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Round Leather Ball

A few pointed questions for the NBA

I watched the last three minutes of the Bulls’ 104-99 win over Indiana in Game One of the first round of the NBA Playoffs. The Pacers outplayed the Bulls for the first 47 minutes, by all accounts, but the Bulls were able to pull off the win. I expect a sweep.

However, the whole scenario sucks.

The Bulls won 62 games in the regular season, yet they have to screw around with a team that finished 25 games behind them during an 82-game season?

I suppose it’s a reward to the Bulls, who would rather spend the first round playing a near-lottery team than anyone else. But why not a bye? Should the Pacers win a seven-game series, what does it day about the integrity of the NBA regular season?

The NBA and NHL are the biggest offenders by allowing 16 teams. But the NFL’s system allowed a 7-9 team (Seattle) to make the playoffs last year. And they won a playoff game, beating the defending Super Bowl champs.

In baseball, a wild card team can beat the champion from its own division in the league championship series. Then again, baseball’s schedule has enough problems with balance.

The regular season should mean something — enough that a team that has proven itself so bad should not get an equal chance at beating a 60-win team in a playoff series.

I know why they do this. Same reason as they do anything else: money. So, if they want to keep the expanded playoffs, how about this modest proposal:

If the difference in seeds is more than three, then the better team needs to win just three. The team with the worse seed needs to win four.

Thoughts on the title game

So, UConn has won the national title. Good for them, but they’d be best to destroy the game tape. Bad basketball has made itself a staple in college basketball. You expect to see a little higher caliber basketball during the last game. The shooting from the field was atrocious. Butler shot 18 percent? The second half was painful.

But the real story will be the status of UConn coach Jim Calhoun, who is already suspended for three games next year for illegal payments to recruits. Now comes word that Calhoun misled NCAA investigators. A widened probe will surely follow, and it’s possible the National Championship trophy now in Connecticut’s possession will soon be repossessed.

Most likely Calhoun will retire by the end of the week at age 68.

The big college basketball question today…

No, the question on college basketball fans has nothing to do with tonight’s national championship game. Instead, it’s focused on published reports that Bob Knight has expressed interest to officials at Nevada-Las Vegas about its head coaching position, which opened when Lon Kruger bolted for Oklahoma.

Bob Knight, who left his team midway in 2008 and hasn’t coached a team since, back coaching at 70?

Bob Knight, whose legacy is secure as one of the game’s great coaches, yet is sure to fall to second all-time in wins as his prodigy Mike Krzyzewski shows no signs of slowing down?

Bob Knight at Nevada-Las Vegas? The same Bob Knight who seemed to be a perfect fit in quiet Lubbock, the same guy who personified Indiana basketball, the same man who built his coaching legacy wanting the position at Nevada-Las Vegas??

The UNLV of Jerry Tarkanian, Stacey Augmon, Larry Johnson, Wayne Newton? The UNLV of constant NCAA inquiries?

Las Vegas and Bob Knight? Really?

Egg on his face

As I noted yesterday, Matt Painter had little reason to leave Purdue for Missouri. It didn’t really add up. But the St. Louis Post Disptach’s Bernie Miklasz seemed to have the story nailed. Yesterday, things just looked very good for Mizzou. Today, Miklasz wrote that Painter took the job and was going to West Lafayette to say goodbye to his team.

Except he wasn’t. In fact, Painter did consider the Missouri deal, but it just wasn’t enough to lure him away from his home state and his alma mater. Painter signed a contract extension through 2018-19.

There’s a lot to be excited about right now with Purdue basketball. We are moving into our new offices and locker room complex over the next couple of weeks. Our program is built on hard work, and we are ready to get back to improving as a team and a staff.¬†At the end of the day, my heart is at Purdue, and this is a place where I want to win a national championship.

Oops.

For Miklasz’s part, the crow eating is in progress. Miklasz went so far as to suggest Painter would make an appearance at the Cardinals’ opener at Busch Stadium tomorrow. Sounds like someone gone overboard with some anonymous sources.

Is Bernie red-faced? Well, yeah.

At Lafayette’s Journal and Courier, the sports staff should celebrate. They did enough on-the-record reporting and showed the patience not to report something as fact even when other, larger organizations were reporting it. They trusted their instincts and didn’t rush to be first, only to be right.

Good job.

A Prince and a Boozer

Apparently, Carlos Boozer leased his Los Angeles mansion to Prince a few years ago for $70,000 a month. When the lease ended, Boozer found the exterior painted with purple stripes, the symbol Prince formerly used, a number of alterations to his house, including plumbing work to accommodate salon chairs, and other things one generally does not do while renting.

Boozer filed suit, but he and Prince sorted things out. They even became fast friends.

Prince paid to restore the house to its original condition, and Boozer agreed not to divulge any specifics about what was happening in his home.

Specifics, not imagination-inspiring generalities. That, Boozer was happy to dispense.

He knows how to live. I’ll put it that way.

One can only imagine.