Kentucky Wildcats (21-11) vs. Villanova Wildcats (22-10
1. Roc-A-Fella. After many of his made baskets, Kentucky starting point guard Ramel Bradley uses his hands to make a diamond symbol to the crowd. According to Bradley, the symbol is an ode to his fellow Brooklyn native Jay-Z and represents Roc-A-Fella records and the Dynasty of Kentucky basketball. However, many in Kentucky do not understand the reference, leading to an infamous radio argument in Louisville between two callers over whether Ramel Bradley and Jay-Z were ripping the symbol off of former pro wrestler "Diamond" Dallas Page. The debate ended when both callers had to be hung up on due to profanities.
2. Poland! Backup center and Polish native Lukask "Woo" Obrzut is a crowd favorite, in large part due to his odd observations and translations made in postgame interviews. Earlier this season, when asked if the crowd made him excited, he commented, "I live off of crowds ... I eat it." Then, when asked how he remained so calm under pressure he said, "When I was a little Woo in Poland, my mom threw me in the icy river and I had to get myself out. That was pressure."
3. The New Brit. While not able to help the current group of Wildcats, many Kentucky fans are looking forward to the arrival of seven-foot British recruit Mike Williams. Williams, who lives in Alexandria, Virg., now, caused a stir in Kentucky when it was revealed that he had named himself the "Big Black Member" on his Myspace profile. That name combined with his thick British accent has folks in Kentucky ready for four more years of goofiness. — Matt Jones
1. Kelvin Sampson for Mayor. Members of 'Nova Nation' will line up to shake the hand of Kelvin "Urban Meyer's just swimming in my texting wake" Sampson, former coach of Oklahoma, for jumping ship to Indiana. Seems that Scottie Reynolds, who played his high school ball in Herndon, Virg., had spurned the advances of several closer Big East powers (and perhaps some inferior ACC teams as well) to sign a national letter of intent with the Sooners. Kelvin jumps ship; Scottie's released from his letter; now he's Second Team All-Big East, unanimous Big East All-Rookie Team and the odds-on favorite to be Big East Rookie of the Year. Villanova is not a tournament team without the play of Reynolds.
2. Give the man his due. Entering the 2005-06 season, 'Nova was expected to contend for a national championship, which they did. They would have been stronger had the services of Curtis Sumpter been available. Sumpter, with a history of knee trouble, tweaked his knee during the 2005 tournament game against Florida, and again during practice leading up to the 2006 season. He could have returned in Jan/Feb 06 to play, maybe at 75-80 percent, but instead opted (correctly) to redshirt and come back this season fully ready to do battle. Sumpter was named First Team All-Big East, and on Senior Night against Rutgers at the Pavilion on campus, Sumpter went to half court with both his parents and the Villanova trainer Jeff Pierce, instrumental to Curtis' recovery.
3. Have the Nitro close by. Villanova is a fun team to watch, and not just because of Scottie Reynolds, Curtis Sumpter, Mike Nardi, and Jay Wright (he's dreamy, so they say). Their games may give you a heart attack. Wildcat basketball this season follows the following pattern: Race out to an early lead, suffer scoring drought allowing opponent to close, small lead at the half, scoring drought allowing opponent to catch up, trading of baskets and leads, scoring drought allowing opponent to take lead, furious comeback to draw even ... and then one of two things. Either: (a) take the lead, hit your free throws down the stretch and win; or (b) stay within a possession, miss key and sometimes wide open shots down the stretch, lose by between three and nine points. — Mike Metzger