CONFERENCE USA: Crum's last stand
The Denny Crum era ended at Louisville on the home floor of Freedom Hall as the Cardinals lost to UAB.
|Denny Crum went to six Final Fours and won two national titles at Louisville.|
I hope we can remember the good times at Louisville. Remember the '80s when Crum and the Cardinals dominated. He came in with the John Wooden system, his athletes playing pressure defense and crashing the glass.
I'll never forget the Doctors of Dunk in 1980. Other teams tried to utilize the style, but Crum was one of the pioneers. In 1986 they won the national title with a diaper dandy, "Never Nervous" Pervis Ellison.
Denny Crum loves college basketball. He retains his passion for the game and his involvement with the coaching fraternity. He cared about the rules and fair play. I wish Denny nothing but the best. The pressure to win in college basketball is tremendous. It is so difficult to win championships in college basketball, yet that is what coaches are judged on. We have the NBA mentality -- unless you win it all, you've failed. That's wrong.
South Florida on the march
In other C-USA action, DePaul's season ended with a whimper. If you had to rank the most disappointing teams in college basketball, DePaul might top the list.
The team that ended the Blue Demons' misery, South Florida, has the potential, with Altron Jackson and B.B. Waldon, to be a dangerous team in the conference-title march. They're a sixth seed in the conference, but they are dreaming of a run to the conference championship and C-USA's automatic bid.
BIG EAST: Huskies sweat it out
Jim Calhoun and his Connecticut Huskies will have to sweat it out.
That's right, instead of locking up a bid, now Calhoun's team will have to watch and wait on Selection Sunday. The Huskies couldn't find a way to stop Preston Shumpert, and he was the difference-maker as Syracuse scored the knockout punch against Connecticut.
Shumpert, who hit eight trifectas and scored 34 points in the first meeting against Connecticut, hit for 31 on Wednesday night. He hit from long range, and he also posted up the Huskies down low, creating matchup problems. Caron Butler kept Connecticut in the game for a while, but at the end, Jim Boeheim's team played too well and got to the winner's circle.
Calhoun has said that seven teams from the Big East deserve to go. He points out the competitive nature of the league and the fact there are 14 teams. Calhoun said six of the nine ACC teams will likely go to the Big Dance.
It will be up to the committee to decide how important wins over Arizona, Boston College, Notre Dame and Providence were for Connecticut. The loss to Seton Hall at the end of the regular season, coupled with Wednesday's loss to Syracuse, hurts the Huskies big-time.
So Calhoun and company will wait and see...
Pirates seize first chance at redemption
|Ty Shine (0) helped Seton Hall get past St. John's and Sharif Fordham (3), keeping trhe Pirates' Big East title hopes alive.|
The conference tourneys are the last chance for teams that have had disappointing seasons to will themselves back into the NCAA Tournament.
Seton Hall, for example, had an extremely disappointing season after serious preseason expectations and a 10-2 start. The Pirates rose to No. 7 in the nation early on and fell off the cliff after personality clashes tore at the team's fabric.
But the beauty of the conference tournaments is that everybody starts over at 0-0. Everybody gets one last opportunity to chase the dream. The Hall got one step closer by beating St. John's in the first round, while the Red Storm ended a frustrating year with the loss. It's the first losing season in Mike Jarvis' coaching tenure (14-15).
The Pirates seized their opportunity. Samuel Dalembert not only blocked shots but also scored points on the inside. Seton Hall advances to play Georgetown, which beat the Hall twice this season. But if the Pirates can get a strong performance from veterans Darius Lane and Ty Shine, they have a talented enough team to make a run. They played with inspiration and motivation against St. John's, so the Hoyas need to watch out in the next round.