He noted how rarely he disagrees with calls now, and smiled, knowing how much his view from the bench colored what he saw on the court.
I can't tell you how many coaches I've talked to who are convinced the refs are out to get them. It's paranoia, of course.
Through the years, my only beef with refs is that some of them know which teams are "supposed" to win and close calls go to the anointed team late in games.
** The ESPN scoreboard crawl must differentiate between men's and women's games by color code or something. How many times has somebody pointed to the TV and said, "I can't believe Connecticut beat Georgetown by 80."
Everybody understands the phenomenon. Trying to distinguish between WBB and MBB is not easy. We've all made that mistake. ESPN can correct the problem by tonight.
** Players who kick their legs out when shooting threes, fall down and start screaming as if hit with a shovel shall be ignored.
** Dick Vitale will never again be allowed to give his all-Duke team, at least not while Georgia Tech is playing Wake Forest.
Life of an assistant coach
West Virginia assistant Billy Hahn attended five high school games at Saint Joseph's on Sunday, Jan. 3, from noon to 8 p.m. He had a few appointments in town the next morning. He spent the evening at the Crowne Plaza on City Line.
He walked out to the parking lot the next morning to head for the appointments. Only his Chevy Tahoe was no longer there.
"The policeman told me that Tahoes are the hottest truck in Philadelphia to steal," Hahn said. "He said, 'They just drive around looking for them. The word we get is they're the easiest truck to break in and get going. These guys are so good at it that they can break into your truck and be driving in 60 seconds or less.'"
The truck had OnStar. It was quickly located - after it had been in a three-car accident.
"The cops told me, 'We located your truck, but we didn't get the guy because as soon as he got in the crash, he started running and we couldn't catch him,' " Hahn said.
Why did the guy run?
One of the cars in the three-car crash was a police cruiser.
"Only in Philly," Hahn said.
So what did Hahn do?
"I rented a truck from Hertz at the airport, kept a few appointments, went and saw a kid play and drove home Monday night," said Hahn, who was hoping to hear soon about the extent of damage to his vehicle.
The Reynolds story
After his legendary 36-point performance at Louisville on Monday, Villanova's Scottie Reynolds is closing fast on 2,000 points, has all but locked up Big 5 Player of the Year honors and has put himself in the discussion for National Player of the Year. Depending on how many games 'Nova plays, he can also make a run at Kerry Kittles' school record (2,243 points).
Worst-case scenario, Villanova plays 16 more games (14 regular, two postseason). Reynolds would need to average 20.2 points. If it were 18, he would need to average just less than 18 points. I think it's going to be 20 or maybe more. So he will have a good shot at that record and even more big-game success.
Joe Lunardi invented an art form when he started projecting NCAA brackets a while back. He has turned it into an exercise that readers love on espn.com. Now, he will be teaching an online Fundamentals of Bracketology course at Saint Joseph's.
According to the syllabus, the course "will include such topics as an introduction to NCAA March Madness, a history of the NCAA Tournament, NCAA Selection Committee, the selection process, seeding and bracketing, RPI and, finally, the building of your own bracket."
The final "exam" will, of course, be the construction of a bracket to be graded by Professor Lunardi.
There will be several sessions, with the first set to begin on Jan. 18. To register, call 1-866-319-8974.
This and that
** Villanova and Temple are the best teams in town - by a wide margin. And each team is playing to its strength.
The next time you see Villanova playing maybe faster than you think is prudent, consider this. The Wildcats are scoring 1.16 points per possession, sixth best nationally. So, the more possessions, the better. They are getting 73 possessions per 40 minutes, 45th nationally.
** Temple does not have that kind of firepower. So the Owls play at a much slower pace, 63.7 possessions per 40 minutes (326th nationally), increasing the value of their great defense.
** Penn coaches are not expecting either Tyler Bernardini (foot) or Andreas Schreiber (shoulder) to make it back this season.
** Oklahoma is way down after the departure of Blake Griffin. How good might the Sooners have been if Griffin had stayed, or at least had a chance to play with Villanova's Scottie Reynolds or Texas big man Damion James for two seasons? Remember, Reynolds and James originally signed with OU. They departed when Kelvin Sampson left for Indiana. Sampson's footprints remain in Bloomington and Norman.
** Billy Hahn told me that Purdue's Mackey Arena on New Year's Day was so wild he had no basis for comparison.
"I was a former player in the ACC," said Hahn, who went to Maryland and now is an assistant coach at West Virginia. "I've coached in a lot of arenas. Mackey Arena, for our game, was the hardest venue I've ever seen, including Duke Cameron Indoor. It was unbelievable. That entire arena, from old people with canes to young people sucking on a bottle, they were standing and clapping. It was amazing."
Purdue crushed West Virginia, giving WVU its first loss.
** Look out for NJIT (5-11) in the Great West. They are in the right league. North Dakota is 2-14. Houston Baptist is 1-12. Texas Pan American is 1-16. If NJIT can get through the brutal road trip starting tomorrow at Tex Pan American and continuing Saturday at Houston Baptist, forget about it.
Who: Drexel (8-9, 3-2 Colonial Athletic Association) at Towson (3-11, 0-5)
When: 7 o'clock
Where: Towson Center, Towson, Md.
Notes: Towson upset Drexel in the first round of the CAA Tournament last March, 73-62, starting the game with a 15-0 run . . . The Dragons are coming off a 73-48 loss to William & Mary in which they shot a season-low 24 percent. They went more than 17 minutes with only one field goal . . . Towson has lost six in a row.
Who: La Salle (8-7, 1-1 Atlantic 10) vs. George Washington (11-4, 1-1)
When: 7 o'clock
Where: Tom Gola Arena
TV/Radio: Comcast Network/none
Notes: Freshman Aaric Murray's career-high 19 points helped lead the Explorers to a win over UMass on Saturday, their first A-10 victory of the season . . . La Salle's next two games are on the road, Saturday at Richmond, next Wednesday at Penn . . . The Colonials' Lasan Kromah is the A-10 Rookie of the Week . . .GW senior forward Damian Hollis reached 1,000 points and 500 rebounds in Sunday's 76-69 loss to Xavier.
Who: No. 19 Temple (13-3, 1-0
Big 5) at Penn (1-10, 0-1)
When: 7 o'clock
TV/Radio: None/ESPN (950-AM)
Notes: Penn coach Jerome Allen, a one-time Quakers star, will face his former coach, Fran Dunphy, for the first time . . . Temple has won nine of its last 10 games . . . The Owls lead this series, 42-22.
Who: Saint Joseph's (5-9, 1-1 A-10) at Rhode Island (12-2, 0-1)
When: 7 o'clock
Where: Thomas M. Ryan Center, Kingston, R.I.
TV/Radio: None/WNTP (990-AM)
Notes: Darrin Govens leads the Hawks averaging 12.8 points a game . . . The Hawks snapped a three-game losing streak with a win Saturday over Fordham . . . St. Joe's continues its road trip with a game Saturday at St. Bonaventure . . . The Rams had an eight-game winning streak snapped Sunday with a loss to Temple. It also was their first home loss.