Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

April 3, 2014

OH GOOD GRIEF: Final Four weekend is upon us

By Ed Greif
Sports editor

CROSSVILLE — "March Madness" is about to end, as it is Final Four weekend.

The NCAA women's tournament opens Sunday in Nashville with Notre Dame (38-0) vs. Maryland (28-6) and UConn (39-0) vs. Stanford (33-3) in the national semi-finals, with the championship Tuesday night.

Will both unbeaten UConn and Notre Dame make it into the title game? That is the prediction by many.

Two number one seeds, Tennessee and South Carolina, went down during the regionals. UConn had difficulties in the regional round and is vulnerable to an upset by Stanford. Maryland took out Tennessee and Louisville, and Notre Dame has one of its key players out with a knee injury.

UConn and Tennessee each have eight national championships, while Notre Dame has one (2012) and Maryland has one (2006). Stanford has two, the last being in 2010.

How will the attendance in Nashville be affected without Tennessee?

Tennessee played one of its worst games of the season in their region semi-final loss to Maryland. Looking back, the Lady Vols should not have been a number one seed in the tournament.

The men's tournament kicks off Saturday night in Arlington, TX, with UConn vs. Florida and Wisconsin vs. Kentucky. There is some potential for a Florida-Kentucky showdown in the championship game Monday night.

Kentucky has eight national titles, the last being in 2012, while Florida won back-to-back titles in 2006 and 2007. UConn has three titles.

Both UConn teams won championships in 2004.

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In coaching news, Vol coach Cuonzo Martin will remain at Tennessee, after he removed his name from consideration at Marquette, which hired Duke assistant Steve Wojciechowski as its new coach. Martin's new contract will be modified, after he led the Vols to the Sweet 16, losing to Michigan 73-71. Martin is now 63-41 in three seasons on Rocky Top.

UT Martin coach Kevin McMillan signed a six-year contract extension through the 2019-20 season. He has led the Skyhawks to four straight NCAA Tournaments.

Tyler Summitt, son of former Lady Vol coach Pat Summitt, was named as the new coach of the Louisiana Tech women's team. He has been an assistant coach at Marquette for the last two seasons. The Lady Techsters won two NCAA titles and one AIAW championship and appeared in 13 final fours, and hasn't been to the NCAA Tournament since 2010-11.

Will Tennessee play Louisiana Tech in the future? If Pat Summitt has any say, yes.

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There was big news in the golfing world, as Tiger Woods is going to miss next week's Masters Tournament due to surgery to repair a pinched nerve in his back. He could possibly miss the Players Championship in May, the U.S., British and Canadian Opens and the PGA, among others. He is a big draw, including TV ratings.

With Phil Mickelson also hurting, some of the other stars of the PGA, i.e, Bubba Watson, Keegan Bradley, Scott Stallings, Brian Gay and Jimmy Walker, among others, will have a chance to win a green jacket.  Mickelson is in the Shell Houston Open field this weekend.

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The CCHS middle school baseball team is 1-1 after beating SMHS 22-2 and losing 15-0 to Cornerstone. I want to thank Tony Davis for reporting the scores.

If you have any travel team scores, whether it is baseball, softball or soccer, email them to sports@crossville-chronicle.com.

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(Ed Greif is the Chronicle sports editor and his column appears regularly.)