Monday, March 25, 2024

Here's the Sweet 16

EAST REGION (in Boston):
(1) Connecticut (33-3) v. San Diego St. (26-10)
(4) Iowa St. (29-7) v. (10) Illinois (28-8)

WEST REGION (in Los Angeles):
(5) N. Carolina (29-7) v. (19) Alabama (23-11)
(9) Arizona (27-8) v. Clemson (23-11)

SOUTH REGION (in Dallas):
(2) Houston (32-4) v. (6) Duke (26-8)
(8) Marquette (27-9) v. N. Carolina St. (24-14)

MIDWEST REGION (in Detroit):
(3) Purdue (31-4) v. (18) Gonzaga (27-7)
(6) Tennessee (26-8) v. (11) Creighton (25-9)

That is a very strong collection of games.


  1. WHAS is tweeting that Cal will do his show at 5 P.M. Central Time.

  2. Expect no news from Cal tonight. Matt Norlander of CBS reports that Cal and Barnhart have yet to meet but are scheduled to meet tomorrow. Norlander reports that the intent of the meeting will be to focus on significant program improvements, not necessarily separation.

  3. Cal comes on and says that his standard is to play deep into the tournament and play for national titles. He loves that standard, and that's why he wanted to be at Kentucky.

  4. Cal reminds us that he's won the SEC Tournament six times.

  5. Cal reminds us that they won some tournament games with late shots, but this year that didn't happen. The problem with this team, according to Cal, was defense and physicality. "For us to get where we are trying to go, we've got to get back to where we've been, with defense and physicality."

  6. Cal says he will meet with Barnhart "in the next couple of days." His guess is they will meet tomorrow. Cal says that he looks forward to hearing Barnhart's thoughts about how UK could be better. But in the meantime, he needs to have individual meetings with each player.

  7. Cal says they will work on defense more than usual, but they want to keep the type of high-powered offense they had this year.

  8. By the way, Tom Leach is great at this sort of thing. He sounds thoughtful and reasonable, and he gives Cal a chance to make all the relevant points.

  9. For the record, Cal sounds great, and he's saying everything UK fans want to hear.

  10. Cal says the team "needs to get older" for next year. Also says that next year's freshmen will bring physicality.

  11. Cal says he loves this State, and he loves this Program.

  12. Cal is now talking about Travis Perry and Lyon County. "I couldn't be more proud."

  13. Cal says he recognizes that the game has gotten older, and some teams aren't playing freshmen anymore. He still likes playing a combination of freshmen and older guys, including transfers, but you have to get the right mix.

    1. To me, this is the closest Cal is going to come in terms of saying what went wrong this year. He has used the term "physicality" a lot on this show, and clearly he believes that his team, while very talented, was simply manhandled in many games. His position seems to be that his approach can still work, but he has to get stronger and more physical guys.

  14. Cal says that Tre Mitchell's injury really hurt them. He also indicates that he played Tre a great deal in the game against Oakland because he thought Tre would help them against the zone.

  15. On defense against Oakland, Cal says the idea was to focus on stopping Trey Townsend, who went 5-12 on two's, 1-3 on three's, and 4-9 from the line. He didn't want to focus entirely on Jack Gohlke, but then of course Gohlke went 10-20 from three-point range.

  16. In the 2019 tournament, UK played Wofford, who had a player (Fletcher Magee) who had made 140 three-point shots during the regular season. (Gohlke made 121 this year). In the game against Wofford, Magee went 0-12 from three's, and the Cats won 62 to 56. Obviously, if Gohlke had shot like that, the Cats would have beaten Oakland.

  17. Kyle Tucker tweets that "Calipari is mostly saying the right things here." I agree.

  18. About the Oakland game, Cal says: "You guys got angry. These players cried."

  19. I give Cal and Barnhart real credit here. This is a very professional job by Cal, and I think it's brilliant to do it this way, on the air, and supposedly before he's had any conversation with Barnhart. That allows Cal to avoid the whole narrative that Barnhart took him to the woodshed.

  20. Jack Givens wants to know that Cal tells the players. Cal says that he tells them, "I love you and I'm with you until the wheels fall off."

  21. Meanwhile, Iowa is playing West Virginia's women's team, and finding them just as annoying as their men's team usually is. The Iowa women lead 26 to 24 in the last game Caitlin Clark will ever play in her home gym.

  22. I'm so glad you listened to the John Calipari program and gave this report. I wanted to hear it and was tied up. My new favorite hope is that he returns to UK and the Wildcats advance to the 2025 national final and place second to WKU. What I definitely don't want is for him to go to Louisville, which is what some people back here are figuring is going to happen.

  23. Meanwhile, that Iowa-West Virginia game was a lot of fun to watch. West Virginia was in it until the end and actually had the ball with the game tied with about 3 minutes to play. Here's that Sweet 16:

    ALBANY REGIONAL 1 (in Albany, New York):
    (1) S. Carolina v. (4) Indiana
    (3) Oregon St. v. (2) Notre Dame

    PORTLAND REGIONAL 4 (in Portland, Oregan):
    (1) Texas v. (4) Gonzaga
    (3) N. Carolina St. v. (2) Stanford

    (1) Iowa v. (5) Colorado
    (3) Louisiana St. v. (2) UCLA

    (1) S. California v. (5) Baylor
    (3) Connecticut v. (2) Duke

    Sorry I didn't look up the records. I'm rooting for IU, N.C. State, Iowa and USC.

      12-28 from 2-point range (42.9 percent)
      9-34 from 3-point range (26.5 percent)
      3-5 from the line (60.0 percent)
      54 points, 35 rebounds, 9 turnovers, 27 personal fouls (two WVU players fouled out)

      12-25 from 2-point range (48.0 percent)
      5-22 from 3-point range (22.7 percent)
      25-30 from the line (83.3 percent)
      64 points, 42 rebounds, 15 turnovers, 11 personal fouls

      Caitlin Clark had 32 points and 8 rebounds. She went 11-12 from the line.

    2. Breakdown by classic conference:

      Classic SEC: 1 (LSU)
      Classic ACC: 2 (NCSU, Duke)
      Classic Big 10: 2 (Iowa, Indiana)
      Classic Big 8: 1 (Colorado)
      Classic Southwest: 2 (Texas, Baylor)
      Classic Pac 10: 4 (UCLA, USC, Stanford, Oregon St.)
      Classic Big East: 1 (UConn)
      Classic Metro: 1 (S. Carolina)
      Classic WCC: 1 (Gonzaga)
      Classic Independent: 1 (Notre Dame)

      13-31 from 2-point range (41.9 percent)
      8-31 from 3-point range (25.8 percent)
      6-9 from the line (66.7 percent)
      56 points, 41 rebounds, 16 turnovers, 31 personal fouls (three MTSU players fouled out)

      21-48 from 2-point range (43.8 percent)
      5-12 from 3-point range (41.7 percent)
      26-37 from the line (70.3 percent)
      83 points, 43 rebounds, 7 turnovers 16 personal fouls

      MTSU led 36-32 at the half, but were outscored 51-20 in the second half.

  24. Kentucky hires Kenny Brooks of Virginia Tech to be the new women's basketball coach. I approve of this hire.

  25. If you want to consider what an excellent job Joe B. Hall did at Kentucky, consider how Tennessee has struggled to replace Pat Summitt.

  26. Pat Forde is reporting that Richard Pitino (son of Rick Pitino) could be the next coach at U of L.

  27. Twitter is reporting that Calipari has completed his meeting with Barnhart, and that he will return to coach UK next year. So UK, Vandy, and WVU all have coaches for next year, and UK has its new women's coach. We are still waiting to see who U of L will hire.

  28. On the whole, I'm satisfied to go through one more season with Cal. I really like him -- I always have -- and I genuinely root for him.

  29. Meanwhile, our old friend Bob Huggins is making a major push for the U of L job.

  30. I think U of L is in some peril here, because I don't think their fans fully appreciate how difficult that job has become. For the Cardinals to finish in the top three in their conference, they have to win more games than Duke, UNC, or UVA. And that's before we even start talking about Wake, Syracuse, and other schools with strong basketball pedigrees. This is a major challenge, and they need a great coach.

  31. Twitter is now reporting that Richard Pitino is staying at New Mexico and is not in the mix at U of L.

  32. Jeff Goodman now reports that U of L is closing in on a deal with Pat Kelsey from the College of Charleston to be their new men's basketball coach.