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Parsing The Sub-Classifications Of NCAA Finalists

GUY RAZ, Host:

And the man who ties the threads altogether, NPR's Mike Pesca.

MIKE PESCA: But that's not what I'm talking about. I speak of the sub-classifications of the parties involved. For instance, Butler and VCU have been depicted all week as underdogs, lost is the kind of underdog they are. VCU coach Shaka Smart describes his team.

SHAKA SMART: Our guys like playing fast. They love throwing the ball ahead and shooting it or attacking.

PESCA: The Rams are therefore viewed as the streaky team, whereas the word to describe Butler is, as Smart puts it...

SMART: Butler is as sound as anybody that we'd played all year.

PESCA: Kentucky coach John Calipari is less respected by the national media than his counterpart Jim Calhoun. Calhoun, a Hall of Famer, has won championships. Calipari's experience includes two past Final Four appearances, which were since vacated by the NCAA. This uncomfortable fact was gingerly broached in yesterday's press conference.

DENNIS DODD: John, I'm being facetious, but how does it feel to coach in your first Final Four?

JOHN CALIPARI: I don't deal with that. We've been here three times. Those players played those games and did what they were supposed to.

PESCA: Calipari sminced - half smile, half wince - as he answered. He's been asked versions of this question before. Calhoun, on the other hand, who's to be suspended for a few games next season for past recruiting violations, has gone a month, dating back to the beginning of the Big East tournament without being questioned about these sanctions in an official press conference. Yesterday, he was put on the spot.

JIM CALHOUN: If anybody wants to drag up an experience that happened for two years and bring it back up, that's their choice. I'm going forward because I'm going forward with my life.

PESCA: Mike Pesca, NPR News, Houston, Texas. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.