Sidelines with John Clay

Links: NCAA South Regional near replay of CBS Sports Classic

Cincinnati’s Jacob Evans tries to steal the ball from UCLA guard Isaac Hamilton during the first half UCLA’s 79-67 win in a second-round game of the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament in Sacramento, Calif., Sunday, March 19, 2017. No. 3 seed UCLA plays No. 2 seed Kentucky on Friday night in Memphis.
Cincinnati’s Jacob Evans tries to steal the ball from UCLA guard Isaac Hamilton during the first half UCLA’s 79-67 win in a second-round game of the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament in Sacramento, Calif., Sunday, March 19, 2017. No. 3 seed UCLA plays No. 2 seed Kentucky on Friday night in Memphis. Associated Press

Big Blue Links for Tuesday:

Scary good Hamidou Diallo waits for his turn in the spotlight, reports Ben Roberts of the Herald-Leader. “The main concern with Hami coming in — when I started hearing people’s opinion on him — was his shooting ability,” said Derek Willis. “And that’s taken off for sure. Him working with Kenny Payne and the rest of our coaching staff, they’ve helped him tremendously on that. He’s definitely shooting a lot better since he’s been here.”

Kentucky is going to need its bench in the Sweet 16, says Kyle Tucker of SEC Country. “Kentucky fans will remember the De’Aaron Fox dunks and the Malik Monk and Bam Adebayo blocks at the end of a thrilling, 65-62 win over Wichita State in the second round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament on Sunday. But there was a bizarre stretch in the first half that might serve the Wildcats well in the weekend ahead.”

NCAA Tournament bracket in a Google doc

The South Regional has a case of the blues, writes Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times. “They turned the Las Vegas Strip into a blue blob for one chilly night three months ago, fans from UCLA, Kentucky and North Carolina commingling in jerseys and T-shirts bearing the famous hues of their schools. The banter was friendly and the jabs mostly good-natured, the powerhouse teams having gathered along with Ohio State in the same city for the CBS Sports Classic, a high-profile but relatively low-stakes one-day event.”

To win the South, Kentucky must remain clutch on defense, writes Matt Norlander of CBS Sports. “It’s a tad strange but it feels like Kentucky basketball is actually underrated and zipping just a bit below the radar at this hour. Check your bracket, check your office or buddy pool. How many people are picking UK to get past the Sweet 16, let alone make the Final Four? If you’re not located in the Bluegrass State it’s not that many, right? Rare to see a Kentucky team seeded so highly be this disregarded. And yet Kentucky’s won 13 straight. That’s far and away the longest win streak of anyone left in the NCAA Tournament.”

From temper to tears, the two sides of Frank Martin, from David Cloninger of The State. “The face is made for TV. Frank Martin’s contorted visage while pacing the sideline during games carries with it a rule for all camera operators – don’t leave it. Sooner or later, Martin will be hollering about something. There’s no escaping that. Martin even playfully mugged for a media guide cover at Kansas State, showing four of his sides – Intensity, Dedication, Excitement, Passion, the captions read. All accompanied by those dark eyes able to burn a laser hole through a nuclear blast door.”

There were lessons to be learned from tournament’s second round, says Michael Rosenberg of SI.com. “The first weekend of the NCAA tournament ended, as it always does, with nobody caring about your bracket, unless you are ACC commissioner John Swofford. Then we’d really like to see your picks, please. We bet you made some foolish predictions, like Duke to win the championship, Louisville to make the Final Four, Notre Dame to make the Elite Eight, and Virginia to make a basket. The mighty ACC is sending one team in the Sweet 16. The Pac-12 is sending three, the SEC is sending three, the Big 12 is sending three and the much-maligned Big Ten is also sending three, despite some rough seeding.”

Special day for Cuonzo Martin as he’s now Missouri basketball coach, reports Tod Palmer of the Kansas City Star. “It’s Cuonzo’s house now. Missouri formally introduced its new men’s basketball coach — former Missouri State, Tennessee and California coach Cuonzo Martin — on Monday at press conference inside Mizzou Arena. More than a dozen of Martin’s family members joined several hundred Tigers fans for what amounted to an hour-long group hug.”

LSU betting Will Wade is primed for greatness, writes Scott Rabalais of The Advocate. “In the image of confirmation LSU sent out late Monday night about Will Wade becoming its new basketball coach, behind the Photoshopped portrait of him wearing a purple and gold tie and holding an LSU embossed basketball, another more telling image emerges. It’s one of a smiling Wade behind an NCAA microphone at a March Madness-related news conference from his days at VCU. It’s a picture LSU hopes Wade can make real in his new home as soon as possible.”

Ken Pomeroy rankings of Sweet 16

1. Gonzaga

3. Florida

4. North Carolina

5. Kentucky

6. West Virginia

7. Kansas

10. Baylor

12. Purdue

14. UCLA

16. Oregon

18. Arizona

20. Michigan

21. Wisconsin

24. Butler

28. South Carolina

30. Xavier

Source: kenpom.com

NCAA TOURNAMENT TELEVISION SCHEDULE

Thursday

7:09 p.m. - Midwest: Michigan vs. Oregon (CBS)

7:39 p.m. - West: Gonzaga vs. West Virginia (TBS)

9:39 p.m. - Midwest: Purdue vs. Kansas (CBS)

10:09 p.m. - West: Arizona vs. Xavier (TBS)

Friday

7:00 p.m. - South: Butler vs. North Carolina (CBS)

7:29 p.m. - East: Baylor vs. South Carolina (TBS)

9:39 p.m. - South: Kentucky vs. UCLA (CBS)

9:59 p.m. - East: Florida vs. Wisconsin (TBS)

Related stories from Lexington Herald Leader

  Comments