News From Terre Haute, Indiana

March 27, 2012

RAMBLIN' RECK: NCAA Final Four down to UK & everyone else

Tom Reck
Special to the Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — The Kentucky Invitational, officially known as the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, is down to The Final Four.

It makes good story to have the Butlers and VCUs in the finals but it should make for great basketball this weekend with one No. 1 seed (Kentucky), two No. 2s (Ohio State and Kansas) and one No. 4 (Louisville) were the Wildcats not so good.

As Charles Barkley put it, the Wildcats can lose but not to a college team. Another person thought Kentucky would give Charlotte of the NBA a good game.

Indiana gave the Wildcats all they wanted but still lost. The Hoosiers showed that IU basketball definitely is back and should be great next  year with a strong nucleus back and some great recruits.

Being a No. 4 seed, Louisville is probably the biggest surprise team in the finals and knocked off top-seeded Michigan State. Rick Pitino remains undefeated in Sweet Sixteen games — quite a feat.

Now his Cardinals get to meet their state rivals, Kentucky, in the finals while Ohio State battles Kansas.

We were so-so on our Sweet Sixteen picks, correctly picking 8 of 12 games and having Kentucky and OSU in the finals.

Our final picks: Kentucky over Louisville, OSU over Kansas, Kentucky wins and we hope we’re wrong.

NIT semifinal games will be played tonight with Masssachusetts facing Stanford and Washington playing Minnesota.

Northern Iowa had a good run in the Women’s Basketball Invitational, losing to Minnesota in the final game.

In the NCAA women’s tournament Notre Dame, Connecticut, Stanford and Baylor were in the Elite Eight on Monday. Brittany Griner of Baylor has put on a dunk show in two games. Candace Parker of Tennessee is the only other player who has dunked in those games.

Illinois and Eastern Illinois men’s teams were not involved in postseason play and still were looking for coaches on Monday.

Joey Bennett reports that two former Indiana State assistants were among the five finalists at Eastern: Kareem Richardson and Doug Novsek.

Novsek was on Tates Locke’s staff at ISU, played at Lawrenceville High School under ISU alum Ron Felling and was a nice scorer at Southern Illinois.

He is associate head coach at Nevada now while Richardson is at Xavier.

Shaka Smart says he is happy at VCU and Brad Stevens says the same about being at Butler in response to inquiries at Illinois.

John Groce of Ohio may be next on the list.

Nebraska named its new coach last week, getting Tim Miles from Colorado State.

• Teams ranked — The first high school baseball and softball games have been played, track meets contested and golf play commences next week.

Several teams from the area are ranked in Indiana preseason polls.

In softball, Terre Haute South is 20th and Terre Haute North 23rd in the 4A list. Edgewood is seventh in 3A, while defending champ South Putnam is No. 1 in 2A with South Knox 12th and North Central 16th.

Rockville is No. 8 and Riverton Parke No. 11 in Class A.

In baseball, Edgewood is 12th and West Vigo 15th in 3A. North Central is 19th in 2A with Riverton Parke sixth and Shakamak ninth in the A poll.

One of the early good baseball games could be played Wednesday with West Vigo at North Central.

• Tom-Cattin’ It — Two oldtimers hoping to make major league baseball rosters are Andy Pettite with the New York Yankees and Jamie Moyer — at 49 — with Colorado.

Mel Parnell was a great pitcher for the Boston Red Sox from 1947 to 1956. He died last week at 89.

By the way, the season begins in Tokyo this week with Seattle going against Oakland in two games.

• Anthony Davis of Kentucky has won the Wayman Tisdale Award given to the top freshman in college basketball.

• Craig Teagle of Jay County has been named the Indiana boys coach for the Indiana-Kentucky basketball series. Assistants will be Tom Bradley of Orleans and Chris Johnson of Homestead.

• Previews of the new Broadway play Magic-Bird have begun.

• Matt Doherty was fired as men’s basketball coach at SMU following five seasons with an 80-109 record. He previously coached North Carolina.

Tom Reck may be contacted by telephone at (812) 232-3231, by email at or by mail at 4284 South 5th Street, Apt. 3, Terre Haute, IN 47802.