Johnson plus LSU minus Stanford equals… | NevadaAppeal.com

Johnson plus LSU minus Stanford equals…

Johnson plus LSU minus Stanford equals Final Four

BY JOE SANTORO

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .

We understand that college basketball coaches never do anything wrong. Just ask Bobby Knight. But John Calipari owes everyone in Memphis and the entire state of Kentucky a huge apology. Calipari gave the NCAA Tournament title game away to the Kansas Jayhawks. Then again, we probably should have seen one of the biggest chokes in NCAA Tournament history coming. Memphis, despite its gaudy record, was never considered one of the more well-coached and fundamentally sound teams in the nation. There are sixth-grade teams that shoot better from the free throw line. Still, the beauty of college basketball is that you don’t have to play well to win if your coach makes all the basic decisions at the right time. And a simple timeout and one word from Calipari (foul!) would have given Memphis its one shining moment.

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Stanford men’s basketball coach Trent Johnson heading to LSU and the land of Shaquille O’Neal and Pete Maravich sure is interesting. But it also makes perfect sense. The former Wolf Pack coach is reportedly going to make unbelievable money at the SEC school. Stanford’s Brook and Robin Lopez are heading to the NBA. Johnson won’t have all of those pesky Stanford academic hoops to jump through at LSU. And, let’s be honest, nobody even notices basketball in Louisiana until the Tigers’ football team is finished around the first week of January. It’s the perfect scenario for a hoops coach. He also now won’t have to compete or recruit against his old buddy Mike Montgomery at Cal. Expect to see Johnson in the Final Four sometime soon.

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OK, maybe it’s just me. But the Terrell Owens-Andy Roddick “friendship” is a bit weird. Those two make Brittany Spears and Kevin Federline, Madonna and Sean Penn, Julia Roberts and Lyle Lovett and even Bill and Hillary look like the second coming of Romeo and Juliet. Seeing Owens in the stands at Roddick’s tennis matches, well, now we know why Owens started to cry when the media picked on Jessica Simpson and Tony Romo. The sports world keeps getting more strange each and everyday.

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The Los Angeles Dodgers have left Dodgertown. After this season the Yankees will no longer play at Yankee Stadium and the Mets will vacate Shea Stadium. The new Cubs owner is threatening to rename Wrigley Field. If you are under 35 none of this, I’m sure, bothers you. But you just wait. In 30 years you’ll get teary-eyed when they tear down Tropicana Field, Ameriquest Field and the Rogers Centre. OK, maybe not.

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The NFL players are reportedly about to get rid of union chief Gene Upshaw. Upshaw seemingly did a decent job all these years, especially in a sport where 90 percent of the players are merely interchangeable parts. The NFL is as strong as ever. Players are making more money than ever. If any union boss in sports needs to be fired, it is Donald Fehr. Fehr is the reason why performance enhancing drugs nearly turned baseball into pro wrestling.

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North Carolina coach Roy Williams looked like a goofball at the NCAA Tournament title game with that Kansas sticker on his sweater. The people of Kansas don’t even like Williams. And, now, you can be sure a few folks in North Carolina feel the same way. Maybe wearing the Jayhawks logo on his sweater was Williams’ subtle way of telling Kansas that he’d be interested in returning to Lawrence if, you know, the job comes open in the near future.

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It took about four seconds for the Bill Self-to-Oklahoma State rumors to heat up after Kansas beat Memphis. That is the ugly side of college basketball. Teams that win the title have literally one shining moment to celebrate before the rumors begin about their coach jumping ship or their best players heading to the NBA.

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It’s about time the IOC scraps the Olympic Torch relay. The relay has become an easy target for attention seekers to get their faces on the nightly news. Why, exactly, do we need a torch relay? Nobody cares about the actual relay races at the Olympics. Why do we need to see Herschel Walker or some celebrity running in the streets with a torch? Do the Olympics really need more hype months before the actual events?

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If the news media didn’t have Tiger Woods to talk about before a major golf tournament, they wouldn’t have anything to talk about at all. Last time I checked there are at least 90 other golfers at the Masters. Just a hunch, but at least one of them has to have a story a bit more interesting than telling us how good Tiger is. If Tiger doesn’t win this weekend all of the stories on Monday will be about how Woods is slipping now that he is married and has a child. Who won the Masters last year? Exactly.

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Baseball is no better than golf when it comes to the national media. When a team other than the Red Sox or Yankees wins the World Series, nobody in the national media remembers by Thanksgiving. Who won in 2001? 2002? 2003? 2005? 2006? Exactly.

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Bobby Knight is turning into one giant sell out. First, he joins ESPN and the media. And now he has a commercial for Volkswagon where he walks out of an interview and throws a chair. Everyone is always so quick to criticize college kids for chasing the NBA or WNBA dollars. Tennessee’s Candace Parker, after all, left school with eligibility remaining and joined the WNBA less than 24 hours after winning a national title. Coaches, though, never stop chasing the dollars even in retirement.