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Instead of Cake, CLU Gets Humble Pie

February 22, 1987|STEVE SPRINGER

Not-Ready-For-Prime-Tournament Berth: There's a lot of complaining around the Cal Lutheran University campus about the failure of the school's basketball team to make the NAIA District III playoffs.

No team can qualify without an overall winning percentage of .400. The best the Kingsmen can do is .393.

Coach Larry Lopez blames it on the school's tough schedule, based in part on CLU's membership in both the NAIA and NCAA's Division II. That forces the Kingsmen to play some strong Division II squads.

So there are teams with worse NAIA conference records than CLU heading right past the Kingsmen into the playoffs. And it hurts.

But just think of the hurt as growing pains, CLU. You were tired of always being the big fish in the small pond. You made a big deal out of moving up to the NCAA. You've enlisted Crespi High football coach Bill Redell to raise funds for your bigger, better athletic program.

But now, you want it both ways. You want to be able to swim in the pond of your choice.

Get better, not bitter.

You want to play with the big boys? Start acting like one.

Ready-For-Prime-Team Areas: The five largest metropolitan areas without a professional sports franchise, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, are:

1.) Norfolk, Va., population of 1.3 million (28th largest area in the country).

2.) Columbus, Ohio, 1.3 million (29th).

3.) Providence, R.I., 1.1 million (34th).

4.) Charlotte, N.C., 1 million (35th).

5.) Rochester, N.Y., 982,300 (38th).

Interesting, but it gets a lot more so if you don't limit it to metropolitan areas. The San Fernando Valley and the immediate area to the north and west contain around 1.5 million, which would move it to the head of the list.

Unless, of course, you consider the Ventura County Gulls a pro team. But they shouldn't count. They never did when they were here.

Ready-For-Prime-Time Fighters: Handlers for undefeated North Hollywood middleweight Michael Nunn (21-0, 13 knockouts) would like to match him next against Frank Tate, winner of the Gold Medal in the light middleweight division at the 1984 Olympics.

The problem is money. (Is there any other in boxing?) The original plan called for Nunn and Tate to fight April 3 on an ESPN national telecast. Tate, however, is holding out for one of the major networks where he figures he can make more. NBC has already turned thumbs down. ABC doesn't do many of these fights. So now, it's up to CBS.

Ready-For-Prime-Tactic Recruiting: Bob Burt, Cal State Northridge head football coach, was looking for any edge in his battle to sign Cleveland High tailback Albert Fann.

He found it on Fann's locker room door. There was a picture of Fann's idol, special teams player Lou Green.

Green just happens to play for CSUN. And when it came time to call Fann, it just happened to be Green on the other end of the phone.

It worked. Fann won't need a picture of Green when he plays football next season. He can see the real thing just across the locker room, the Matador locker room.

Quote of the Week: It came from Cliff Melbourne, the emergency fill-in on the ESPN fight card at the Reseda Country Club two weeks ago.

When no one else could be found to answer the bell, Melbourne was recruited out of Portland, Ore., at midnight Thursday to fight Friday night against Alex Garcia, the national amateur super heavyweight making his pro debut.

Melbourne caught a 6 a.m. flight to L.A. on Friday morning and lugged his 231-pound frame and his 0-6 record into the ring with predictable results. He went down twice in the first round, the second time for good at the 2:52 mark.

Later, while being driven back to the airport, Melbourne looked at his driver, and, in all seriousness, said, "You know, if I had been in shape, that fight would have gone... two rounds."

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