NCAA Pants Party: Virginia Vs. Albany

Virginia Cavaliers (19-10) vs. Albany Great Danes (23-9)
When: Friday, 12:15 p.m.
Where: Charlottesville, Virg.

VIRGINIA CAVALIERS

1. Liz Lemon is a Total Geek. You know her now as creator and star of the funniest show on Thursday nights, "30 Rock," but Tina Fey spent her time in Charlottesville avoiding keg parties and being a nerdy drama major. It all paid off two years after graduation from UVa with her acceptance into the renowned Chicago comedy troupe, Second City; she later became the first female head writer in "Saturday Night Live" history. Other famous alumnae: Melissa Stark, Katie Couric and super-hottie Georgia O'Keefe.

2. Stairway to Mezzanine. The Cavaliers ate up every last morsel of that home cookin' this year as they went 16-1 in the inaugural season of John Paul Jones Arena. You may remember John Paul Jones as the 1948 graduate of UVa Law School whose son dropped $35 million towards building the new arena. There's no relation to either the Revolutionary War hero nor the bassist for the entirely overrated 70s band Led Zeppelin. That one home loss? To Stanford. Stupid drunk tree.

3. The Manatee Has Become The Mento. On February 14, 2006, Duke superstar J.J. Redick became the all-time NCAA leader for career 3-point field goals, breaking the record set eight years earlier by University of Virginia shooting legend, Curtis Staples. As a young lad in Roanoke, Virginia, Redick had attended a basketball camp where he was coached by Staples. The Cavaliers retired Staples' jersey No. 5 during a ceremony last November. — Rob Iracane

ALBANY GREAT DANES

1. Jamar Wilson, Mayor of Sm-Albany. This is becoming a rite of spring. Jamar Wilson dominates an America East Final (22, 7 and 6 in the conference title game), and the Great Danes get a bid to the Big Show. Diddly posed the thought on everyone's mind (in the Capital District at least): "I think we're seeing the dawn of a new dynasty with Albany. I just wish they'd change their frigging nickname." Dynasty? Perhaps. Scrap the Great Danes? No can do. The nickname can stay. SUNY Albany is the only college or university with the Great Dane as its mascot. It looks like a wife-beating version of Scooby Doo.

2. The Am East in 58 words or less. Vermont had won 13 straight games and reached the America East championship for the fifth consecutive season. The Catamounts won the tourney in '03, '04 and '05, but have now dropped the last two finals to Albany (last year in scenic Sm-Albany and this year in SyrupLand). Former coach Tom Brennan keeps smarmy Doug Gottlieb in check daily. Albany beat Vermont 60-59 in the America East title game behind Wilson, a huge strip by Carl Ross (#00 in your program, #1 in your heart) and god awful execution by Vermont on the game's final play. It also didn't hurt to have Vermont big man Chris Holm roll his ankle on the opening tip and limp to eight points and three boards (well below the 11 and 12 he averages). Albany ended up out rebounding the nation's best rebounding team. These guys were a 16 last year, and led UConn by 12 with 11 minutes to play, finally losing 72-59.

3. Useless Nuggets. SUNY Albany has hosted the New York Football Giants summer training camp since 1996. This guy ran the merchandise tent in the summer of '96. Extremely good times. On April 17, 2005, students from the University at Albany set and currently hold the record for the world's largest pillow fight with 3,648 participants, observed by Guinness Records officials. It's official. You can Google that. — Tom Doyle

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