SALT LAKE CITY -- After spending most of the first and second rounds in Louisiana, I was assigned to its converse for the Sweet 16: Utah. The wide, empty streets, clean air, elevation at 4,226 feet above sea level, and drinking establishments that close at 1 a.m. all make Salt Lake City the anti-French Quarter. This is my penance for Bourbon Street.
At The Arena Formerly Known As The Delta Center, it didn't take long for someone to ask Syracuse coach Jim Boehiem the region's burning question: Whether or not forward Arinze Onuaku had healed enough to return to action.
Q. Is there any injury update on your big guy? Any chance he'll play?
COACH BOEHEIM: You know, he's doing better, but he's not practicing. Will not play.
Q. If you advance?
COACH BOEHEIM: Will not play this game. That's it. That's all I got.
Q. Game-by-game type deal?
COACH BOEHEIM: (Nodding head.)
Good news for Butler -- but good enough to matter on Thursday? The way Wes Johnson and Andy Rautins have been playing, it's hard to imagine the Orange not making the Elite Eight.
(During the open practice, Onuaku was on the bench, reclining, blocking out the world with a set of Bose noise-canceling headphones. Is he the only player in the country who doesn't wear Beats?)
Kansas State took the floor after the 'Cuse. As the Wildcats were walking out, a local who'd wandered in for the open practices tapped me on the shoulder and asked, "What city is Kansas State in?" He seemed skeptical that another Manhattan existed. I would've liked to see him ask Frank Martin that question.
This means absolutely nothing in relation to tomorrow's game -- which I think K-State will win -- but the Wildcats failed hard in their attempt at a dunking exhibition. Here's the FlipCam Mixtape:
[wpvideo NkSgzNAy w=590]
No one ever accused K-State of being pretty on offense. Perhaps they just weren't inspired by the sparse, business-casual crowd. Energy Solutions Arena, tomorrow, will be more energized.