West Regional notes: Arizona, Wisconsin players shaken by Los Angeles earthquake

Posted Saturday, Mar. 29, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

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Forget about reaching the Elite Eight. Arguably the most memorable thing coming out of the NCAA Tournament for Wisconsin and Arizona is surviving an earthquake.

A magnitude-5.1 earthquake, categorized as “intermediate,” that centered in the Los Angeles area Friday night caused no major damage, but aftershocks were felt throughout the area.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake struck at about 9:09 p.m. local time, during the Kentucky-Louisville game being played in Indianapolis, and was centered near Brea in Orange County — about 10 miles north of the Honda Center and nearby hotels.

Players from each team took to Twitter to discuss it.

Wisconsin senior forward Zach Bohannon posted this on his handle, @ZBohannon: “I just experienced an earthquake here in Anaheim. The @NCAA is now deciding whether it was an impermissible benefit for me #Badgers.”

Wrote Badgers junior forward Frank Kaminsky, @FSKPart3: “EARTHQUAKEEEEE BUT FORREAL!”

Arizona junior guard T.J. McConnell, @iPass4Zona: “Just experienced my first earthquake. Let’s just say I never want to experience that again.”

The last devastating quake in Southern California came in 1994, a magnitude-6.7 known as the Northridge earthquake.

Coaching pinnacle

Bo Ryan and Sean Miller are regarded among the top coaches in the country, but both went into Saturday’s game searching for their first Final Four berth.

Unfortunately for Miller, only Ryan dropped the dreaded label of never being in the Final Four.

For Ryan, it’s something that justifies his career work. No coach has the respect of his peers more than Ryan. He worked his way up the college coaching ranks, beginning his career at Wisconsin-Platteville, a Division III school that he took to four national championships.

He’s reached the level of perennial national contender in his 13th year with the Badgers. His players were well aware of what it signifies before the game.

“I’d be honored to be a part of that,” Kaminsky said. “I think anyone would for any coach.”

Said senior guard Ben Brust: “That would be a very special thing … I’d definitely like to do that for him.”

For Miller, it’s something that would have solidified his spot as one of the top up-and-coming coaches in the game. He had success at Xavier and has led Arizona back to national relevance in his fifth year.

Asked before the game what a Final Four berth would have meant, Miller said: “Everybody knows the two words Final Four mean a great deal to programs, universities.

“I follow, like everybody does, the reaction of our fans and fans of other programs, and it’s just amazing to see the outpour on campuses when you see a team get closer and closer to a Final Four.”

Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison

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