Here is a quick catch-up from my notes regarding tournament games from last Friday-Sunday:
- I said last week that St. Peter’s reminded me of Al McGuire’s tams at Marquette. I honestly did NOT know when I made that statement that Butch Lee’s son, Matthew Lee, played for St. Peter’s. But the formulae for the two teams is very similar – – defense, rebounding, drive to the basket. That formula worked again against Purdue and put St. Peter’s in the Elite Eight. As Coach Holloway said after the game, his squad is just a “bunch of guys who know how to play basketball.”
- Kansas took a comfortable lead over Providence in the first half, and I thought the game would be a blowout, but Providence came out and rallied to take a lead in the second half. Eventually, Kansas just wore them down. The Jayhawks were just a better and deeper team that night.
- UCLA held UNC to 73 points. That may not sound like much, but the Tar Heels were averaging 90+ for tournament games. But that level of defense was not enough for the Bruins because the Bruins’ offense had plenty of trouble against the Carolina defense. I don’t know what sort of pre-game routine Caleb Love put himself through, but he really should try to replicate it in future games; he scored 21 points in the second half and shut down any UCLA rallies before they gathered any real momentum.
- Iowa St. and Miami played a tense and close first half, but Miami opened up a lead and then cruised to a win by 14 points
- Duke/Arkansas was interesting to watch. The Razorbacks made life difficult for Duke with their defense, but Arkansas just missed too many good shots to keep pace. In the end, Duke’s scorers were more than sufficient for the win.
- Before the Villanova/Houston game, I said that the first team to 60 points would win. That was an understatement; with the final score 50-44, the first team to 50 points was the winner. Houston’s defense kept it close, but Houston’s offense was awful; the Cougars shot 1 for 20 from 3-point range.
- Kansas was simply too fast for Miami. As the old basketball adage goes, “you can’t guard ‘em if you can’t catch ‘em.” Miami had shooting problems in the second half and Kansas ran away with the game.
- The string ran out for St. Peter’s against UNC. The Peacocks’ defense was solid but – like Houston against Villanova – St. Peter’s offense was AWOL. At 7:22 of the first half (that is with a bit more than 30% of the game in the rear-view mirror), St Peter’s was shooting 3 for 19 from the floor.
I have another observation about the TV coverage of the tournament this year. We are now “treated” to two in-game interviews with the head coaches during scheduled timeouts. These seemingly have replaced the ceremoniously stupid in-game interviews in the stands with players’ parents and/or coaches’ wives and/or the next-door neighbor of the assistant coach’s tax accountant. For that reason, I guess I should be appreciative and thankful, but I have a serious reservation here:
- There is one – and only one – appropriate question for the sideline reporter to ask the coach in these circumstances.
- “Coach, what is it you would be telling your team in the huddle if you were not contractually obligated to be here talking to me?”
- That is all viewers would want to know – – and it would let people know the forced nature of the oral exchange they were about to watch.
In college basketball news that is unrelated to the tournament, the NCAA has now leveled a string of serious infraction allegations against Memphis and coach Penny Hardaway. The incidents go back to the recruitment of James Wiseman a year ago and now there are accusations of covering up evidence, and failure to cooperate with an investigation and even the dreaded “lack of institutional control.” Here is a summary of the status of this mess from a report at CBSSports.com:
“Memphis is accused of lack of institutional control and facing a total of seven allegations, including failure to cooperate, obstruction of the investigation, failure to report acts of noncompliance in a timely fashion and a failure to disclose or provide access to information.”
Not surprisingly, Memphis does not agree that any of the above is the case. This one is not nearly over; stay tuned…
One last college basketball note today… With Houston out of the tournament this year, that marks two years in a row that Kelvin Sampson has had the Cougars to the Elite Eight. Sampson is a good basketball coach; that is not subject to debate. However, Kelvin Sampson has had his less-than-honorable moments in the coaching profession. Recall that he was sanctioned for significant violations and lack of cooperation back at Indiana and was subject to a 5-year “show cause order” meaning that any school that wanted to hire him had to show the NCAA why that was required. That is bad enough but here is the kicker:
- At the time Sampson was committing these major violations of NCAA rules regarding recruitment and benefits for athletes, he was the Chairman of a Committee for the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
- You guessed it. Kelvin Sampson was – at the time – the Chairman of the Ethics Committee for the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
Finally, if you had asked me to guess, I would have said it was Alen Iverson who was responsible for the following quotation. However, it seems that it has been attributed to Wilt Chamberlain:
“If practice makes perfect, and no one is perfect, why practice?”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………