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Pre-game notes from the Garden

• A van full of reporters went by the unofficial Pitt bar in Boston a couple of minutes ago. On the trip over from the media hotel (Copley Marriott) to the TD Banknorth Garden, the shuttle cruised past Johnnie’s on the Side on Portland Street near the arena. There are hundreds of blue and gold balloons outside the restaurant with dozens of “Let’s Go Pitt” signs hanging on the windows. Xavier fans enter with caution.

• The tip-off time of Saturday’s East Regional Final at TD Banknorth Garden will depend on what happens tonight in the Duke-Villanova game. If Duke wins, the Blue Devils will automatically play in the prime-time game on Saturday night. If Villanova wins, CBS will have to decide the order of the matchups. A Pitt victory combined with a Duke victory means a Saturday night game. If Nova wins, the game could be either late afternoon or prime-time — with the Missouri-Memphis/Connecticut-Purdue survivors.

• Speaking of the media hotel, the place has more Xavier fans than Oklahoma State 3-pointers. I thought it was a case of the Musketeers traveling well, but turns out the Cincinnati school is having an alumni association gathering.

• Levance Fields is on the regional cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated.

• How come everyone is focusing on the Nate Miles-Connecticut story, while ignoring an even more damning story releaved in an earlier piece in the Yahoo! Sports investigation? This item in the New Republic blog raises some very interesting tid-bits, but one/s that you will probably never see on ESPN.

Here is the link

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