NCAA Tournament a View from the Top

UCF Narrowly Upsets Duke, Gronk Retires

The UCF Knights almost did the impossible on Sunday, they almost beat #1 Overall seed out of the NBA Tournament. But unfortunately, almost only counts in horseshoes as the Duke Blue Devils pulled off a 77-76 win in their Second Round NCAA Tournament matchup. Knights G Aubrey Dawkins, tip-in just missed falling through the basket before time expired, giving the Blue Devils the win and advancing to their 31st Sweet 16 in their school history.

C Zion Williamson took on UCF’s 7-6 C Tacko Fall and won the battle as he scored 32 points and his and-1 basket over Fall, sent him to the line with 14.4 seconds left. Williamson intentionally missed the free throw, and the ball landed into the hands of RJ Barrett who’s putback gave Duke the lead.

Fall wasn’t too shabby as he scored 15 points and 6 rebounds and his dunk with over 2 minutes left gave the Knights a 74-70 lead and it seemed like they sealed the game, but they made a mistake and got cute after getting the rebound and missed a key layup, and then Williamson led Duke on the comeback.

But make no mistake, Duke won, but they didn’t beat the Knights as they hung with the Blue Devils all game, and it was clear that Knights head coach Johnny Dawkins out-coached Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, but in the end, all that matters is that one team has (at least) one more point than the other, and that team was Duke.

Although his tip-in failed to make it, Johnny Dawkins son Aubrey played valiantly as he led the Knights with 32 points as the Knights season comes to an end.

In other NCAA Tournament scores: #1 North Carolina beat Washington 81-69, Tennessee beat Iowa 83-77 (OT), Texas Tech beat Buffalo 78-58, #1 Virginia beat Oklahoma 61-53, Virginia Tech 67, Liberty 58, Houston beat Ohio State 74-59, and Oregon beat UC Irvine 73-54.

Rob Gronkowski Retires

Just one month after winning his 3rd Super Bowl, New England Patriots All-Pro TE Rob Gronkowski has decided to retire after 9 seasons in the NFL.

“It all started at 20 years old on stage at the NFL draft when my dream came true, and now here I am about to turn 30 in a few months with a decision I feel is the biggest of my life so far,” Gronkowski wrote in Instagram. “I will be retiring from the game of football today.” In his

career, Gronkowski 521 passes for 7,861 yards and 79 touchdown receptions, with an average of 0.69 touchdowns per game. He also holds TE postseason records for most receptions (81), most receiving yards (1,163) and most receiving touchdowns (12). His best season was in 2011 when he caught 90 passes for 1,327 yards and 17 TDs. He also had 1,000 yards 3 other times (2014, ’15 &’17) Injuries took it’s toll on Gronkowski later in his career, especially in 2018 when he caught only 47 passes for 682 yards and 3 TDs in 2018, but had clutch catches in both the AFC Championship Game and Super Bowl 53 as the Patriots beat the LA Rams 13-3.

“I am so grateful for the opportunity that Mr. Kraft and Coach Belichick gave to me when drafting my silliness in 2010.” Said Gronkowski in Instagram. “My life experiences over the last 9 years have been amazing both on and off the field.”

6-time Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady had this to say about his TE on Instagram: “What an honor and privilege to play with you these past nine years Gronk! You accomplished so much, and our team was almost unbeatable when you were on the field! Your fun-loving, inspiring, and positive energy made an impact on everybody you came into contact with!”

Patriots Owner Bob Kraft said this about Gronkowski in a statement in part: “In the nine years that I have known Rob Gronkowski, I have never known him to have a bad day. He always has a youthful exuberance about him and is a joy to be around. As a player, he earned the respect of his coaches and teammates for his hard work, preparation, selfless attitude and the sheer dominance of his game.”

Patriots head coach Bill Belechick’s statement about Gronkowski in part: “It was a pleasure and a privilege to coach Rob Gronkowski for the past nine years. From his rookie year until his final season and through countless times in between, Rob was a major reason why we won games and championships.”

Gronkowski is expected to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer when he becomes eligible in 2024.

Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.comFollow him @urbanmediaRay on twitter

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