Coach defends decision not to vote UConn #1

Northern Arizona coach Mike Adras voted for Ohio St. as his #1 team, not the UConn Huskies, who actually won the title.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Saturday’s Final Four Schedule

From a press release issued by CBS Sports and Turner Sports:

CBS Sports’ exclusive coverage of the 2011 NCAA® Division I Men’s Basketball Final Four® on Saturday, April 2 (6:00-11:00 PM, ET) tips-off with Butler taking on VCU (6:09 PM, ET). Connecticut against Kentucky follows 40 minutes after the conclusion of the first game. Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg and Steve Kerr call the games along with Tracy Wolfson serving as reporter.

Coverage begins with THE ROAD TO THE FINAL FOUR® (4:00-6:00 PM, ET) hosted by Greg Gumbel along with analysts Charles Barkley, Greg Anthony, Kenny Smith and Seth Davis, live from Houston, Texas.

I’d rather see Gus Johnson and Len Elmore work the games, but that’s a pipe dream at this point.

A few random thoughts about “The Fab Five”

ESPN is currently running a two-hour documentary about Michigan’s Fab Five (Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson, and if you haven’t seen it, I’d definitely recommend it. Webber didn’t agree to participate, but the interviews with the other four members along with members of the coaching staff were quite compelling.

Yesterday, the internet was abuzz with comments made by the former Michigan players about Duke and especially Christian Laettner, whom Rose thought was an “overrated pu**y,” until he actually played against him and saw that he had some serious game. I’ll leave those comments alone since Rose eventually gave Laettner credit, but there are a few other moments in the documentary that jumped out at me:

1. Rose hated Duke because they wouldn’t recruit someone like him; they only recruited “Uncle Tom”-type black players. He also admitted he hated Grant Hill because Hill grew up in a great home while Rose grew up poor with an absentee father. Rose probably hit the nail on the head with regard to why many inner city blacks resent/criticize suburban blacks; it’s out of envy. They see lives that are more comfortable than theirs, and they lash out in anger. The Fab Five translated this to a hatred of the Duke players, including guys like Grant Hill and Thomas Hill.

I suspect if Mike Krzyzewski were asked about his recruiting habits and answered honestly, he’d say that he had the luxury of recruiting players (of whatever race) that he thought would fit into his team-first concept. He already had a successful college program, so why recruit a ‘risky’ player like Rose who may or may not fit into what he’s trying to build? The last thing he wants is to have a to battle a player on a daily basis.

In the end, Duke was 3-0 against the Fab Five, so I’d say the Blue Devils got the last laugh.

2. Forget the shorts, shoes, socks or even the style of play. The thing that bothered me about the Fab Five was the in-your-face taunting. The film was great because it reminded me of what I didn’t like about the Fab Five. Their play was outstanding. Nobody hogged the ball and winning was paramount, so from a pure basketball respect, they were wonderful. It was all the antics that drove me nuts. There were several highlights that showed the players getting into the face of the opponent after the guy was just dunked on. It’s one thing to over-celebrate with your teammates, but to show up an opponent like that is just bad sportsmanship. This was explained away as being part of the inner city playground culture, but my guess is that if they would have gotten into someone’s face on the playground, they would have been punched in the nose (or worse). At the time, officials didn’t really call taunting technicals, so there were no consequences to those actions. Oh, and Juwan Howard was the worst. Webber or Rose would dunk and there comes Howard, getting into the grill of the guy who just got dunked on. It was no surprise that against Ohio St. in their first Final Four, Howard got headbutt to the nose at one point in the game.

Read the rest of this entry »

Charles Barkley vs. Billy Packer [video]

A few weeks ago, longtime NCAA Tournament announcer Billy Packer sounded off about the plans by CBS to cover the 2011 tournament on four networks: CBS, TNT, TBS and TruTV.

ESPN would be better, he says, partly because it has announcers doing college games all season. He likens using NBA announcers to when he used to turn down requests to work NBA action by saying, ” ‘I’m not qualified, it’s a different sport.’ ” This, he says, is like CBS’ Verne Lundquist calling SEC football all year “and then having somebody who just did the pros come in to call the SEC title game.”

But with CBS’ old regionalized coverage now gone, isn’t it good for viewers who want to see a specific NCAA game to not have to worry about missing it because they’re in the wrong local TV market? “What percentage of the total audience does that represent,” says Packer. “Has all this been changed for the .01% of viewers who really want a specific game?”

And viewers, warns Packer, will miss the old system of being switched to the hottest action. Recalling working regional sites where “none of the games were really good,” he says the old way “enabled the product to never have to show them (widely) by going to exciting buzzer-beaters instead.”

One of those “NBA announcers” Packer refers to is Charles Barkley, who didn’t take the criticism very well:

I’m picturing Packer sitting on his porch in an 80s-era jogging suit, nursing a watered down iced tea and every so often yelling at the neighborhood kids to get off his lawn. He was grumpy 10 years ago, can you imagine how grumpy he is now?

I don’t know if CBS plans to bounce around to the best action on the main CBS feed, but I like the fact that I can switch to any of the four games on the four different channels, so I guess I’m in Packer’s .01% of viewers who want to be able to watch whichever game they want. I’m not exactly sure where he got that number — it sounds like he pulled it out of someplace very, very dark — but clearly the guy is old school, so he’s used to the days when a program director decided which game the audience would see instead of giving the audience that choice.

I would like to see CBS start with a game but then go to better action if the game gets out of hand. This would appease those viewers who don’t want to flip around on their own, while the rest of us would still have the option of watching whichever game we wanted.

As for Charles Barkley providing commentary for NCAA action — I don’t have a problem with it. Sure, he’s not going to be as educated as a Seth Davis or Clark Kellogg, but those guys will be providing their own commentary as well. Barkley is nothing if not entertaining, and he can bring a ton of levity to what otherwise has been a pretty humorless production.

Dim-witted Nets fan pulls a Bartman

During Monday night’s Suns/Nets game, there was an incident when Steve Nash went to save a ball that was going out of bounds. As he attempted to make the save, a fan sitting courtside (wearing sunglasses, no less) reached out and hit the ball away. Here’s a snapshot of the play.

After the refs discussed the play, the ball was awarded to Suns, even though Corey Hart was seen celebrating his shady move. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

Way to hurt your team, buddy.

Related Posts