Vitale: Intrigue galore with Pitino, Tubby

Vitale: Let Freedom (Hall) ring

V-Mail: Is '96 Kentucky team the best ever?

Vitale: Arkansas gets Cupcake award

Vitale: Kudos to Coach K, Olson

Vitale: Early disappointments

Vitale: Eight under-the-radar teams

Vitale: Sensational 16 & Top 25

Vitale's preseason content for '04-05

Vitale: Best of the Week (Dec. 13)

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Tubby, Sparks, Gonzaga nab weekly awards


Guard Patrick Sparks wasn't originally recruited by Kentucky or Louisville, but the transfer from Western Kentucky came up big on Saturday vs. Louisville at Freedom Hall. Sparks scored 25 points, including three clutch free throws in the final seconds as the Wildcats rallied from a 16-point halftime deficit to stun the Cardinals.

Gonzaga forward Adam Morrison had 24 big points and five rebounds as Gonzaga stunned Georgia Tech. He hit 11-of-18 field goals and played 39 minutes in the victory.

Coach Mark Few's team entered Saturday night's showdown against Georgia Tech with just one loss, a blowout at the hands of Illinois. The Zags had something to prove and came out on fire early. With Ronny Turiaf and Morrison leading the way, the Zags scored a Shock City win over the previously unbeaten Yellow Jackets. Gonzaga doesn't like to be called a mid-major, and wins like this prove just how far this program has come over the years.

When the Wildcats were down 16 points at halftime at Louisville, Smith never gave up. He knew Kentucky had never lost three straight to the Cardinals and believed his defense would lead a big-time comeback. Sure enough, the Wildcats escaped Freedom Hall with a big W and a confidence booster for his young squad.

Freshman forward Andrew Brackman scored 20 points and went 6-for-6 from the field in a hard-fought win over Louisiana-Lafayette. The 6-foot-10 native of Ohio then had 14 points in 25 minutes vs. Washington.

The Cowboys entered Omaha with a 4-3 record while the Bluejays came in at 8-1. In the end, Dion Sherrell had 16 points and Wyoming came away with a surprise win.

Coach Dennis Wolff's Terriers won at Ann Arbor for the second straight year, this time by double figures (63-52) against the injury-plagued Wolverines. It was Michigan's first home loss of the season.

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