Posted on: April 6, 2008 1:26 am
SAN ANTONIO -- Four great teams couldn't even give us one great game.
Chalk me up as disappointed.
But there is no denying how impressive Kansas and Memphis were while recording victories here Saturday. The Jayhawks jumped to a 40-12 lead and never trailed in their 84-66 victory over North Carolina. That came after Memphis overwhelmed UCLA in a 78-63 win that provided John Calipari with an opportunity to take a shot at one of his biggest critics, Bill Plaschke.
Plachke wrote a column for Saturday morning's Los Angeles Times that described the UCLA-Memphis game as a coaching mismatch. He basically wrote that Howland is great and Calipari is not while explaining how though Memphis was favored by 2.5 points UCLA was actually favored by "one coach."
Naturally, somebody asked Calipari about this after Memphis blew past UCLA.
Here's the exchange ...
Reporter: There was a column in the Los Angeles Times today that said this was a coaching mismatch ....
Calipari: I don't think Ben is that bad . I respect Ben and think he's a heckuva coach.
Calipari provided a little joke and allowed the moment to pass without many words, instead choosing to let the play of his players deliver any message. And how about the play of his players?
"Memphis has obviously played better than anybody in this tournament so far," said Kansas coach Bill Self. "But we're going to try to change that Monday."
If you're wondering -- and I know you are -- Vegas has already posted a line on Monday's title game.
Kansas opened as a 1-point favorite over Memphis.
So this is essentially an even matchup.
Posted on: March 30, 2008 11:41 pm
Four No. 1 seeds.
Four talented rosters.
Four accomplished coaches.
Man, is this gonna be fun or what?
Now I know some don't like it, having all four top seeds heading to San Antonio. They swear it's predictable (even though it had never happened before) and complain that it eliminates the Cinderella factor. My view: Screw Cinderella! She usually gets exposed in the Final Four anyway. I mean, as nice as that George Mason story was two years ago we all knew the Patriots had no shot to win the national title; it just wasn't gonna happen. So I'm pleased this NCAA tournament produced four legitimate powers, any of whom can reasonably expect to cut nets next Monday night.
Memphis opened as a 1-point favorite over UCLA.
North Carolina opened as a 3-point favorite over Kansas.
That's an indication these games are expected to be tight. And though I've never claimed to be a historian, I can't recall another year when we had four teams so good that there was no way to make a dumb prediction about how things might unfold. Seriously, is there any combination of Final Four winners that could be mocked?
Taking Memphis and North Carolina to advance is reasonable.
But so is taking UCLA and Kansas.
Or UCLA and North Carolina.
Or Memphis and Kansas.
And regardless of what happens in Saturday's semifinals, we're gonna have a Monday title game featuring a pair of worthy championship contenders. So buckle in and get ready because this should be great. The Road to the Final Four only has four cars remaining -- high-powered luxury vehicles, every last one of them
Posted on: March 16, 2008 3:16 pm
Edited on: March 16, 2008 3:17 pm
North Carolina's win over Clemson in the ACC final means we now know three of our four No. 1 seeds.
UNC, Memphis and UCLA are locks at the top.
The fourth No. 1 seed will go to either Tennessee, Texas or Kansas.
My opinion: If Texas beats Kansas in the Big 12 final the Longhorns should get a No. 1 seed. But if Kansas beats Texas then the final No. 1 seed should go to Tennessee because the Jayhawks' body of work (7-2 record against the Top 50), while impressive, simply doesn't match that of Tennessee (11-3 record against the Top 50) or Texas (11-3 record against the Top 50).