What a sad, sad week for sports.Oh sure, there was Separation Saturday, one of the most exciting 24-hour periods of the year in college football. The MLB divisional races are heating up, with the Mets celebrating their first division title in years and the Padres-Dodgers clashing in L.A. And then, of course, there was the start of the NFL season (which kind of speaks for itself there).But every once in a while, you hear about those awful stories where people begin to take their sports too seriously. Some moron flies off the handle for one ridiculous reason or another and goes too far, in one respect or another.This week, quite unfortunately, was one of those even rarer weeks … a week that saw three such occurrences.First, there was the highly publicized case out at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, where five Duquesne basketball players — none of whom reportedly were doing anything illegal or out of the ordinary — were shot. Two have been left seriously injured, with one, Sam Ashaolu, fighting for his life in the days after the incident. Thankfully, a report says he is gaining strength at this point, though he remains in critical condition.Apparently, at least two non-students at Duquesne crashed a campus dance party and resorted to putting bullets in half the basketball team after a seemingly harmless altercation. The saddest part is, from what it sounds like, this wasn’t exactly Miami Beach. Students and faculty alike call Duquesne a very safe campus.On the other hand, the great news (besides the improvement of Ashaolu’s condition) is that the perpetrators are being arrested one by one, and justice will be served with Duquesne expecting to have a normal basketball season this winter.However, there’s the lesser-known shooting in Dandridge, Tenn., from Monday evening. While each of the players from the Duquesne travesty is expected to survive, this next story does not have such a satisfying ending.As a youth baseball game ended in Dandridge, a small town 30 miles east of Knoxville, at the baseball diamond locals call the “Field of Dreams,” the scene turned into a field of nightmares as three people were killed with a fourth wounded at the scene.An interesting oddity of the story: the three fatal victims were each over the age of 60. You don’t see that every day, a bunch of old-timers getting violent in a sports situation.But police say the event came simply out of an “ongoing family dispute, and it wasn’t related to anything there at the ballfield.” Well, then what was it related to? My money says that a questionable call happened on the field, the game ended, and competitive spirit got the best of the fans, resulting in three confusing deaths.Folks, this ain’t the Little League World Series. And it ain’t the Pop Warner Super Bowl, either. This isn’t one of the three events I’m referring to, but I’m sure most people have seen or heard of the overzealous parent/coach who left the bench and cold-cocked a 13-year-old kid on the opposing team on Sept. 7.I’m all for protecting your kid and all, but is body slamming another young kid, putting his life in jeopardy, really the solution? Seriously, dude, use your head.So then the third of these incidents … well, it wasn’t really an incident, but the fact that one of the officials of the Oregon-Oklahoma catastrophe has received death threats is an embarrassing example of how we let our sports get the best of us all too often.Here’s my disclaimer, before you shoot off those angry e-mails: Those miscalls were up there with the worst of all time. I’m not going to advocate any conspiracy theories that the Pac-10 refs were favoring their team, but I’m not exactly going to shoot them down, either. It’s a real possibility (and if it’s true, well, that’s a whole other issue).That said, I think the president of the University of Oklahoma, David Boren, may be exaggerating a tad when he proclaims the refs’ mistakes an “outrageous injustice” and calls for the result of the game to be voided, aiding the Sooners in the BCS race.I’ll give you an outrageous injustice: Even though Gordon Reise made a mistake — OK, a really big mistake that never should have happened — the instant replay official of the game should not be receiving death threats over the phone. College football’s a big game, sure, but it’s just a game.There aren’t many times that I feel saddened when it comes to sports (well, the Yankees officially clinched the division yesterday; that brought me down a bit … but I digress), and I hate seeing sports fans unable to handle their competitive sides.It’s gotten to the point where even Sooners head coach Bob Stoops — after consistently beating on the Pac-10 repeatedly since Saturday — has asked the fans to let it go. Reise says that one call was directed at his wife and kids.The fact that these callers are also threatening Reise’s family for a mistake he made? That’s an outrageous injustice, President Boren …One outrageous injustice, among many, many more. For this week, too many.Share your thoughts on Duquesne, OU-Oklahoma or anything else on your mind at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CHICAGO – When Malcolm Brogdon heard that Jim Boeheim compared him to Golden State Warriors sharpshooter Klay Thompson, the Virginia players to Brogdon’s right chuckled. It’s a lofty comparison, but Boeheim has coached both on the national level and likened the UVA senior, in some ways, to one of the best players in the NBA.“They play both ends of the court, they don’t say much, they just let their games do the talking for them,” Boeheim said. “Malcolm is not quite as good a shooter as Klay, but nobody is, either.”Brogdon finds a handful of his shots curling around screens and pulling up right away, but the 2-3 zone doesn’t lend nicely to that approach. He’s one of four finalists for the 2016 Naismith Trophy given to the country’s best player and scored a team-high 21 points in UVA’s win against the Orange earlier this season, so he’s more than capable of adapting to the more-foreign-than-not defensive looks SU will throw at him.Still, the connection of Virginia’s point guards to its best player will be tested at a time when the zone is playing its best as 10th-seeded Syracuse (22-13, 9-9 Atlantic Coast) steamrolls into an Elite Eight bout with No. 1 seed Virginia (29-7, 13-5) on Sunday night at the United Center.“Malcolm will be a huge part of getting into the middle of the zone,” UVA point guard London Perrantes said. “We may not be able to set as many screens, but we have some playmakers with and without the ball.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textMORE COVERAGEDougherty: Syracuse-Virginia will be a rare clash of brand-name defenses3 things Jim Boeheim said: Timeouts, Tyler Roberson and Tony BennettTrevor Cooney is driving into the paint more by designDougherty: The ACC, with half the Elite 8, was an especially important proving ground for SyracuseTyler Lydon showing growth defensively in NCAA Tournament10 fun facts about VirginiaSyracuse basketball predictions for Elite Eight matchup with Virginia3 things Tony Bennett said: Michael Gbinije, Malachi Richardson and owning the zone The playmakers with the ball are Perrantes and Devon Hall. The main one without it, Brogdon. He too has a similar repertoire to Kyle Wiltjer, who roasted Syracuse from all over on Friday as the receiver of passes. Brogdon shoots almost 47 percent from the field and just under 40 percent from 3-point range, possessing an ability to finish in a variety of ways while averaging 18.4 points per game.On Saturday, a day before he tries to replicate what Wiltjer did to the Orange, Brogdon kept the same stoic look for almost the entirety of the 15 minutes Virginia players were at the podium. When he did speak, he answered questions crisply and without the same jovial smile that the four teammates beside him did. In a way it mimics how he plays, smooth, efficient and lacking flare.That’s part of what makes Brogdon so lethal, his balanced attack in Virginia’s first win against Syracuse this season a combination of three 2-pointers, three 3-pointers and six free throws. Nothing stood out too much in his stat line, just like he didn’t stand out too much with the personalities of Perrantes and Anthony Gill.“He’s an underrated offensive player,” Boeheim said. “He’s just a really good basketball player, doesn’t say a lot. I like those guys…they don’t have big celebrations when they make normal plays that they make, which are great plays.”Two of those plays, back-to-back long balls in a 31-second span, quickly made a one-point game with under six minutes left a seven-point one, and Syracuse couldn’t recover in an eventual eight-point loss that snapped its three-game winning streak.“I think the trap that the zone presents is shooting quick shots, shooting your first open shot, not getting them moving and just settling,” Brogdon said. “Not settling and getting the shots that you want later in the shot clock I think is the key.”Just over two months later, Virginia has a chance to repeat what it did on Jan. 24 and stifle yet another Syracuse 3-game run.This time, it would end it altogether, with no chance for the Orange to bounce back. But Syracuse too has a second chance, a shot at redemption to slow down one of the country’s best players and keep its Cinderella run intact for one more game. Comments Published on March 26, 2016 at 6:43 pm Contact Matt: email@example.com | @matt_schneidman Facebook Twitter Google+