Published Friday, March 30, 2012 AT 10:21 AM / Updated at 8:36 PM
Dirk’s Brunch Bites, March 30
Dirk Chatelain Omaha World-Herald

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.

About Dirk Chatelain

Dirk Chatelain is a staff writer for The Omaha World-Herald and covers Nebraska football and general assignments. You can follow Dirk on Twitter (@dirkchatelain) or email him at


  1. Chicago John says:

    The reason you got push back for suggesting Frank Martin for the Nebraska job is his perceived cutting corners in recruiting. Having all AAU people on his staff is something most conservative Nebraskans and Tom Osborne probably don’t want. Of course it is dumb and doesn’t make sense.

    I totally disagree and laugh at the fact that people can think everything is on the up and up in the football office, particularly TO. There are some athletes driving some pretty nice cars… and you know what? They’re worth it. So why not just embrace the 2012 way to win, how does it effect fans? Why is everyone so obsessed with being clean? I know I’ll get flamed for saying it, but it really is something I don’t understand.

    1. Joe in L-town says:

      Frank Martin also isn’t opposed for either him or boosters PAYING the players. The dude is dirty and has always been on the radar for shady dealings. Let him go to the SEC, he fits in there.

      1. Chicago John says:

        That’s my whole point though. Why does that matter? How does that effect you as a fan? If the NCAA catches them then they get banned for a few years, but they won’t be able to take away the enjoyment you had of the victories and potentially NCAA tournament runs. You can erase a record but you won’t erase the memories.
        I honestly think most Nebraskan’s wouldn’t want John Calipari to come here, which is totally asinine to me.

  2. Greg says:

    Two names that have been in recent college basketball coaching changes recently….Danny Manning (Tulsa) and Larry Brown (wanting the SMU job). T’hese two are at opposite ends of the coaching spectrum with one getting his first head coaching job and another wanting to add possibly one more stop to a legendary career spanning decades. Both, however, would have sparked interest in Husker hoops for different reasons. Would either have been a good fit for NU? Despite the current state of NU basketball, NU is still a major school in a major conference which cannot be said for either Tulsa or SMU.

    1. Mike says:

      Both of those teams have tourney wins. Just sayin. All three are stepping stones. Let’s not pretend that if Tim Miles even makes the tourney, he isn’t leaving for greener pastures.

  3. Kelly says:

    Did you forget about 94 Arkansas team? Aside from 90-91 UNLV team, they would clearly be the second best team on that list.

  4. Mark says:

    I’m not joking when I say my high school legion baseball team had a “stadium” comparable to that picture of Northwestern’s. YIKES!

    1. AP says:

      Who cares?

  5. joe says:

    its still on ther hilarious side,when the new member of the BIGTEN conf. comes in & “tries” to tell one of the most prestegious college conferences in history,what to do.The BIGTEN has more interest in Hockey than it does for baseball.& that is only 6 hockey clubs.I understand because of the close proximity of the CWS,UNL has a vested interest in college baseball.BUT dont push it down the throats of the other BIGTEN bball teams that don’t care & never will.College baseball will always be a southern sport & always will be.& the BIGTEN is just fine w/ that.So,being the UNL fan following is a bit short on manners,please sit down & keep your pie-hole shut.You’ve been in the BIGTEN,all of 1 year.

    1. Mike says:

      What in the world are you talking about? What did UNL try and push down the BIGTEN’s throat?

    2. Dave says:

      Ummmm…. Yeahhhh… About baseball being America’s national pasttime and all….. Those darn Nebraskans are shoving AMERICA’S national pasttime down the throats of those enjoying Canadia’s pasttime? And B1G won’t have college hockey as a sport until next year, but it’s a B1G tradition? Ummmm… Yeah… About that…