Sports 56 WHBlog Q

March 18, 2009

Kansas City, Day 1

Filed under: Uncategorized — Peter Edmiston @ 3:39 pm

The first practice session is done here in Kansas City, and I just got back to my hotel from the Sprint Center.   Here are some impressions:


Very, very calm and relaxed, as you would expect.  The Tigers looked every bit the part of a team coming off a championship game appearance and three straight Elite Eight seasons.  John Calipari (and his players) were asked repeatedly about last season’s title game by the national media members in attendance (and a local KC reporter, who was just doggedly trying to get the players or Calipari to say something remotely controversial about last season).  Questions about this year were outnumbered by questions about last year by around 2 to 1.

As far as this year it concerned, Calipari said that he was impressed by CSUN’s resilience.  They’ve had a tumultuous sdeason off the court, to say the least.  Their coach, Bobby Braswell, was involved in a serious auto accident in late July of last year, his son Jeffery and leading scorer Deon Tresvant were suspended, his PG Josh Jenkins had an auto accident in February and is out for the season.  They’ve had a lot to deal with and yet they have thrived.  It is to be commended, and Calipari did just that.  He also noted that Northridge plays a lot of zone (smart idea) and can be very active with their hands on defense.

Remember, the last three first round games that Memphis has played in the NCAA Tournament have been tighter than expected initially.  Three years ago, Oral Roberts actually led with 5:12 to go in the first half before losing by 18.  Two years ago, North Texas led with 5:20 to go in the first half before losing by 15.  Last year, Texas-Arlington didn’t lead much at all, but kept it relatively close until losing by 24.  My point is this: I would expect something similar…an initially closer-than-expected game before a huge Memphis run puts Northridge away.  Northridge turns the ball over too much to stay close for a long time.  Think Houston in the C-USA semifinal game this year.


Their coach seems like a very nice guy – humble, religious, verbose.  He was a pleasure to talk with, not that it matters on the court.  Their players seemed unfazed by the pressure, although they were well aware that they did not matchup particularly well on paper with Memphis.  They are not a big team at all, and there’s no real reason to think they’ve got much of a chance.  As I said earlier, their propensity to turn the ball over frequently makes Memphis about the worst possible #2 seed they could have gotten.

Sprint Center:

I actually like this arena quite a bit.  It’s configured in a way I’d love for FedExForum to have been.  It’s got 10,000 of its 18,000 seats on the lower level, whereas FedExForum has only 5,000 or 6,000 seats down low and many more up top – limiting both the noisiness and the visibility of die-hard fans.  The exterior is beautiful and distinctive – a shiny silver casing surrounds the exterior of the building, making it stand out right in the heart of Kansas City’s downtown.  Levy Restaurants does the food for Sprint Center just like it does for FedExForum – I recognized the burger immediately when I tasted it.  We’ll see how things go tomorrow, but for now, I have to say I am impressed by the building and the staff in KC.  Good folks here.


If you have not entered the Sports 56 WHBQ Bracket Challenge presented by All-Star Chevrolet, you need to do so soon – the system cuts off entries at 11 or so tomorrow morning.  Get it in – you could win some amazing prizes, including our grand prize of two nights at Lindsey’s resort on the Little Red River and a Sony BRAVIA Home Theater sound system ($899 value) from Dilday TV along with a pair of Redbirds tickets to any 10 2009 home games of your choice.  An incredible, incredible contest.  Do it!

We’ll have the full audio from the press conferences up on the front page of Sports 56 WHBQ’s website shortly, along with a few surprises here and there.  We’ve put a special player on the site just so you can exclusively listen to Tournament-related audio.

I have to thank our amazing sponsors who are making this trip possible.  Central BBQ – what can you say about Craig and his staff at Central?  Just amazing pork, turkey, brisket, homemade chips, turnip greens, mac and cheese – you want it, they’ve got it.  For those of you watching in Memphis tomorrow, eat lunch at the Summer Ave. Central BBQ and watch the game with true Tiger fans in the Tiger Den while eating like a king.

Also, Acura of Memphis has provided me with a 2009 Acura TL complete with navigation system…it is such a pleasure to drive, and it made my 7 hour car ride so easy.  I entered my hotel’s address into the computer and it guided me right here smooth and easy.  This morning, I had to make a run to Radio Shack to pick up some equipment, and all I needed to do to find a Radio Shack in Kansas City was to put it in the navigation system and let the car do the rest.  It was so easy.  Greg Hapke and the guys at Acura of Memphis are the best in the business.  Thanks to them.

Back with more tomorrow.

1 Comment »

  1. Great info Peter,you bring us this Asskew brings us The Tigers might advance past the sweet 16 if we get a bad offensive big 10 team.

    Comment by mike — March 18, 2009 @ 4:27 pm

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