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Now It’s Interesting

March 4, 2002 Columns No Comments

The Morning Dish – Monday, March 4th, 2002

by Andrew Flynn

Now it gets interesting
Lots of action yesterday, a day in which a few more things were decided. Like the fact that no one really wants the fourth Number One seed in the Tournament. Just when Alabama was in a position to secure the slot after Cincinnati’s loss on Wednesday, the Tide got rolled, letting Ole Miss win by 28, 84-56. The Bearcats helped themselves with a frenetic finish in OT, topping Memphis 80-75, and thus grabbing their 7th consecutive regular-season championship in C-USA.

Kansas got a scare at Mizzou, offing the Tigers 95-92, and Maryland capped the Cavs in a Cole Fieldhouse sendoff, 112-92. Illinois beat Minnesota by 1 to clinch the fourth share of the Big Ten title, though they’ll be a 3-seed for the conference tournament. Boston College kept their bubble intact by downing the Orangemen 69-65, and Wyoming ended the championship streak held by Utah with two free throws in the last 10 seconds to defeat the Utes 57-56. Oh, and Duke beat North Carolina. It wasn’t that long ago when this would have been the top matchup of the day – I’m sure that’s what the schedule makers had in mind.

Side Dishes

One More into the Breach: Congrats to Davidson, who defeated Furman 62-57 in North Charleston, SC for the Southern Conference Championship. The Wildcats, who were the North 1-seed (Georgia Southern was the South 1-seed), had to defeat The Citadel and NC Greensboro on the road to the finals matchup with the Paladins. You’ll recall that Davidson gained notoriety by downing the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill prior to Thanksgiving. This is back when UNC was slated to have a good season. Davidson also beat Penn on the road just prior to Christmas. The Final Four is right before Easter. Hmmm . . .

Old El Paso: UTEP has announced that it is cancelling a four-game series with the Arkansas Razorbacks. This is all about Nolan Richardson, who played for the Miners, and is a native of the Texas town.

Event Horizon: What is up with the Horizon? First, national Horizon noisemaker 1-seed Butler folds to lightly-regarded Wisconsin-Green Bay. Now, seemingly “peaking at the right time” 2-seed Detroit also is caught with cold feet, losing to 6-seed Illinois-Chicago 79-68. It’ll be a Windy City final in Cleveland, as the UIC Flames face the 5-seed Loyola-Chicago on Tuesday for the right to dance. At least both have respectable records. Butler and Detroit are now extremely nervous.

Semi-Tough: The Patriot Semifinals featured 1-seed American topping 5-seed Lafayette, and 2-seed Holy Cross defeating 3-seed Bucknell. The Patriot, seeminly a conference light on the upsets, will have the Final game Friday evening.

The Truth about ‘Cats and Dogs: In the America East Conference, 2-seed Boston University tripped 3-seed Hartford, 63-60. But the real shocker came in the other semi, when previously lethargic Maine topped cake-walking Vermont 61-59 in OT. The Championship is Saturday.

Tonight’s Menu:

• The Colonial Finals, Richmond, Virginia. 1-seed UNC-Wilmington faces off against 3-seed Virginia Commonwealth. 7:30pm EST

• The Metro Atlantic Finals, Albany, New York. 4-seed Niagara matches up with 7-seed Siena. Niagara was the highest seed to escape out of the Quarterfinals (where Rider, Marist, and Manhattan were sent packing).9:00pm EST

• The Missouri Valley Finals, St. Louis, Missouri. Fairly ho-hum on the upset scale, as every higher-seeded team has won – so far. 1-seed Southern Illinois faces off against 2-seed Creighton. 9:30pm EST

• The West Coast Finals, San Diego, California. 2-seed Gonzaga faces off against 1-seed Pepperdine. 12:00am EST

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