The Cards Are Back
This is the kind of week it was for Louisville coach Denny Crum. He joined Bob Knight and Dean Smith as the only active college coaches in the Basketball Hall of Fame. His Cardinals won two games—over South Florida 65-50 and Tulane 77-73—to improve their season record to 20-2 and their AP ranking to No. 5. And on a fishing trip in Florida, a six-pound bass literally leaped into his boat.
It's about time things went right again for Crum. He has achieved plenty in his 23 seasons with the Cardinals (two NCAA titles, four other Final Four trips, 19 seasons with at least 20 victories), but his program had seemingly gone into decline in the '90s. This prompted his critics to suggest that the high-post offense Crum learned while making three earlier Final Four trips as an assistant to UCLA's John Wooden was obsolete. They charged Crum with being too rigid to make use of the three-point shot.
But now Crum has bounced back. He has done so, moreover, with the same high-post set and the same kind of unselfish players he had in the early 1980s. Leading the way is 6'9" junior center Clifford Rozier, the talented transfer who came to Louisville after an unhappy freshman year at North Carolina in '90-91. Rozier has produced double figures in both points and rebounds in 16 of Louisville's 22 games, and when rival defenses give him special attention in close, it opens the way for his teammates to bomb away from outside. Yes, indeed, Louisville has finally discovered the trey.
The Cards' only glaring weakness is a bench so thin that Crum can't use his press as much as he would like. However, the lack of depth hasn't been too noticeable because the starters have played so well.
Still, Crum insists that the Cardinals aren't yet a contender for the NCAA title. "I've been to nine Final Fours, and I know how to get there," he says. "This team isn't even close." Crum knows that unlike certain fish, NCAA titles just don't jump into your boat.
—WILLIAM F. REED
Who's in Charge Here?
The comportment of college basketball coaches is routinely so whacked out that it takes truly bizarre behavior for one of them to attract much notice. Last week, for instance, the always inflammable Dale Brown of LSU tried to make a citizen's arrest of an Alabama fan after a Tiger loss in Tuscaloosa. "He's probably related to the guy who stabbed Monica Seles," Brown ranted later.
On Sunday, Temple's John Chaney got into a violent exchange with UMass coach John Calipari. The trouble started after the Minutemen beat the Owls 56-55 in Amherst and Chaney spotted Calipari haranguing the referees in the hallway outside the dressing rooms. Chaney interrupted Calipari's postgame news conference to denounce Calipari's complaining, and within moments Chancy had to be restrained from charging Calipari. The irate Temple coach was clearly heard to say, "I'll kill you. You remember that." On Monday, Chancy issued an apology and was suspended for one game by Temple.
Also on Sunday, Arizona's Lute Olson and Cal's Todd Bozeman nearly got into it in the closing minutes of Arizona's 96-77 win. Bozeman had been working the refs in the second half, complaining about the trash-talking of the Wildcats' Reggie Geary. But it was Bozeman who was eventually hit with a T. With 1:38 left Olson interrupted Bozeman's continuing complaints by yelling, "Oh, sit down."