The NCAA Tournament officially is under way, and coaches have been known to grab whatever tape they can if they believe it can give them an edge in surviving and advancing.
Memo to those coaches: Don’t try emulating Laurent Sciarra.
Sciarra, the head coach of Rouen in the France Basketball League, tried to steal the game last weekend against Boulogne-sur-Mer.
With 17.5 seconds to go and the game tied 84-all, Rouen needed a stop to send the game into overtime.
As one of the Boulogne players was dribbling down the clock near the Rouen bench for a final shot, Sciarra made a swipe at the ball. But the referees were paying attention, and Sciarra was assessed a technical foul. Boulogne made the free throws and wound up winning, 86-84.
After the game, Sciarra insisted he didn’t do anything wrong. Yeah, and Woody Hayes didn’t mean to take a poke at Charlie Bauman in the 1978 Gator Bowl.
The tape is available on YouTube. But if you’re coaching in the NCAAs, you’d be wise to steer clear of pulling a Sciarra.
■ LIVE LOOK-IN — Most teams gathered in their home arenas to watch Sunday’s NCAA Selection Show. The Saint Louis Billikens watched in an electronics store.
The team got caught in traffic on its way to Teterboro Airport after winning the Atlantic 10 tournament in Brooklyn but didn’t want to miss the show. So the bus driver pulled off at a shopping mall in Secaucus, N.J., and everyone in the traveling party went into a Best Buy to watch the proceedings.
Customers saw the tall guys in the blue and white sweatsuits and quickly caught on, joining the Billikens to watch them get selected as a No. 4 seed in the Midwest Region.
“I brought them in the Magnolia Room, and the next thing I know there are 30 guys there,” store manager Jen Hart said. “A couple minutes later, they all started screaming. They thanked us 100 times, helped move the chairs back and got on the bus. They were really nice guys.”
Saint Louis is headed to San Jose, Calif., where the traffic can be as brutal as in Jersey. Or maybe you’ve never tried driving on the 101 Freeway during the day.
■ WATCHES STAY SET — Usually when UNLV gets selected for the NCAA Tournament, it means leaving the Pacific Time Zone and heading to the Midwest. (Remember Tulsa, Omaha and Chicago?)
But thanks to the NCAA selection committee’s kindness, the Rebels are staying West and playing in San Jose even though they are part of the East Region. Hey, don’t ask us why San Jose is considered East and Philadelphia is South. Maybe the NCAA doesn’t own a GPS. Or a Texaco road map.
The last time UNLV didn’t have to change its watches? In 1991, the Rebels were part of the West Region in Seattle. They beat Utah and Seton Hall at the Kingdome to get to the Final Four. The last time UNLV played in the Bay Area? In 1990 at the Oakland Coliseum Arena, where it throttled Loyola Marymount in the West Region final on its way to the national championship.
Dave Rice and his players gladly would accept a similar result.
COMPILED BY STEVE CARP LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL