San Diego State play-by-play radio announcer Ted Leitner didn’t completely enjoy his visit to Las Vegas last week, and not just because the Aztecs lost to New Mexico in the Mountain West tournament final.
The basketball game came down to the final minute, and that’s about the time a security guard at the Thomas &Mack Center approached Leitner to have him move his suitcase.
Leitner went crazy on the air, calling the situation “unbelievable” and “stupid,” and saying the “security guards think they’re guarding the Pentagon.”
“These morons think that the terrorists are honing in here on the Mountain West tournament in Las Vegas,” he said.
Easy there, Ted. Why was your suitcase on press row anyway? Something wrong with the rental-car trunk?
The T&M security guards showed their professionalism following the game when they allowed the joyous New Mexico fans to rush the court.
Well, maybe “rush” is the wrong word. The fans slowly walked down the steps and onto the court, the most casual “rushing” imaginable.
But as one observer noted, “They’ve done this before.”
UNLV fans would love the opportunity to walk slowly onto the court in mid-March.
■ COACHING THEM UP — CBSSports.com ranked the 68 head coaches in the NCAA Tournament by how they performed as players.
Tulsa’s Danny Manning was the top choice. He led Kansas to the 1988 national championship, and went on to play 15 seasons in the NBA.
UCLA’s Steve Alford was fifth, New Mexico’s Craig Neal seventh, Oklahoma’s Lon Kruger 10th, Brigham Young’s Dave Rose 29th, San Diego State’s Steve Fisher 53rd, Nebraska’s Tim Miles 59th and New Mexico State’s Marvin Menzies last at 68th.
Alford (New Mexico), Miles (Colorado State) and Rose are former Mountain West coaches. Kruger coached UNLV from 2004 to 2011, and Menzies was an assistant under Kruger in his first season with the Rebels. Miles, known almost as much for his social-networking skills as his ability to build programs, tweeted he would take on former Mountain West rival Fisher in “a 1/1 game today — Moby Arena?”
That might draw a larger crowd than any Colorado State attracted this season.
■ GOING FOR SILVER — Nate Silver became famous by accurately forecasting presidential elections, and he nailed all 50 states in President Barack Obama’s 2012 victory.
Using the same kind of statistics-based model he relied on to go perfect, Silver’s FiveThirtyEight.com site broke down each team’s chances in the NCAA Tournament.
Louisville, the No. 4 seed in the Midwest Region, has the best chance to win it all, at 15 percent. The No. 1 overall seed, Florida, is next at 14 percent. Arizona, No. 1 in the West, is the only other team in double figures, at 13 percent.
The three teams also are the only ones with more than a 20 percent chance of making the championship game.
The teams with the best chances to make the Final Four — Arizona (42 percent), Florida (41), Louisville (38) and Michigan State (24), which is seeded fourth in the East.
Silver consistently points out he’s not in the predictions business, that he follows where the numbers lead him.
But if his math is anything like 2012, a Louisville repeat is looking pretty good.
COMPILED BY MARK ANDERSON LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL