SAN ANTONIO — Here are a few of the many things we learned on the eve of the national semifinals.
Sister Jean is the event's biggest star (but she's not a mascot)
The biggest crowd of the first two days in San Antonio gathered Friday morning for Sister Jean Schmidt, Loyola-Chicago's team chaplain.
Sister Jean mesmerized journalists with her tales, insisting that she pulls for opponents although she pulls for the Ramblers "a little bit more."
But Sister Jean isn't the school's mascot. That honor goes to Lu Wolf. Who's behind that mask? It's unethical to tell, but we glean plenty from this story, which pinpoints the mascot's hometown as Kickapoo, Ill. Can't make this stuff up.
The transfer bug keeps biting, but coaches don't love it
Sure, three of the teams in the Final Four have transfers on their rosters, but that doesn't mean the coaches have to embrace the strategy — or the possibility of relaxed NCAA transfer rules in the future.
“Guy’s averaging 18 (points per game), probably thinks he should be averaging 24. And the guy averaging two probably thinks he should be getting eight. And it’s really hard to just regulate all that," Michigan coach John Beilein said.
Here's more on the story, including the approach being used by Loyola-Chicago coach Porter Moser.
Larry Brown is the story that keeps giving
On Thursday, we watched as Kansas coach Bill Self spoke lovingly of former boss Larry Brown.
On Friday, Brown upped the ante by showing up at practice, working as an unofficial ambassador of the program by talking with players and coaches through the session.
He added, however, that he was still splitting his allegiance.
“I’ve got a vested interest in Villanova and Kansas just because I love both of the coaches,” Brown said. “Not that I don’t love ’em all.”
Here's more on that story, including a slideshow of Kansas' day.
Villanova's depth keeps it on top
Wondering how Villanova keeps finding its way back to a national stage?
Coach Jay Wright has done it with depth, and he has another solid class of youngsters filling in gaps.
An unheralded example is freshman Collin Gillespie, who epitomizes Villanova's defense-first, but be-ready-to-shoot mentality.
Need more info? Here's a quick briefing
Before Saturday's games tip, make sure you know all the key players. Here's a look at the rosters and other semi-useless information. Like, did you know which Final Four school Bob Newhart is an alum of? Get clicking!