Wow, Duke really got blasted.
I didn't see a 23-point loss coming there. But the Blue Devils looked about 3 steps slower than Villanova all night. And of Duke's Big Three, only Kyle Singler showed up. Gerald Henderson and Jon Scheyer were absolutely awful offensively, and that was that. You know it's bad when CBS announcer Verne Lundquist is openly cheering for Henderson to finally make a shot, as he did on one late Henderson three-pointer, coaxing it to "Get in!"
Not because Lundquist favored Duke -- you could tell he simply felt sorry for Henderson, who had one of those performances that just make you cringe. As for Mike Krzyzewski, he seemed powerless to stop the carnage in this one -- Jay Wright outcoached him just as the Villanova players outplayed their foes.
We can chat about Duke's huge loss, UNC's game tonight and whatever else you want to talk about TODAY (Friday) from noon to 1 p.m. on CharlotteObserver.com. As I mentioned in the print edition of today's paper, both the best question today and the best comment both win a free sports book for their authors. (Hint: be funny or be analytical if you want to win. Maybe ask something out of the ordinary. A question like "Will Julius Peppers be traded?" isn't going to get it done for you.)
Lastly, a postscript on my column Thursday about CBS so often making Duke and UNC play the latest game possible in the NCAA tournament. The reason a CBS exec gave me for this is that those teams have such huge fan bases that it's important to pick up the West Coast audience for them -- therefore, the later the better.
Do you have any idea, though, how many U.S. TV households fall in the Eastern Time Zone compared to the Pacific?
That would be 49 percent Eastern, 15 percent Pacific. That means we're all staying up far later to cater to an audience only 1/3 as large as ours. In some cases, that also means the game result doesn't even get in the paper (the Duke-Villanova result was not in my home-delivered Charlotte Observer today, for instance -- I live 21 miles from downtown Charlotte). I can't stand these late times.