NCAA loses best, bringing parity to rest


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With more than half the 16 second-round games in the NCAA tournament over the weekend being determined by six or fewer points (including two overtime contests), it would seem the proper time to inquire if parity has taken over college hoops?

"You got it, babee, and I'll tell you why," answers Dick Vitale of ESPN. "Look at the NBA draft the last two years. Five of the top six players taken were underclassmen. Believe me, if Chris Webber, Juwan Howard and Jalen Rose were still at Michigan and Glenn Robinson was still playing for Purdue, everyone would be chasing them just like they did when UNLV went into the tournament undefeated a few years back."

* NBC certainly didn't set itself up for an Emmy in sports news reporting Sunday by completely avoiding any mention of the NCAA tournament (playing on CBS) during update segments of its idolatrous treatment of Michael Jordan's return to the NBA. Time to come up with a series of awards called the Petty.

* Marylanders grabbing the highest rankings in collegiate tennis include Wisconsin junior Lauren Gavaris of Potomac, No. 22, and Chris Hill, a Pepperdine sophomore from Columbia, No. 37.

Still on tennis, Pam Shriver says her last go-round as a singles player probably will be the grass-court circuit that surrounds Wimbledon in June and July.

* Big doings at Prince George's Stadium April 6, the dedication of the park taking place at 3:45 p.m. followed by opening day ceremonies (6:30) and the Baysox-Norwich Navigators game at 7:05. Yes, these guys are bona fide Double-A players, not an imitation.

* Asked if his tennis-playing buddy Pete Sampras, ranked No. 1 )) in the world for more than a year now, had any weaknesses, Michael Chang replied, "He doesn't cook well."

* Considering all the sports that were found dirty (8), the rampant disregard for the rules with people in authority apparently not interested in keeping abreast and the six years the infractions went on, Morgan State is lucky the NCAA didn't bypass sanctions and probation and simply hand it the "death penalty."

It is hard to believe this is the same school that produced all those terrific football teams, track and field squads and the national college division hoop champs featuring the "Human Eraser," marvelous Marvin Webster, in the '70s.

* Two more wins by No. 14 seeds, Weber State and Old Dominion, beating No. 3's Michigan State and Villanova, plus the mighty scare Wisconsin-Green Bay (14) put into Purdue (3), obviously marks this matchup as the home of big upsets. Since (( the NCAA tourney went to the 64-team field in 1985, No. 14's have posted 11 wins over No. 3's (in 44 tries). The beat goes on in the No. 1-16 pairing, top guns standing 44-0.

* While it's true the ACC is having a banner tourney, its four representatives going 8-0 into this weekend's Sweet 16, the Big Eight has been impressive, too, its five teams going 6-3 with Kansas favored over Virginia and Oklahoma State a "pick 'em" with Wake Forest in Friday's pairings. The gang from the flatlands had the best non-league record by conference (91-17) this season, and has matched the ACC with 16 entries in the regionals over the last five tourneys.

* Laurel Baptist is a high school in northern Virginia that had an excellent season, winning 36 of 41 games and finishing with a No. 3 ranking in the D.C. Metro poll. How did it come to play so many games? On a couple of occasions, Laurel headed into the interior of the state and split its squad, knocking off a couple of teams at a time.

* Just one school, besides winning a couple of NCAA titles and an NIT crown, won the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics tourney way back when (1948). Name it? Hint: Wes Unseld knew the answer.

* It wasn't exactly the BSO, but when Penn's band played "Sing, Sing, Sing," then the theme from "2001," and its Saint Louis counterparts did a fine rendition of the "St. Louis Blues" during the NCAA subregional here, Baltimore Arena rocked as if Hulk Hogan had just turned the tables on some cheating ruffian.

* They're starting to refer to 14-year-old freestyler Brooke Bennett as "the next Janet Evans," but it might not be a bad idea to wait until Evans hangs up the swimsuit.

When Tracy Caulkins climbed out of the pool after her last competitive effort, everyone assumed her 48 national titles would stand as the record for at least 50 years. But, over the weekend, Evans captured three more gold medals at the nationals in Minneapolis to boost her total to 45.

* Louisville is the team that won NCAA, NIT and NAIA titles.

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