And in the End: 20 Final Thoughts on the Final Four

LeAnn Rimes.JPG
John Royal
LeAnn all dressed up for a white wedding.
In an attempt to wipe that awful excuse for a basketball game on Monday night from my head, I thought I would purge a few things still running through from my mind about the whole Final Four weekend. So...

1. I like attractive women. And I don't mind women who are skinny, but somebody really needs to feed LeAnn Rimes a few meals because Calista Flockhart looked fat compared to Rimes. And speaking of Ms. Rimes, when I saw her walk on court in that white wedding dress thing she was wearing, I thought she was going to sing Billy Idol's "White Wedding".

2. While I'm on a music theme...seeing as how Butler shot 18.8 percent and how UConn shot 34.5 percent, let me give you the theme song of the title game, The Commodores' "Brick House."

3. So you want to sit in the student section. That would be fun, if you don't actually want to see the game. You're on the floor, and the court is elevated. You're behind the band, and standing on the baseline are a gaggle of photographers and the cheerleaders. So the only way you can actually watch the game is to crane your neck back and watch the video screens the entire night.

4. I've been known to say some nasty things about the lack of fan support amongst my fellow UH alums and the current students. But there's no way the Cougars would ever have a mostly empty student section for a Saturday night Final Four game, and they would never have to import students from other schools to try and fill out the section.

5. The Butler cheerleaders were dressed as if they stepped out of some time machine from the 1940s. Then again, seeing as how both teams shot like they were playing in the 1940s, maybe those cheerleaders had the right idea.

6. Hey, how do you know the visiting media from the local media? The visiting media are the ones bitching about how far apart everything is. There was one guy bitching about how long it took to get from Bush Intercontinental to Reliant Stadium. I'm guessing that guy's never had to make the trip from J.F.K. into the heart of New York City.

Student Section.JPG
John Royal
Welcome to the student section. Great view.
7. Dear Houston Host Committee: If you want to feed the media authentic Texas food, and you're serving barbecue, try tossing in some barbecue sauce. And maybe try ribs instead of chopped beef.

8. Us media folks got to use this portable toilet disguised as some kind of mobile facility that was stashed right outside the media work room. To give that Texas feel, they pumped in bad country music. And for some reason, one had to make sure one was grabbing a handle or had a hand against the wall because the thing kept rocking back and forth.

9. Mike Lupica's even shorter in real life than he is on television.

10. I get that Kentucky's John Calipari is not a well-liked coach. But from what I can see, the only difference between him and UConn's Jim Calhoun is that Calhoun's actually won some titles. They've both been nailed by the NCAA police the same number of times and both are currently under investigation.

11. Calipari was asked on Friday if he considered himself a modern-day version of Jerry Tarkanian. That was an insult to Tarkanian in that Tarkanian actually won a title at UNLV, but Tarkanian didn't play hide-and-seek with the NCAA by ducking and running to a different school each time the NCAA police came knocking.

12. Our stupid media question of the weekend came on Saturday night when Butler coach Brad Stevens was asked how it felt to know that George H.W. Bush was cheering for Butler. The runner-up stupid media question of the weekend came on Friday when Stevens was asked who designed the frames of his glasses.

13. My favorite question of the weekend was when Calipari was asked how it felt to make the Final Four for the first time, a nice dig at Calipari's previous trips to the Final Four being erased from the records books by the NCAA because of recruiting violations.

Cougar UConn.JPG
John Royal
The Cougars take over the empty UConn student section.
14. Does that NAPA "Know How" guy know how to shoot the basketball? If so, maybe he can give some shooting lessons to the guys on the Butler and UConn squads.

15. Best part of being at the press table: I didn't have to listen to Jim Nantz. I don't even want to know what kind of clichés he was throwing out on Monday night.

16. Yes, Ashley Judd was in the Kentucky student section. Yes, I saw her there. Yes, I chickened out and didn't make any type of approach.

17. Jim Calhoun stated several times over the weekend that he took responsibility for the Nate Miles transgression. The funny thing, though, is that he's still working but his assistants lost jobs. How is that taking responsibility?

18. Is there any sports Hall of Fame that is a bigger joke than the Basketball Hall of Fame? Guy V. Lewis supposedly can't get in because he's just a regional candidate, but Herb McGee, the longtime coach of the Philadelphia College of Textile Sciences, was just named to the Hall.

19. I was shocked by the number of reporters and columnists wearing suits and dresses on Monday night. It's like they all expected to be on CBS or ESPN after the game. But the biggest shock was that I didn't know most reporters owned suits.

20. The best part of Friday's media day: A young girl was allowed to ask Butler's Matt Howard and Shawn Vanzant a question. She asked what advice they would give young players, and they said, simply, just have fun. And that's basically what it's all about, isn't it, just having fun.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
John Royal is a native Houstonian who graduated from the University of Houston and South Texas College of Law. In his day job he is a complex litigation attorney. In his night job he writes about Houston sports for the Houston Press.
Contact: John Royal