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- New Hoops and Helmets rankings are out, and they aren't kind to the #Sooners http://bit.ly/dC9bXd #
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- Could OKC have the most entertaining/intriguing first-round NCAA site? http://bit.ly/9wZeE2 #
- RT @bryanmorse: Love this quote about BYU's Jimmer Fredette : "If he were two inches taller and detested nationally, he'd be J.J. Redick." #
- OSU-Georgia Tech puts Big 12's reputation to the NCAA test http://bit.ly/ckuPPf #
- NCAAs in OKC sneak peek: Wednesday's practice schedule (free and open to the public) at the Ford Center http://bit.ly/cqk350 #
- Life after the #OKCThunder Shaun Livingston has a nice game for the Wizards http://nyti.ms/b704Ue #
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- @Darnell Mayberry deep thoughts on #OKCThunder Who looked like the franchise player and the sidekick vs. Jazz. http://bit.ly/b3vVOE #
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ESPN’s Adam Scheffter is reporting that Dez Bryant has pushed his NFL pro day workout back again and will hold it March 30 in his hometown of Lufkin, Texas. Scheffter says Oklahoma State “balked” at the idea of Bryant holding his pro day on campus.
Why? While it’s possible that OSU said no to letting Bryant hold an individual workout on campus, it wouldn’t be because the Cowboys are still mad at Dez for fibbing to NCAA investigators, a series of lies that ultimately cost him his eligibility and lowered the ceiling for what looked like a special season for Oklahoma State. Bryant has been on campus since he was declared ineligible and by all accounts still has a good relationship with OSU coaches and staff.
It’s possible that OSU officials said no to the workout because of who is orchestrating it. Remember, it was Dez’s dealings with Deion Sanders and agent Eugene Parker that got him in trouble to start with. And OSU coaches warned him about staying away from Deion due to his close association with Parker.
Here’s another possibility: Bryant keeps pushing back his workouts before scouts because he’s not in shape. The guy hasn’t played football since Sept. 19. He didn’t work out at the NFL Combine due to a hamstring injury. He didn’t take part in OSU’s pro date on March 10 — and there are indications he could have if he wanted to. And now another delay, from March 25 to 30. There’s talk around Stillwater that Bryant is trying to get himself back in tiptop shape before facing a scout’s stopwatch. That’s probably a wise decision for a guy trying to keep his draft stock from sliding.
But I’m not buying the notion that OSU would try to get back at Bryant for what happened last fall. Bryant isn’t Perrish Cox, who broke curfew not once but twice leading up to the Cotton Bowl then trashed coach Mike Gundy on his Facebook page for suspending him. OSU banned Cox from the sidelines in the Cotton Bowl and banned him from participating in OSU’s pro day, and who can blame it.
Sounds like the folks in San Jose aren’t as happy about their regional draw as we here in Oklahoma City are.
We got Kansas and Kansas State, which will mean a relocation of the Sunflower State to the Ford Center Thursday.
During his Monday teleconference, NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee chair Dan Guerrero had to answer for why the committee sent San Jose such a lousy lot: New Mexico, Vanderbilt, Butler and Marquette are four highest seeds there, and only New Mexico isn’t traveling halfway across the country. The Washington Huskies could swoop in to buy tickets and save the day, but still.
Here’s the question and Guerrero’s answer.
Q. In terms of just the San Jose teams, the teams you put in there, there’s eight teams there that aren’t a great draw for the Bay Area for a number of factors. Is that something that you analyze and discuss, whether you’re going to be able to get crowds into that arena to see those eight teams?
DAN GUERRERO: ” You know, most of the sites have their tickets sold well in advance. But if you think of the teams that are in any given region, and you’re talking about San Jose in particular, you’re talking about Marquette, Washington, a West Coast school, New Mexico, a West Coast school, Montana, a West Coast school, those are all teams that I think whose crowds will follow. You have Butler, UTEP, Vanderbilt, Murray State. Those are some great teams. College basketball fans in Northern California and on the West Coast should flock to go see those games because it’s a great opportunity. I know San Jose has done a great job in getting ready for this tournament. They’re excited about what they’re going to be able to do to create a great experience for the people to go there. You know what, a national championship could be won by one of those teams that’s at that particular site. So I think fans should go out there and support the City of San Jose.”
Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Jacksonville and San Jose were the four regionals that still had all-session passes for sale on Monday morning. OKC got lucky to have two powerhouses from a border state. San Jose didn’t: The Pac 10 picked a bad year to stink.
One of the most fan-friendly parts of March Madness happens Wednesday at the Ford Center when the eight teams opening the NCAA Tournament in Oklahoma City hold practices that are free and open to the public.
Here’s the schedule: (All times CDT).
Noon-12:40 p.m. Florida
12:45-1:25 p.m. North Texas
1:30-2:10 p.m. BYU
2:15-2:55 p.m. Kansas State
4:25-5:05 p.m. UNLV
5:10-5:50 p.m. Kansas
5:55-6:35 p.m. UNI
6:40-7:20 p.m. Lehigh
- Coming 2 OKC, BYU & Jimmer Fredette. If U haven't heard of him, you will http://bit.ly/92JaED #
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- OKC Regional storyline: KU's freshman makes his NCAA Tourney debut in his hometown. #
- @DarnellMayberry Andrew Bynum in reply to DarnellMayberry #
- UNLV #
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The Big 12 Conference sounds like it’s falling out of love with Oklahoma City. Can’t say I blame it.
The Oklahoman’s John Rohde reported Sunday that OKC will likely get one more chance to prove itself as a host for Big 12 men’s basketball tournament in 2012. But Rohde said league officials were concerned by empty seats at men’s games at last year’s tournament at the Ford Center. There’s also a question whether good turnouts for the Big 12 women’s tourney are largely a Sherri Coale-fueled phenomenon. Privately, Big 12 officials may be wondering if OU’s women aren’t involved whether OKC would to draw the disappoint crowd of 3,100 that watched Texas A&M beat OU in Sunday’s women title game at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City.
And then there’s the small matter of there being all-session passes available for the NCAA men’s tournament first-round games that start Thursday at the Ford Center. According to the NCAA Web site, the NCAA regionals in Providence, Buffalo, Milwaukee and Spokane are sold out. As of Sunday evening, OKC was still on the “bad list” with New Orleans, San Jose and Jacksonville. Not great company.
If someone wants to charge OKC with first-degree indifference to college basketball, OK. We might even cop a plea. We’re planning a story this week focused on the question of whether March Madness is still as appealing in the 405 now that we’ve got the NBA in town, and I’ll be as interested as anyone to read that.
You may have noticed that we’ve got quite a team in town. And after being swept up by Thunder fever, some discriminating sports consumers may be thinking twice about ponying up $204 for an all-session NCAA Tournament pass at the same time they’re finding room in the family budget for Western Conference playoff tickets.
Thunder-Nuggets or Kansas State-North Texas?
Durant vs. Carmelo or the Man Man of Manhattan (Frank Martin) vs. the Mean Green of Denton?
There’s really no choice, is there.
Fortunately for OKC, the NCAA has dealt us a heckuva hand. You can make the argument that we’ve got best storyl ines and of any first-round NCAA site. Consider:
Kansas: Bill Self returns to the scene of the crime. The Jayhawks’ last NCAA Tournament trip to OKC ended with a 2005 first-round loss to a Patriot League champion. So guess who’s waiting for Self and Co. in Thursday’s late game: Patriot League champion Lehigh. Drama and subplots abound. Local subplot No. 1: KU freshman phenom Xavier Henry returns to his hometown to start what could be his one and only NCAA Tournament appearance. If Henry truely is a one-and-doner, wouldn’t he look nice in an OKC Thunder uniform? Remember, the Thunder has two first-round picks. Local subplot No. 2: Edmond’s own Bill Self is back home, again. It’s hard to imagine a better total package in a college basketball coach. But I also think we’ve written that angle a time or 22….
Kansas State: I’m calling coach Frank Martin the Mad Man from Manhattan, but I’m sure I’m not the first. I grew up in Maryland, have followed the Terps all my life. I’ve been tempted to call in a Stroke Alert on Terps coach Gary Williams 45 times in the last 10 years. But I’m sure I’ve never seen Williams act like Martin. I’m not sure I’ve seen anyone act like Martin. Hysterics aside, the guy can coach and the Wildcats fan base is energized.
And for that OKC says thank you, Frank Martin. You and Mr. Self have almost guaranteed that Sunflower Staters will swoop in Monday morning, buy up tons of tickets and get us off the NCAA/Big 12 bad list. Plus you’ve got people on our staff stirred up. One colleague swears Kansas and K-State fans will cheer for each other Thursday at the Ford Center. I say no way. What say you?
Brigham Young: Maybe it’s just the name, but I Googled Jimmer Fredette almost the minute after the pairings were announced and I’m all fired up. The BYU guard scored 49 points against Arizona, which has some NBA-caliber guards, and 45 against Texas Christian. BYU is the highest scoring team in the field of 65 (83.5 points), has a better scoring margin than Kansas (18.5 to 18.4) and hits 42 percent of its 3-pointers. But what makes the Cougars worth watching is Jumpshot Jimmer. Watch for yourself.
Plus, maybe the BYU folks will finally come clean on whether Coleby Clawson meant to hurt Sam Bradford.
Florida: Hey, remember these guys? The back-to-back NCAA champs haven’t been back to the tournament since coach Billy Donovan backed out on a deal to coach the Orlando Magic and returned to Gators for $3.5 million a year. Questions about whether Donovan’s two titles should insulate his coaching seat from turning hot for life would probably be a lot more prevalent if Tim Tebow hadn’t spent the last four years walking on water across the Sunshine State. But is there a more interesting 10 seed in the field?
UNLV: Hey, remember these guys Part II? UNLV and the NCAAs go together like, well, major and violations. Seriously, I was tempted to write that tournament is better off with the Rebels in the field, but I’m not sure that’s true. What is true is that OKC could spend the weekend playing peacemaker between two sets of rival fan bases. Word out of the Mountain West Conference is there’s no way UNLV and BYU will be cheering for each other. Then there’s the Lon Kruger Six Degrees of Separation Game to play. Kruger played and coached at Kansas State (1986-90) coached Florida (1991-96). Sub Illinois for say BYU and Pan American for North Texas and you’d have the Lon Kruger Regional.
Northern Iowa: I once coached a second-grade Catholic school girls basketball team with a guy who persuaded our daughters to play vicious defense by taking the phrase by using every time out to remind them “THE BASKETBALL IS LIKE A PIECE OF HEAVEN.” It looks like Northern Iowa has a similar philosophy. Read this ESPN story by Pat Forde and you really don’t like UNLV’s chances. For entertainment purposes, I prefer run-and-gun basketball to Northern Iowa’s “strangulation defense” but for NCAA Tournament drama give me a mid-major victory any time.
Lehigh: I was talking on the phone to Oklahoman columnist Berry Tramel shortly after the bracket was released and Lehigh’s presence in OKC inspired him to starting singing “America the Beautiful,” substituting the worlds “Oh beautiful for Patriot League dreams.” I doubt Bill Self cares to sing along. Anyone remember “Cinderella City?” That’s what we dubbed Oklahoma City in a special section a couple days before the Jayhawks faced Bucknell at the Ford Center in 2005. OKC was the site of Bryce Drew and Valparaiso’s 1998 upset of Mississippi. Staff writer John Helsley had done some investigating and came away convinced that 14th-seed Bucknell had a shot of stunning No. 3 Kansas. The Bison went out and made John and the rest of us look like geniuses for the “Cinderella City” cover. And believe me, we need all the help we can get. This Thursday’s date with Lehigh gives Self and Kansas a chance to blot out those memories and extend the No. 16 seeds’ NCAA Tournament losing streak beyond 100 games.
This is, after all, is a Leigh team that lost to Navy, twice. But this is also the NCAA Tournament and Lehigh gives us reason to sing, dream and ponder a return to Cinderella City.
- #OKState football spring depth chart is out, further confirming the offensive changes coming: Four WRs, no FB or TE. #
- James Harden on the Rome Show now #
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- #Sooners G Willie Warren's season to forget is over. http://bit.ly/aPePSI Will he return to OU? #
- http://bit.ly/bcjPJW #
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