March Madness is finally upon us, and we here at RTC are here to make everything a little bit easier for you. From the First Four until One Shining Moment, we’ll be dropping daily tidbits of knowledge regarding the teams in each region.
- DeAndre Daniels isn’t always UConn’s first option, but head coach Kevin Ollie is urging him to become a more vocal leader. “He [Daniels] didn’t say a complete sentence before he got here,” Ollie said. “You can’t shut him up now. He’s grown and he’s matured in that role. Now we’re trying to get him to get that role more on the court, where he’s more vocal and talking and being in a leadership role.”
- UConn freshman Terrence Samuels is responsible for the latest bench celebration craze: the Three-Sweep. It’s a silly dance move, but Samuels maintains that it keeps the team’s spirits high. “It helps keep the bench pumped and motivating the team,” he said.
- Although UConn coach Kevin Ollie is an outstanding motivator, Sean O’Leary from The UConn Blog argues that his in-game coaching is the reason the Huskies have made it so far.
- Everyone is making them, but UConn star Kemba Walker isn’t buying the comparisons between himself and former superstar Kemba Walker. He noted, “At the end of the day, [Walker] took that team to a national championship and I want to do the same. But I’m going to do it a different pathway. And I’m going to be myself.”
- Though Napier denies the comparisons, he and Walker do have one thing in common: They both have incredibly supportive mothers. “Of course, she’s [Walker's mother Andrea] here to support me,” Napier’s mother Carmen Velasquez said. “She just said, ‘We’re going to Texas, baby.’ I said, ‘Yes, we are.'”
- Could Shabazz Napier deserve National Player of the Year honors over Creighton’s Doug McDermott after leading UConn all the way to the Final Four? Some college basketball analysts seem to think he does.
- If Kentucky is going to win it all, the Harrison Twins are going to play a big part of it. Though they started slow and seemed immature at times, the freshman duo have figured it out and are playing their best basketball right now. “The biggest thing we had to help them with was body language,” [coach John] Calipari said. “As that changed, they became different players. The second thing was, we had to define the roles better, and I did a poor job of that until late in the year, by the end of the year. I can’t believe it. I was angry when I realized what I had done.”
- Kentucky freshman center Marcus Lee was the one of the heroes of the Wildcats’ Elite Eight victory over Michigan, and he was thrilled to receive a standing ovation during class upon his return to Lexington.
- Though he wasn’t 100 percent truthful, Kentucky coach John Calipari’s idea of entering the locker room in a casket still hit home with his team as it reached the Final Four. “He [Calipari] said he couldn’t get a casket, but I think that was fun, and it really showed us that he had faith in us,” said freshman shooting guard Aaron Harrison.
- Many had qualms with the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee’s seeding, and Kentucky’s #8 seed might be proving to be the most egregious mistake of all.
- Kentucky is all business heading into the most important weekend of the season. The Wildcats are excited to be there, but they are far from satisfied. “When you realize you’re going to the Final Four of course you’re going to celebrate, but, look,” standout freshman Julius Randle said, nodding his head toward Aaron Harrison and James Young firing jumpers on the Joe Craft Center practice floor, “guys are in the gym working right now. So we’re not done yet.”
- John Calipari and Bo Ryan are polar opposites in the way they run their teams, but at the end of the day, they both get the job done.