JERRY CROWE

Why not open NCAA tournament to everyone?

Text messages from press row.

With Kemba Walker and Connecticut headed to the Final Four after finishing ninth in the Big East, it's time to consider opening the tournament to everybody. …

The regular season already has been rendered virtually meaningless, and quadrupling the size of the field to 256 teams, for instance, would add only one week to the tournament. …

The regular season might benefit too because, with tournament bids guaranteed, coaches presumably would be more inclined to schedule nonconference games against quality opponents. …

UCLA's Malcolm Lee will enter NBA draft but keep his options open

Andrew Bynum, scoring less but rebounding and defending more, has never been more valuable to the Lakers. …

For all the talk of a Clippers rebirth, Blake Griffin & Co. have not budged from 13th place in the West. …

Regarding Jay Gibbons' vision problems, reader Brian Garabedian of Wilmington emails to note, "I think it's pretty obvious: He just can't see playing left field for the Dodgers." …

Angels rookie Peter Bourjos is "the best center fielder I've ever seen," an anonymous scout tells USA Today. …

Evan Longoria, who reported an AK-47 assault rifle among items stolen from a house he rented during spring training, is featured in Gillette's "young guns" advertising campaign. …

In one spot, Longoria says, "Always be ready." …

Long-suffering Kings fans deserve better than to see the team's top two scorers, Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams, sidelined because of injuries only weeks before the playoffs. …

After 40-year-old Teemu Selanne scored three goals Monday and was serenaded by Honda Center fans pleading for "one more year," you couldn't help wondering: Only one? …

Of the 5.9 million brackets entered in ESPN.com's NCAA tournament pool, only 159 had Virginia Commonwealth and Butler reaching the Final Four and only two had the upstarts joining bluebloods Connecticut and Kentucky. …

Will a UCLA quarterback blossom in the spring?

One of the two, Joe Pearlman of East Brunswick, N.J., told USA Today that because he is a USC football fan, he stuck with VCU after the Rams eliminated USC in a play-in game. …

Fran Tarkenton, offering his services to end the NFL lockout, tells Comcast Sports: "I could be the mediator … and we cannot eat or drink until we get a settlement." …

The Sporting News' annual spring ranking of the top 25 players in college football, topped by Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore, includes four from the Pacific 12 Conference among the top five: Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck; Oregon running back LaMichael James; Oregon cornerback/punt returner Cliff Harris; and Washington tailback Chris Polk. …

Also among the top 25: Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burfict at No. 8; USC quarterback Matt Barkley at No. 22; and Stanford center David DeCastro at No. 23. …

Pac-12 newcomers Utah and Colorado were shut out, as was UCLA. …

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, after finishing in a tie for 24th place Sunday at Bay Hill, have one victory between them in their last 46 PGA Tour appearances. …

Monte Towe, who in 1974 helped North Carolina State defeat Bill Walton and UCLA at the Final Four, tells the Sporting News that teammate David Thompson is "still recognized as the best player to ever play in the ACC." …

Better than Michael Jordan? …

All the talk of "shrinkage" at Barry Bonds' perjury trial brought back memories of a classic "Seinfeld" episode. …

Thirty years ago Wednesday, Isiah Thomas and Indiana defeated North Carolina to win the NCAA title only hours after President Reagan sustained gunshot wounds in an assassination attempt. …

As a fundraiser for Autism Speaks, photographer Andrew Bernstein will sign copies of the Lakers-celebrating book "Journey to the Ring" on Friday at ESPN Zone L.A. Live. …

Bernstein collaborated on the book with Phil Jackson. …

USC football walk-on Cody Gifford, son of former Trojans great Frank Gifford and television personality Kathie Lee Gifford, delivered on-air film reviews as an intern last summer on NBC's "Today" show, a program co-hosted by his mother. …

Ever helpful, Mom noted before his debut, "I love nepotism!"

jerome.crowe@latimes.com
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