It's Final Four time! College basketball is down to four teams, vying to become the best team in college basketball in Atlanta. The Stack is here on this Friday to break down the games and make some picks plus briefly talking about a couple of the other big headlines from the sports world. Hope everyone didn't mind the vlog yesterday despite the audio issues. Those will get better as we do more of them. That's a promise. Now let's get right to it and see what made "the stack" for today, Friday, April 5:
More Rutgers fallout
A day after Rutgers men's basketball head coach Mike Rice was fired, one of his assistants, Jimmy Martelli aka "Baby Rice" resigned. He too used some homophobic slurs in the video seen on ESPN's Outside the Lines and also grabbed and shoved players. Though not nearly as often as Rice did, what Martelli did is still just as agrecious. He released a statement saying in part, "I am sickened that as an assistant coach I contributed in any way to an unacceptable culture...For my actions, I am deeply sorry and I apologize to the players from the bottom of my heart." Really though, are they truly sorry for what they did or just sorry they got caught? I think it's the latter. If they were truly sorry, they would never have participated in such heinous actions. It just doesn't make sense.
Several players have come out in support of Rice. That's fine. If that's what they believe, who are we to disagree with them. But the video speaks volumes and no person like Rice should be coaching young ment at a university.
AD Tim Parnetti and university president Robert Barchi have come increasingly under fire for not doing more to stop this right away and fire Rice dead on the spot. Parnetti in particular is receiving a lot heat, wanting him to go. He needs to go, but he might not as several members think that what Parnetti did to get Rutgers to the Big Ten means more than turning a blind eye so to speak to what Rice did. That's absurd. It proves even more that college athletics is just about the money and not about the student athletes. Parnetti I think will eventually be fired or forced to resign. In fact, 50 faculty members have signed a petition to do so. Until he does, the heat and unwanted attention will continue to hang around Rutgers.
Pac-12 head of official resigns
Despite saying comments made to refs at the Pac-12 tournament to run Arizona head coach Sean Miller out of the building were made "100% in jest", Pac-12 head of officials Ed Rush resigned from his post in wake of those comments about Miller that came to light earlier this week in an article by CBS Sports Jeff Goodman. He had to resign. If he wasn't forced to resign, there were going to be issues. You can't say stuff like what he said and not have the credibility of the game called into question. That's not what college basketball needs. You'd never be able to look at a call made for or against Arizona the same way, especially in Pac-12 conference play. People like Rush just can't say stuff like what he said. It's a good thing he resigned. Agree or disagree?
Final Four preview (Atlanta)
#9 Wichita State vs. #1 Louisville 6:09 PM ET CBS
Atlanta has been overtaken by the NCAA and crowds from the four schools vying for a college basketball championship. The first game features the Cinderella story Whicita State Shockers. Don't be shocked that they are in this spot. The West Region was extraordinarly weak and Wichita State has a very good basketball team. They rebound extremely well. They can knock down threes. They're tough, they're physical. Louisville can not take them lightly. Louisville seems to be the sentimental favorite, particularly now given the gruesome leg injury guard Kevin Ware suffered against Duke. That defensive pressure that Louisville brings to the table is going to be tough for Wichita State to handle. Plus I expect Louisville to play inspired given that Ware will be in attendance. They're the better team. They're the best team in the country for a reason. While it wouldn't be "shocking" to see Wichita State win, expect the best team in the country to come away with a W.
#4 Michigan vs. #4 Syracuse 8:49 PM ET CBS
This matchup is going to be a real treat. Syracuse's 2-3 zone against Michigan and their sharp-shooters. Freshman Nick Stauskus was brilliant against Florida and he is more than capable of catching fire at any point in a game. Trey Burke will probably be the player of the year. Glenn Robinson III and Tim Hardaway Jr. can both knock down threes and Mitch McGary has become a big guy inside who gets rebounds and hustles all over the court. Michigan is the flavor of the tournament right now it seems. That's just fine with the Orange, who have been one of the most impressive teams of the tournament. Their defense has held two opponents under 40 points so far in the tournament. Maybe part of that is just really bad offense by their opposition, but still, the Cuse' defense plays a big part in that. Will they be able to extend their defense to contain Michigan's three point game. Michigan will try and spread you out. Syracuse better be ready for it. This game is a toss up. I think I know who I'm leaning towards, but that could change and I am extremely hesitant.
One final note before I go, the NFL released their 2013 preseason schedule. That's exciting for NFL fans because that means the regular season schedule is coming out soon. Most likely April 16. Can't wait. Enjoy the Final Four everyone.
Coming up Monday: Final Four reaction plus reaction to the other top stories from the weekend