Friday, March 31, 2006

The Final Four!

I'm in Indianapolis for the NCAA Final Four, and it's March Madness here downtown. The streets are filled with coaches, athletes, fans. It's almost like Las Vegas at night, there are so many people milling about. Last night, I saw Peyton Manning walking around downtown outside the Palamino, where we also saw a few coaches, like Lute Olson and John Calipari walking by there. Oscar Robertson checked into my hotel while I was at the front desk. I shared an elevator with Adam Morrison, and no, I did not offer him any kleenex.

Today was open practices, and the Bruin team ended theirs by practicing half-court shots. Hopefully Saturday's game won't be decided by one of those because most of them weren't going in, although Coach Howland and Coach Keating both came close. When the final buzzer sounded, the entire team chucked all the balls from halfcourt towards the basket, so it was a flurry of basketballs. It was pretty cool.

Saw Big Baby from LSU leaving his press conference. He's a big dude. Heard later that he was asked in the press conference about UCLA's tradition and mystique. His response? "Last time I checked the roster, Bill Walton wasn't playing. Kareem wasn't playing. Reggie Miller wasn't playing." Whatever, Baby Shaq.

Joakim Noah of Florida made lots of friends with the media with this doozy in the press conference: "If we worried about the things that you guys worried about, worried about who has the most hype. You guys are usually wrong when it comes to things like that. Like you guys only seen us play maybe three, four times in the year and you guys think you have it all figured out. But we know -- we know what we have to do. We're not really worried about all the stories, everything that's going on. Our job is just to play basketball. You guys write stories. We can't worry about what you guys say, otherwise our heads would explode. "

There's a big free concert downtown on Sunday night. John Cougar Mellencamp (or whatever he is going by nowadays) is headlining it. Chris Brown and Collective Soul are also in it. And there's an American Idol performing as well. How appropriate for me, right? And then I found out who it was, and just my luck, it's Carrie Underwood. Woohoo? Now honestly ... what is the connection between Carrie Underwood and basketball? I'll almost guarantee she is not a basketball fan, yet she keeps getting these gigs at high-profile basketball events - the anthem at the NBA finals, the NBA All-Star game, this NCAA Basketball CokeFest thingy. And I don't automatically think country music when I think of the kind of music basketball fans listen to. I hope she wears her Wonder Woman outfit from the All-Star game again. That was hilarious.

3 comments:

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