NCAA Tournament Tidbits: 04.01.11Posted by Brian Goodman on April 1st, 2011
Throughout the NCAA Tournament, we’ll be providing you with the daily chatter from around the webosphere relating to what’s going on with the teams still playing.
- Butler has proven this season that last year’s championship run was not a fluke. The leadership of the Bulldogs has been a key in getting back to the championship game.
- Matt Howard has been a star his entire career on and off the court. Howard carries a 3.768 GPA in finance, which is unbelievable considering the amount of time his commitment to basketball consumes.
- Ronald Nored is known for being Butler’s toughest defender, but he is also known for being the nicest guy on the Bulldog roster.
- Matt Norlander thinks that Butler can and should win it all. We think this might be a bit of an overstatement, but if you’re going to go out on a limb, there are far worse things you could do than hitching your wagon to Brad Stevens.
- Kemba Walkerhopes to have his picture alongside Ray Allen, Richard Hamilton and Emeka Okafor on a wall inside Gampel Pavilion which features UConn’s NBA Draft selections. Assuming the NBA holds its draft as planned despite a looming work stoppage, Walker doesn’t have much to worry about.
- If you’ve seen footage of Jim Calhoun at a microphone, you can detect his Boston accent without much effort. Calhoun isn’t the only UConn fixture on this season’s team to hail from Beantown, though: Alex Oriakhi, Jamal Coombs-McDaniel and Shabazz Napiereach graduated from high schools in the Boston area.
- There’s no love lost between Calhoun and John Calipari. While it’s rare for them to face off against one another on the court anymore, the waters run back to 1993, when Calipari beat out the UConn coach for the services of Marcus Camby, who chose UMass.
- Caron Butler, one of UConn’s brightest stars now in the NBA, is amazed by Kemba Walker’s spectacular month. Walker’s ability to lead a young team has also left several coaches in awe of what UConn has accomplished.
- Shabazz Napier may not stuff the box score on a nightly basis, but his fearlessness is just one component that makes UConn a tough nut to crack. It takes some confidence to speak your mind when your coach is Jim Calhoun.
- An interesting statement from guard DeAndre Liggins touches on last season’s freshmen class. Liggins said that there were “too many egos” among the class. This season’s class may be just as talented, but is clearly more cohesive than in 2010, which is far more important to Kentucky’s NCAA Championship prospects.
- John Calipari has a bigger championship bonus than VCU head coach Shaka Smart‘s annual salary. The phrase “embarrassment of riches” doesn’t only pertain to Kentucky’s incoming talent.
- Point guard Brandon Knight might have played alongside Kemba Walker at UConn. Knight took an official visit to Storrs during his junior season in high school and seriously considered playing for the Huskies.
- Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb are starring for the Wildcats in a lesser capacity than they did during the regular season. Jones and Lamb have done a solid job playing supporting role to Brandon Knight, DeAndre Liggins, and Josh Harrellson.
- John Calipari has been a wildly successful head coach throughout his coaching career. Calipari makes sure to remember his roots, though.
- The Rams will be ready for a fight on Saturday. After slaying four BCS conference teams, VCU gets a “break” from the big-budget programs with one that has become just as venerable.
- While several high-profile schools have filled coaching vacancies in a speedy manner, NC State is still looking for a leader, and it could be Shaka Smart. Missouri is also on the hunt after being spurned by Matt Painter earlier this week.
- VCU reportedly has interest in Bradford Burgess’ brother, Jordan. Jordan is still only a junior in high school, so he can’t make any official visits. Presumably, the familial connection would make Jordan an instant hit on the Richmond campus, should he decide to follow his brother.
- The bright-eyed Rams have learned that the Final Four is plenty different from the CBI, which it won last season. Will all the attention and publicity finally become a distraction on the court?
- Is the best yet to come for VCU and Shaka Smart? VCU will face long odds yet again this weekend, and we can’t wait to see Smart reach into his bag of coaching tricks and see what he comes up with.