UCF Shocks UConn; A Deal To End The Lockout Could Be Near

UCF didn’t want to talk Big East. They were also apparently sick of hearing about UConn’s 16-game winning streak as well. Whether they make the jump to the Big East soon or not, the Knights let their play do the talking: we deserve to be there. Down 17 with 16 minutes to go against the defending champs, a team that hadn’t lost a game in seemingly forever, and sporting probably the best backcourt in the country… none of it fazed UCF. Behind Marcus Jordan (yes, the son of MJ) and Keith Clanton (both dropped 20, Jordan added seven rebounds and assists), they stormed back and beat the No. 4-ranked Huskies 68-63. Since starting 14-0 last season, UCF has had all sorts of problems, everything from a collapse on the court at the end of last year to NCAA investigations and suspensions. But behind a zone defense – and some terrible shooting from UConn – they set their world straight for at least one day. The Huskies couldn’t figure out the zone, shooting 2-18 from deep. Shabazz Napier nearly had more turnovers (seven) than points and assists combined (nine). Jeremy Lamb didn’t shoot well (5-16). And the only one who really had a decent game was Andre Drummond (13 points, nine rebounds, four blocks) … Ohio State and UNC rolled, Syracuse survived against Stanford (barely), Louisville got Rick Pitino his 250th career W at the school, and Pittsburgh, Creighton, Wisconsin, Vandy, Xavier and Florida all won easily. But in another shocker, Harvard gave Florida State a taste of its own medicine, holding the No. 20-ranked ‘Noles to 41 points in their five-point win. Of course, this will be characterized as a huge eye-opener, but Harvard is actually really solid this year. When you can win a game like that without one player scoring in double-digits, you’re doing something good … The two sides of the lockout met together to look for a deal on Black Friday, going over the same issues and dealing with the same problems for the first time since the negotiations fell off around an “ultimatum” and the legal system was called into action. The two sides want to get something done as early as next week so they can try to save the season, and as the issues hadn’t really changed, neither had the actors. They are pretty much picking up exactly where they left off. Most of the same names from both sides were present again, except for attorney Jeffrey Kessler. He’s been cited as a real pain for the owners throughout this process with his overly-aggressive behavior, so we’ll take that his absence is a good sign. Technically, these talks will act as a settlement of the players’ lawsuits, but they are more or less continued labor negotiations … If we do get a deal soon, it’ll be great. And if we do, as Shane Battier is saying, it’s going to be complete chaos for the free agents out there, and the players who have no guarantee about what they’re doing next season. Without an idea of what the new CBA would look like, and with no starting point to go off of, players like Battier will have to make very quick real-life decisions. If the lockout does end in the next few days or so, it’ll be great for the fans: lots of movement, trades and signings all over the place. But for the players, it’s going to be even more wild trying to figure out where to live … Not all NBA players have been playing in glorified 21 games masked as celebrity/charity games during the lockout. Byron Mullens is playing in prison. No, he’s not an inmate; He’s just there for the run. We’ve heard stories like this before – most recently about Jimmer Fredette growing up – but with the lockout, you might not expect someone to take a somewhat calculated risk like this. Apparently, Mullens has been working on his perimeter game. We doubt there are a lot of 7-0 inmates hanging around. Maybe this experience will help him actually get minutes this year … Under Armour has been DESTROYING the game during this lockout with an array of creative marketing campaigns, and their new commercials just might be their best ideas yet. Earlier, we showed you the clip on Brandon Jennings. He took us back home, to Compton, and let us really know where he comes from. Now check out this similar one from Kemba Walker, which runs like a day in the life of an NCAA champion and NBA rook coming home to his roots. Dope stuff. Do you think this one is better than the Jennings video? … And Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star tweeted that George Hill is close to agreeing to a deal with Olympiakos in Greece, and that it could be completed within the next 24 hours. It is expected to have an opt-out … We’re out like the Seminoles’ offense.

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