Campus Quick Slants
This college basketball season has been a game of musical chairs with the same handful of teams fighting for their share of the limelight, despite recognizable flaws. In other words, it's been the same old entourage all year long.
Coincidentally, there happens to be a popular show these days named
By most accounts, the Tar Heels are absolutely, positively the stars of the show. That being said, they seem conflicted. Often times it feels as if Carolina is content merely being a celebrity (i.e., games against Clemson) than a well-polished artist on the court of play. The question headed into March Madness remains: Can the Tar Heels find a higher source of motivation and deliver a box office hit like
The Tigers have all the pieces in place to be a real player in the national championship market, and you just know that the talent is there to succeed in a big way. The problem: They have minimal credibility. Indeed, some feel their experience in Conference USA translates poorly to a title run in the same way that managing a Sbarro's didn't make Eric a legitimate representative. And when they failed to stand tall in the face of their most formidable opponent (Tennessee), it got a whole lot harder for people to take them seriously.
Just when the Volunteers completed their quest to the top of the mountain, well, they fell on their own sword against Vanderbilt. And while Tennessee might be the first to tell you about its balanced resume of skills, the bottom line is that it'll be characterized, at least in the short-term, as a team that couldn't stay out of its own way.
The Bruins live among the stars and try to fit in, but they just can't do it. Why? They're a different kind of team that uses its aggressiveness to its advantage, winning with heart and cleverly-conceived tactics. Sharks in the purest quintessence of the word, UCLA knows all the right angles and is a master of execution.
Despite showing signs of brilliance, Kansas leaves you with the feeling that it plays some of its biggest games on cruise control, content simply going along for the ride. And with a bumpy array of tournament results over the last few years, this season has the makings of Turtle's failed business venture with an upstart rapper named
It made for a fun little news item when Texas Tech coach
And more to the point, you have to figure it's only a matter of time before Pat starts throwing chairs like his father.
I've been grappling with this question all season: Is it just me, or do Stanford's
Think about it -- just like the WWF tandem, the Lopez Brothers are devastating as a team, characterized by their intense on-court emotion and championship-worthy with a brute combination of scoring and defense. Does the shoe not fit? Meanwhile, one seems destined for stardom (Brook) while the other seems destined for a more non-descript career (Robin); and you can see the writing on the wall that this duo will eventually get broken up. Let's just hope that's due to the NBA Draft and not a controversial "super kick" through a plate glass window at
Reason No. 1 why Vanderbilt's Memorial Gym marches to its own drummer: It was built 56 years ago and people still stroll into their respective offices after watching a Vandy game saying "Have you SEEN that court?" Like, whoa.
The history on Memorial Gym's quirks is pretty straightforward. Back in the day, it was constructed as a hybrid concert hall and arena, thus explaining the quirky platform on which the hardwood resides and the crazy acoustics of the building. In addition, the arena has extra-wide out-of-bounds areas at courtside -- perhaps giving it more versatility for other events -- and the benches remain situated underneath each basket. So, in a sport that shows relatively little variability in terms of playing arrangements, Memorial Gym is the proverbial man with two heads.
And that's a big advantage. Though the marvels of modern science could surely change the configuration, Vandy has no real reason to alter its tradition now. Why should it? The last four No.1 teams to come into Memorial Gym have fallen, and the Commodores have a decided advantage in nearly every game they play at home.
Oh, and somehow
The editor of this space -- yes, there is someone that actually approves this stuff -- has suggested that we let you, the general readership, answer these questions. Send me your thoughts ...
So, I know