Wednesday, March 13, 2013
3-point shot: Not a conference tourney fan
By Andy Katz
1. Highlights from Tuesday's Katz Korner show on ESPNU: Kentucky coach John Calipari didn't hold back his feelings about the SEC tournament. Calipari said the tournament is for the fans and noted a number of UK fans at the SEC tournament don't normally get to Rupp. He said the conference tourney is just a prep for the next (NCAA) tournament. "I don't like this,'' he said. "Three games in three days does nothing to prepare you for anything. I wish none of us had these tournaments.'' ... Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said in reaction to this being the Irish's last Big East tournament that the Big East, "made me in my coaching career.'' He said it was odd to tell his team Tuesday morning at breakfast that this would be their last Big East tournament. ... Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said it's hard to explain his past year: from being fired at Illinois to Big 12 coach of the year. He said his daughter pointed out that "I lost my job on March 9 and then it was March 9 this year that we won an unexpected Big 12 championship and the first one here since 1977.'' ... VCU coach Shaka Smart offered this advice for bubble coaches heading to the First Four in Dayton next week after the Rams started their Final Four run their in 2011, "Be aggressive confident and loose. You want to be an attacking team, no matter what style of play.''...Michigan's Trey Burke said the Wolverines will be looking forward to playing teams in the NCAA tournament not from the Big Ten, "It's a well-scouted conference, once we get outside of the conference, conference tournament, we'll be able to play at a higher level because those teams won't be scouting us each other day.''
2. One of the best decisions the NCAA/NIT made was ensuring the regular-season champs had a postseason home. A number of teams that won their leagues in the regular season weren't able to win the conference tournament: Northeastern (CAA), Robert Morris (NEC), Mercer (Atlantic Sun), Charleston Southern (Big South), Niagara (MAAC) and Middle Tennessee State (Sun Belt). Middle Tennessee State is the only school that has a chance to make the NCAA tournament out of this group as an at-large. But the NIT has to guarantee bids to all of them. The regular-season title should have meaning and guarantee a postseason berth.
3. Montana coach Wayne Tinkle had quite a championship week -- in his family. His Grizzlies won the Big Sky for the second-straight season. His son, Tres, won the Montana AA high school title and was the most valuable player. His daughter, Joslyn, a senior at Stanford won the Pac-12 title and his youngest daughter, Elle, a freshman at the Gonzaga, won the WCC title. "How blessed are we?'' Tinkle said. But he said the real MVP of the family is his wife, Lisa, a member of the Montana Hall of Fame for "all the miles she logged.'' The Grizzlies will attempt to get back to the NCAA tournament but will likely have a challenge from nemesis Weber State. Montana hosts the Big Sky tournament in Missoula and gets a bye to the semifinals, while Weber State, the No. 2 seed, has to play two games to get to the finals since there are only seven teams in the field.