BK: I have fun calling games. I don't consider myself part of the media. I look at myself as a basketball consultant.
DP: Will you ever wear a tie?
BK: No. I don't even know if I have one. I was teaching Hubert Davis how to tie a half-Windsor knot the other day. But it had been so long since I tied one that it took me about 30 minutes to get it all figured out. Neckties and I have not even met in passing in the last many years.
PHIL JACKSON recently complained that his Lakers lacked killer instinct. Jerry West disagreed, telling me, "Phil sometimes complains when they win by 25. That's his nature." We then discussed whether it was inevitable that an NBA player have the occasional off night. When I suggested the league was a grind, the Logo said, "The NBA? It's as easy as ever. We used to have to play three nights in a row, six nights in seven days. I have to laugh when I hear coaches today say that. I just wish they could have played in the Stone Ages."
Out of the Pool
ONE PERSON who's not filling out an NCAA bracket this year is UCLA football coach Rick Neuheisel. Makes sense: He was fired from his last head coaching job, at Washington, for participating in—and winning more than $12,000 in—an office pool. Neuheisel has a good sense of humor about it. He assured me that the only brackets in his house are "the ones that put our bikes on the back of the car." And when I asked him how he feels about pools, he channeled Caddyshack's Ty Webb: "Pools, ponds—ponds are good for me."
THE HIGHLIGHT of the first Friends of Dan NCAA tournament pool: A perfect 16--0 on Day One from, of all people, Adam Sandler. So how did the Sand Man do it? Did he pore over stats and tendencies and matchups? Nope. Watch film? Nah. He picked Syracuse, for instance, because, he said, "I wore the shirt in Big Daddy." He has the Orange going all the way to the Final Four, which might not be a bad pick. But another one of his regional champs didn't make it past the first round: Boston College. Sandler said he picked the Eagles because "I wanted to show respect to Boston. I grew up around there and they hate me so much for being a Yankees fan. I wanted to do something nice for them."
THE FINE PRINT: Billy Packer is having trouble adjusting to retirement. He spent the first round of the NCAAs criticizing the rotation of his microwave.