BOZICH | Monday Muse: Crean = Kentucky's Kryptonite; NCAA Tourne - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Monday Muse: Crean = Kentucky's Kryptonite; NCAA Tourney No Place For Young Men

Posted: Updated:
Rick Bozich focuses on the NCAA Tournament in his Monday Muse. Rick Bozich focuses on the NCAA Tournament in his Monday Muse.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The NCAA Tournament is No Place For Young Men. Tom Crean is Kentucky’s Kryptonite. Tobacco Road is the express lane to the Final Four. Take Your Child to Work is tough stuff.

Before I toss my clothes into the washing machine and depart for Philadelphia, it’s time for the Monday Muse.

1. Tom Crean = Kentucky’s Kryptonite

Indiana basketball coach Tom Crean will turn 50 Friday when the Hoosiers play North Carolina in the East Regional semifinals in Philadelphia. He’s won 338 games during 17 seasons as a head coach at Marquette and IU.

He’s also knocked Kentucky out of the NCAA Tournament as many times as any coach in history.

More than Dean Smith. More than Tom Izzo. More than Jim Calhoun. More than Gary Williams. Those Hall of Famers (Izzo should be inducted this year) have done it twice.

Crean got his three-peat Saturday in Des Moines, matching the three NCAA Tournament victories over UK that Fred Taylor scored at Ohio State during the Sixties.

I would argue the three biggest and most unforgettable wins of Crean’s career have come against Kentucky.

That would be (in order) the Dwyane Wade/Marquette victory in the 2003 regional in Minneapolis; the Christian Watford Shot victory at Assembly Hall in December 2011 and the 73-67 victory over the Wildcats Saturday in Des Moines.

Add his 2008 victory over the Wildcats in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament and Crean has eliminated UK teams coached by Tubby Smith (2003), Billy Gillispie (2008) and John Calipari (2016).

2. The Calipari-Crean Friendship

Some coaches mug for the cameras. They raise their eyebrows and say nice things they don’t mean about opposing coaches for press conference consumption.

Crean likes Calipari. Calipari likes Crean.

You could say that Calipari’s friendship with Crean has been critical to the success this IU team has delivered.

The reason?

IU assistant coach Chuck Martin. Crean hired him in 2014 after Kenny Johnson left for an opening at Louisville. Martin is a former Calipari assistant who was working as an NBA scout after he had been fired at Marist.

Martin was responsible for the scouting report against Kentucky, recommending that a primary point of the IU defense was stopping guard Jamal Murray before he touched the basketball. Nick Zeisloft, Robert Johnson and OG Anunoby stressed ball denial with Murray, who missed eight of nine three-point shots.

There’s more. On the offensive end, Martin contributed by being the point man in the recruitment of Thomas Bryant, the IU freshman center who scored 19 points against UK.

IU chased a string of big men in the 2015 recruiting class. Daniel Giddens. He signed with Ohio State. Raymond Spalding. Stayed home at Louisville. Stephen Zimmerman. Played for UNLV.

Whiff, whiff, whiff.

Bryant became their guy. Martin and Crean convinced him to sign with Indiana, instead of Syracuse or Kentucky.

3. Tough Weekend For Crean/Marquette Family

Trey Schwab, Crean’s friend and former assistant at Marquette, died Sunday in Milwaukee, a dozen years after receiving a double lung transplant. (I wrote this column about the Crean/Schwab friendship Friday.)

Crean said that Schwab watched both of Indiana’s NCAA Tournament games and that he talked with his former assistant on Saturday.

There’s more sad news: Another member of Crean’s staff at Marquette, former Western Kentucky coach Darrin Horn, lost his father, Ed, on Friday.

Services for Ed Horn will be Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. at Kerr Brothers Funeral Home in Lexington. After three seasons as a TV analyst, Darrin Horn just finished his first season as an assistant coach to Shaka Smart at Texas.

His brother, Greg, hosts a sports talk radio show on WLRT on 1250 AM in Lexington. Ed Horn is also survived by his wife, Lois; son Michael and daughter Missy Hardin Horn.

4. The OG Chronicles

The recruiting gurus wince when I do this. But every time I watch OG Anunoby block a shot, deflect a pass or dunk an offensive rebound, I remember this:

A kid with that kind of length, strength and explosiveness was not one of the top 100 prospects in the country.

Rivals gave Anunoby three stars and no national ranking.

Scout gave Anunoby three stars and no national ranking.

ESPN gave Anunoby three stars and no national rankings.

247 Sports went out on a limb and ranked Anunoby the No. 271 player in the class.

Here are the schools that offered Anunoby a scholarship:

Drake, George Mason, Georgia, Gonzaga, Illinois State, Iowa, Kansas State, Louisiana Tech, Ole Miss, Missouri State, Missouri State, San Jose State, SIU-Edwardsville, Vanderbilt, Wichita State and Western Kentucky.

Class dismissed.

5. No Place For Young Men

Say this about the first weekend of NCAA Tournament play. Veteran coaches ruled.

The average age of the coaches who advanced to the Sweet Sixteen is: 55.8

Their average head coaching experience: 21.2 seasons.

Their average time at their current jobs is: 12 seasons.

Here is the rundown:

Bill Self, Kansas  53 (age), 23 years (head coaching experience), 13 years (at Kansas)  .759 (winning percentage)
Mark Turgeon, Maryland  51 18 5 .625
Jim Larranaga, Miami 66  32 5 .601
Jay Wright, Villanova  54 22 15 .657
Mike Krzyzewski, Duke 69 41 36 .765
Dana Altman, Oregon 57 26 5 .645
Billy Kennedy, Texas A&M 52 18 5 .556
Lon Kruger, Oklahoma 63  30 5  .620
Jim Boeheim, Syracuse 71 40 40 .718
Mark Few, Gonzaga 53  17 17 .809
Tony Bennett, Virginia 46 10 7 .691
Steve Prohm, Iowa State 41 5 1 .760
Tom Crean, Indiana 50 (Friday) 17 8, .613
Roy Williams, North Carolina 65 28 total 13 .789
Mike Brey, Notre Dame 57 (tomorrow) 21 total 16  .667
Greg Gard, Wisconsin 45 1 1 .682

6. Operation ACC

I know what you’re thinking. Go ahead and say it:

If Louisville was participating in the 2016 NCAA Tournament, the Cards would have bounced directly into the Sweet Sixteen.

Tough to disagree.

With six ACC teams left in the bracket, including at least one in the every regional, the league should petition the NCAA to move the Final Four from Houston to Greensboro.

Two regionals – East (North Carolina vs. Notre Dame) and Midwest (Virginia vs. Syracuse) are positioned to have all ACC title games.

7. Reseeding The Tournament

As I did last week, I’ve returned to my four favorite computer rankings, averaged them and ranked the remaining contenders for the title.

Here is what the combined numbers from Ken Pomeroy, Jeff Sagarin, Kevin Pauga and the Ratings Percentage Index say:

1. Kansas (South)

2. Virginia (Midwest)

3. North Carolina (East), Villanova (South) (tie)

5. Oklahoma (West), Oregon (West) (tie)

7. Miami (South)

8. Indiana (East), Duke ((West) tie)

10. Texas A&M (West)

11. Iowa State (Midwest)

12. Maryland (South)

13. Gonzaga (Midwest)

14. Wisconsin (East), Notre Dame (East) (tie)

16. Syracuse (Midwest)

The bracket has opened nicely for Virginia. No excuses this season for Tony Bennett. His Kryptonite -- Michigan State -- is gone.

8. Remy Abell’s Unfair Farewell

There was nothing else Remy Abell could have done. He forced Bronson Koenig into the corner. He was inches from his nostrils. He raised his hand in Koenig’s face. He did not commit a foul.

Still, when Abell turned from the right corner to check the rim, he saw Koenig’s not splash through the net.

Wisconsin 66, Xavier 63.

Five seasons after he departed Eastern High School, Abell saw his college career end on that shot as the Badgers advanced to the semifinals of the East Regional.

“It’s tough losing like that on a game-winner,” Abell told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “We lost on a game winner. I was right there. I was right there. Hand up and everything. Oh, man. I just feel for this team. All these guys. All the coaches. I’ll miss playing here."

Abell played his final two season for Xavier after starting is career at Indiana. He’s a positive, spiritual kid. He’ll be fine.

9. Take Your Child To Work Day

I’ve received several e-mails from readers who have asked for my take on the flap between the Chicago White Sox and first baseman Adam LaRoche last week.

In case you missed it, LaRoche retired after the White Sox told him that he could no longer bring his 14-year-old son, Drake, into the clubhouse and on to the field for practice before games.

Just quit.

Walked away from $13 million because the word is the Sox reneged on a handshake deal that Drake could always be around. Drake was reportedly there for about 120 games last season.

Several Sox players were furious about the move. Pitcher Chris Sale, the team’s best player, built a shrine to LaRoche at his locker.

My thoughts: If I’m having my teeth clean, I don’t want the 14-year-old son of my dentist in the room. If I’m having a pipe unclogged, I don’t want the 14-year-old daughter of the plumber in my kitchen.

Take Your Child to Work is a day not a day care.

But the good folks at SportsPickle.com, wrote it better than me.

Here is their take.  I think you’ll like it.

10. Poll Results

Who is your pick to win the 2016 NCAA Basketball Tournament?

Michigan State 23.2 percent

Kentucky 23 percent

North Carolina 15.9 percent

Other 15 percent

Kansas 13.6 percent

Virginia 9.1 percent

Copyright 2016 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.

  • Sign Up for the WDRB Sports Newsletter

    * denotes required fields

    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
  • Sign Up for WDRB's Sports Newsletter

    * denotes required fields

    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 WDRB. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.