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After Hours with Amy Lawrence PODCAST: Hour 4

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence
The Truth Network Radio
March 23, 2023 6:35 am

After Hours with Amy Lawrence PODCAST: Hour 4

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence

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March 23, 2023 6:35 am

Big-Stars are back around the NBA on Wednesday night | Former NFL LB & current Philly radio host Ike Reese joins the show | March Madness Sweet 16 preview. 

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Auto Trader. Good morning to you. It is Thursday. It's Thursday, which means it's so close to Friday, but it's also Thursday in which the Sweet 16 tips off. We've got four games coming up later on this afternoon and evening. And so we'll get back to men's college basketball in both New York City. So Madison Square Garden hosting a doubleheader and then Vegas at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

There'll be a doubleheader as well. Some Blue Bloods as well as a Cinderella still dancing in Florida Atlantic. We've got a crazy matchup between Gonzaga and UCLA, and I really hope it lives up to the billing of those two teams with such a great pedigree.

The Bruins have what the Bulldogs do not, and that is a national championship or two or three in men's college basketball. Gonzaga still desperately seeking that first one for Mark Few and waiting to hear what the Zags head coach has to say in response to the criticism of his star player Drew Timmy. We'll do a little preview later in the hour. Coming up in just a few minutes, we're really excited. Ike Reese, former NFL linebacker, spent most of his career with the Eagles, is now part of 94.1 sports radio WIP in Philly.

He's got an afternoon show there. He is going to join us to talk. Now, see, I originally wanted to talk to you about the Eagles and the defections that have taken place so far this offseason. They lost seven starters, and there's been a bit of a revolving door, some of it having to do with money, some of it not so much.

But they're going to look decidedly different as they get back on the field a year after they won the NFC title. I wanted to ask Ike about the losses and whether or not he would give the Eagles a plus or a minus for what they've done so far. But then realizing that Michigan State plays tonight, he's a Spartan, true and true, through and true, tried and true, true and through, through and true. I don't know. It's something like that. We'll go tried and true.

That sounds right. And so we'll be able to talk to him about not just Tom Izzo, but about college basketball featuring, again, a blue blood in the Michigan State Spartans. They've got the first game up against Kansas State at MSG. So that's coming up in just a few minutes here on the show. We talked about what I think was the most compelling game on the NBA schedule last night, which was the Mavericks and the Warriors, mostly because these Warriors look very familiar.

But there were other games that mattered in terms of the standings. And then, of course, there was the return of one Ja Morant after an eight game suspension and a couple of weeks away featuring some time in a Florida counseling program to help him deal with stress. He actually came off the bench for the first time in this game. Here is Ja Morant checking into the game.

He has the custom-made masks. That's the fracture that he suffered. Twelve is back. I believe in the game in Houston, if I'm not mistaken. Correct?

Yeah. Last time he played. Kennard picks up the loose ball. Kennard to Bain, right sideline. Pump fakes a three. Three on the shot clock for Morant. At the rim, he hangs, scoops, scores, and he'll get one more. Ja Morant with a highlight reel move at the rim, gets fouled. He'll get an and one. Morant drives left baseline into the rim. Oh, he jams with two hands and gets fouled.

Morant with an explosive move. Left baseline brings the crowd to their feet as he dunks it through contact, and he is back and better than ever. Felt good, man.

Still a little bit of mixed emotions. I was excited to be back. I love these guys. I love our fans.

I love the organization for their continued support throughout this process I'm going through. They helped me a lot, so I was excited to be back, happy we were able to get a win, and just got to continue what I've been doing and be ready to go each and every night. Seventeen points off the bench in 24 minutes for Ja Morant, and it comes on a night when the Grizzlies, who've played pretty well, initially I think they dropped three in a row without him, or three in a row when they found out he wasn't going to be returning when they expected.

But they've won I think seven of their last eight now, if I remember correctly, is a nice streak that they're on. And they have clinched the Southwest Division title for the second consecutive season, which means they are into the playoffs, so welcome back to the playoffs Memphis Grizzlies. And yeah, what a lift, especially happening there at FedEx Forum for Taylor Jenkins as he's able to bring Ja off the bench for a lift. Phenomenal reception as he was walking to the scorer's table, really, really excited for him, really excited for our fans to welcome him back. I thought he was great tonight, accepting of the opportunity to come off the bench, knowing how well the team was playing, and this is just part of the process to get him back with the group. I thought he was great, I thought he played with a lot of great energy, playing with pace, we talked about being that guy that can go score but also set up your teammates, five assists, obviously lower mints than normal.

But I thought his defensive urgency was pretty good. Taylor Jenkins on the return of Ja, now he was only away for a couple of weeks, different circumstances than Karl Anthony Towns, but can you imagine the emotion and the relief for Kat as he gets back on the court last night after 51 games away. He was suffering from a calf injury, and man, it came at the right time, not only for him, for his team, but the fans, all the signs, you want to talk about electricity, that was taking place in Minneapolis. Here's Towns, a three-ball straightaway, front rim, off backboard and in, and a fist pump for Karl Anthony Towns as he heads back down the floor. Welcome back Kat, Towns with it, catch a two-three again, bingo, oh he's pumped up now, back-to-back threes for Karl Anthony Towns in his return, tied at 124. Towns to put the wolves in front, his second free throw on its way is good, timeout Atlanta. After missing 52 games, Towns comes up with a pair of clutch free throws, 125-124. My Syracuse classmate Alan Horton with the call on, let's see, it was, well wolves radio, and then we're going to hear from Kat here in a second on Valley Sports North, want to make sure I get that right. So Karl Anthony Towns had this ginormous smile on his face, he was clearly enjoying his return, and then he has the chance to give the wolves the lead with seven seconds to go. They're trailing the Hawks by a point, he gets fouled, heads to the free throw line, makes them both, and that just adds to his glee. Trust me, he was bouncing off the walls there inside the arena. I'm in stone, I'm in stone, whoa, whoa, whoa. There's been long days, longer nights, but guess what, all I could think about was coming to Target Center and making it happen, so I appreciate y'all.

Yes sir, yes sir. What did it feel like for you to get back on this court with your teammates? It looked like Kat was back. What did it feel like for you, Kat?

I mean, for sure, like you said, Kat is back. Felt great, teammates been behind me this whole time, so you know, it's just a long process, but when you get to this point and you get to go up there, like I said, with the game on the line, felt more than welcome. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm so happy for him. Man, it's been a few tough years for him, both personally and professionally, so I'm really glad that he had that moment of just joy, and I could never sound that cool, but I've decided it's my new favorite thing. When I get really excited here on the show, we're gonna hear what, Jay? Felt more than welcome. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, it doesn't sound nearly as cool without a, I don't know, how many thousand fans behind him, but that was pretty cool. So congratulations to the Wolves, and also welcome back, Kat.

And yeah, later he was asked, oh, this is without the crowd behind him, but I liked his response. Is this how you drew it up? Is this the way that you scripted your return? I read my script for the NBA, you know.

Of course, no. Like I said, this is what movies is made of. You know, you come back, 51 games, missing sellout crowd, target center, and you know, you get the ball with seven seconds left, no timeouts, you gotta make it. It doesn't get better than that. It doesn't get better than that. So to be able to come up big for my teammates was, you know, all I've ever wanted to do, sitting on the sideline, I just wanted to be out there to help them and contribute to winning, and I'm glad I was able to do that tonight. Fantastic.

He's such a great personality, and boy, has he been missed. Now think about it, with the Wolves, they are right there in the thick, because every team in the West is in the thick. They're in the weeds. It's a log jam. From four down to the 12th place spot. So we're talking about four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve.

I sound like Sesame Street. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. Anyway, that's just three games separating all of those teams. From the Suns all the way down to the Pelicans, three games in the standings. Front row.

Something's got to give. The Wolves are sitting in the seven spot. They are a game back of the Warriors, who are in the six spot. The Warriors are a half game back of the Clippers in the five, and guess what? The Suns, who are backpedaling, are only a half game in front of that. So if you're the Warriors, just for the sake of argument, and you win, say, three, four more games in a row as you head down the stretch, the Warriors could go from last week being in that play-in tournament, right?

That gimmicky little 7-10 split thing. They could be in, they went from being in that tournament, they could potentially be in the number four spot in the West and have home court advantage. That's why it's such a big deal right now to take care of your business as we head down through these last couple weeks of the NBA season.

It's after hours with Amy Lawrence on CBS Sports Radio. The Lakers were taking care of their business last night. Oh heavens, if you haven't seen the monster reverse dunk by Anthony Davis, it was amazing. He was on the baseline, left corner, gets around a defender, and goes up and under to jam it home on the right side. So it was, well, it was viral on social when it happened.

I've seen it a few times overnight here on the TVs in front of me. And so the Lakers get the win, even as LeBron James is offering counsel from the corner. What didn't sit well with Monty Williams, head coach of the Suns, is that there was a huge, and it really was, a massive disparity between the number of free throws the Lakers were awarded and the number of free throws that the Suns were awarded. Forty-six free throws. We're attacking the rim. I'm getting explanations about we're taking too many jump shots, mid-range jump shots.

We're playing a physical game. They had 27 free throws in the first half. They end up with 46. When do you see a game with 46 free throws for one team? That's just not right.

I don't care how you slice it. It's happening to us too much. Other teams are reaching.

Other teams are hitting. And we're not getting the same call. And I'm tired of it. It's just, it's old. It's old and it's gross. One team should not be shooting 46 free throws. Here's the crazy part. The Lakers make 36 of 46.

Again, just icky. Austin Reeves had 13 free throw attempts. Anthony Davis, I mean, he does generally get to the line a lot. He had 10 free throw attempts. So they end up with 46 of them. Only one guy who did not end up on the free throw line last night for the Lakers.

They make 36. They made 16 more free throws than the Phoenix Suns tried. We're talking double the number of free throws made and attempted. Actually, more than double. And so I understand the frustration.

But even the disparity doesn't get me as much because that happens every now and then. But 46 free throws for one team? Ew. Ew. And that's without LeBron James asking for calls.

I was going to say crying and then I felt like that'd be mean first thing in the morning. So I left it out, but now I've tipped my hand. So that's without LeBron James on the court is what I'm saying.

All right. Coming up, conversation with Ike Reese, NFL veteran who played most of his career in Philadelphia. Now he's got an afternoon show with a couple of co-hosts, Jack Fritz and John Marks on WIP 94.1 at Sports Radio in Philly. His Michigan State Spartans are playing later on today in the Sweet 16. I really want to ask him about the Eagles, but I suppose I could throw in a Joelle Embiid MVP question. It's After Hours with Amy Lawrence on CBS Sports Radio.

You are listening to the After Hours Podcast. They line up, they push, they sneak, and they're in for the touchdown. No, let's say yes. They are. They are.

They are in for the touchdown. Hurts in the gun. Hurts.

This time fakes. He's back. He's looking deep. He wants A.J.

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You can search for NCAA March Madness right here in the Odyssey app to get started. A.J. Brown. This is After Hours with Amy Lawrence. Meryl Reese on Eagles Radio. Every time I hear an NFL highlight I think, oh, it's a long time till we have more football. Well, NFL football, there's other football. It's After Hours with Amy Lawrence on CBS Sports Radio. The Eagles will look decidedly different in 2023 because they have lost at this point seven starters, most of them on the defensive side of the ball.

And so I need to know if this is a net plus or a net minus. And to that end we reached out to Ike Reese. We're proud to have him joining us now. Former NFL and Eagles linebacker.

We'll have his show on WIP Sports Radio in Philadelphia coming up this afternoon. Ike, we're going to talk football because that's why we contacted you. But remember you are a Michigan State Spartan and the Spartans take on Kansas State in the Sweet 16. They've won a couple of games so far in the tournament. So what do you think about how they're playing?

Feeling good about the way they played the first week of the tournament. Not surprised when I've watched Coach Izzo his entire career. I was there with him when he took over as head coach in 1995.

I was at Michigan State during that time. I've gotten a chance to watch Coach Izzo and this is during the time of the year where his teams usually are at their best. But what's different about this team?

Or maybe I shouldn't say it's different if you look at his history. When he has a team like this where the expectations are low and he has veterans on his team. I'm not surprised that they're in the Sweet 16. He is obviously a fantastic coach. They played a great game Sunday against Marquette.

They got to do it again against Kansas State. I mean that's a good basketball team. But I'll tell you this is the time of the year where Coach Izzo usually gets the most out of his players. But in particular when he doesn't have a team that everybody expects to win. Like when he comes into the tournament sort of under the radar that's usually when he's at his best.

So I wouldn't be surprised if this team makes the Final Four. I know he's an emotional guy. We see his emotions on display very often on the sidelines and we know he's a crier.

He really puts his whole heart into the sport but also his teams. But I thought that we really got to see a different side of Coach Izzo around the campus shooting and how he took the lead. And he talked about the 40 plus years that he's been there. What does he mean to that university overall Ike? Oh everything.

Everything. I refer to him as King Spartan. He is the King Spartan. He has carried the university with first class character with dignity and respect. It's a football school.

Don't get me wrong. It's a football school. It's a football school and he'll tell you that because he's a football guy. But Coach Izzo and the Michigan State basketball program has really been what has put the university at the forefront of the nation when it comes to Spartan athletics.

It's been Coach Izzo and his basketball program and what he's done during his time as head coach most importantly. But he was also a great assistant to Judd Heacocke for 11 years. So 40 years he's been there forever. That's why I call him King Spartan. He's been there through some tough times. He's been there to lead us through some great times. But he's always been prideful in carrying that Spartan shield for the university.

And like I said it hasn't always been pretty. We understand there's been some tough times that we've gone through as a university. But with him, I think he's been the guy that has always instilled confidence in all the alumni and alumnus. And when things were tough, he is the guy that you want out there representing our university. And no one knows how important that university is to alumni and alumnus that have gone to school there more than Coach Tom Izzo.

And we've obviously experienced some hardships in recent memory with the tragedies of the three deaths up there with the shootings. And being out here in New Jersey really feeling the pain from out there in East Lansing when watching the news clips and really seeing the people come together out there and Coach Izzo being at the forefront of that and leading that. It gives people like myself who aren't necessarily there a sense of comfort and strength knowing that he's leading us. To me he means everything to the university. He is the university in my opinion. So I think very highly of the man. And I got a lot of respect and love for him. And I know how much he cares about Michigan State University.

Well that was evident. His leadership, his compassion, certainly the fact that he's willing to step into an uncertain situation and be the face and the voice. I admire him so much. We're spending a few minutes with Ike Reese who of course is a former Spartan and now is part of WIP in Philadelphia. Spent some time in the NFL too.

Well talk about the Eagles coming up here on After Hours, CBS Sports Radio. But Ike, while we're talking hoops, I got to ask you about Joel Embiid. We know what Jokic is all about. But if you're making a case for Joel as MVP, what would you say? Honestly I think he's the most unstoppable player in the NBA.

I just really do. But if we're just talking about most valuable player, he does it on both ends of the court. I think he's answered a lot of questions about durability and whether or not he can bring that same level of play night in and night out. He's done it to the best of his ability this season. I know he missed some games a little earlier in the season.

Some of that was due to COVID I believe. He's pretty much been out there pretty much every night. And the Sixers aren't necessarily the best team in the Eastern Conference. But I think because of him, they're getting the best out of the team. And I think he plays in the much stronger conference. No offense to Joker out there in Denver and what they're doing in the Western Conference. But I think if I'm ranking the top teams in the NBA, the top three teams in the NBA are Milwaukee, Boston, and Philadelphia. Whichever order you want to rank them in.

I think Denver or whomever comes after those guys. So he's doing it in the best conference. He's done it for the last three years and he hasn't been rewarded. I think this year he's let his play do more of the talking for his candidacy as MVP and he's allowed people like myself and others speak for him as an MVP candidate versus him campaigning for himself. So I think he's focused on doing things on the court. And so I think it's his time.

Funny. Because it reminds me a little bit of his teammate, his current teammate at James Harden. When James Harden finally won the MVP, you could have easily made the case he should have won in a year or two before that. And he didn't get it. And then he finally got it. And I think MB may be in that pocket now where it's just his time.

It's his time. He's one of the best players in the league. There is no clear cut MVP where somebody is head and shoulders above anyone else. And I think the other two candidates have already been two time winners. I would have it, Giannis and then Jokic after Joel Embiid. But the very fact that Embiid plays both ends of the court and has his team somewhat overachieving versus underachieving, I think that makes him a legitimate in the favorite for the MVP. Just a couple of games left before we hit the postseason so it should be exciting.

So that leads me then to my next question. What's the bigger story in Philly sports right now? Is it the Sixers and Embiid in the season he's having? Or is it what's happening with the Eagles in free agency? Well, Amy, you know Philadelphia. It's all about the Eagles. That could be a blessing or a curse.

It depends on how you want to look at it. So Embiid gets to fly under the radar just a little bit and he doesn't have all the eyes on it just yet. But when the playoffs start, I think our attention will shift to the Sixers. And we want to see them get out of the second round. We've seen them be great in regular season and all of that.

We want to see them get at a minimum to the Eastern Conference Finals. With the Eagles coming off of losing the Super Bowl, our interest is piqued by how do we either improve the team or at least sustain the level in which they were able to play at last year. So we're intrigued by who we're able to keep and who we're bringing in to help this team get back to the Super Bowl next year. And unfortunately for the other teams in town, the Eagles, they're just going to always be at the forefront of everyone's minds.

It's like I said, it's a blessing and a curse. I find it as a good thing because it's football and it's the Eagles, but I'm pretty sure some of the other teams are at some point like, hey, we're over here. Can we get a little attention on us?

But here's what I'll say. When the teams aren't playing well, they welcome the talk about the Eagles. That way nobody's focusing on the other team. So the Flyers are happy right now. The Flyers are happy right now that nobody's focusing on them. What about the Phillies? The fact that they're coming off an incredible season and now they add Trey Turner. So how would you slot in opening day and the return of the Phillies?

Oh, they are right there. Honestly, it's been a while since anybody has pushed the Eagles for attention. But the Phillies, the Phillies and what they did by going to the World Series. Not only that, the all season that they've had by adding Trey Turner to this group.

I mean, my goodness. I mean, the World Baseball Classic has been a nice appetizer for us as Phillies fans watching Trey Turner do what he did in the World Baseball Classic. We're so excited to watch Trey Turner in his lineup and this Phillies team. I think it may be 55-45, but that's how excited we are about the Phillies and what they have going on. And we can't wait for opening day. I will admit that we are very excited about the Phillies. Oh, good. I'm glad.

It seems like it's a really good time to be a Philadelphia sports fan, to be sure. And also talk show host, which is where we grab Ike Reese from 94 WIP in Philadelphia. Make my job easy, right? Yeah, make my job a lot easier.

Definitely. We're glad to have you here with us after hours on CBS Sports Radio. OK, so former NFL linebacker. Let's talk about the Eagles. They've had a bunch of defections last count. It was seven different starters that we know will turn over.

So, Ike, overall, just big picture. Would you say the offseason's been a plus or a minus for the Eagles? I would say it's been a plus. It's been a plus.

Some people want to give it high grades like an A or what have you. And that's fine. I think I think I think considering the circumstances in which the team found itself, which limited cap space, limited money to spend as far as resources go. And if they were going to do or be forced to do a bunch of one year deals because they couldn't commit a whole lot of money to other players. And we know there's a big contract for a certain quarterback.

So we know we know they have to prepare for that. I think bringing back some of the key veterans that they brought back is going to give them a chance to at least stay as one of the top teams in the NFC this year. So I think a lot of the moves they made this offseason wasn't necessarily from an on the field standpoint, it wasn't to benefit the future from an on the field standpoint. It's more or less to take care of the present, the 2023 season. And, you know, they brought back, you know, Fletcher and Brandon and Jason Kelsey. They brought back Slade and restructured this deal.

Bradbury. Sure. A lot of key players that helped them win last year. But these aren't long term solutions. They're more or less short term fixes.

And the contracts are designed that way. So I think for those of us that thought they may have an opportunity to dip into free agency and potentially grab some long term solutions. Some of us were a little disappointed with that. They didn't retain Chauncey Gardner Johnson. Something got mixed up with the contract there as far as did he overplay his hand and he and his agent with the market? Did the Eagles not smash it off or something? I think that would be the only player that fans are a little torn over wishing that we still had was CJ Gardner Johnson.

Everybody else, we kind of understood what went on from to answer your question. I believe that he was on a good position this year as far as the personnel that they have. They still have a little, little things they need to do, but they're still one of the better teams in the NFC.

And I don't know if you can find a team in the NFC considering the 49ers quarterback situation that you would put in front of the Eagles. So from that standpoint, they're good. They just have to do a good job in the draft and drafting younger guys that are going to be impact players that can solidify some of these holes that are still remaining there like a running back and the safety position. And then some young players have to step up. They were young guys that were drafted last year that wasn't counted on them very much and now they're going to probably have bigger roles this year.

All right, cool. So then before I let you go, we know that the NFC East morphed into the NFC beast in 2022 with the three teams that made the playoffs, the Eagles being the best, of course, getting to the Super Bowl. But what do you think of the moves that the Giants and the Cowboys have made? I suppose the commanders are still kind of far back in the pack, but what about Cowboys and Giants? I think the Cowboys have made some moves that could close the gap between them and the Eagles. I still think the Eagles are the best team in the division, but obviously trading for Brandon Cooks, trading for Stephon Gilmore. You know, it isn't, they aren't the players they were five years ago when they were in their prime or what have you, but they're still good football players. And they're not, they're not being counted on to be the number one guys at their position.

They're more complimentary pieces. So it solidifies certain areas for the Cowboys that already had a 12 win team last year that won a playoff game. So it's that I still believe they're going to be a formidable opponent for the Eagles in the NFC East and the Giants. I think the Giants did what they needed to do. I kind of like that they didn't succumb to public pressure or moving on from Jones and moving on from Saquon. They didn't overly commit from a ridiculous standpoint, even with Jones in the four year deal, that's more of a two year deal.

And Saquon is a one year deal. So what it really does is allow the Giants to at least retain their best offensive players. And then let's see if they can improve on what they did last year. So I think they at least will be a respectable team. I don't know if they'll be a playoff team again, but if you look at the NFC, the Giants could still be a wildcard football team. So I still like the fact that the NFC East is no longer the NFC least. And you got you got at least three good football teams there, but I still think the Eagles are above those other two teams. Never a dull moment, at least not these days with Philadelphia sports. There's a lot going on to be able to talk about, which is a good problem to have if you're a talk show host. Right.

Yeah, because I tell you what, I still remember from 2012 to 2017, it wasn't very fun around here. All right. You can find Ike on Twitter at Ike 58.

Reese, former NFL linebacker, spent a lot of his career with the Eagles, now part of 94 WIP sports radio. And remind me your time slot with your show. Oh, two to six Monday through Friday. All right. Awesome to talk to you. Thank you so much for a couple of minutes. All right. Thanks for having me, Amy. I appreciate it.

All right. So I Greece goes plus with the Eagles in their postseason, though they do need young guys to step up. So that's the contingency.

They have to step up to fill these roles, but doesn't feel like they lost a lot in terms of leadership or veteran presence. And producer J actually said in my ear, while we're talking about Joel Embiid, that might be the most coherent and reasonable explanation and case for Joel as the NBA MVP. So good stuff with Ike. All of our conversations are podcasted separately. And then every weekday morning, soon after the show, you've got the entire link that's up on our show.

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If you listen via podcast on demand and we appreciate that support, you are listening to the After Hours podcast. I think when you're UConn and you're playing in the first round of the tournament, maybe even the second round, there's a lot of pressure on you. The pressure of the brand that you carry. And so I think we're maybe a little bit uptight going into those first and second round games. And hopefully, you know, some of that pressure has been alleviated and we could just go out tomorrow, let it rip. I don't think we could afford to have a slow start versus these guys with the way that they play.

This is After Hours with Amy Lawrence. Dan Hurley, head coach of the UConn Huskies. He admits they've gotten off to some slow starts in their various games, but also points out that when you're UConn, the expectations are higher.

Now I say higher expectations is generally a confidence boost because if there are higher expectations, that means people believe that you have the ability and that you should be able to achieve these lofty heights. So against Arkansas, a team that's made three consecutive Sweet 16s, UConn, Arkansas, Vegas at T-Mobile Arena. That's the first game of the doubleheader from Vegas and it's on CBS. So they're straddling these games, two on TBS, two on CBS. And the ones that are coming from Vegas will be on big CBS. So 715 Eastern Time, 715 UConn Time. It is 415, though, in Las Vegas. So you're talking about people still who have to take the day off for this March Madness.

It's After Hours with Amy Lawrence on CBS Sports Radio. The second game coming from Vegas is, I would say, the marquee game. Gonzaga, a team that has now been to eight consecutive Sweet 16s, has been to Final Fours, has reached the championship game, losing to, was it Baylor two years ago, right? Losing that game to Baylor, but have never won a title for Mark Few. He's been to 28, no, 29, 29 straight NCAA tournaments.

29. You can't get more consistent without winning a title. And Drew Timmy, who put on a show and really sparked their late run against TCU to get to the Sweet 16, he's obviously going to be the focal point for UCLA. So the Bruins, they're as blue as blue blood can be. And they've got multiple championships over the course of their tenure as a college basketball power.

So this one is a clash of the titans, if you will. Again, the second game taking place in Vegas. Now, Drew Timmy was on CBS Sports HQ, and so we were able to snag that sound. I thought this was interesting because generally, as much as you can point to the Zags having not won a championship, they are a power. I mean, this is a rite of passage in March for Gonzaga to make a deep run in the tournament, for the most part, ever since they kind of broke through that glass ceiling. They've been able to not only win a ton of conference titles, but they've been able to establish themselves as one of those perennial powers.

They just need the hardware, right? But Drew Timmy did a major piece of that. The mustache, the personality. What did Malachi Smith tell us? We asked him how he would describe Drew Timmy, and he said, shoot, he didn't say unicorn, he said a character.

That's what he said. Yes, we spoke to Malachi Smith on Selection Sunday Night, and he described Drew as a character. He definitely is, both on and off the court. And he actually says he likes the fact that Gonzaga is the hunter, not the hunted. It definitely helps to kind of be flying under the radar and not be a one-seater and have all the pressure that comes with being a one-seater on you. I mean, we're underdogs for this game coming up, and I think we were last game, too, and it's just awesome to kind of be in that role and not have all the pressure of having to win. I think that's kind of the hardest part about the tournament. Like Purdue, they had so much pressure to win that game that I feel like probably at the end of the game, they probably tensed up and were like, crap, we're not supposed to be in this position with this team. And I think it just amplified things for them, and even Arizona. It's kind of nice not having people pick you for once.

It's different. And then, you know, we're a group of fighters, and one thing UCLA is going to do is they're going to fight, and they're going to play hard and physical, and we do that as well. So as long as we can just match that and surpass their energy and their effort, I think we'll be more than fine. Drew right now averaging over 21 points and seven rebounds per game. He also averages three and a half assists per game, so he is the leader.

Everything runs through him. And yet somehow there are people who are suggesting, I don't know who they are, but there are people out there suggesting that he's very guardable, whether it's analysts, whoever decided to open his or her mouth and call Drew Timmy very guardable. Drew the ire, haha Drew, yep, yep, that was a pun, Drew the ire of head coach Mark Few.

It's kind of an idiotic take. I mean, the dude's been posting numbers forever, and they threw everything at the kitchen table at him that night and even fouled the living daylights out of him, and we just didn't move the ball good enough to make plays and all that. And then Baylor played great, so I don't know why anyone would judge him just based on that, but he's been remarkably consistent his entire career. Mark Few referring to that championship game that they lost against Baylor a couple of years ago. The player to watch for UCLA, of course, Jaime Jaquez. He's the Pac-12 player of the year.

Seventeen and a half points per game, eight rebounds per game as well. So that's going to be a marquee match. I'm looking forward to it. It's after hours here on CBS Sports Radio. But as we spoke about with Ike Reese, Michigan State, Tom Izzo, Hall of Famer, icon. He's got his Spartans playing their best basketball of the year against Kansas State, and man, it's been quite a year for them with the extra adversity, but also the extra emotion of having that campus shooting take place and them pausing basketball for a while. It's been an incredible journey, especially this last month and a half, and yet we're playing some of our better basketball.

We've kind of alternated between our offense and our defense, and sooner or later I'd like to put the two together if we could ever have both working at the same time. I think we would be even a better team, and yet last week in our defense kind of carried us, which a lot of times is needed in the NCAA tournament. So excited to be here, proud of my team and what they've accomplished so far, and yet have great respect for Jerome and what he's done at Kansas State and their basketball team. Tom Izzo, man, is just a class act, and I've followed him for a long time, and the fact that as an assistant he knew my name, it like blew me away. Just to watch what he's done and how he's handled his program and loved his players and had tremendous success on and off the court. How he handled the tragedy at Michigan State this year, I mean everybody can learn from that. High praise from Jerome Tang for Tom Izzo, but also you hear Coach Izzo mention Jerome, and that's who he's speaking about. So a lot of class acts still remaining, incredible stories to get to the Sweet 16. Four games tonight, and just a bit of a twist, which is fun, Tyson Walker is a Long Island native, and so has the chance to play at Madison Square Garden. He's the leading scorer for the Spartans, just under 15 points per game, so they were making a big deal of the fact that if they got to the Sweet 16, he'd be able to play in an arena. Of course that is the mecca if you know anything about basketball in the Northeast, they brand themselves the world's most famous arena. I just kind of feel like that's, I mean if you give yourself that name, it's like calling yourself the queen.

Someone else is supposed to crown you the queen, you're not supposed to call yourself the queen, but whatever. Four games tonight, we're back afterwards, also Alabama's pro day with Bryce Young working out. Have a great Thursday, it's After Hours with Amy Lawrence, CBS porch radio.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-23 08:06:22 / 2023-03-23 08:23:40 / 17

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