“I have predicted about 70% of the winners after the 1st weekend. Kentucky will win by at least 10 over KU. They will relax and play now!”
Tom Penders, @TomPenders, Twitter
GH: I watched Dick Vitale, Digger and Jay Bilas all compliment Kansas but pick Kentucky to win. I have yet to hear a national analyst who thinks KU will win tonight. And if you have watched the way Kansas has played the past three weeks compared to Kentucky’s lottery-picks, you know why. KU’s chances are as slim as Withey’s biceps – but there is a chance.
“I’m just amazed at how good Bill Self is. Ohio State was whipping his team. Whipping. And he got it turned around in ten minutes. At some point Monday night, Kentucky will be up by 15 points. And it will be a game with five minutes left. The Wildcats better bring it.”
Kurtis Seaboldt, @KSeabodlt, Twitter
GH: That game Saturday night was over. O-V-E-R! Kansas looked lost and Ohio State was rolling behind the heady and athletic play of their perfect point guard, Aaron Craft. But somehow the Hawks stayed within nine at the half and Bill Self once again got more from his guys than tOSU could get from their guys. Kansas is simply in phenomenal condition. I think they ran tOSU out of gas and then hit the accelerator. KU seems to never tire.
“2nite a team that 1 ‘expert’ said wouldn’t finish in the top five in the big12 plays for the national title.”
Bob Fescoe, @bobfescoe, Twitter
GH: Did Fescoe make fun of the media “experts” who predicted KU would make the Final Four in the years they bowed out early? Show some class, Bull Dog. Kansas as a far more proud legacy than the one your pettiness promotes.
“I expect big radio and television ratings for this game tonight. You have to have something recognizable to the casual fan. The casual fan is who drives radio and television ratings.”
Kevin Kugler, radio play-by-play voice for Westwood One’s NCAA Tourney broadcast, on Kentucky and Kansas being blueblood programs that will draw the casual sports fan to the broadcasts, 810 AM
GH: Kugler is correct in that it takes the non-traditional sports fan to make a sporting event or broadcast a ratings winner. One reason sports talk radio has trouble breaking free of middling overall ratings it that it appeals to an unbalanced male-dominated niche. But KU basketball knows no gender barriers. This is one reason it is big business in Kansas City.
“I watched [the replay of KU’s win over Memphis in 2008] every night before we went to bed. To me that was such a great memory. My wife, she’s fed up with it. ‘Do we have to watch this?’ And I’m like going, ‘Yeah, we do.’ ”
Bill Self, on how fondly he looks back on his one national championship win, ESPN
GH: Not everyone has such a fond memory of that game – like Kentucky’s John Calipari, who coached alongside Self at Kansas under Larry Brown. Read on.
“I have never looked at that tape. That tape was flung out of the door of the bus as we were going to the plane. So I have never looked at that tape, nor will I.”
John Calipari, the former Memphis coach, on the tape of Memphis’ loss to KU in 2008, ESPN.com
GH: Coach Brown flew back home to watch the Final Four from his home. He said he could not handle being there in New Orleans while two of his former assistants battle for the title tonight.
“There are pictures of a guy [in Kentucky] with a two-by-four, hitting a stop sign. ‘My team just won! Let’s go beat the crap out of a stop sign!’ Really? This is idiocy! The people who do it are idiots! I don’t get it and I really hope it doesn’t happen again tonight.”
Mike Golic, on the violent demonstrations reported in Kentucky following the Wildcats’ semifinal win over Louisville, ESPN Radio
GH: I for one am hoping the stop signs in Lexington have no reason to worry after tonight’s game. Rock Chalk.
“I think it’s bigger than Kansas and Missouri.”
Nick Wright, on the Louisville/Kentucky rivalry, 610 AM
GH: It might be dumber but I can’t see how UL/UK could be bigger. How many Louisville fans are there, 500,000? A million? While it might be heated, this rivalry is Lilliputian when compared to MU/KU. And what did it start over – BBQ recipes? Coaches leaving? Where is their Brown/Quantrill cornerstone? This isn’t even a fair fight. Somebody go beat up a stop sign.
“Could this post-season have possibly gone any worse for MU fans? What a nightmare.”
Tim, MU alum, following KU’s comeback win over tOSU, OTR reader mail
GH: Now that’s a rivalry.
“John Currie’s on the hot seat. I mean people want to kill this guy.”
Mark Carman, on Currie’s decision to hire the recently fired Illinois coach, Bruce Weber, 610 AM
GH: Death threats might be a bit of an exaggeration but Carman’s point is a good
one – Currie’s hire of Weber is not being received with much happiness by Catbackers. Read on.
“Bruce Webber didn’t think I was good enough to play at Illinois and I don’t think he is good enough to coach at Kansas State.”
Jacob Pullen, @Jpullz0, Twitter
GH: Pullen’s tweet made the Weber press conference but Currie refused to address it. It did nothing to quiet the riot building over this hire.
“That is just a stupid thing for Jacob Pullen to do – to go public with that and air his dirty laundry. Pullen needs to grow up. I thought it was a completely immature moment for Jacob Pullen.”
David Kaplan, who covers Illinois out of Chicago’s WGN, 610 AM
GH: Carman had Kaplan on as a Weber expert from Chicago. His takes gave balance to the hysteria building here on Weber. But Kaplan is wrong about Pullen being stupid with his anti-Weber tweet. Pullen is a grown man. Whether it was good or bad for K-State, it was a great tweet for sports talk radio and the media. We [at least the OTC] need more stupid and immature people on Twitter. Did I just write that?
“You could have walked Dean Smith up here and there probably would have been a problem with that.”
John Currie, when asked to comment about the K-State fans that are unhappy with the Weber hire, 810 AM
GH: Dean Smith probably wasn’t the best example to use there, John. It might give us an idea though of the age bracket from which Currie was drawing his candidates.
“He’s also a guy who walks his own dog and cuts his own grass.”
John Curie, on Weber, 810 AM
GH: Talk about a win, win! But can the SOB get K-State to the tourney?
“I think the toughest question was, ‘Why do you want to come to K-State?’”
Bruce Weber, when asked what was the toughest question Currie asked him in his interview, 810 AM
GH: This is not called “Winning the press conference.” I think Weber is used up and yesterday’s news. He had a decent run at Southern Illinois and Illinois but I don’t see him mustering the energy needed to promote an out-of-the-way program like K-State – especially after walking his dog and mowing his lawn.
“I think what you see right away is that Bruce Weber is a real individual. Somebody told me, ‘You will love him. He’s a treat to work with.’ ”
Matt Walters, KSU broadcast team, 810 AM
GH: Fans do not care if a coach is “great to work with.” They want to know if he can win 20 games a year and play deep into March.
“I was surprised [by the hire]. I don’t exactly understand the thought process that was used there. Bruce Weber struggled to get recruits to Illinois which is an easier job. I’d be interested to know what Bruce Weber’s plan is – where he’s going to get his guys.”
Mike DeCourcy, on KSU’s hiring of Weber, 810 AM
GH: Weber made a comment that he hoped to continue the pipeline to the east coast that Martin had mined. I don’t see any of those Spanish-speaking recruits coming to Manhattan anymore to help Weber with his hoop dreams. But others think Weber is a smart pick for the Cats. Read on.
“I’m telling you it’s going to be fine, K-State. You got yourself a good coach. He’s going to win there.”
Mark Carman, who covered Illinois while he was in the Chicago area, 610 AM
“I think he was an outstanding choice. I was thrilled to hear he will be a part of this conference.”
Kevin Harlan, on K-State’s hiring of Weber, 810 AM
“K-State fans, trust me – you got a really good basketball coach.
David Kaplan, who covers Illinois out of Chicago’s WGN, 610 AM
“If there is a question about Weber it is can he recruit.”
Kevin Harlan, 810 AM
GH: That is the one question you do not want to have to ask of your new basketball coach.
“Whoever they get to replace him, he’s not going to be as good a coach as Frank Martin. They out-kicked their coverage here.”
Danny Parkins, prior to Weber being announced as K-State’s new coach, 610 AM
GH: Weber’s coaching accomplishments far outweigh Martin’s – but I think Parkins’ words still ring true. Currie hired the safe guy – the guy you draft in the first round because his combine numbers are off the chart and he played in the SEC. Currie is looking to save his job…and it just might cost him it.
[email protected] and Twitter / greghall24