March 28, 2011

Lunchtime Final Four notes as we escape from Jersey

Some lunchtime notes from the Wendy’s in the Detroit airport.
- The festivities in Houston start Thursday with press conferences involving all four teams and coaches. Open practices will be held on Friday, with more press conferences. VCU-Butler tips at 5:09 on Saturday, with Kentucky-Connecticut following.
- How about a Kentucky vs. Shelvin Mack final? How fun would that be?
- Connecticut was the only team to beat the Cats by double digits this year.
- The Big East has not won a game in the Final Four since UConn took the title in 2004.
- Besides coaching in the same state, what else do John Calipari and Rick Pitino have in common? They are the only two coaches to take three different schools to the Final Four.
- Butler could have lost to Old Dominion, winning on a put-back late. And Butler should have lost to Florida, trailing the No. 2 seed by 11 with under 10 minutes to play.
- Josh Harrellson has made 25 of 33 field goals so far in this NCAA Tournament for a ridiculous 76 percent. Harrellson is averaging 14.8 points and nine rebounds over the four games.
- This is first time since seeding started in 1979 that there are not a single No. 1 seed or a No. 2 seed in the Final Four.
- Brandon Knight’s five three-pointers on Sunday were the most he had made in a game since Jan. 15 against LSU.
- Let’s hope Knight breaks his bad game/good game streak. Brandon scored just two points, but hit the game-winner against Princeton. He followed that up with a 30-point performance against West Virginia. Knight scored just nine points, but hit the game-winner against Ohio State. He followed that with 22 points against North Carolina.
- Darius Miller’s 11 points on Sunday snapped a streak of two straight single-figure games.
- Jarrod Polson was the first one up the ladder to cut the nets down on Sunday.
- I would have been more impressed if Beyonce was in the UK locker room after the game. Nothing against Jay-Z.
- Kentucky made 12 three-pointers on Sunday was its highest total since making 12 of 22 against Winthrop on Dec. 22. The Cats made 13 of 26 threes against East Tennessee in the season opener.
- Compare that 12-of-22 in this year’s East Region final to last year’s four-of-32 in the East Region final.
- It was pretty ironic that NCAA president Mark Emmertt was there to present the title trophy to John Calipari. Kentucky fans have not forgotten that Emmertt was the president of Washington, where Enes Kanter first committed, and that the NCAA deemed Kanter “permanently ineligible.” There were some boos when Emmertt’s name was announced.
- Kentucky has gone 32 straight games holding the opponent under 50 percent.
- Connecticut lost four of its last five regular season games before winning five straight games in the Big East Tournament.
- Kemba Walker scored 29 points in the first meeting between the two teams in Maui. And DeAndre Liggins remembers.
- Jim Calhoun is gunning for his third national title. That’s also the number of Big East games he will have to sit out next year for his problems with the NCAA.
- Of the Final Four teams, Butler played the highest seeds (combined 16), followed by VCU (20), Kentucky (21) and Connecticut (27). That’s not counting VCU’s play-in win over Southern Cal.
- Kentucky actually outscored Connecticut 38-34 in the second half in Maui.
- Expect to see the word “vacated” a lot in the national media this week.

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