So's this: Six-foot-eight freshman Tony Clark got $450,000 in a bonus from the Detroit Tigers, almost what his coach makes in a season. "If I need a ride in a nice car," Olson says, "I'll call Tony."
It took more than a decade, but Michigan State finally circled back to the top of the Big Ten last season, winning the league for the first time since the days when Magic Johnson was casting his spell. The Spartans' strength comes from their new star system: Steve Smith (page 48) is the stellar presence around which Mike Peplowski, Parish Hickman, Matt Steigenga, Dwayne Stephens and Mark Montgomery will cluster.
It's a fact: Michigan State averaged more than 17 turnovers in its six losses last season.
So's this: Coach Jud Heathcote isn't the slickest ball handler; he once caught an errant Spartan pass on the sideline and slammed the ball on the floor in frustration—only to draw blood when it bounded up and hit him in the face.
Coach Wimp Sanderson's favored sport coats are a lot louder than his unassuming Alabama teams have been in rising to the top of the SEC. Robert Horry, the 6'9" forward who led the Crimson Tide in both blocked shots and steals last season, was also second in scoring, rebounding and three-pointers, and third in assists and free throw percentage. But he may be only the third-best player on the team, after 6'8" Melvin Cheatum and guard James (Hollywood) Robinson.
It's a fact: High Tide usually comes late in the season; 'Bama has won three of the last four SEC tournaments.
So's this: Wimp is named after an uncle who blocked a punt and died shortly thereafter.
By recruiting point guard Derrick Phelps, shooting guard Brian Reese, small forward Pat Sullivan, power forward Cliff Rozier and center Eric Montross, North Carolina coach Dean Smith brought in an entire starting team. Smith is notoriously wary of depending on freshmen, but at least three of these players—Reese, Rozier and Montross—are too good to sit. Senior playmaker King Rice will be counted on to hold the Carolina kids together.
It's a fact: None of the last seven ACC teams to reach the Final Four wore Carolina blue.
So's this: At Chapel Hill's Four Corners Restaurant and Bar, where dishes are named after erstwhile Heels, sandwiches in honor of departed Carolina stars Kevin Madden and Scott Williams will soon be added to the menu.