3-point shot: Syracuse, Kansas step up

1.If you wanted more proof as to why Syracuse and Kansas can be in the Final Four then Big Monday served up prime examples. Both teams won tough road games (Syracuse at Louisville and Kansas at Kansas State) that they nearly gifted to their opponents. But both teams also made a key defensive play to win the game.They forced Louisville and Kansas State to make poor decisions late and each team failed to make a play. Syracuse and Kansas executed. The Orange and Jayhawks each has a player who has emerged that could be a key component to a possible national title run. C.J. Fair has delivered for Syracuse off the bench. Jeff Withey has become the post-presence that KU desperately needed; allowing Thomas Robinson to play his natural position.

2. Alabama coach Anthony Grant wanted to make it clear that the suspensions to Tony Mitchell and JaMychal Green were separate from each other and different than the one for Trevor Releford and Andrew Steele. The latter two were reinstated for the Florida game Tuesday while Mitchell and Green remain suspended indefinitely. Grant wouldn’t divulge the reason for any of the suspensions.

3. Loved the Nolan Richardson story on ESPNU. Richardson has never received the true credit he deserves for what he did at Arkansas. He gave the program a national identity. He commanded loyalty and earned tremendous trust. He was a pioneer. One of my favorite stories I’ve done for ESPN was going down to El Paso with Richardson when he was coaching the Mexican National Team. Spending time with him in his old neighborhood was priceless.