March Madness starts off with a bang
by Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY Sports
In case you were out late partying Saturday night or went to bed early to get up for church, you missed some college basketball. Consider this the ibuprofen to your March Madness fever.
1. ‘One of the performances of the ages’
We talking ’bout practice? Not the game, but practice. Ryan Kelly must’ve been practicing harder than Rudy when he was a scrub at Notre Dame. Kelly scored 20 points … in the first half, and finished with 36. Dick Vitale almost hyperventilated. How ludicrous is it that a dude who’s been out with an injury since Jan. 8 can play major minutes, while almost single-handedly leading one of the country’s most tradition-rich programs to a must-win that kept its conference title hopes alive? It’s about as insane as an NBA MVP and scoring champion complaining about practicing, in my estimation.
Our beat writer Nicole Auerbach was onsite, having booked it from that VCU-Butler sleeper in Richmond all the way to Durham (sports writers go hard, people). Perhaps most impressively, she filed her story via phone because, well, it was crazy. Cameron Crazie. The best tidbit I took from Nicole’s piece on the 79-76 thriller was that coach Mike Krzyzewski is glad to have this Ryan Kelly guy back.
“We were all privileged to see one of the performances of the ages,” Krzyzewski said. Kelly, who has a little Christian Laettner in him, scored the most points by a Blue Devil in an ACC game since J.J. Redick dropped 40 on Virginia in 2006.
Moving forward, the Blue Devils’ win and overall finesse with one of their best players back makes it a real head-scratcher for what team becomes No. 1 in the country come Monday in the polls. Had Duke not stunningly collapsed at Virginia for a court-storming loss that got Coach K heated, the case for the nation’s top team would be a no-brainer. Instead, … [For more on Sunday Morning Hangover: March Madness starts off with a bang, click here.]