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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

That Dean Smith Is Obviously a Defensive Wizard

March 28, 1997|MAL FLORENCE

Tim Keown of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that North Carolina basketball Coach Dean Smith "is so good at recruiting, and so good at getting prize talents to submit to the team game, that it's amazing he can get anybody to play for him. Old joke:

"Q: Who's the only person to hold Michael Jordan under 20 points?

"A: Dean Smith."

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Trivia time: What is the record for overtime periods in the men's Division I NCAA basketball championship game?

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Music man: The St. Louis Cardinals ended their 57-year affiliation with St. Petersburg, Fla., Tuesday on a musical note.

A sellout crowd of 6,616 attending the game between the Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies at Al Lang Stadium heard Hall of Famer Stan Musial play two renditions of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" on the harmonica.

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Clank, clank? Nick Anderson of the Orlando Magic has started working with shooting coach Buzz Bramen to improve his free-throw accuracy.

Said Phil Rosenthal of the Chicago Sun-Times, "Bramen used to tutor Shaquille O'Neal. Keep up the good work, Buzz."

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A touch of class: Bob Ryan in the Boston Globe: "I mean the following with all my heart and soul: The Boston Celtics should break precedent and attempt to hire Stanford's Tara VanDerveer as their next coach. Oh, I forgot. The hapless owner doesn't yet realize that he actually needs a new coach."

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Say what? Jim Williams, the strength coach for the New York Jets last season, had this assessment of the 1-15 team: "The last two years I was with the Jets, they were the most unteam team I've been around."

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Clip and save: Charles Barkley, on the Minnesota Timberwolves: "They're going to own this league in three or four years."

Hush money: General Manager Sandy Alderson of the Oakland Athletics, on Barry Bonds' $22.9-million contract extension with the Giants:

"They haven't negotiated his salary yet. That's a bribe to keep his mouth shut."

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FYI: Bill Russell of the University of San Francisco was credited with 27 rebounds, an NCAA Final Four record, in the championship game against Iowa in 1956.

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Looking back: On this day in 1950, City College of New York beat Bradley, 71-68, in the NCAA championship basketball game to become the only team to win the NIT and NCAA titles in the same year.

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Trivia answer: Three, in 1957, when North Carolina beat Kansas and Wilt Chamberlain, 54-53.

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And finally: Gordie Howe, who last played hockey in 1980 and wants to become the first to play in six consecutive decades, has been rebuffed in his attempts by the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League.

The Crunch, which had planned to use Howe in Tuesday's game, canceled his appearance Thursday, saying it could not afford to have him make a cameo appearance because it is vying for a playoff spot.

By the way, Tuesday just happens to be April Fool's Day.

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