March 21, 2001
PHILADELPHIA - Southern California coach Henry Bibby is well aware that the Trojans are surrounded in the NCAA tournament's East Regional by three programs with far greater basketball heritages.
Among them, Kentucky, UCLA and Duke have won 20 national championships. USC has won none.
"Everybody looks at the other three," said Bibby, who played at UCLA. "We're like the little spoke in a broken wheel. We look forward to the challenge."
PRESSURE STAYS ON: Keith Bogans went from one of the most successful high school basketball programs in America to one of the most successful college teams.
Bogans played his high school ball for Hall of Fame coach Morgan Wooten at DeMatha Catholic, annually one of the top teams in the country. Then he moved on to the heritage of Kentucky basketball.
"It's the same in both places," he said. "They're not used to losing. They want to win everything. It was an easy transition from DeMatha."
TRADITION, TRADITION: UCLA point guard Earl Watson knows all about the Bruins' history of excellence and relishes playing for a school that has won 11 national championships, including 10 in 12 years under coach John Wooden.
"For me, those championships and those banners mean a lot," Watson said. "Just for the simple fact that you have coach Wooden's influence on our program. He comes to every home game and sits behind the bench and the relationship we've established with him means a lot."
HELP WANTED: Coaches come and coaches go but at Duke, Mike Krzyzewski is a constant. Coach K came to Duke 26 years ago and never left.
"I wish I had a long-term plan when I got to Duke," he said. "I was 32 and I wanted to survive. The longer I was there, the more I knew it was even better than that.
"Times have really changed. I am an older coach. Over the years, I have had a good number of feelers, especially in the pro ranks, but I have tried not to make them public. I think it's more difficult now to keep that information from becoming public. I think you need to be more discrete, but it's definitely different now. Nobody wants me."
TOUGH START: When Kentucky began the season 3-5, the pressure was on the Wildcats and coach Tubby Smith.
"It's always tough when you're losing," Smith said. "One loss is tough, but when you are 3-5 ... I hasdn't been that since my first year at Tulsa ... so it was tough. For me, it was a matter of just weathering the storm, and hoping that the players would contine to trust and believe in the coaching staff."
Saul Smith, the coach's son and Kentucky's point guard, said his father made some adjustments to get through the tough times.
"He's always handled it well," Saul Smith said. "He handled it the way he has always handled criticism. He knows his team. When things aren't going the way they should be ... he is going to make some changes."
By HAL BOCK
AP Sports Writer