Vermont in NCAAs; 4 N.E. teams make N.I.T.

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Vermont in NCAAs; 4 N.E. teams make N.I.T.

Updated 10:33 p.m.

As expected, Vermont -- the America East champion -- became the only New England representative in this year's NCAA tournament when the seedings were announced Sunday night.

But four other N.E. teams -- Connecticut, Northeastern, Rhode Island and Quinnipiac -- will continue their seasons in the National Invitation Tournament, and another, Boston Unversity, will compete in the College Basketball Invitational.

The Catamounts won't have far to travel: They're headed to Buffalo, N.Y., where, as the 16th seed in the West Regional, they will face No. 1 Syracuse on Friday. Should they manage to pull off what would be a monstrous upset, they would face the winner of the Gonzaga-Florida State game on Sunday.

The N.I.T., meanwhile, will have a distinctly local tinge . . . and two of the New England teams will play each other in the first round. Northeastern travels to Connecticut for a first-round game Tuesday night at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN2.

In the other part of that bracket, Quinnipiac will play at Virginia Tech Wednesday at 7 p.m. The winners of those games will play each other in the second round, with the date and site to be announced.

The University of Rhode Island will host Northwestern Wednesday night at 7 p.m. If the Rams win, they'll play the winner of the Nevada-Wichita State game in the second round.

One set of NCAA games this weekend will be played at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, and two Big East teams are headed to Rhode Island. Villanova, the No. 2 seed in the South Regional, will face No. 15 Robert Morris, and Georgetown, the No. 3 seed in the Midwest Regional, plays No. 14 Ohio. The two other games in Providence: No. 7 Richmond vs. No. 10 Robert Morris in the South Regional, and No. 6 Tennessee vs. No. 14 San Diego State in the Midwest Regional.

The games in Providence will be played on Thursday and Saturday.

One other New England team -- Boston University -- will compete in the 16-team College Basketball Invitational. The Terriers play at Oregon State, coached by President Obama's brother-in-law, Craig Robinson, on Wednesday. The Beavers are the CBI's defending champions.

Get complete NCAA coverage from CSNNE.com's STATSAssociated Press page. Also get news and video from Comcast.net Sports' 2010 March to Glory page. Follow the N.I.T. at www.nit.org. Follow the CBI at http:www.gazellegroup.comeventscbiindex_main.htm.

Julien: 'A lot of problematic things' in Bruins loss to Avalanche

Julien: 'A lot of problematic things' in Bruins loss to Avalanche

BOSTON – The Bruins simply weren’t ready to play on Thursday night when the puck was dropped against the Colorado Avalanche at TD Garden. 

They fell down quickly by a 2-0 score, had a couple of completely inept power plays in the first period that sucked all the game’s momentum away from them and received some subpar goaltending from Anton Khudobin on the way to a 4-2 loss to the lowly Avs. About the only B’s person above reproach in this one was David Pastrnak after scoring a pair of goals in the second period to get Boston back into the game, but it all fell short in a very frustrating, lackadaisical loss to a Western Conference team that isn’t very good. 

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Needless to say B’s coach Claude Julien wasn’t too happy after a loss where the Bruins might have had more success with a smarter approach to holding the puck. 

“There were a lot of problematic things [in the loss]. No doubt that the power play could have helped us in the first period, and failed to do that. They’ve got to be better,” said Julien. “We needed some saves tonight, and we didn’t get them. [Anton Khudobin] has got to be better. 

“A lot of things here that we can be better at, and take responsibility [for]. But at the same time, you got to move on here.  It’s one of those nights that had we been smarter from the get go, we would have had a chance.”

Clearly it was about a lacking group effort when dissecting the loss, and the minus-3 for David Krejci on Thursday night marked back-to-back negative performances from the playmaking Czech center in big spots. The goaltending was shoddy with Anton Khudobin allowing four goals on 22 shots for Colorado, and unable to make plays on a couple of Colorado shots from outside the painted area that built up the Avs lead in the first place. 

But it was also very much about the inability of the Bruins to generate consistent offense outside of David Pastrnak’s offensive burst in the second period, and the complete breakdown of the Boston power play in the opening 20 minutes. The Bruins struggled to enter the zone in their first PP possession of the game, and then allowed a Nathan MacKinnon shorthanded goal after Torey Krug futilely dove at the blue line to try and keep the puck in the offensive zone. 

The Krug misplay at the offensive blue line gave MacKinnon a clear path the net, and he buried a wrist shot past Khudobin to get the one-sided loss rolling. Beyond the costly mistakes that ended up in the back of the net, the Bruins looked sloppy and slow-reacting in their breakouts and more than willing to settle for outside perimeter shots.

That doesn’t exactly make for a winning combo even when it comes against a flawed, underachieving team like Colorado, and especially when it comes less than 24 hours after a hard-fought road game in Washington DC. 

“I think we were still sleeping there early in the game and they were able to capitalize on their opportunities. We couldn’t claw our way back,” said Brad Marchand, who picked up an assist on David Pastrnak’s second goal of the night on a perfect dish for the one-timer. “I think it was definitely a mental [block]. You’re able to battle through that physical fatigue. It was more the mental mistakes and not being prepared right off the hop of the start of the game. Again, that’s kind of where we lost it.”

The sleepwalking Bruins lost Thursday night’s valuable two points as soon as the opening puck was dropped against the Avalanche, of course, and the Bruins never got out of lollygag mode at a time when intensity should have been automatic. 

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Chiefs top Raiders 21-13, take AFC West lead

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THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Chiefs top Raiders 21-13, take AFC West lead

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Tyreek Hill had touchdowns receiving and on a punt return, Kansas City's defense made life miserable for Oakland quarterback Derek Carr, and the Chiefs beat the Raiders 21-13 on a frigid Thursday night to take control of the AFC West.

Charcandrick West also had a touchdown run for the Chiefs (10-3). They moved into a first-place tie with Oakland (10-3) but holds the tiebreaker with two wins over their longtime divisional rival.

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