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Mitch's Sports Report: Badger Buzzer Beater; UVM May Have Duncan Back For CBI Semifinal

The UVM mens' basketball team looks to extend its season tonight, taking on Seattle in the quarterfinal round of the CBI tournament, following their opening round win against Western Carolina, and the Catamounts may have one of their two key players back for tonight's game in the Pacific Northwest.

Ernie Duncan suffered a concussion in UVM's loss to Stony Brook in the America East championship game and could be available tonight, but Ethan O'Day suffered a knee sprain in the final and is not expected to suit up. UVM made it to the semi-final round of the CBI last year and the goal now is to break that plateau and make it to the championship round, with a shot at nailing down the school's first-ever post-season title.

UVM would no doubt rather have made an appearance at the NCAA March Madness tournament, where the big dance has so far been a mind-boggling combination of Footloose, Flashdance, and Happy Feet with a daily dose of last-minute shockers worthy of the Sixth Sense thrown in for good measure. The latest would be an historic comeback by Texas A&M, which erased a twelve point deficit in a forty-four second span to dash the hopes of Northern Iowa, forcing two overtimes before winning 92-88. Or how about Wisconsin topping Xavier 66-63 when Bronson Koenig hit two late-game three-pointers, the second and  game-winner a you-gotta-be-kidding-me fadeaway trey at the buzzer? If your bracket doesn't resemble a jigsaw puzzle with a whole mess of center pieces missing at this point you either have access to a time machine or filled out your picks based on which team's mascots would win in a steel cage death match. That could be why the Badgers and Bulldogs went down to the wire. If you've got a better theory for these games, I'm all ears.   

To the NHL, and there's not much left to play for this season for the Montreal Canadiens, and their 4-1 loss to the Calgary Flames last night will be just another in a string to forget after a great start to a year that went south fast as soon as goalie Carey Price was lost to injury, but at least one player had a night to remember at the Bell Centre last night. Michael McCarron scored his first NHL goal, deflecting a shot from the point to give the home town crowd something to cheer about and McCarron a lifetime souvenir. Following a 5-0 loss to Ottawa, it was the first Montreal goal in almost two full games of hockey. Sean Monahan had two goals and an assist to to lead the Flames to the win and veteran goalie Niklas Backstrom got the win in net for Calgary.

The Boston Bruins are off until Wednesday when they skate against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden, enough time for the Bruins to lick their wounds and recover from the jet lag and bad memories of yet another wasted west coast road trip. After losing all three games against the Sharks, Ducks, and Kings, the Bruins are now a combined zero for six against west coast foes this season, and the fruitless, pointless (in a literal sense) road trip leaves the B's in a vulnerable position with eleven games to go before the playoffs. Boston sits just one point ahead of the New York Islanders for the first wild card slot, the Islanders having slipped down into the wild card due to the surging Pittsburgh Penguins, who have taken over second place in the Metropolitan division, and playing some of their best hockey despite the injury to all-star Evgeni Malkin. The Pens have beaten the Flyers and Capitals in successive games to vault both the Islanders and Rangers into second place.

In the NBA, the Boston Celtics had lost four games in a row and if they had lost a fifth it would have been their longest losing streak of the season, but having the nine win, sixty-one losses Philadelphia 76ers on your schedule is like a get out of losing-streak-jail free card. Isaiah Thomas had twenty-six points to lead Boston, and Jared Sullinger recorded a double-double of seventeen points and thirteen rebounds. It probably wouldn't;y have mattered but the Sixers were without rookie center Jahlil Okafor, who will undergo season-ending knee surgery today after missing the last eleven games for Philly.

A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as news director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a news director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.
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