Sports 101

March Madness is certainly living up to its name. Already there have been several upsets - including Rhode Island's victory over No. 1 Kansas and Valparaiso's exciting overtime win against Florida State. And then the Harvard women's team became the first 16th seed to topple a No. 1 seed when it beat Stanford ... Who will make it to the Big Dance (a.k.a. the Final Four)? Stay tuned this weekend to find out.

Q: What does it mean to win "in regulation?"

A: It simply means winning a game without any overtime. In college, it's 40 minutes; in the pros, it's 48.

Q: How many fouls is a player allowed before he is forced to leave the game?

A: Five personal fouls at the collegiate level, which includes holding, pushing, charging, elbowing, or blocking. In the NBA, players are permitted six fouls.

Q: What is a team's back court?

A: A team's defensive half of the court. When the term is used to refer to players, it is the teams' guards, who usually stay further back so they can move the ball around more effectively.

Q: What is a "fake," and why is it used?

A: It's a deceptive move to throw a defender off balance and allow an offensive player to shoot or receive a pass. Players use their eyes, head, or any other part of the body to trick an opponent.

Q: Men's and women's basketball each choose 64 teams to fill the NCAA Tournament bracket. But how many teams did women's basketball originally choose?

A: The bracket expanded from 32 to 40 teams in 1988, from 40 to 48 the next year, and finally to 64 teams in 1994. Attendance has also doubled from 2,445 per game in the 1980s to 4,800 per game in the '90s.

Q: What ever happened to Christian Laettner, the Duke University player who scored the buzzer-beating basket to beat Kentucky in overtime, 104-103, in the 1992 East Regional Final?

A: Since wearing a Blue Devils uniform for Duke (1988-1992), Laettner hasn't made headlines the way he used to. But he is a starter for the Atlanta Hawks and ranks third in free-throw percentage (.884) in the NBA. Before going to Atlanta, the forward was drafted in 1992 by the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Last season for the Hawks, he finished second in team scoring with 18.1 points per game and scored a career-high 37 points against the Chicago Bulls. He was also on the 1992 US Olympic basketball team and competed in his first All-Star Game in 1997.

* Send your sports questions to parneyl@csps.com

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