Time for 10 random thoughts

March, 28, 2009
Here's what's on my mind as we head into this weekend's regional finals …

10. At some point we need to examine how Roy Williams' tenure at UNC has coincided with Duke's disappearance from the national-power category. Duke has lost to North Carolina four straight times on its own floor, and despite the Blue Devils' track record of success in the ACC tourney, the NCAA tourney has been far more kind to the Heels. Williams looks far more dominant in this rivalry than even the great Dean Smith.

9. If you thought Indiana had a bad year, then do not watch Arizona next season. With Nic Wise expected to declare (he'll likely end up in Europe rather than the NBA due to some knee issues that might limit the amount of time he can play), the Wildcats will not only be without their Big Three, but they'll have to make due without two straight recruiting classes. The Arizona job looks worse by the day. Will Mark Few attempt to rebuild it or will Zona look toward Randy Bennett, who has built Saint Mary's into a mid-major powerhouse?

8. North Dakota State's team returned home heroes in Fargo due after its first NCAA appearance and a near-upset of Kansas. The victory lap was short-lived, however, as horrific flooding has ravaged the area. The Bison have joined thousands of others in loading sandbags in hopes of saving Fargo from the floods. Among the workers are Saul Phillips, the NDSU coach, and Ben Woodside, who lit up KU for 37 points and scored over 2,000 points in his amazing career. Keep the faith, Fargo. We are thinking of you.

7. "In this economy" was the logical reason we would not see much coaching turnover, but with Arizona, UVa, Kentucky, Georgia and Virginia Commonwealth open, there are some high-paying quality jobs available that are likely to be filled by other head coaches (VCU being the likely exception). That should create even more "stimulus" to the coaching ranks. And speaking of VCU, no mid-major is better prepared for a coaching search. The school started a coaching preparatory clinic called the "Villa 7" which is an all-inclusive seminar series for 50 of the best young assistant coaches in the country.

6. Has there been a more impressive performance in terms of man-to-man defense than Villanova lining up Duke and annihilating its offense? It was the second-worst tournament loss in Duke's proud history (only the loss to UNLV in the 1990 championship game was worse) as Duke shot less than 27 percent from the field! Wow. No tricks, just phenomenal defense, quickness and intensity.

5. Don't feel sorry for Memphis. With the exception of the expected loss of Tyreke Evans, who was extremely impressive despite the team's drubbing at the hands of Mizzou, the Tigers should be better at every position next year. Unless, of course, John Calipari becomes the next Kentucky coach.

4. By the way, who would be the next UConn coach if Jim Calhoun called it quits? Tom Moore, the former assistant linked to the Nate Miles deal, would have been a bit of a stretch anyway after his current team (Quinnipiac) struggled through an injury-plagued season. Former UConn assistant Dave Leitao was fired from Virginia, and Karl Hobbs (who also coached with Calhoun) is hanging on by a thread at GW. So who would get the Connecticut gig? The honest answer is, who knows? There is no clear answer outside of the Sean Miller wish.

3. Does anyone else find it ironic that the one Dukie who is doing well outside of Durham is a former player who played on the Pete Gaudet-coached Duke team, whose younger brother went to UNC and whose coaching style in no way resembles that of Coach K? Oklahoma finally got Tony Crocker back on track shooting the basketball, proving that the Sooners are far more capable of beating a zone than the pressure defense that has hurt them in losses to Arkansas, Mizzou and Oklahoma State.

2. Ty Lawson made the single best decision of anyone last offseason by coming back to college despite the sense that he would get a guarantee had he stayed in the NBA draft pool. Despite his toe injury, Lawson is a far better shooter and a more refined point guard than he was in the past. That should make his transition to the NBA much easier.

1. Are we going to get just one memorable game in the NCAA tournament? You tell me what shots from the tourney are going to be on "One Shining Moment." In addition to missing any sort of Cinderella story in this Sweet 16 round, we had a Levance Fields 3 against Xavier and a Kalin Lucas' "and-1" against KU … and that's about it. Every other game was decided by double digits -- and it's not like the first two rounds had a lot of excitement, either. Let's hope for some much-needed drama in the Elite Eight.





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