Illinois seemed headed for glory in ’89, but Michigan prevailed (Chicago Sun Times)
While the 1989 Final Four ended up being remembered for Michigan’s winning the national title, one of the two teams the Wolverines beat was an Illinois squad some felt was the favorite to win it all. But they fell two points short, and it’s a missed opportunity that still weighs on the minds of some of the members of the “Flying Illini.”
Look who’s talking: Ollie tells Daniels to be more vocal (Hartford Courant)
Guards Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright are the leaders for No. 7 UConn, and with that comes a lot of attention nationally. But junior forward DeAndre Daniels is also an important piece, and if anything there are times when head coach Kevin Ollie needs the Los Angeles native to be more assertive. And that goes for the verbal aspect of the game just as much as it does Daniels’ skill.
Gators heed advice of Billy Donovan, put aside Final Four distractions (Bradenton Herald)
One key for the teams in this weekend’s Final Four is to manage the distractions that come off the court. That means taking care of ticket requests and anything else that can get in the way of the players keeping their focus on the task at hand. For No. 1 Florida, head coach Billy Donovan gave his players Sunday and Monday to handle those areas, and his experience coaching in the Final Four is something the players will look to draw from.
Saints hope to rock the old house (Albany Times Union)
Siena hosts Game 2 of the CBI championship series on Wednesday, with the Saints looking to close things out after beating Fresno State on the road in Game 1. And they’ll be doing so on campus, with the Times Union Center unavailable due to events that have been scheduled for the facility.
The Northwestern Decision: An Explainer (Grantland)
With Northwestern football players winning the right to form a union, there’s been confusion as to what the development means for college sports as a whole. Here’s a solid breakdown of the situation, what it all means now and what it could mean down the line for Northwestern and collegiate athletics as a whole.
Ten most important players in the Final Four (USA Today)
Here’s a look at ten of the most important players in this weekend’s Final Four, led by Wisconsin junior Frank Kaminsky.
Calipari reminds Kentucky players: “we ain’t dead yet” (Louisville Courier-Journal)
Earlier this season Kentucky head coach John Calipari was forced to spend a lot of his time teaching things such as effort and body language, which stunted the growth of his young team. Once that changed in the latter portion of the season so did the Wildcats’ fortunes, and they’re in the Final Four as a result. And Calipari has made sure to remind his players that they aren’t done yet.
GAME OF THE NIGHT: Syracuse vs. No. 18 UConn, 3:30 p.m.
For the first time since the Orange departed the Big East, the two former rivals will square off. Today’s battle will take place at the Battle 4 Atlantis, as the Orange knocked off Charlotte yesterday and the Huskies dispatched Michigan. To get ready for this battle, I’d suggest ready through the conversation @NoEscalators had with himself last night.
THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 25 Texas A&M vs. No. 10 Gonzaga, 1:00 p.m.
The other semifinal in the Battle 4 Atlantis could end up being just as good, as the Aggies — who might be the second best team in the SEC — square off with a Gonzaga team that has one of the best front lines in the country. This will be a good test to figure out just how good both of these teams are.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR
1. No. 20 Wichita State vs. USC, 2:00 p.m.: The Shockers will be without Fred VanVleet for this event. It will also be a chance for us to gauge just how good this 4-0 USC team is.
2. No. 23 Xavier vs. Alabama, 12:00 p.m: The Musketeers should have no problems dispatching Alabama.
3. No. 8 Villanova vs. Stanford, 4:30 p.m.: The Wildcats are, once again, as good as any team in the country. Josh Hart might be the nation’s most underrated star.
4. No. 14 Cal vs. San Diego State, 12:00 a.m.: Tyrone Wallace and company have been awesome this season. They get their first real test of the season tonight.
5. Providence vs. Evansville, 7:00 p.m.: Evansville is one of the nation’s best mid-majors, good enough to give the likes of Wichita State and Northern Iowa a fight in the Missouri Valley. And Providence? They got a kid named Kris Dunn. Heard of him?
THE REST OF THE TOP 25
- No. 3 Michigan State vs. Boston College, 6:30 p.m.
- No. 11 Arizona vs. Santa Clara, 11:30 p.m.
- No. 17 Notre Dame vs. Monmouth, 6:30 p.m.
No. 2 Maryland finally found their rhythm on Wednesday night, blowing out a good Rhode Island team, 86-63, in the finals of the Cancun Challenge.
Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon combined for 34 points and eight assists on 13-for-14 shooting and Robert Carter added 15 points, nine boards, three assists and three blocks. Peak Maryland, which is what we saw tonight, is really dangerous.
But Peak Maryland wasn’t the story after the game, as tempers flared in the waning minutes.
It started when Maryland coach Mark Turgeon called a timeout with less than two minutes remaining. Jake Layman had just hit a three to put Maryland up by 24 points and Turgeon wanted to get his walk-ons in the game. Hurley said to the Maryland bench, “We’ll see you again, boy,” according to Inside Maryland Sports, which prompted this reaction from Turgeon:
After the game, the two teams had to be separated in layup lines. According to reports from IMS and from the Baltimore Sun, Hurley was cursing at Maryland players as he was shaking their hands after the game. According Doug Gottlieb, who called the game for CBS Sports Network, Trimble said that the Rhode Island team wanted to “fight us”: