Players' teams out of tournament
Dallas • The Jazz haven't been eliminated from playoff contention, which means they're still in better shape than all of their players' alma maters.
Nine schools Jazz players attended qualified for the NCAA Tournament, but all were eliminated in the tournament's opening days.
On Sunday, Marvin Williams watched North Carolina fall against No. 1-seeded Kansas, while 10th-seeded Iowa State, formerly home to Jamaal Tinsley, lost to second-seeded Ohio State on a 3-point buzzer beater.
So with no natural rooting interest, will the players still watch?
"I'll watch," said Alec Burks, whose Colorado Buffaloes lost to Illinois in an opening-round game. "I love to see upsets, guys come out of nowhere. It's the beauty of the sport."
Tinsley, though, isn't so high on upsets. He was on the No. 2-seeded Iowa State team that famously lost to little-known Hampton, a 15 seed. This time of year, Tinsley is constantly reminded of that loss thanks to looping highlights, usually of him missing a layup as time expired.
So, when Georgetown lost to a school called Florida Gulf Coast as a two-seed on Friday, it all came back to Tinsley.
"I feel their pain," he said. "And they show my pain, too, so I know their pain a little bit."
Paul Millsap (Louisiana Tech), Jeremy Evans (Western Kentucky), Gordon Hayward (Butler), Randy Foye (Villanova), Earl Watson (UCLA), DeMarre Carroll (Missouri) all saw their team lose before the first weekend.
The Jazz will have about 17 hours from when they arrive in Salt Lake City to get ready for Monday night's game against the Philadelphia 76ers. It's life in the NBA. Monday will mark the 16th of 17 back-to-backs this season. The road-home back-to-back is generally the preferred kind among Jazz players because they get to return home and sleep in their own beds.
It could explain why, entering Sunday, the Jazz were 0-3 in the first game of road-home back-to-backs, but 2-1 in the games at EnergySolutions Arena.
"They're all difficult," coach Tyrone Corbin said. "But we've been through it enough and know how to manage our bodies through it.
The Jazz will play their final back-to-back Friday and Saturday when they play in Portland and return home to play Deron Williams and the Brooklyn Nets.
That situation is more challenging, Hayward said, "because you lose the time" flying from the Pacific time zone back to Mountain.
"It's tough on you physically," he said, "tough on you mentally."