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March 14, 2006

Rumor & Innuendo: Rumblings From the World of Sports

Was it me, or was something missing on NCAA Selection Sunday? Oh, yeah, the sun. And any mention of the University of Louisville Cardinals. Hmmmmm!That schedule thang. U of L played only one non-conference team that is dancing. Can you spell UK? And the Cards only beat one NCAA team — Marquette. Pitiful.Billy the Kid does good. The Rick’s most prominent prodigy, Billy Donovan, used to have this rep: Great recruiter, awful coach. Then he made his best coaching move in years. He hired a former head coach with chops, Larry Shyatt (Clemson, Wyoming). Voila, the Gators kicked it up the proverbial notch. (Interesting side note: Shyatt desperately wanted and lobbied hard for the assistant’s position at U of L, first filled by Reggie Theus and now, Marvin Menzies.) The student’s team is SEC tourney champs and a No. 3 seed. The teacher’s team is ... well ... you know ... off the radar.But, hold on, wait a minute, shush, what is this chant now rising from the Cardinal Nation?We’re No. 1. With renewed vigor, and major props from C. M. Newton’s NIT seeding committee, U of L hopes to hit the road back to NYC starting Friday night against Northern Arizona or Delaware State. Now, those are the kinds of teams this Louisville squad can beat.The zebra factor. BEast conference games were street fights. Too often the refs were nowhere to be found. No severed limbs, no foul. Rugby scrum for a loose ball, no infraction. Which means that the half of the league that made it to the dance best watch out. When they run into zebras who call the game according to the rulebook, they’ll be in for a foul awakening. The pinetimers better be ready for more minutes than usual.Daring to go where  no man has walked before. OK, just kidding. Not that you asked, but here’s one idiot’s fearless picks for the Final Four: Duke, UCLA, Illinois, Villanova. To hedge my bets, here’s a sleeper from each region. California, Arkansas, UAB, Georgetown. Best chance for a surprising run this weekend: UNC Wilmington. They will beat George Washington, and they can beat Duke. The champion will be either Villanova or UCLA.seedyk@culturemaven.com