Thursday, March 9, 2006

Behind The Scoreboard
By Claude Vinson

Time to start talking NCAA Tournament

For the last two weeks now, folks from all over have been asking me to name the winner of this season’s NCAA championship.

Fortunately, I always have some glib answer to give them; unfortunately, I don’t have a clue!

Hey, take a hard look at the last standings and game results. The number three teams were Duke, Connecticut and University of Memphis.

The Tigers could have been hurt by their loss to University of Alabama at Birmingham but were still listed as number three on Sunday.

They were almost caught without a ball in the basket by the Cougars of Houston on Saturday. Luckily, they pulled it out in the second half.

Those Tigers can worry you with their spurt playing. I have no doubt that they will making a good showing in the NCAA tournament, but I think that it will be hard for them to make it to the Elite Eight.

And what about the Blue Devils? Listen, I have said it before, and it is always worth a repeat – Duke is Duke. For anyone to rule them out too early would be a grave error.

And UConn is on a decisive roll at the end of the season. Those Huskies can throw the ball when the chips are down.

Yeah, I know that I have only gone three deep with the standings, but this in no way discounts the “dark horse(s)” which always come out of the gate at this time of year.

Take a look at those LSU Tigers. They won their first outright SEC title since 1985 with a little help from Kentucky’s Wildcats.

I am sure that all of you have heard the news by now that Rod Barnes is no longer the coach at Ole Miss after the SEC tourney.

Barnes, who replaced Rob Evans, had a few productive years but has been on a downward spiral the past three years. However, his Rebels played LSU a whale of a game on Saturday. One lucky shot and they could have pulled their season to .500.

Not to worry, Rod will be back in the future. Coaches (all coaches), have always been a big part of the re-cycling experience.

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