April 06, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Gordon Hayward let the ball fly from midcourt. It hit the backboard, the rim, the floor.

Had that shot at the buzzer in the 2010 national title game been a fraction of an inch one way or the other, it would've fallen and become The Shot. Butler would've beaten Duke. It would've been the greatest finish in the history of sports.

As it ended up, it was pretty darn exciting. Hayward's miss allowed Duke to win its fourth title - on the same floor in Indianapolis where the Blue Devils will go for No. 5 tonight.

Hayward moved on to the NBA and the Utah Jazz, where he's building a solid career, averaging 19 points and nearly five rebounds a game.

He's still best identified, though, as the man who almost made The Shot.

''It's definitely memories I will have for the rest of my life and something I'll never forget,'' Hayward said Sunday night after the Jazz played the Kings. ''Just wished it was a better outcome.''


Watching your favorite team lose in the NCAA Tournament? Frustrating.

Waiting for an app that's stopped working? Unacceptable.

According to a poll released Monday, 58 percent of Americans ages 18 and older said that poor mobile or online performance while trying to watch the NCAA Tournament is worse than seeing their team perform poorly.

No word on whether the folks in Kentucky disagree.

The Harris Poll of 2,000 viewers also found that millennials, those in the 18-to-34 demographic, were more concerned than older viewers about slow loading times, apps and websites crashing and general unresponsiveness.

The poll also found that 65 percent of people consider online or mobile activity to be critical to following the NCAA Tournament, and that number rose to 86 percent for people in the 18-to-34 demographic. Thirty-six percent use apps and websites to follow their brackets, 26 percent use them for live streams of games and 25 percent use them to track player and game statistics.

''As audiences increasingly turn to online and mobile platforms to participate in March Madness, they demand uncompromising performance,'' said Tom Lounibos, chief executive of analytics company SOASTA. ''Our study shows that millennial viewers are the most demanding demographic when it comes to quality mobile and online user experiences.

''With so much competition for the billions in economic value at stake during the tournament - and especially the Final Four - companies must prioritize app and digital performance more than ever before.''


Good news for Kentucky and Michigan State fans still hanging around Indianapolis: there are some good bargains on your team's Final Four merchandise.

Merchandise tents and storefronts in the city are slashing prices on shirts, hats and other items for the teams eliminated in Saturday night's national semifinals.

Heading down Meridian Street in downtown Indianapolis, some vendors have pushed their Kentucky and Michigan State gear to the back of their tents while putting items for Monday night's national championship game between Duke and Wisconsin in prime position up front.

Some enterprising merchants decided they wouldn't let good merchandise go to waste. One store had plenty of blue Kentucky rally towels that said ''not done.'' The not done was crossed out with red spray paint, and a red Wisconsin logo was hastily scribbled on the towel's corner.

We doubt Wisconsin fans will actually use them. But for just $3, who knows?


For more from the NCAA championship game, follow AP's Inside the Madness at collegebasketball.ap.org/insidethemadness.

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