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Billion-dollar crowd enjoys Duke/Oregon — Sweet 16 Sideline

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Former NBA player David Robinson, left, talks with Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant as Tim Cook, CEO of Apple looks on during the second half of an NCAA tournament game between Oregon and Duke in the regional semifinals on Thursday. (Mark J. Terrill/AP)

The matchup between Duke and Oregon brought with it a fanbase with deep pockets.

Apple CEO Tim Cook sat behind Kobe Bryant, who was across from Nike founder Phil Knight.

The connections to the court: Cook earned his MBA from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business; Bryant worked with Coach K for Team USA; Knight ran for the Oregon track team in the 1950s and now bankrolls the entire state.


This year’s NCAA tournament is no different than anything else in the basketball world in 2016: obsessed with Stephen Curry.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski was asked if he has to remind his players who they aren’t before games: “I’ve coached Steph twice, and if they can play like that, that would be cool, man. It would be a lot better,” he said. “I think Steph is a great example of preparation and consistent preparation and love of the game.”

Mark Jackson is somewhere solemnly nodding, saying something like, “That’s what I meant to say!”


John Calipari is not a man beloved by his peers: Probably because he beats them at skirting NCAA rules to land recruits as well as occasionally triumphing the court.

Notre Dame coach Mike Brey expressed some faux admiration for the slick Kentucky coach when asked about Cal’s plan to make his entire team draft eligible.

“Well, he’s not getting any pub here lately, because he’s not playing,” Brey said. “So he’s doing anything to stay out there. The guy’s a master.”


Thursday was not a banner day for people who watch the NCAA tournament for upsets: All of the higher-seeded teams won by at least 14.

March Madness: The only sports tournament that’s enjoyed most in the first round.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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