|ESPN.com: NCAA Tourney 14||[Print without images]|
|Shabazz Napier, John Calipari and Patric Young are all chasing the national championship.|
Fifteen minutes will save you 15 percent or more on car insurance. Everybody knows that.
But, when it comes to this year's Final Four, did you know . . .
. . . Florida small forward Jacob Kurtz used to be the team manager, handing out socks and washing practice gear? Now he's a player. Cool.
. . . Wisconsin's 7-foot star center Frank Kaminsky talks to himself on the court? He does. A lot. "I'll be like, 'Are you talking to me?' " says his teammate, Duje Dukan. "And he'll be like, 'No. Sorry.' " Kaminsky won't reveal what he says to himself. "It's kind of X-rated," he says. "But usually it's something along the lines of 'WTF, Frank?' "
. . . John Calipari is a horrifically underrated coach? You don't just have to recruit 'em. You have to teach 'em. And at Kentucky, he does. Besides, if it's so easy to take one-and-dones and get yourself to the Final Four, then why are Jabari Parker (Duke) and Andrew Wiggins (Kansas) sitting at home after the first weekend?
|While Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky is baffling opposing defenders, you might hear him carrying on a conversation.|
. . . UConn's Shabazz Napier, who may be the best player in this Final Four, would play for Puerto Rico if that team gets into the 2016 Olympics? It's the homeland of his mother, Carmen Velasquez. Also cool.
. . . This Final Four is not in "North Texas," as the NCAA keeps insisting on all of its brackets? It's in Arlington, Texas. What the hell is "North Texas," anyway? If we have the Final Four in San Francisco, will the NCAA tell us it's in "North California"? What, the NCAA is too good for Arlington?
. . . The video screen at the Final Four venue of AT&T Stadium in ARLINGTON, Texas, will be 66 feet longer than the basketball court itself?
. . . Florida senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin has not committed a turnover in his past 94 minutes?
. . . Wilbekin agreed to live with his parents for a year as penance for untold violations? He did, although Florida has not explained what the parents' violations were.
. . . That was a joke?
. . . Only one other No. 8 seed has won it all? Villanova, in 1985. But think of this: Both that Villanova team and this 8-seeded Kentucky team lost 10 games in the regular season. Both beat Michigan on its way to the Final Four. Both were coached by Italian-Americans. And both are called the Wildcats. Eerie.
. . . UConn guard Ryan Boatright committed to USC in the eighth grade? Never went there. Welcher.
. . . Kentucky had the roughest road to this Final Four? It had to beat Kansas State (No. 9 seed), Wichita State (No. 1), Louisville (No. 4), and Michigan (No. 2). Florida had the smoothest: Albany (No. 16), Pittsburgh (No. 9), UCLA (No. 4), and Dayton (No.11). I have no idea what this means.
. . . The Kentucky-Wisconsin matchup features a team that starts five freshmen versus a team that starts none? It's also a No. 8 seed giving 2½ points to a No. 2 seed, according to Las Vegas. And it matches the fifth-highest beer-drinking state per capita (Wisconsin) versus the 44th beer-drinking one (Kentucky). We have no stats on bourbon.
. . . Florida best represents its state? It has nine in-state players. Least? UConn: two. Kentucky has six, but none start. I DO know what this means. Nothing.
. . . If Florida and coach Billy Donovan win it all, it makes him one of six guys to win three or more? John Wooden (10), Adolph Rupp (4), Coach K (4) Bobby Knight (3), Jim Calhoun (3). And he's only 48. Buy him two Tylenol, because that's sick.
. . . The previous time the NCAA held a Final Four in the "North Texas" area (Dallas, 1986), a team from Kentucky won it? Louisville.
|The NCAA says the Final Four is in North Texas. But the locals call it "Arlington."|
. . . Wisconsin's Dukan was a ball boy for the Chicago Bulls in the glory years? "I tripped a ref once," says Dukan. "My legs were stretched out and he tripped and fell right in front of us. And then the calls started going against us and all the players are like, 'Way to go Duje!' " Then there was that time, when he was 6 and cried because Scottie Pippen got champagne all over his new Bulls T-shirt. "Well, it was my favorite shirt," Dukan says.
. . . If this Final Four were settled with a 1-on-1 tournament between the coaches, UConn would win in a rout? Huskies coach Kevin Ollie played 13 years in the NBA. Donovan played one. Wisconsin's Bo Ryan played none, and he wasn't exactly a Shabazz at Wilkes University. Calipari played a pretty spiffy point guard at Clarion for two seasons.
. . . If this Final Four were settled by checking accounts, Kentucky would win in a rout? Calipari gets $5.2 million per year, Donovan $3.7 million, Ryan $2.1 million, Ollie $1.3 million.
. . . The strangest dance anybody will do all week will be the one by Wisconsin's Evan Anderson? It has no name.
. . . How to tell Kentucky's fabulous freshmen guards, Andrew and Aaron Harrison, apart? It's not easy. Andrew's eyes are a little sleepier. Aaron is listed as 3 pounds heavier. Andrew is ranked as a slightly better pro prospect. Aaron's shooting heroics got them past Louisville and Michigan and into the Final Four. The two were so close that even though they grew up in a house with six bedrooms, they chose to share one.
. . . Wisconsin sharpshooter Ben Brust has Super Glued his shoes together three times now this season? He also likes to jump over the row of photographers under the basket on the way to the halftime locker room. He's also a NASCAR freak.
. . . Florida bruiser Patric Young might make a pretty good NFL tight end if the NBA doesn't work out? Young has the bloodlines. His father, Robert Young, played TE in the USFL for the Tampa Bay Bandits and Jacksonville Bulls. Young even worked out with the Gators' football team.
. . . AT&T Stadium in ARLINGTON, Texas, can seat 85,000, which is more than the combined attendance capacity of all four schools' arenas?
. . . There are only two players with NBA dads? Wisconsin's Traevon Jackson is the son of Jim Jackson, who played 14 years in the league. And Florida's Billy Donovan Jr. plays for his dad. (OK, one and a third.)
. . . On a white chalkboard in the Wisconsin home locker room, the players keep track of all the names Ryan has mispronounced? "We're up to about 150 now," says Dukan. Their favorite? Victor "Olapeepo."
. . . Calipari has had 29 players drafted in the NBA? The other three coaches combined don't come anywhere close.
. . . Florida forward Will Yeguete speaks fluent French? That might be because he's from Bordeaux.
. . . SMU, which beat UConn twice this season, was not allowed in this tournament?
. . . SMU isn't in North Texas, either?
Oh, you did? Never mind then.