TAMPA — LSU is making its fifth straight Final Four appearance, but first-year coach Van Chancellor thinks that has been lost on some. Chancellor said Saturday that the TV and print coverage he has seen since arriving in Tampa has focused so much on Connecticut and Tennessee and a possible final between the two that it's almost "like LSU's not playing."
"Our team's pretty good," Chancellor said. "Our team has done some pretty nice things, and I'm proud of them for what they've accomplished. I just think this team deserves a little more respect than what it's getting."
That might be an issue in Baton Rouge, too.
Because LSU's spring football game was Saturday, a promo for that event dominated the home page of the athletic program's Web site until mid afternoon.
Sylvia vS. Candace: How does LSU star center Sylvia Fowles like regularly competing against Tennessee All-American Candace Parker, the Associated Press player of the year?
She enjoys it.
"She only makes you better," Fowles said of Parker. "You just have to challenge her on the floor. … You just have to go at her and do all the things that you're capable of doing."
Tickets, anyone? Fowles, of Miami, and guard Erica White of Jacksonville are the only players at the Final Four who played high school basketball in Florida. And as you might expect, they've been bombarded with ticket requests by family and friends.
"Playing the Final Four here is great (because) it's so close to home," White said. "But it's also just a little bit of a burden. Everyone is calling you and texting you, saying, 'I only need about four tickets.' "
White ended up with eight tickets. Her mother, sisters and a couple of uncles will be in the stands tonight at the St. Pete Times Forum. White said she told the rest of her family to watch the game "at a sports bar or something."
FEELING HER PAIN: Tennessee coach Pat Summitt has an idea about what Parker is going through with her dislocated shoulder. Summitt sustained the same injury recently — trying to rescue her dogs from a raccoon.
Summitt was taking the trash out and preparing to walk her two Labradors when she and the dogs encountered the raccoon on her back deck. Her dog Sally was on the bottom of the deck, and the raccoon was perched on the top.
"All I knew, I heard raccoons go for the eyes; they're vicious," Summitt said Saturday. "I didn't know they carried rabies until someone told me after I hit it. But I just reacted. … The raccoon was looking at Sally, and I just came from the side, and I hit it, and then I opened my arm to push it off the top deck, and when I did, I dislocated my shoulder. So when I saw Candace, I knew her pain."
If you're wondering how it all ended, around 1:30 the next morning, team doctor Becky Morgan and Summitt's son, Tyler, collaborated to get her shoulder back in place — after Summitt spent about 90 minutes trying to shift it back herself.
Times staff writer Antonya English contributed to this report.