It’s Friday! That means 10 big stories in 10 little bites. We hit the Final Four and Husker hoops, Frank Haith and Frank Martin, Doug Gottlieb, Danny Manning and Darin Erstad. But first, is Kentucky unbeatable?
Don’t bet your house on it. Not Monday night against Ohio State/Kansas. Not even Saturday afternoon against Louisville.
Yes, the Wildcats are the best team in the country. Yes, they look untouchable. But entering the Final Four, people said the same thing about Houston in ’83, Georgetown in ’85, Duke in ’86, Oklahoma in ’88, Illinois in ’89, UNLV in ’91 and Kentucky in ’97. The last 15 years have gone closer to the script. Are we due for Goliath to fall?
Louisville hasn’t lost in four weeks. It ranks No. 1 nationally in defensive efficiency. And the Cards already faced Kentucky this year, so they won’t be surprised by UK’s size and athleticism. Plus, there’s the rivalry factor (you have read a story or 14 about it). I think Saturday’s semifinal goes down to the final minute.
As for the late game, gimme Ohio State.
>> Are the ‘Cats, if they win it all, the best team in recent NCAA history? Here’s my top 5 of the past 25 years.
1) UNLV 1990-91 (The Rebels didn’t even win the championship in ’91; they did in ’90).
2) Duke 1992
3) Kentucky 1996
4) North Carolina 2005
5) Tie: Florida 2007/Duke 2001
* Kentucky 2012 would be somewhere between 8-12.
>> Did Nebraska “settle” for Tim Miles? Did Tom Osborne choose “more of the same” in selecting a mid-major coach? That’s one way to look at the hire. But I don’t think it’s correct. Miles may fail, but it won’t be because he’s too much like Doc Sadler and Barry Collier.
That’s where, I believe, Osborne should’ve done a better job selling WHY he picked Miles. It wasn’t Miles’ record rebuilding programs. It was his energy, his creativity, his optimism. People wanted someone outside the box. Well, here’s your man. Osborne should’ve said that. I’ll have a lot more on Miles in Sunday’s World-Herald.
>> What would Nebraska fans have thought of Frank Martin replacing Doc Sadler? I suggested in Thursday’s Bites that Martin would’ve lit a fire under the fan base. I received a little pushback on that statement. But why? Martin wins. And he has the same personality as football coach Bo Pelini.
>> Doug Gottlieb wants the K-State job? Wow. He won’t get it. The best way NOT to get a job is to publicly state you want the job.
>> One-and-done players are not David Stern’s fault. He chimes in on the debate, taking a subtle shot at the NCAA.
>> This kid will be in a high school slam dunk contest on ESPN this weekend. Yes, he’s in high school. I don’t understand kids today.
>> Duke is the most popular basketball program in America? Not in my house.
>> Frank Haith won national coach of the year. As SI’s Stewart Mandel tweeted, “What does that make the Norfolk St. coach?”
>> Brett McMurphy of CBS Sports thinks semifinal games in a football playoff will be played at campus sites. That would be fantastic.
>> Indiana high school basketball is a shell of its former self. Great read.
>> Tulsa hit a home run with Danny Manning, Jason King writes.
>> ESPN looks back on Title IX.
>> And now, Nebraska enters the spring season, when we realize there IS a downside to leaving the Big 12. I’m talking, of course, about baseball. Husker crowds at Haymarket Park were great throughout March. But now? Get ready for some lonely weekends on the road, Coach Erstad, starting with a series at Northwestern’s Little League stadium. (Here’s a photo courtesy of Nebraska sports information). The biggest challenge for the Huskers isn’t hitting Big Ten pitching; it’s staying awake in the outfield.
>> Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend.