Top 5 Moments in NCAA Basketball Rivalries

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basketball-in-netRivalries abound in NCAA basketball, and a game fought between rivals can have the intensity of a gladiator fight to the death.

However, big games played between rivals in which division trophies, tournament victories or national championships are at stake can become some of the most memorable games in college basketball lore. Let’s journey back through time to reminisce about some of the most nerve-wracking, spine-tingling NCAA rivalry matchups in history.

Oklahoma vs. Kansas — 1988 NCAA Final

Jayhawks coach Larry Brown led KU to the 1986 Big 8 conference title and posted a record of 135-44 during his tenure on the Kansas sidelines. Further east in Oklahoma, Billy Tubbs and the Sooners claimed three Big 8 conference championships between 1983 and 1987. Earlier in the 1988 season, Oklahoma won both of its matchups with Kansas. However, the Jayhawks were giving a magnificent tournament performance as both teams rolled into the NCAA final.

At halftime, the teams were tied 50-50. The first half was the highest-scoring first half in NCAA championship history. However, Kansas eventually pulled away and won 83-79, thanks to an outstanding 31-point contribution from Danny Manning. Manning became the Jayhawks’ all-time leading scorer and was a two-time NBA All-Star. Manning was also elected to the Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame and is currently head coach of the University of Tulsa men’s basketball team.

Duke vs. North Carolina — 1989 ACC Tournament Final

Duke and North Carolina have one of the fiercest rivalries in all of sports, and the 1989 ACC final pitted the two title-hungry teams against each other in one of their greatest matchups ever. During that season the teams had split their two regular season matchups, but the Tar Heels hadn’t won a national To say that the game got ugly was an understatement, with legendary Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski hurling an F-bomb at his rival, Carolina head coach Dean Smith. At the end of the game, Duke’s Danny Ferry fired a 75-foot shot that nearly went in, but rimmed out and North Carolina won the game, 77-74.

UConn vs. Tennessee — 2003 NCAA Women’s Final

There has been no greater rivalry in NCAA women’s basketball than the one between Pat Summitt’s Lady Vols and Geno Auriemma’s UConn women. In 1995, the No.2 Huskies defeated the No.1 Lady Vols on ESPN, putting Connecticut on to the women’s basketball map. After that win, the two rivals continued to play heated matchups both in Storrs and in Knoxville.

In 2003, UConn started its season without 2002 seniors Swin Cash, Tamika Williams, Ashja Jones and Sue Bird. They did, however, have one weapon left: the incomparable Diana Taurasi. Taurasi scored 28 points and hit four of nine three-point attempts to defeat Tennessee 73-68, leaving Coach Auriemma, in his words, “speechless.”

basketball-ball-in-watercolor-styleLouisville vs. Kentucky — 1983 Mideast

Louisville and Lexington are about 80 miles apart, but the two men’s basketball teams at the University of Kentucky and Louisville have been in each other’s faces for decades. When the two teams met in the 1983 Mideast regional final, they hadn’t gone head to head in the NCAA tournament since 1959.

Although Kentucky led 37-30 during the first half, however, their passing got sloppy, and a jump shot from Kentucky’s Jim Master tied the game 62-all at the buzzer. The game went into overtime, and Louisville took total control. They outscored the Wildcats 18-6 in the last five minutes to win 80-68.

Duke vs. Kentucky — 1992 NCAA Final

Malcolm Moran of the New York Times reported that when President George H.W. Bush headed out for a walk to Lafayette Park on the morning after the 1992 NCAA final, he asked, “Did you see the ending of the Duke game?” For those who watched and especially the 17,878 in attendance, the Duke-Kentucky matchup is probably the greatest game in college basketball history.

Duke’s Christian Laettner earned a technical foul earlier in the night when he purposely stepped on Wildcats freshman Aminu Timberlake. However, Laettner rocketed to mythical status in the last seconds of the game when he caught a 75-foot inbound pass from Grant Hill and fired a 17-foot basket to beat the buzzer. Duke won the game 104-103 — and the championship trophy, too.

About the Author: Tommy Lake is a basketball enthusiast and a collector of NCAA memorabilia. He frequently bets on college sports and recommends www.sportsbookbonus.com.

Could the Mavericks’ new backcourt be their ace in the hole?

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mavs005It has been a busy off-season in Dallas. The Mavericks have been in a state of limbo since winning the 2011 NBA Finals. Now, they’re trying to start over from scratch again. First, they tried to lure in Chris Paul. When that didn’t pan out, they went after Dwight Howard but again, no dice. Despite the off-season setbacks, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has nonetheless managed to bring in some additional offensive firepower to help keep the heat off of aging star Dirk Nowitzki.

New shooting guard Monta Ellis has been tasked with taking over the scoring duties for the German superstar. With a career average of almost 20 points per game, Ellis should provide a much-needed boost for the team. Nowitzki is a beast when healthy, but his health concerns hobbled the Mavericks during the 2012-2013 season. Along with small forward Shawn Marion’s constantly improving three-point shooting, the addition of Ellis as an offensive option will hopefully open up the court enough so that Nowitzki doesn’t take the pounding that star players normally go through.

If we think of Nowitzki, Ellis, and Marion as the Mavericks’ three offensive aces, then all the team needs for a four of a kind is another one. The acquisition of new starting point guard Jose Calderon may yet prove to be the NBA equivalent of an ace in the hole. Calderon is a terrific 3-point shooter who shot 46.1% from beyond the arc last season. The thing is, Calderon only took less than 10 shots per game last season even though he was on the court for 30 minutes per game. As a point guard, Calderon is a great ball distributor but he should take advantage of his shooting skills and start taking more shots. He may yet become the key to another winning season for Dallas.

(RELATED: CHECK OUT THE MAVERICKS SALARY CAP SITUATION)

Sticking to the poker analogy which you can find a lot of on PartyPoker on Twitter, a four of a kind still isn’t the highest hand. What keeps it outside the flush zone is Dallas’ lackluster defense but in basketball, as it is in poker, you play the cards you’re dealt. We’ll find out if Dallas finally has a winning hand again once the 2013-2014 season kicks off later this year.

Tweet of the Night: LeBron James unveils new football uniforms for alma mater

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Miami Heat All-Star LeBron James has been known to be very generous and always talks about his days at Akron, especially at his high school St. Vincent-St. Mary. This time, the Akron-bred NBA superstar gave back to his high school football team, for which he was also an All-State wide receiverScreen Shot 2013-08-11 at 2.14.01 AM.

James unveiled St. Vincent-St. Mary’s new football uniforms, which were created by Nike and LeBron himself. The new uniforms are called the new LeBron X Nike, exclusive uniforms to only James’ alma mater.

Even though the people of Cleveland and Akron may still have hatred towards LeBron for the 2010 Decision to take his talents to South Beach, but he is by far the most generous and charitable person in the community.

Just look at those uniforms in the Instagram photo James posted (right). They are slick. Black uniforms, black/chrome helmets, a golden leprechaun on the helmet, and stylish green Nike font on the name and number.

Maybe Cleveland and Akron fans do not care much about James showing off his alma maters new uniforms, which he styled himself in front of the team, the true question is if LeBron wants to re-join the Cavs in 2014?

A group of Kyrie Irving, Andrew Bynum, Dion Waiters, and Tristan Thompson to be with could be very enticing for the former Cleveland Cavalier.

St. Vincent-St. Mary may care about their new uniforms, but the community really wants to know if LeBron wants to come home and play for the Cavaliers again in 2014.

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Tweet of the Day: LeBron going hard this offseason

Tweet of the Night: Deron Williams tells Mason Plumlee to not get kicked out of rookie program

Evan Sidery is a contributor to Sheridan Hoops. Follow him on Twitter @ESidery.

Tweet of the Night: DeShawn Stevenson wants to play for the Heat

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Ever since LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined forces alongside Dwayne Wade down in South Beach, many veteran free agents have been clamoring to join them for a title run.

Now, with Greg Oden signing for the veteran’s minimum on Friday with Miami, another veteran free agent wants to join him.

DeShawn Stevenson, who was recently waived by the Atlanta Hawks, expressed his interest in joining the Miami Heat on Twitter Saturday night.

Tweet of the Day: Stephen Curry announces his new #SC30 contest

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Stephen Curry is one of the easier guys to tweet at and get a response on Twitter. That is why Curry takes advantage of it with his #SC30 contests. Curry does a monthly contest for his Twitter followers to participate in,

This time, Curry has a new #SC30 for the fans to do.

Curry’s new contest is “Where in the World is Stephen Curry?”

This is where his followers have to guess where Curry will be throughout the month. Stephen’s first journey before the contest begins is in Tanzania with the Malaria foundation “Nothing but Nets”.

Where will Curry be next? Find out throughout the month on Curry’s Twitter page.