March 14, 1994

A Long Goodbye.
Last Friday 71-year-old Hofstra coach Butch van Breda Kolff, retiring after a career that spanned 41 seasons and some 1,400 games at the high school, college and pro levels, took a 6-20 team into Buffalo for an East Coast Conference tournament first-round game that many thought would be his last appearance on the sideline. But the Flying Dutchmen knocked off Chicago State 86-77 that night and Troy State 90-89 in OT the next. On Sunday they prolonged their farewell to van Breda Kolff as long as possible by beating Northeastern Illinois 88-86 in double overtime for the ECC title—which doesn't carry an NCAA tournament bid. It was sad but somehow fitting that this man, who was willing to coach anybody, anywhere, would end his career in front of a crowd that numbered little more than 100. Van Breda Kolff never much cared who was playing or who was watching. He asked only that the game be played "the right way," a demand that sometimes cost him his job, though it wasn't the reason for his departure from Hofstra—he decided to retire in part because of arrhythmia, which caused him to miss four games. His love of the basics made his last wins particularly sweet. "In the last month," said van Breda Kolff, whose Flying Dutchmen got off to a 1-14 start this season, "this team found that passing the ball and doing things the traditional way actually wins games."

Contender Inflation.
Who has a shot at the NCAA title this year? To judge by the following excerpts from the ESPN team's mind-numbing analysis during one six-minute stretch of Kansas's 97-79 blowout of Iowa State last week, just about everybody does.

RON FRANKLIN: How good is this KU team?

LARRY CONLEY: I think they're excellent....

I tell you, somebody I've got to pass congratulations on to is Norm Stewart What a great job he has done with his club [Missouri]. I happened to be in Fayetteville, Arkansas, the night that Arkansas just dismantled them....

Speaking of Fayetteville, how good are the Razorbacks? Boy, boy, are they something.

RF: Awfully good....

I just have a feeling that that club up in Philadelphia—Temple...is going to be very tough to beat.

LC:...I'm convinced they're one of the better clubs in the country even though Massachussetts has beaten them twice in the Atlantic 10. John Calipari's club is something to contend with, too....

How about St. Louis and Charlie Spoonhour?...Even North Carolina State's come on pretty well recently. Clemson's had some big wins this year. And Florida State...they've given some real tough games to some tough clubs....

Michigan State looks like they've played themselves back into it again. Minnesota with that big win against Indiana.

RF: Wisconsin with that huge win—it's what they needed....

LC: Don't forget the Great Midwest. What a great year they have had.... Marquette's awfully good, Cincinnati looks like they've played themselves back into it....

RF:...Kevin O'Neill's ball club [Marquette]—boy, defensively they'll undress you.

LC: Gene Bartow's club. How about UAB?...Big win by Nebraska, though, against Kansas.

RF: That's a ball club [Nebraska] that's got the good athletes....

They are very, very capable....

Hey, guys, don't forget about Sacramento State!

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