Blue II

Touching story: St. Louis’ No. 1 fan will not be bribed by Butler

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About a month ago, we wrote about a nine-year old from Missouri named Joshua Brown.

Joshua has a brain tumor, and through the Friends of Jaclyn program, he’s become close with the St. Louis basketball team.

He goes to the games, he hangs out with the players, and he’s been adopted by the team as a source of inspiration.

It really is a great story, and in a day and age where college athletes have become icons and investment properties for NBA teams, it’s refreshing to hear a story about a group of kids simply being there to bond with a fan that needs a pick-me-up.

Well, we weren’t the only ones to be touched by that story. From Tom Timmermann:

You may recall Joshua Brown, the 9-year-old brain tumor patient who I wrote about a few weeks back. I was talking to his parents before a recent game and they said that they recently got a box in the mail with small gifts from Butler – a little toy bulldog, a shirt, things like that – and a note that said they know that his favorite team is SLU, but if he was going to have a second-favorite team to root for other times, could it be Butler? Alas, the best they can hope for is third. After SLU, Josh’s favorite team is Wake Forest, where SLU director of basketball operations Mike Lepore went to school. (Lepore has spend a lot of time with Josh.)

There are two things I love about this:

– What a classy move from Butler. Bravo.

– Kudos to Joshua for not allowing his fan allegiances to be bought. He’s got his favorite teams, and no amount of t-shirts and stuffed Bulldogs will change that. As a true sports fan, I can respect that. And hey, there’s nothing wrong with third, right Butler?

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Ellis, Lucas lead No. 6 Kansas past No. 10 West Virginia

Kansas forward Landen Lucas (33) blocks a shot by West Virginia guard Tarik Phillip (12) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Lawrence, Kan., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
AP Photo/Orlin Wagner
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In the first meeting between No. 10 West Virginia and No. 6 Kansas, the Mountaineers dominated in their 74-63 win in Morgantown. Bob Huggins’ “Press Virginia” attack forced 22 Kansas turnovers, with the Jayhawks playing far too fast and loose with the basketball while also getting out-toughed by the Mountaineers. In the rematch Kansas (20-4, 8-3 Big 12) looked far better equipped to deal with West Virginia in both of those areas, winning by the final score of 75-65.

Kansas committed 15 turnovers, with Devonte’ Graham responsible for five of them, but they did not allow West Virginia (19-4, 8-3) to use those chances to kickstart their offense. The Mountaineers scored 13 points (one fewer than Kansas, which took advantage of ten WVU miscues) off of those turnovers and did not register a single fast break points. Having to play in the half-court more than they would have liked, West Virginia could not execute at the level they did in beating Baylor Saturday.

As a result Bob Huggins’ team shot 37.3 percent from the field and 5-for-20 from beyond the arc. The Mountaineers have shown signs of being able to win games in which they don’t force a high turnover count, but that wasn’t the case at Allen Fieldhouse.

If not for West Virginia grabbing better than 34 percent of their misses and scoring 14 second-chance points, the margin is likely even greater than the ten-point outcome due to the contract in offensive execution. Kansas pushed the ball early, getting out to an 8-0 lead, and as the game wore on the Jayhawks were much better in finding quality shot opportunities. Bill Self’s team shot 56.1 percent from the field with Perry Ellis scoring 21 points to lead five Jayhawks in double figures.

The tandem of Ellis and Landen Lucas, who grabbed a game-high 16 rebounds, won the battle against a WVU front court missing the suspended Jonathan Holton. Devin Williams, who went for 17 and 12 in the first meeting, finished the rematch with a respectable 14-point, nine-rebound effort but he didn’t get much help in the post from the likes of Elijah Macon and Nathan Adrian.

After having Self question their toughness in a home win over Kansas State six days ago, the Jayhawks have responded with wins over TCU and West Virginia. Obviously it’s tough to read too much into beating the Horned Frogs, because even with that game being in Fort Worth it’s one Kansas was expected to handle with ease. The Mountaineers posed a different, and far more rigorous test, and Kansas got the job done.

As a result the Jayhawks have brought West Virginia back to the pack in the Big 12 title race, making Saturday’s game at No. 3 Oklahoma even bigger than it already was.

VIDEO: North Carolina head coach Roy Williams collapses on sideline

Roy Williams
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North Carolina head coach Roy Williams collapsed during the second half of No. 2 North Carolina’s visit to Boston College on Tuesday night:

Roy Williams has dealt with vertigo in the past; it’s not abnormal for him to collapse on the sideline during games, and given that his team is currently losing to Boston College, it’s understandable that he may have screamed himself dizzy.

He had to be helped off the floor:

It does appear that this isn’t something serious, according to a North Carolina release, that said Williams is “doing OK”.