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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

He's Gone From Almost Famous to Final Four Coach

March 28, 2001|MAL FLORENCE

Tony Kornheiser of the Washington Post, interviewing Maryland Coach Gary Williams, whose Terrapins are in the Final Four for the first time:

"At 56, Williams is too old to be an overnight sensation like Tom Izzo, and too young to be beloved like John Chaney. He's glad he's in the Final Four; he knows it was missing from his resume. But he isn't any smarter today than he was last week.

" 'It's amazing how going to the Final Four determines how people feel about you,' Williams said. 'If you coach for a while and you don't get to the Final Four, they say, 'I'll bet you'd like to go to the Final Four.' They say it nicely but it means: 'You haven't made it.'

"So now Williams has made it."

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Trivia time: Who is the last pitcher other than Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine or John Smoltz to start for the Atlanta Braves on opening day?

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Muscle men: Scott Ostler in the San Francisco Chronicle: "Whatever happened to the on-deck hitter limbering up while swinging two bats? Now players swing a bat with a weighted doughnut on it, or they swing a metal stick, or a sledgehammer.

"Do these guys have endorsement deals with Ace hardware?"

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Deep threat: Tim Duncan, San Antonio's 7-foot forward-center, couldn't resist talking a bit of smack after making a three-point shot:

"My range extends all the way to halfcourt," he said, "but if I keep hitting from there it would change the entire NBA."

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QB showdown: Rob Johnson and Doug Flutie had a not-so-friendly rivalry while competing for the quarterback position in Buffalo until Flutie was released and signed with San Diego. The teams will meet next season.

"Yeah, I'm looking forward to it," said Johnson, the former USC quarterback. "This will definitely be a [big] game for many reasons. It's a game everyone will star or circle on their calendars.

"They'll probably put it on Monday night even though neither of us made the playoffs."

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Nobody is that slow: Bob Hayes, 58, admits that age and ailments have slowed the former Olympic 100-meter gold medalist and world record-holder and Dallas Cowboy wide receiver.

"I've gone from the world's fastest human to the world's slowest," he said. "I don't think I could outrun a sportswriter right now."

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Slob thoughts: Speaking of sportswriters, golfer David Duval is wondering if he shouldn't go back to a sportswriter-like lifestyle after being hampered by nagging injuries ever since he made a full commitment to physical fitness.

"I've thought about it," he said. "I actually thought I might just go back to the couch and eat Oreos and Doritos."

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Vicious: Mark Kriegel in the New York Daily News: "Leon Lett should fit right in playing for the Denver Broncos. Guy's got a lot of experience playing Mile High."

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

Earlier, CCNY beat Bradley, 69-61, in the NIT.

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Trivia answer: Zane Smith, 1989.

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And finally: Jeff Gordon in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "The Nashville Predators have been shut out nine times this season. The Minnesota Wild ranks last in the league in scoring.

"So nobody was surprised when these two juggernauts combined for zero goals when they faced each other. 'I guess if two teams were going to play to a 0-0 tie there's a good chance it would be us and Minnesota,' said Predator winger Randy Robitaille."

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