Ute center Michael Doleac will be worrying about more than just the West Virginia zone press while he's in Anaheim this week.
On Wednesday, he'll take a two-hour-and-15-minute physics final exam at his hotel.Alex Jensen was still working on getting one of his tests postponed until next week but will likely take one in California. On the other hand, Andre Miller was whooping and exclaiming to his teammates after practice Monday that he was all done with his exams for the quarter.
Just like the past two years, the Utah basketball team has a conflict with exam week. It's called the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament.
Some might think it's not fair for the players to be given special consideration for taking their finals away from the classroom. But after all, this is the team's third week in a row on the road, and it's difficult to take the tests when you're not even around.
"You'd think it would be easier, but it's tough to do it on the road," said Doleac.
"I'd rather do it in a classroom," said Jensen. "It's hard to concentrate in a hotel room or a banquet hall."
Ute coach Rick Majerus, who is famous for riding his players about their studies as well as bragging about their accomplishments in the classroom, isn't happy about the timing of final exams every spring.
"It's really a distraction; it's tough," he said. "This kills us every year. And it's not like our kids are taking agrarian science or farming. Some are taking pretty heavy-duty courses.
"Some are already done, some are taking tests there and some will postpone them until next week. It's really a zoo. But that's what they're supposed to be (in college) for."
The exam problem should be rectified next year, if the Utes get this far in the playoffs. The U., along with other state schools, is switching to a semester system, meaning final exams will be in mid-April, rather than mid-March.
NO KIDS ALLOWED: At each NCAA tournament site, basketball teams are assigned to various hotels. It keeps the teams apart and spreads business around the host city.
The Utah basketball team was assigned to the Disneyland Pacific Hotel in Anaheim, which is also where many of the Ute supporters will stay. However, you won't find any of the Ute players there.
They'll be holed up in a more secluded hotel over on the coast at New-port Beach.
Majerus said he isn't trying to be secretive but is looking out for the best interests of his team.
"I just didn't want to stay in a hotel with 1,000 little kids running around," he said. "I wanted to get a more quiet place by ourselves. This one is probably cheaper anyway."
THAT'S MY BOY: The day after Utah's win over Arkansas, a reporter from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette was at the Boise airport to catch an early flight home. A man walking alongside him started a conversation, asking him if he had gone to the games the day before.
It turned out to be Andre Miller's stepfather, Albert Robinson, who attends many of the Utah games along with Miller's mom, Andrea. He asked the reporter what he thought of Miller.
"Polite, well-spoken and humble," the reporter answered.
Taking the reporter by the arm, the stepfather steered him to Andrea and said, "Tell her what you told me. Moms love to hear that stuff."
After he repeated it, Andrea said: "You know, that's more important to me than the way he played and the win."