Some observations on college basketball while waiting for Friday night’s East Regional to begin:
- Turns out Herb Sendek was a trend setter. Last year he left N.C. State for a lower-profile job at Arizona State, escaping an angry contingent of fans who weren’t satisfied with five straight NCAA tournament appearances. Under similar circumstances, Tubby Smith left Kentucky for Minnesota and Steve Alford bolted Iowa for New Mexico. All three moves illustrate the toll angry boosters can take on a coach when the media provide fans an opportunity to gripe 24 hours a day.
- Leaving Duke for the NBA after his sophomore season was not a bad move for 6-foot-10 Josh McRoberts. His ball-handling and passing ability will make him an attractive pick somewhere between No. 10 and No. 20. Sure, he’s not an outstanding scorer, but most NBA teams have plenty of scorers who would be thrilled to play with a big man who takes pleasure in assists. McRoberts would fit perfectly with Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers.
- Ohio State can’t keep getting away with sleepwalking through the start of its games and winning with frantic rallies at the end. The strange thing about the Buckeyes is that their perimeter defenders should be able to pressure opponents more when 7-foot Greg Oden is in the game to block shots if opposing guards penetrate. But the Ohio State guards defend better when Oden is on the bench, which leads you to believe they just play lazy defense when he’s on the court.
- Here’s why John Calipari failed as an NBA coach. With eight seconds left on the shot clock, Texas A&M was inbounding from under its own basket following a near turnover. The one thing Memphis couldn’t give up was a long pass. Memphis pressed anyway and allowed Acie Law to catch a pass over halfcourt behind the entire defense. Law missed the layup, but you’ve got to wonder about Calipari’s X’s and O’s.
- It’s painful listening to Bill Raftery do color commentary. He’ll provide good analysis in an even tone for a minute, then punctuate the end of a sentence with a growl of contrived enthusiasm. If I wanted to be growled at while I’m watching basketball, I’d get a dog. - Ken Tysiac