Observations: Despite lesser role, Poythress key part of Kentucky's run
Alex Poythress' role has lessened in his sophomore season. However, Kentucky wouldn't be playing for a national championship without him.
1. Alex Poythress has quietly had a major role in Kentucky's run to the national title game.
After coming to Lexington a year and a half ago as one of the more highly decorated high school recruits in the country, Poythress has taken a lesser role as a sophomore thanks to the Wildcats' star studded freshman class. But Kentucky wouldn't be playing for a title without him. The 6-9 forward has turned into a terrific role player for Kentucky and had eight points and seven rebounds in Saturday's win over Wisconsin. Poythress has also made several key plays down the stretch in previous wins against Louisville and Michigan and always seems to be around the ball in crunch time. A blue chip freshman to a sophomore glue guy? Sounds about right.
2. UConn is going to need mileage out of Lasan Kromah against Kentucky.
The fifth-year transfer from George Washington has quietly become a strong perimeter defender for the Huskies and his presence will be critical Monday night against the Wildcats. Kentucky has three perimeter starters --- Andrew and Aaron Harrison as well as James Young --- who stand 6-5 and over and Kromah will have to use his experience and physicality to try and slow down the Wildcats' attack. Both Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright have the ability to be "pest like" on defense against Kentucky, but neither player boasts Kromah's build and strength. This will be a critical piece for UConn on Monday.
3. The success of Kevin Ollie and Fred Hoiberg could change the future thinking of athletic directors everywhere.
Both Ollie and Hoiberg didn't have much experience in college coaching before their current posts, and in fact Hoiberg had none. But the success of these two coaches may alter the thinking of administrators moving forwardl. Both Ollie and Hoiberg had long careers in the NBA and both have brought different nuances from their professional days into their respective programs. What are the results? Iowa State has advanced to three consecutive NCAA Tournaments under Hoiberg, and Ollie has taken UConn to the national title game in just his second season as a head coach. I'd call that a success, wouldn't you? Don't be surprised if several athletic directors feel the same way and, trust me, they've taken notice.
4. The NCAA needs to consider moving the Final Four to Indianapolis on an annual basis.
Let's make this simple. The Final Four needs to be at a place that's convenient. It needs to be in a city where you can walk to the arena from your hotel and have restaurants and events along the way at your disposal. This past weekend in Dallas saw people traveling up to 30 minutes from their hotel to get to the venue where the games were being played. It also saw people having to take cabs to events at night instead of walking from outing to outing and bumping into friends and colleagues from across the country on the way. This isn't what the Final Four is supposed to be. Cities like Dallas, Houston, and Detroit do not make for a good Final Four experience. Here's what the NCAA needs to do to fix things: just move the event to Indianapolis each year. The city represents the headquarters for the NCAA and has the history and convenience to fulfill all the requirements needed to make college basketball's most important weekend a successful one on a yearly basis. This isn't a difficult thing to remedy. Let's hope it happens sooner than later.
5. Steak in Dallas is the same as steak in New York.
I've had it twice since I arrived in town last Thursday and I have to admit that it was good but not great. Maybe my expectations were too high coming in. Maybe I'm spoiled living in New York where there's good steak constantly at your fingertips. Either way, I've learned that I don't need to come to Texas to get quality steak. But what about the bacon that comes before the meal that serves as the ultimate appetizer before a porterhouse? My next trip to Peter Luger's in Brooklyn can't come soon enough!
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