San Antonio • When the Michigan Wolverines fell to the University of Arizona 72-70 in mid-December, Trey Burke had to suffer through a photo shoot while wearing one of Richard Jefferson’s Wildcats shirts.
Now, with the madness of March in full swing, everybody’s bragging rights are on the line.
“When your team is playing somebody else’s team, there’s usually a lot of trash talking going on,” said Jazz point guard John Lucas III, who could see his alma mater, Oklahoma State, meet up with Arizona in the Round of 32.
A few hours before the NCAA Tournament’s bracket was revealed, Lucas sat court side at the AT&T Center and traded a few barbs with Kansas alum Brandon Rush, pointing to the spot on the wing where Lucas drained a 3-pointer to send his Cowboys to the 2004 Final Four.
“I got a ring,” Rush, whose Jayhawks beat Derrick Rose and Memphis in the 2008 title game, shot back.
“What did you do?” Lucas asked.
“I had 15,” Rush said.
“OK,” Lucas said, conceding with a laugh. “That’s cold.”
The Jazz roster is laden with memories of deep tournament runs.
Burke is only a year removed from getting the Wolverines to the title game, eventually falling to Louisville. Jefferson, guard Gordon Hayward (Butler), assistant coach Mike Sanders (UCLA), and player development assistant Alex Jensen (Utah) also finished as runners-up.
“You have to be talented, but you also have to be a little lucky, and we came up short,” Jefferson said of the Wildcats 2001 run.
Rush, forward Marvin Williams (North Carolina) and Jazz assistant Sidney Lowe (North Carolina State) had enough luck to win it all during their collegiate careers.
“There’s not really much anybody can say. Brandon can probably talk. Coach Lowe won one,” said Williams, who was part of the Tar Heels’ 2005 title team. “Anybody else, it’s not really a conversation.”
With their blowout win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday, the Spurs’ “Big Three” combination of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili recorded their 491st win together, passing the “Showtime” Lakers’ threesome of Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Cooper for the second most among any NBA trio.
“That’s invaluable in this league to have a group together that long and the experiences they’ve had,” said Utah Jazz coach Ty Corbin. “There’s nothing you can do to them they haven’t seen before.”
The most wins for a trio is 540 for Boston’s Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish.
With Memphis beating Philadelphia on Saturday, the Jazz became the second team this season to be mathematically eliminated from postseason contention. … Duncan had recorded 794 career double-doubles coming into Sunday’s game, 20 behind Jazz Hall of Famer Karl Malone for fifth most all-time.