If you’re looking for a common thread among the Final Four teams, begin in the backcourt.
Florida features Dan Cross and Craig Brown.
Arizona features Damon Stoudamire and Khalid Reeves.
Arkansas has Corey Beck and Clint McDaniel.
Duke has Jeff Capel, Chris Collins and Marty Clark.
“I wouldn’t want to start a program without guards,” Arkansas Coach Nolan Richardson said. “That’s where I want to start first.”
Forgive Richardson if he babbles on about Corliss Williamson.
Williamson, a 6-7, 245-pound sophomore forward, is averaging about 20 points and eight rebounds per game. Along with freshman center Darnell Robinson and junior forward Dwight Stewart, Arkansas now has an inside game not always seen in Fayetteville in past seasons.
“Corliss, pound for pound, is probably the strongest kid in the universe,” said Richardson, who compares Williamson to former Nevada Las Vegas star Larry Johnson.
In fact, it was Johnson, when UNLV played Arkansas several years ago, who ran by the Razorback bench after a dunk and told Richardson, “Hey, you’re going to have to get some men in there.”
Said Richardson Wednesday: “It was something I thought was real cute. And he was absolutely right.”
Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski said he doesn’t think Duke, which is located about 120 miles from Charlotte, will benefit from the Final Four tournament site.
“I don’t think there’s any advantage,” he said. “There are more Carolina fans in Charlotte than there are in Chapel Hill.”
Duke lost its last game at the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Charlotte.