villanova is playing a virtual home game.  After all, they are up north at a fellow Big East school, and this crowd is going nuts for them.  Anyway, Randy Foye has come out blasting.  That will of course subside, but UNC has got to work on their perimeter defense, the one thing that has hurt them all year.  Villanova is up 13-5 early in the game.

10:25:  Carolina seems as if they don't know what defense is.  They are getting some calls on the offensive end, but are allowing Villanova to slash and aren't answering.  Nova is up by 12 midway through the first.

Utah's Andrew Bogut is trying to place the whole team on his back.  I don't know if he can, as Kentucky has a pretty talented frontcourt to keep him busy throughout the game.  Kentucky has gone on a 6-0 run to lead 14-9.

10:36:  The refs are calling it really tight.  Actually, too tight.  Any little contact will is being whistled, which makes it hard for Carolina to get any momentum going.  Villanova's hitting their jumpers, and are keeping them at a distance.  Nova's up by ten.

10:46:  Heh.  Noel goes down from a low blow.  A couple of minutes later Lundquist makes sure they know that Nova didn't do a "Chris Paul".  I'm sure that's what every ACC fan was thinking.  Anyway, Noel was fine and it was no biggie.  Carolina's cut it to eight with 3:30 to go in the half.

Meanwhile, Kentucky is still holding on to their lead.  They're up by four.

Strong performance at the end of the first half by Carolina.  They're starting to connect on the passes inside that they weren't able to get earlier in the game.  On the defensive end they have forced Villanova to take some ugly shots and I don't think Villanova scored a field goal over the last four minutes of the half.  Nova's shots behind the arc are missing too.  33-29 Nova at halftime.

Randy Foye's first half line:  5-10 fg, 4-8 from the arc, 17pts.  Can he keep that going throughout the game?  I don't think so.

11:19:  Halftime's over, and Carolina comes out stiff again.  They actually let that midget Marcus Austin leap up like Mario from Super Mario Bros and snatch a rebound in the paint.  What's with that?  Regardless, Carolina's still down by four as no one has scored since halftime.  Meanwhile, Kentucky has extended their lead to eight.

11:26:  Carolina made back to back three's, but then fell off and allowed Foye to hit another three.  Great.  And on top of that, May gets dunked on on the next Nova possession.  Villanova is playing a very scrappy defense which is frustrating Carolina on the offensive end.  And of course, the refs will let them play when Carolina has the ball, but lord knows if a small bump occurs on the opposite end, Nova's gonna get the blocking call.  40-37 with 15 mins left.

Meanwhile, Kentucky leads by five with 12 and a half left in the game.  I can't watch that game, so I can't say much about it.

11:35:  I am really frustrated at the refs for calling at the officiating in this game.  Villanova literally mugged Noel on the other end, yet no call.  Come back the other way, and they call a cheap block.  Utterly ridiculous calls, and Roy Williams is starting to get on them for their inconsistency.  But somehow, Carolina has fought back to tie the game at 42.

11:45:  Carolina is finally starting to get a hold of this game.  They are starting to use their talent to play Villanova hard, and are starting to work them on every possession.  I also like how they are starting to slow down the game and feed it inside where they can't compete.

As soon as I say that, the defense laxed and they are about to allow Villanova to tie up the game.  UNC's up 50-49 after being up by five.

12:00:  Carolina is now starting to pull away, and their defense is making Villanova force shots.  They're also starting to make the three pointer their first option, which is the wrong thing to do.  Villanova shouldn't panic so early.  Carolina up by nine after an 11-2 run with 4:14 to go.

12:05:  Bill Raftery: "If you don't knock em down, you're in trouble."

Really Bill?

Foye is playing hard.  You can tell he's a street baller, and that might help him get a couple of looks from the NBA.  However, Villanova can't sink any shots, and against Carolina you got to be able to put up some points.  Felton's fouled out, but Carolina's up by five with two minutes to go.

Meanwhile, Kentucky has pretty much wrapped their game up with Utah, as they lead by nine with :42 to go.

12:11:  Carolina has allowed them to get back into this game.  Unbelievable.  Held the ball, but continue to turn it over and now Villanova is getting some fast breaks.  Nova is going to the line down by three with 40 seconds to go.

Foye hits one, but misses and tries to get his own rebound...behind the back called on Foye, so it's Carolina's ball with 40 seconds left and up by two.

12:16:  I swear I'll be glad when the officiating crew is off the court.  They better not call Sunday's game.  Anyway, Nova is down by three, they miss the last ft, get the offensive rebound and call the timeout.  They get one last shot at this with 11.6 seconds left in the game.

12:20:  I was about to have a cow, because they blew the whistle before he was fouled.  Fortunately, they called the walk, which he did do before the foul and was a surprising good call.  Everyone is booing in Syracuse.

McCants has missed his first, but hit his second, and Carolina leads by four with 7.6 left.

Tonight was way too close for comfort.  Carolina looked like a different team than the one who dominated Oakland and Iowa State last weekend.  If they come in there like that against Wisconsin the ACC won't have a spot in the Final Four.

Carolina wins, 67-66.

That's it for tonight.  I'll probably liveblog the first Elite Eight game, but I'm not sure about the rest.

UPDATE:  Clark Kellogg and the other guy don't know what they are talking about.  The steps are counted once the ball leaves the hand, not when he grabs it.  That's three steps, and that's a walk.  Get over it.

Posted at 10:10 pm by Expertise
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Sweet Sixteen Friday thread.

Oops!  I forgot to give my picks:

- Michigan State over Duke

- North Carolina over Villanova

- Kentucky over Utah

- NC State over Wisconsin

Alright, so here we go...

CBS has it on Duke/Michigan State, but I will also have NC State/Wisconsin on once the tipoff starts there.  That's the perks of living in the Triangle.

Right now nothing much going on.  Duke tried to start out fast but Michigan State eventually evened it up.  Score's 10-8 Duke.

Oh; and it should be noted that I did go 4-0 on my picks yesterday.  Braggin rights and all that.

7:37:  NC State/Wisconsin is under way.  Elian Etimov has sick range.  After a bit of exchanging baskets, Etimov hits a three and another basket places NC State up by seven, 16-9.

In the other game, Michigan State is cold, but is able to keep it within a possession.  Duke's up by two.

7:45:  Michigan State is playing Duke's game right now:  defensive oriented and physical.  While they are coming up with good plays, they need to find a way to slow down Nelson and Williams in the paint.  Duke's up by five with about four minutes left in the half.

NC State is starting to open it up on Wisconsin already.  These boys didn't come to play games.  State's up by 10.  Oh, and Bill Raftery is HILARIOUS.

7:54:  Duke's already turned the ball over 10 times with two minutes left in the half.  Coach K is already working the refs over.  We'll see how that plays out as the game goes on.  Duke's up by two with a minute to go.

7:58:  Meanwhile, NC State and Wisconsin has started to get sloppy.  That helps NC State, who's still up by eight.  A lot of fouls and turnovers are being made here.  23-15 with six minutes to go.

8:02:  Will someone tell Billy Packer to calm down?  It's bad enough when he's cheerleading for Duke throughout the whole half, even trying to make cases of clean blocks when everyone and their momma's can see they were fouls, but I'm sure the refs can look into the monitor and see the clock was late.  Geez.  Duke and Michigan State are tied at halftime.

8:10:  Bill Raftery:  "Oh my god, they just can't get out of their own way."

I concur.  I thought last night's Texas Tech/West Virginia game was bad.

Speaking of which, did you hear about how the state celebrated last night?  Set off 50 fires.  And they know there is nothing but mountains and trees out there.  If my dad (who is a forest ranger) calls me to tell me he has to go to Po-dunk, WV to go battle a fire, I'mma be pissed.

Anwyay, State's up 30-21 at halftime.

Another note, No team has scored more than 75 points on Wisconsin this year.  That's pretty consistent defense.  It looks like that won't change tonight, but Wisconsin at this rate won't get more than 50.  They only scored 45 against Illinois in the Big Ten tourney, so it's possible.

8:30:  Duke/Michigan State starts the second half.  MSU started sloppy, but then two big threes along with layup transitioned from a steal gives Michigan State it's first lead of the game.  Coach K gives his boys a powder. 40-36.

Also, I don't think Duke fans are going to be happy because they were put on the Fox affiliate while NC State got the bigger audience on WRAL 5.  Then again, State fans would moan too if they were in that spot, so oh well.

8:45:  Both ACC teams are struggling now.  Duke is down by six with 13:00 left to go, and Wisconsin has come out of the second half firing.  NC State is still up, but their lead is down to three.

8:50:  Damn...MSU's Brown really took off with that dunk.  It's as if the only guy that's trying to step up for Duke is Melchionni.  He's hit seven of Duke's last ten points (Reddick hit a three, which gave him eight points).  If Reddick and Williams don't get their heads into the game, Duke's going home tonight.  They're down by seven with less than nine to play.

NC State is trying to fend off Wisconsin, and taking their time with their possessions.  That's the kind of game Wisconsin likes, too.  State's up by three with 12 minutes left.

9:00:  Wisconsin has really played well in the second half, and NC State looks so sloppy.  The Badgers look to pull away, as they are up by eight with less than nine left in the game.

Meanwhile, Duke has crept back into their game and is playing with some grit.  I'm impressed how Melchionni is stepping up.  60-56 with 6 minutes left.

9:05:  Williams goes out of the game with his fourth foul.  Not good.  Duke's interior will suffer now.  You would think MSU would attack the basket now that the monster is out and Randolph stays prone to fouling.  Nah, they send it to the arc and hits the three.  66-60 MSU with less than four mins to go.

9:12:  Wisconsin keeps looking as if they are going to pull away, but here comes Etimov with another clutch three.  NC State needs to take every possession seriously.  State has cut it to four with 4:40 left.

Meanwhile, Sheldon Williams has fouled out.  I don't know why Coach K felt pressured to put him back in the game so early after his fourth foul.  And he was drew into the foul by Paul Davis on a very clever pump fake.  Davis gets the three point play, 69-63 with two and a half left.  This isn't looking good for Duke.

9:20:  Reddick and Melchionni better step up.  I don't think they can allow Michigan State to score more than a basket for the rest of the game.  MSU leads 70-66 with 1:30 left.

9:25:  Both Duke and State need big plays.  They are making pretty nice defensive plays, but both are down by two possessions with about a minute left in the game; 72-68 MSU over Duke and 59-54 Wisconsin over State.  They better hope both miss some free throws.

9:30:  Well, both ACC teams will go down.  Michigan State has run away with it against Duke, and Wisconsin has as well.  Wisconsin was simply the better team, as they adjusted to NC State in the second half and kept it close until they put it away.  There are some folks in North Carolina that will really be pissed that they tuned in to watch two of their schools bomb out at the same time.  If I'm not mistaking, this is a second straight exit by Duke in the Sweet Sixteen.

I really have to question Coach K's thought process by placing Williams back in the game so early with four fouls.  Duke didn't have a chance once he got his fifth.  JJ Redick played piss poor tonight, as he has throughout the tournament.  It was only a matter of time where their poor play would catch up with them against a competent team like Michigan State.

As for NC State, this will get the Wolfpack fans grumbling again, but Wisconsin has a great defense and can make plays.  State was a 10th seed, and Wisconsin did get to the Big Ten finals, so it can't be considered an upset.  With Hodge leaving this year, Herb Sendek will have to do this all over again in order to keep his job.

Just in case you didn't know, I've already started a new thread for the other games.  Click home and check out session II.

Posted at 07:22 pm by Expertise
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de novo.

If there wasn't enough controversy surrounding Congress's actions last Sunday allowing the federal courts to review Schindler v. Schaivo, now there are conservatives that are accusing the courts of flouting the legislation Congress passed.

Indeed, Congress did order a de novo review of the case, but now I'm wondering if that provision is indeed constitutional?  Does Congress have the right to lay out the process of review for the federal courts?  It's one thing for an appellate court to call for the review themselves, but I'm skeptical of Congress's power with this option.

I'm not a law student or professor by any means, but it would seem to me that the Congressional action could be likened to double jeopardy (albeit this is not a criminal case).  Whether we believe the federal courts' decisions on Schindler v. Schaivo are correct, I'm inclined to believe that Congress doesn't have the power to order this procedure in a civil or criminal court case.

If you can give me some insight on this or show me a legal prescedent of where this has happened before, please feel free to show me.  But I think a number of folks (Hewitt, Powerline, etc.) are a bit off base on this one.

Posted at 04:51 pm by Expertise
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