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JERRY CROWE

Northridge plays Memphis better than UCLA did

Text messages from press row.

March 20, 2009|JERRY CROWE

For much of Thursday's game at Kansas City, it was Memphis and not Cal State Northridge playing matador defense, stepping aside as the underdog charged the rim. . . .

Order was finally restored, but Northridge still gave the second-seeded Tigers a better game than UCLA did last April. . . .

Matador-killing marksman Roburt Sallie, a sophomore from Sacramento, was the California junior college player of the year last season at City College of San Francisco. . . .

Memphis Coach John Calipari says of his senior class, which has won a record 136 games, "I think 40 years from now they'll still be the winningest players in the history of college basketball." . . .

Maybe in terms of victories, but more than a dozen former UCLA players won three NCAA championships. . . .

Memphis is still looking for its first. . . .

Is it a sign of the recession, or does Magic Johnson simply never turn down a chance to appear in a commercial? . . .

Johnson, by the way, is one of only seven players who have won NCAA, NBA and Olympic championships, a list that also includes Clyde Lovellette, Bill Russell, K.C. Jones, Jerry Lucas, Quinn Buckner and Michael Jordan. . . .

Colleague Sam Farmer wonders, "Now that America is demanding AIG rescind those bonuses, do the Dodgers have any recourse with Andruw Jones?" . . .

Jones, released by the Dodgers in January, has not made the Texas Rangers' roster and could opt out of his contract today. . . .

The Angels, having failed to re-sign Mark Teixeira, are hoping that Kendry Morales is not just an early spring phenom. . . .

Cal Poly wide receiver Ramses Barden, a 6-foot-6 NFL draft prospect from La Canada Flintridge Prep, is the son of Al Barden, who helped New York University defeat Jerry West and West Virginia en route to the Final Four in 1960. . . .

Home-court advantage throughout the playoffs is the NBA's Holy Grail, but last year's Finals tilted in the Boston Celtics' favor when Kobe Bryant and the Lakers blew a 24-point third-quarter lead and lost Game 4 . . . on their home floor. . . .

In critiquing the NFL draft prospects of former USC receiver Patrick Turner, the Sporting News notes, "He won't knock anyone's socks off with his workout numbers, but he was a better college receiver than ex-Trojans Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith." . . .

Any college football fan would respectfully disagree. . . .

Speaking of football, when highly regarded running back prospect Bryce Brown of Wichita, Kan., announced his college choice this week, picking Tennessee over Kansas State, UCLA's Rick Neuheisel probably shrugged. . . .

The Bruins play Tennessee on Sept. 12 at Knoxville and Kansas State a week later at the Rose Bowl. . . .

If Andre Miller and the Philadelphia 76ers could play one last game at the Spectrum, as they did last week in advance of their former home's scheduled demolition later this year, why couldn't the Lakers at least play an exhibition at the Forum? . . .

The lineup for Don Franken's Method Fest Independent Film Festival, starting Thursday in Calabasas, includes two sports films: "Big Fan," about an obsessive New York Giants fan whose life is turned upside down when he is beaten up by his favorite player; and "Sugar," which tells the story of a young Dominican pitcher. . . .

Boston College Coach Al Skinner never actually got to play with Julius Erving at Massachusetts because when Skinner was a freshman and Erving a junior in his final college season, freshmen were ineligible to play for the varsity team. . . .

They later were teammates with the New York Nets, winning an American Basketball Assn. title in 1976. . . .

Noting that former Edmonton Oilers owner Peter Pocklington was arrested last week, reader Jocelyn Murray of Beverly Hills e-mails to ask, "If fraud landed Pocklington in trouble, shouldn't Philip Anschutz at least serve two minutes in the penalty box for the incalculable misdeeds and never-ending half-truths told to local hockey fans [during] AEG's failed leadership?"

Did Norm Nixon learn nothing from Charles Barkley? . . .

710 ESPN, radio home of the Clippers, bills itself as "the future home of the Lakers." . . .

Can you blame it?

--

jerome.crowe@latimes.com

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