Final Four Buzz

04/04/2014 8:19 PM

04/04/2014 8:19 PM

Big 12-SEC Challenge could move

The Big 12 and SEC are looking into moving their challenge series to the second week in January for next season.

Seven of the 10 games in the inaugural event in 2013 were played during the first week of December, or the final week of college football’s regular season. The SEC Championship Game and two games that determined the Big 12 race were played that Saturday.

“We’ve talked about getting more value from those games, which I think you can do by moving them to a spot after the bowl season,” SEC associate commissioner Mark Whitworth said.

The Big 12 won seven games in the challenge, with Baylor defeating Kentucky in AT Stadium as the league’s marquee triumph. The SEC’s big victory was Florida over Kansas.

• Still no official word on the 2018 and 2022 SEC tournaments, the ones over the next 12 years that aren’t scheduled for Nashville. One is expected to be in St. Louis, the other in Tampa, but no decision is expected until at least this summer.


Cauley-Stein says he may play

Kentucky’s Willie Cauley-Stein, the lone Kansas City-area high school player in the Final Four, told the Louisville Courier-Journal not to rule him out of action for Saturday’s semifinal against Wisconsin.

“Don’t count me out yet,” said Cauley-Stein, who sprained an ankle early in the regional semifinal against Louisville and didn’t play in the next game against Michigan.

Cauley-Stein, who attended Olathe Northwest, had been wearing a boot, but he didn’t have it on Friday during the team’s open practice. He dribbled and took some jump shots.

Cauley-Stein comes off the bench and averages 6.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.9 blocks.

Ollie’s special guest

Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie told his mother, Dorothy, who had surgery for stage 2 breast cancer on March 24, not to travel to the East Region in New York. Save your strength for the Final Four, Kevin said.

He delivered. The Huskies cut down the nets at Madison Square Garden and Ollie bought his mom a plane ticket to Dallas.

“She wanted to come (to New York) but she needed to save her energy,” Ollie said. “It will be great to have her down here.”


Donovan on Wiggins

Florida coach Billy Donovan marveled at the pre and early season hype of Kansas’ freshman Andrew Wiggins. He even got to game-plan against Wiggins, who scored 26 in the Gators’ 67-61 victory over the Jayhawks in December. The talk, Donovan said, got ridiculous.

“I’ve got an enormous amount of respect for Andrew Wiggins,” Donovan said. “I’ve seen him play a lot. Andrew Wiggins is no different than any other young player. It’s going to take him some time to reach his fullest potential.

“But it’s interesting in the preseason how everybody who talked about dumping games in the NBA to get Andrew Wiggins. He’s a terrific player, but he’s not changing a franchise once he gets there.

“I think what happens … people fail to realize that there’s a growth period they have to go through, and there are learning curves and there are ups-and-downs they have go through.”

Calipari: ‘Suceed and Proceed’

As far as Kentucky coach John Calipari is concerned, “One and Done” is old news at Kentucky. He prefers to call it: “Succeed and Proceed.”

As promised, he unveiled his new catchphrase on Friday.

“It will be on T-shirts,” Calipari said. “The connotation built around ‘One and Done’ is a bad thing. It’s a negative thing, not used in other sports, not used in other areas of life. So for us, it’s ‘Succeed and Proceed.’ ‘Succeed and Proceed.’ You cannot proceed until you succeed.”

Since Calipari arrived at Kentucky in 2009, he has had 13 players drafted in the first round, and 11 of those stayed with the Wildcats just one year. He has five freshmen in this year’s starting lineup, a few of which are expected to leave after this season.

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