2013年3月31日星期日

Final Four teams shook off regular-season blahs


By BLAIR KERKHOFF


The Kansas City Star


The Kansas City Star


Updated: 2013-04-01T05:17:27Z






Michael Conroy


The Cardinals, who defeated Duke 85-63 on Sunday to capture the Midwest Regional, are the only top seeded team headed to Saturday’s national semifinals in Atlanta.




Which Final Four team will win the national championship? Participate in our poll and leave your comments below.


Your vote has been counted, thank you for voting.




College basketball’s last four standing each has a regular-season stretch to forget.


Louisville dropped three straight.Michigan fell to a conference opponent that owned a 0-14 league record.Wichita State had a three-game losing skid that included a pratfall at the last-place team.Syracuse was leaking so much oil, losing four of five to end the regular season, Coach Jim Boeheim wonder if his team was through.“I was concerned,” Boeheim said. “We were really in trouble.”Now, he’s in the Final Four because, like the others, the Orange didn’t panic. They adjusted, regained confidence and played their best ball over the past two weeks to create a bracket-busting Final Four.The Cardinals, who defeated Duke 85-63 on Sunday to capture the Midwest Regional, are the only top seeded team headed to Saturday’s national semifinals in Atlanta. Michigan and Syracuse are No. 4 seeds, and the Shockers are the first No. 9 seed in the Final Four since 1979, which was also the last time a Missouri Valley Conference team got this far.But Louisville will arrive with a heavy heart after the gruesome injury to sophomore guard Kevin Ware. In the first half of Sunday’s game, Ware raced out to defend a three-point attempt by Duke’s Tyler Thornton in front of the Louisville bench. When Ware landed his right leg snapped below the knee. Louisville bench players immediate reacted with horror, and so did Thornton. Cardinals on the floor dropped to knees in tears.As he was being attended to at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, “all he kept saying was ‘Win the game,’” said Cardinals Coach Rick Pitino.Louisville responded with one of their most impressive victories of the season, running away from the Blue Devils in the second half behind lightening quick guards Russ Smith and Peyton Siva.Pitino and Boeheim are old hands at this, having each won national titles, Pitino with Kentucky in 1996, Boeheim in 2003. It’s the first Final Four for Michigan’s John Beilein and the Shockers’ Gregg Marshall.The Cardinals will meet Wichita State on Saturday in a battle of old Missouri Valley rivals in a game that will tip at 5:09 p.m. The Shockers knocked out three teams with better seeds, including the nation’s top-ranked team, Gonzaga, in the third-round, and No. 2-seed Ohio State in Saturday’s West Regional final.Wichita State is making its first Final Four appearance since 1965, but the Shockers, who fell to last-place Southern Illinois during their bad stretch, say they belong and won’t be intimidated by the surroundings of the sports’ grandest stage this weekend.“We’ve got the same potential, regardless if they know who we are or not,” said junior forward Cleanthony Early.The Michigan-Syracuse semifinal at 7:49 p.m., offers the most contrasting styles in the Final Four.The Wolverines ability to light up two of the nation’s best defensive teams – Florida and Kansas _ pushed the program into its first Final Four since Chris Webber’s ill-fated timeout late against North Carolina cost the Michigan and the Fab Five a chance at the 1993 national title. That appearance was the program’s third Final Four in five years, winning the title in 1989.But when the Wolverines lost at Penn State, which was 0-14 at the time, such a run didn’t seem possible.At the regional in Arlington, Tex., the offense kicked into high gear. Against the nation’s leader in field-goal percentage defense, Michigan shot 54 percent after halftime and made up a 14-point defensive in the final six minutes of regulation to beat Kansas in overtime 87-85 on Friday. Trey Burke’s 28-footer that forced the extra time will long be remembered in Michigan basketball lore.The Wolverines made it look easy against Florida, especially guard Nik Stauskas, who made all six of his three-point attempts in Michigan’s 79-59 victory. In the first half, as Michigan established command, seven of 11 three-pointers dropped.Michigan’s winning margin was the greatest in a regional final since 1999.Syracuse has put choke holds on opponents throughout its Final Four run, none tighter in Saturday’s East final against fellow Big East member Marquette. The Orange won 55-39, as the Golden Eagles set an NCAA Tournament record for fewest points in a regional final since the shot clock was introduced in 1986. The team’s 2-3 zone has been suffocating during the tournament and have taken Boehiem back to his fourth Final Four.“These guys have come a long ways in three weeks,” Boeheim said.All final four have.

To reach Blair Kerkhoff, call 816-234-4730 or send email to bkerkhoff@kcstar.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/BlairKerkhoff.







Louisville upsets No. 1 Baylor 82-81


— Louisville shot its way to one of the biggest upsets in the history of the women's NCAA tournament, stunning Brittney Griner and Baylor on Sunday night.







Shoni Schimmel scored 22 points and Monique Reid hit two free throws with 2.6 seconds left to lift fifth-seeded Cardinals over the defending national champions 82-81, ending Griner's incredible career.


The Cardinals hit 16 3-pointers, matching the NCAA record, to pull off the shocking victory.


Odyssey Sims scored 29 points and hit a pair of free throws with 9.1 seconds left to give the Lady Bears (34-2) their only lead of the game.


Reid caught an inbounds pass near the baseline after that and went coast to coast before getting fouled by Griner on her way to the basket.


Sims had one last chance to save Baylor's season after Reid's free throws but was off-target and late on a desperation heave.


The Lady Bears had been practically invincible for the past four months, winning 32 straight games mostly by double digits.


Louisville (27-8) tied an NCAA record with 16 3-pointers to pull off the upset.


"I told our kids we're going to come out and fire it up. We got nothing to lose," Louisville coach Jeff Walz said. "Our goal was to make this a street ball game."


Sims dropped to the floor after her miss, pulling her jersey over her face and kicking her legs as she lay flat on her back.


Griner squatted near her and slapped the floor with both hands before pulling Sims up to her feet.


It was the end of a remarkable college career for Griner, a record-setting 6-foot-8 post player who ended up as the second-highest scoring player in NCAA history.


Griner, who had averaged 33 points in Baylor's first two games in the tournament, didn't make a basket until she converted a putback with 15:20 left in the second half. She wound up with 14 points and 10 rebounds, making only four of her 10 shots and being a relative non-factor for her considerable stature.


Louisville surrounded Griner as she has been most of her career, and her teammates were unusually unable to hit outside shots and relieve the pressure.


It was Sims who eventually led Baylor's attempted comeback from a 17-point deficit in the final 7 1/2 minutes, after Louisville's barrage of 3-pointers finally came to an end.


Sims hit a pair of free throws and then got a steal in the backcourt for a layup that got Baylor back within a dozen, and the Lady Bears put together a 19-4 run to get within striking distance in the final 2 minutes.


Walz was called for a technical foul for arguing after he watched a scoreboard replay of an offensive foul whistled against Bria Smith, with a Baylor defender sliding under her after she took off.


Sims hit the resulting free throws and then a runner to get the Lady Bears within 78-76 with 1:49 to play.


After a Megan Deines layup off a baseline inbounds play, Sims answered with a 3-pointer to cut it to one with 35.8 seconds left. She then hit two free throws to put Baylor ahead after Jude Schimmel fumbled an inbounds pass under her own basket, Griner picked it up and passed it to Sims.


The Lady Bears still couldn't close it out.


Antonita Slaughter hit seven 3-pointers for 21 points and Shoni Schimmel had five 3s.


As a team, Louisville was 16 for 25 to tie the NCAA tournament mark reached by four other teams and make the most ever in the regional semifinals or beyond.


Three Cardinals starters fouled out, starting with Shoni Schimmel with 4:21 left, with a 23-14 foul disparity in the game.


"These kids followed the game plan to perfection. I gotta give all the credit to them," Walz said. "They believe in what we do as a coaching staff."






Elf 'n' safety threat to out street lamps: Councils may have to put up own poles at a cost of £1,000 each



  • For years councils have fixed street lights to poles belonging to electricity firms

  • But the practice is now under threat following death of a BT engineer

  • National Association for Local Councils is seeking urgent talks with Government


By Daily Mail Reporter


|


Costly change: A move to ban councils from putting street lights on electricity poles could cost town halls 'millions of pounds'

Costly change: A move to ban councils from putting street lights on electricity poles could cost town halls 'millions of pounds'



Villages and towns across the country face reductions in street lighting because of a health and safety ruling.


For years, councils have fixed street lights to poles belonging to electricity firms, saving money and reducing street clutter. Phone companies used them too, combining three services in one pole.


However, the practice is under threat following the death of a BT engineer who was electrocuted while working on an electricity network pole.


Councils may have to erect their own poles for street lights, at a cost of around £1,000 each.


Parish and town councils are saying they just don’t have the money, so street lights will have to be turned off instead.


The National Association for Local Councils is seeking urgent talks with the Government over the policy which it estimates will cost authorities 'millions of pounds.'


A spokesman said: 'The National Association is extremely worried about the situation which arisen from this policy.


'The cost to local councils to maintain existing lighting with new types of poles is going to be disproportionate to the overall budgets of these councils.


'We know that in a small rural parish council in Cumbria that the costs could amount to £65,000; which is greater than its total annual budget.


'There is a risk that in some areas of the country there will be darkness which then is a risk to the vulnerable in our society and this is not right.'


Dan McLean of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) said: 'It’s daft really. What we don’t want is more infrastructure such as 'street furniture' being put up.


'There is no point having three poles next to each other, each carrying one service, when one pole will do.


'Surely people can be trained in the necessary safety procedures and the electricity, local authorities and communications services can collaborate with each other. That is the sensible option.'


Catalyst: The policy follows the death of a BT engineer

Catalyst: The policy follows the death of a BT engineer



The ban on hosting street lights was revealed by Electricity North West's chief executive, Steve Johnson. He says other companies are taking the same action.


Mr Johnson says other electricity companies across the UK are taking the same action.


Street lights are thought to deter crime and there are fears the move could lead to an upsurge in muggings, thefts and burglaries.


The move has horrified the parish of Beetham in Cumbria, which has just 1,724 residents and about 40 lamps fitted to electricity poles.


The council estimates it would cost £40,000 to replace them, twice its total annual expenditure.


Councillor Pru Jupe said: 'The Government is doing nothing at all to help. There is just no money to do this work and we will have to turn off all lights affected in this way if nothing is done to help.'


She said town and parish councils would be saddled with massive debt due to the change in health and safety policy.


'I appreciate that it is very sad that someone died after climbing an electric wire pole,' she said.


Blackout: The ban on hosting street lights was revealed by Electricity North West's chief executive, Steve Johnson. He says other companies are taking the same action

Blackout: The ban on hosting street lights was revealed by Electricity North West's chief executive, Steve Johnson. He says other companies are taking the same action



'However, we don’t have chapter and verse as to the exact circumstances and it seems to me that the key issue is training.


'We don’t close all roads, or stop people driving on them because of one single accident. The response has surely to be proportionate.'


A spokesman for Electricity North West said councils were alerted of this safety requirement two years ago to allow time to plan for the change.


'We have not sought to remove all such equipment immediately, rather we have phased the work over several years as part of our routine refurbishment work on electricity poles.


'We will continue to give councils six months notice when we will be removing the lighting from our poles.'


Tim Field of Energy Networks Association said: 'There is no obligation within the standard for a network provider to allow any attachments from third parties on their equipment, and each network operator will make decisions based on their own risk assessment.'







Now David Miliband quits Sunderland football club: Outgoing MP resigns over new manager Paolo Di Canio's fascist views



  • Di Canio was once fined by Fifa for making fascist salute to Lazio fans

  • Black Cats appoint former Swindon boss to replace Martin O'Neill


By Daily Mail Reporter


|


David Miliband last night said he was quitting his lucrative directorship of Premier League side Sunderland after it hired a manager with fascist views.


The former Labour foreign secretary announced last week he was leaving the country to head an international charity in New York.


He said he was stepping down from his job as Labour MP for South Shields but he did not say he was resigning from the board at Sunderland, a part-time position.


David Miliband, right, seen in the stands at the Stadium of Light for Saturday's game against Manchester United, resigned his Sunderland directorship yesterday after the appointment of Paolo Di Canio

David Miliband, right, seen in the stands at the Stadium of Light for Saturday's game against Manchester United, resigned his Sunderland directorship yesterday after the appointment of Paolo Di Canio



Paolo Di Canio was fined by Fifa for making a fascist salute to fans while playing for Italian club Lazio

Paolo Di Canio was fined by Fifa for making a fascist salute to fans while playing for Italian club Lazio



Mr Miliband joined the Wearside club in February 2011. Since then he has earned £125,000 for just 15 days of work.


However, the appointment of self-confessed fascist Paolo Di Canio did not find favour with the MP.


Di Canio was fined by Fifa for making a fascist salute while playing for Rome club Lazio.


In a statement on his website, Mr Miliband said: 'I wish Sunderland AFC all the success in the future. It is a great institution that does a huge amount for the North East and I wish the team very well over the next vital seven games.


'However, in the light of the new manager’s past political statements, I think it right to step down.'


As a boy, Di Canio was a junior member of the 'ultras', or extreme supporters, of Lazio, which was founded by Italian army officers in 1900 and reportedly has a tattoo of Mussolini, who supported the club.


He praised Italy’s former fascist dictator in his autobiography as 'basically a very principled, ethical individual'.


Done deal: Di Canio leaves the Stadium of Light after talks yesterday

Done deal: Di Canio leaves the Stadium of Light after talks yesterday



His appointment as Martin O'Neill's replacement also has upset some fans of Sunderland who are proud of the club’s working class and socialist background. The Stadium of Light was built on the last Wearside pit and has close associations with the remaining miners’ lodges in the region.


When Di Canio made the fascist salute in 1995, Mussolini’s granddaughter Alessandra said: 'What a delightful Roman salute! I was deeply moved.'


Di Canio, a former striker for West Ham said after the incident to Italian news agency ANSA in 2005: 'I am a fascist, not a racist.'







Girl with 'potentially fatal appendicitis could have died due to NHS helpline 111' after doctor failed to call her parents back



  • Beau Marshall's parents were assured a doctor would call back within hours

  • But more than week on, they have still not received a call from 111 service

  • The parents took Beau to hospital themselves as her condition worsened

  • The youngster was diagnosed within hours and has had appendix removed


By Neil Sears


|




'Could have died': Beau Marshall's parents are still waiting for a doctor to call them back more than a week after calling the 111 NHS helpline

'Could have died': Beau Marshall's parents are still waiting for a doctor to call them back more than a week after calling the 111 NHS helpline



A girl of ten could have died if her parents had relied on the controversial new NHS 111 helpline, they said last night.


Beau Marshall was ill with stomach cramps last Saturday when her worried mother Candice phoned the service that is being piloted in her area.


She spoke first to a call-centre worker, then to someone else with some medical training – who assured her a doctor would phone back within two hours to assess the little girl and possibly to arrange a home visit.


But more than a week on, the doctor has still not called and if Mrs Marshall had followed NHS advice her daughter could have died.


For when Beau's condition worsened, her parents drove to hospital themselves.


Within two hours, the youngster was diagnosed with potentially fatal appendicitis and her 'very inflamed' appendix was removed.


Last night Beau's parents added their voices to the growing concern over the introduction of the 111 service.


Doctors have warned lives could be at risk, saying some of the £16,000-a-year call-centre workers who are manning the phone lines are only partially trained.


As well as claims of potentially fatal conditions being missed, there have already been reports of ambulances being sent to people with hiccups.


The call-centre staff simply work through computer checklists to ascertain the seriousness of each call.


The idea is the new service combines the long-running NHS Direct helpline with local emergency out-of-hours services.


But staff have been recruited for as little as £8 per hour to man the phone lines. Job adverts suggest they require no medical experience but should have telesales experience and typing skills.


Controversy: Beau's parents added their voices to the concern over the 111 service (library image)

Controversy: Beau's parents added their voices to the concern over the 111 service (library image)



The British Medical Association has called for the introduction of the service across most of England to be delayed until problems are resolved.


Those taking the calls do not need to be medically trained at all, and instead work through computer check lists as callers tell them their symptoms. They may then be referred to speak on the phone with nurses or doctors if necessary.


Already in operation in 22 NHS regions, NHS 111 is due to 'go live' across the North of the Tyne and Tees area tomorrow and in a further 13 areas over the coming month.


Beau's father Paul Marshall, who lives with his wife, three daughters and young son in Bournemouth, said: 'When my daughter had stomach pains last Saturday, my wife dialled 111 and they told us a doctor would phone back within two hours.


'They still haven't phoned back yet. We took her to accident and emergency in the end, and within two-and-a-half-hours of Beau being seen by the triage nurse, she was being operated on.


'The 111 service was awful - they didn't know who was doing what. If we had solely gone on what they said, potentially she could have died.'


Mrs Marshall, a housewife, said: 'When I dialled 111 they asked me lots of questions. Because she had banged her head with a boy in her class, they were more interested her a non-existent head injury than the pain in her abdomen.


Concerns: Doctors have warned lives could be at risk because some staff are only partially-trained

Concerns: Doctors have warned lives could be at risk because some staff are only partially-trained



'She'd been sick as well, and that can be another sign of a head injury - but of course it is also a sign of appendicitis. The first guy I spoke to said he was going to be a clinician to phone back, and about ten minutes later someone did.


'She tried to get us an out-of-hours appointment at 9.30pm last Saturday, but couldn't get us one until the next day, so said “I'm going to get an out of hours doctor to phone you, and if he thinks it necessary he'll come out and assess her”. That was eight days ago. A doctor still hasn't called back.'


Beau was kept in hospital until Monday, and has made a full recovery.


A spokesman for NHS England, the body managing the NHS 111 service's introduction, said: 'This is a very important service for the public and we will make sure everything is in place to make a safe, high quality service that patients and the public can trust.


'Many sites are already up and running, but in areas where NHS 111 is not yet available we will make a thorough assessment of readiness before new sites are introduced.


'The public can be assured the areas that already have NHS 111 will continue this service. In those areas where NHS 111 is not yet in place they can ring NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. All GP surgeries also have messages advising what to do.'