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Opening it up

Scariest coaches, soccer rules in hoops, Magic 8 react

Posted: Wednesday January 23, 2008 2:58PM; Updated: Wednesday January 23, 2008 3:09PM
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Texas Tech's Bobby Knight would be one of the scariest coaches to face in a locker room.
Texas Tech's Bobby Knight would be one of the scariest coaches to face in a locker room.
Grant Wahl will periodically answer questions from SI.com users in his mailbag.
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We haven't had a straight/no chaser 'Bag for a while, so let's dig in:

Okay, you're a point guard on a D-I team. You've just committed two turnovers and fouled a guy who made a three-pointer just before halftime. My question is: Which coach are you most terrified to face in the locker room? The easy answer is Bob Knight, but for my money no one is as scary as Virginia's Dave Leitao. The guy is huge, ridiculously intense and yells very, very loudly. Who could be worse? Todd Bozeman with the wrong sandwich order?
Ben Allaire Raleigh, N.C.

Excellent question, Ben. If last week's 'Bag featured our Magic Eight, you can call these guys the Frightening Fifteen. (Note that they have something else in common, too: they've all been successful.) Here goes:

Texas Tech's Bob Knight. No explanation necessary.

Maryland's Gary Williams. I'd actually rather be the offending player than the poor assistant coach sitting next to Williams on the bench when the miscues happen.

Saint Louis' Rick Majerus. Read S.L. Price's recent Sports Illustrated story and you'll understand.

UConn's Jim Calhoun. An amazing coach and a fun interview, but even Calhoun would probably call himself a born-and-bred Masshole.

Virginia's Dave Leitao. Presumably picked up quite a bit as Calhoun's former assistant at UConn.

West Virginia's Bob Huggins. Don't know which is scarier: the screaming Huggs or the almost-whispering Huggs who embodies the phrase speak softly and carry a big stick.

Michigan State's Tom Izzo. Personifies tough-love, with the emphasis on the former.

North Carolina's Roy Williams. Once broke his watch in a halftime diatribe.

Denver's Joe Scott. Fit in just fine with the military leaders when he was at Air Force.

Duke's Mike Krzyzewski. Those new decorum rules forbidding profanity don't apply in the locker room, folks.

USC's Tim Floyd. I wouldn't be afraid of getting screamed at so much as being benched for the duration of the next two games.

Kentucky's Billy Gillispie. A.k.a, the coach most likely to make you run three hours of stairs on the day of a game as punishment.

Vanderbilt's Kevin Stallings. If he's willing to get into it with opposing players (see Joakim Noah), you can bet he'll do it with his own.

Nevada's Mark Fox. If he's willing to go after referees in the tunnel following games ...

San Francisco's Eddie Sutton. Not sure if he's comfortable enough yet to berate his USF players, but Sutton had no qualms at Oklahoma State.

Seeing that you are a big soccer and college hoops fan, I wanted to get your opinion on the concept of "advantage" when it comes to hoops officiating. I'm a season ticket holder at Cal, and it seems like there is an increasing amount of calls being made in the Pac-10 on actions that I would not even characterize as "impediments." I love the fact in soccer that officials will put away their whistles unless a play creates a distinct advantage for the team committing the foul. Is there any similar concept preached to NCAA officials, and if not, do you think there should or should not be some kind of application of the advantage rule?
Paul Turner, Pleasant Hill, Calif.

There isn't a similar "advantage" rule in hoops, unfortunately, and in my mind that's a shame. Consider a sequence in Kentucky's win over Tennessee on Tuesday night. With Kentucky leading 54-52 with just over six minutes to play, the Vols' Tyler Smith throws an ill-advised lob to J.P. Prince on the break. Prince manages to tip the ball back to Smith for a lay-up, but the referee calls a foul on Kentucky's Joe Crawford (the only defender back) for pushing Prince as he was in the air. Smith's basket is disallowed, and Prince goes to the free-throw line, where he misses the one-and-one. I'm not saying that call turned the game, but I am saying that Tennessee would have preferred the guaranteed two points that would have resulted if basketball allowed a soccer-style call of "advantage" to be played.

I also get annoyed when a team plays great half-court offense, forces its opponent to take a tough shot to beat the shot-clock and (if it's an air-ball) has to take the ball out of bounds after the shot-clock violation instead of being able to start a fast-break in the other direction.

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