Sunday, May 20, 2018
Sports

Star-powered Kentucky faces less flashy Wisconsin

ARLINGTON, Texas — They play the same game, though they come at it from opposite sides of the court.

Kentucky has a coach labeled a renegade, a rotating stable of McDonald's All-Americans and sky-high expectations every year. Wisconsin has a coach who has stayed in one state for three decades, a lineup filled with juniors and seniors and an aw-shucks attitude about its first trip to the Final Four in more than a decade.

They meet tonight in the national semifinals — the one-and-done Wildcats (28-10), two wins from the program's ninth national title, and the Badgers (30-7), making their first trip this far since 2000.

"Frank Sinatra, wasn't that the song? We did it our way?" Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan, 67, said. "Everybody's doing it their way. If you're a coach and here's the landscape, you do it the best way you can."

Led by lottery pick-to-be Julius Randle and the Harrison twins, Aaron and Andrew, Kentucky coach John Calipari recruited six McDonald's All-Americans to the bluegrass this season. The national title and an undefeated season were expected to be mere stopping points for these players on the way to bigger things.

But it was way more complicated than that as recently as March 1, after the team had lost ugly in back-to-back games against Arkansas and South Carolina to fall to 21-8.

Calipari tweaked something — he said he will reveal exactly what when the season is over — and the march to the Final Four began. Never in the recruiting process or the season has the NBA been brought up, he insists.

"It's the elephant in the room that we don't need to talk about," he said.

Calipari attempted Friday to put a different spin on his program's "One and Done" label. "Succeed and Proceed," he called it, adding that the T-shirts with said slogan are at the printer.

It's a different story at Wisconsin, where the talent doesn't always jump out to NBA scouts, and Ryan's swing-offense system gets credit for getting the most out of his players, even in a season like this, when the Badgers are playing more up-tempo and making more shots. Their 73.5 points are the most Wisconsin has averaged in 20 seasons.

"Sometimes, we kind of fail the eye test," said 7-foot, 234-pound center Frank Kaminsky, he of the scraggly beard and sweat jacket.

"I know that, me, personally, I've heard comments about how I look, like I'm asleep all the time. I don't know where that came from," the center said, drawing laughs as he looked over at Ryan.

Yes, they are having fun on this trip to the Final Four, where the chance awaits to see how they stack up against the "One and Dones" — the likes of which don't walk through Ryan's door all that often.

"I had a 'Three and Done,' " he said of Devin Harris, a lottery pick in the 2004 draft. "He came into my office and said, 'Coach, what do you think?' I told him that I would get back to him after I found out what the NBA people really felt. And when I did find out and sat down and talked to him, he was just so relieved that I would allow him to go make a lot of money."

Comments
Softball: Scouting the Academy at the Lakes vs. Lake Worth Christian semifinal

Softball: Scouting the Academy at the Lakes vs. Lake Worth Christian semifinal

Academy at the Lakes (24-4) vs. Lake Worth Christian (10-3)Where: 11:50 a.m. Monday at Historic Dodgertown, Vero BeachHow they got thereAcademy at the Lakes defeated Seacrest Country Day 11-1, defeated Canterbury 5-1Lake Worth Christian defeated...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays hang on to beat Angels 5-3 behind Robertson slam, get back to .500

Rays hang on to beat Angels 5-3 behind Robertson slam, get back to .500

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Playing .500 ball is obviously no goal, and the Rays certainly know that.But given where they came from, that terrible 1-8 start that oozed into 3-12 and 4-13, climbing back to the respectability of .500 would be an accomplish...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Rays journal: New pitching plan worked so well Romo starts again Sunday

Rays journal: New pitching plan worked so well Romo starts again Sunday

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The first part of the Rays' new and unusual pitching plan worked so well Saturday, as game "opener" RHP Sergio Romo struck out the first three Angels hitters, that the Rays will do it again on Sunday.That's right. Romo will st...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay withstood Washington’s barrage

Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay withstood Washington’s barrage

TAMPA — A two-goal lead was suddenly only one, and the Washington Capitals, having pulled their goalie, had a furious 96-second siege.Andrei Vasilevskiy made the last three of his 28 saves to preserve the Lightning's 3-2 victory Saturday in Gam...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay’s early surges carried the day

Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay’s early surges carried the day

TAMPA — Dan Girardi knew where the puck was heading. It was heading to Alex Ovechkin for a one-timer on net, so Girardi did the only thing he could do. He blocked it.With his rump."It hit me right in the cheek," said Girardi, the Lightning defe...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: Grading Tampa Bay’s 3-2 victory in Game 5

Lightning-Capitals: Grading Tampa Bay’s 3-2 victory in Game 5

TAMPA — Faster than Justify down the stretch at the Preakness, quicker than Harry and Meghan walked down the aisle at Windsor Castle, the Lightning jumped on Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final. No runaway gallop. No funny hats. Just ho...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: How Ryan Callahan and his linemates overwhelmed the Caps

Lightning-Capitals: How Ryan Callahan and his linemates overwhelmed the Caps

TAMPA — They're called grinders. Pluggers. Checkers.They're lunch-pail guys. Like 9-to-5ers. They get up every day and go to work. They punch in and punch out for no glory or credit. But the business would fall apart without them.They're the fo...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Justify wins foggy Preakness, keeps Triple Crown bid alive

Justify wins foggy Preakness, keeps Triple Crown bid alive

BALTIMORE — Justify rounded the final turn and hit the top of the stretch winded but with the lead. The roar from the crowd was delayed, hushed by the thick fog that enveloped the track. When Justify emerged from the haze in view of the grandstand, t...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: Quick strike, but not the quickest ever

Lightning-Capitals: Quick strike, but not the quickest ever

TAMPA — Cedric Paquette needed only 19 seconds to put the Lightning on the scoreboard Saturday night, coming up with the second-fastest playoff goal in franchise history.The only goal faster? Tampa Bay's Adam Hall needed only 13 seconds to scor...
Published: 05/19/18

Rowdies tie in debut of new coach Neill Collins

St. PETERSBURG — Neill Collins, the former Rowdies defender who this week abruptly replaced Stuart Campbell as coach of the team, was a bit ambivalent about his debut, but he sure liked the way his club played in the second half of Saturda...
Published: 05/19/18