For The Final Four: Five Most Inspirational Pre-Game Speeches

As the NCAA Tournament builds to a climax, one can only speculate about the kinds of speeches offered by the likes of Texas' Rick Barnes and OU's Jeff Capel before their respective matches against Duke and North Carolina. One thing seems certain, it probably wouldn't have hurt to have one of these dudes talking to the players instead.

5. Ken Carter (Samuel L. Jackson) -- Coach Carter (2005)

Samuel L. Jackson could do nothing but Shakespeare and Jane Austen adaptations for the rest of his life, and he'd still be remembered for his weird-ass roles. That's why I keep expecting one of two things to happen at the end of this speech: for an anaconda to fall on him from the rafters, or a mako shark to lunge through the boards and bite him in half.

4. Don Haskins (Josh Lucas) -- Glory Road (2006)

The problem here is that Lucas has a kind of used-car salesman veneer in all his roles, which unfortunately means that Haskins come across as an opportunistic creep, using "the coloreds" to make a name for himself, and makes Adolph Rupp (Jon Voight) seem positively progressive by comparison.

3. Normal Dale (Gene Hackman) -- Hoosiers (1986)

This one seems a bit defeatist: "I don't care what the scoreboard says at the end of the game, you're still going to be winners?" Bob Knight would beat you to death with a Gatorade cooler just for thinking that.

2. Michael Jordan (Michael Jordan) -- Space Jam (1996)

When Jordan's your team captain, "Let's go kick some alien butt" is all the motivation you really need.

1. Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell) -- Miracle (2004)

I'm not really a basketball fan. Sue me. But hey, hockey is pretty much the same thing, right? Both have five guys (not counting the goalie, because who counts goalies?), both get their scoring from putting a round, rubbery thing in a net, and both have lots of timeouts, leading to plenty of opportunities for inspirational speechifying.

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