Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Sweet 16 Begins Tonight

The Sweet 16 begins tonight with (11) Dayton taking on (10) Stanford at 7:15 pm. Over at cbssports.com Jeff Borzello ranked the 8 games taking place over the next two days. It should come as no surprise that UK-UofL is #1. Writes Jeff:

“Easily the most anticipated regional semifinal. The biggest rivalry in college basketball, Rick Pitino vs. John Calipari – not to mention the last two national champions. Both teams are different than they were in December, and the Harrisons’ ability to handle the Louisville pressure will be huge.”

Few would argue that the SEC had a down year. But some suggest that the league’s 7-0 record so far in the NCAA Tournament is evidence that it wasn’t as bad as it was perceived, and that perhaps Arkansas—one of the last teams out—should have made the tournament. Gary Parrish, on cbssports.com, disagrees, writing:

“Now both of those types of people are doing it on behalf of the SEC, and I couldn’t disagree with the growing sentiment more. What’s the growing sentiment, you ask? It’s that the SEC’s 7-0 record in this NCAA Tournament that’s pushed three schools into the Sweet 16 somehow proves that the SEC spent the past four months underrated by humans and computers alike.

With all due respect, that’s ridiculous.”

Kyle Tucker, from the Louisville Courier-Journal, takes a look at from where and from whom Julius Randle receives his motivation and inspiration:

“You might’ve noticed Randle looking up into the crowd that day. He does it every game, locates his mother and mentor in the stands. Kyles and Webster have signals for Randle — “If I told you, I’d have to kill you,” Kyles said — when he’s feeling lost or out of sorts.

Kentucky coach John Calipari knows about the signals. They don’t overstep their bounds. They’re simple reminders: Run harder. Rebound with both hands. Breathe at the free-throw line.”

Over at espn.com Myron Medcalf picks UofL to beat Kentucky tomorrow night in their Sweet 16 matchup. But he isn’t just predicting a win for the Cardinals, he’s predicting a double digit blowout:

“I wasn’t impressed by Louisville’s opening weekend (wins over Manhattan and Saint Louis), but I believe that the Cardinals recognize they had more to give in both games. And they’ll prove it with a double-digit win over Kentucky. More experience. More balance. Rick Pitino’s 11-0 record in the Sweet 16. (Calipari is 5-1 against Louisville since arriving at Kentucky, though.) This game won’t live up to the hype. Russ Smith & Co. will pressure the young Wildcats for 40 minutes and avenge an earlier loss against Kentucky.”

On Wednesday, it was revealed that South Florida withdrew its offer to Manhattan College head coach Steve Masiello to become their next men’s head basketball coach due to an issue that was discovered during a background check. We now know that the issue is Masiello never graduated from Kentucky, as he indicated on his resume. So where does this leave Manhattan? Brian Hamilton, at si.com, takes a look:

“Manhattan has a different problem. Masiello never officially resigned, a spokesman confirmed, so this is now entirely the school’s concern.  As of Wednesday evening, it had inched ahead in attempting to resolve it: Manhattan put Masiello on leave while he reviews his “degree status” with Kentucky. The school’s statement said it will be an “expedited process,” and refrained from commenting further until it’s over.

The details will be important here — Is Masiello far short of a degree? Is he one class away? Did he fail to pay some parking tickets? — but ultimately the administration has to decide whether it can welcome back a coach who is at worst a deliberate liar and at best careless, a coach who didn’t want to be there anymore. Masiello’s relationships with school president Dr. Brennan O’Donnell and athletic director Bob Byrnes may determine all. The 36-year-old Masiello may be considered a rising star in coaching, but it’s his popularity and equity in those two offices that influences the direction of this saga.”

Tags: 2014 NCAA Basketball Tournament Kentucky Wildcats Kentucky Wildcats Basketball

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