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March 7, 2002 Columns No Comments


The Morning Dish – Thursday, March 7th, 2002

by Andrew Flynn

The Final Countdown
No, not for the various tournaments. Unless you’ve been away from television, radio, newspapers, and the Internet for the last three months, there are only four more days until ESPN premieres “A Season on the Brink”, starring Brian Dennehy as Bobby Knight, in ESPN’s first original motion picture presentation. We’ll have a review next week.
It’s not like they’re going to air it only once. Nice touch, however, broadcasting it simultaneously on ESPN and the Deuce (the Deuce with tempered language and a TV-14 rating, not the TV-MA rating of ESPN’s broadcast). I really have nothing else here. Maybe the next one will be “Misconstruance: The Nolan Richardson Story.”

Side Dishes
One More In: The Northeast Conference Tournament wrapped up last night, and we have one more team in the field of 65, bringing our total to 12. The top-seeded Central Connecticut State Blue Devils defeated the in-state rival and 7-seed Quinnipiac Braves 78-71. The Blue Devils (27-4) take the nation’s longest winning streak (tied with Western Kentucky) of 19 games into the dance.

Robbing Bob?: Kansas’ Roy Williams was named Big 12 Coach of the Year, over “sentimental” favorite Bobby Knight. Many in the college basketball press thought that Knights unexpected results at Texas Tech this year would merit the award, but by a 14-10 vote Williams won the crown. Williams led the Jayhawks to an unprecedented 16-0 record in the conference, and his Jayhawks have been No. 1 in the nation since mid-February.

Conference Tournaments in Full Swing: Yesterday saw the opening rounds of the Big East and Conference USA tournaments. In Big East action, Boston College topped Rutgers 60-55 to keep their bubble intact, but Syracuse, who was 15-2 at one point this season and ranked as high as No. 7, likely saw their bubble pop, losing to Villanova 78-64. Villanova has won their opening-round game in the Big East tournament for the last 5 years. Georgetown defeated Providence 68-67 in an exciting finish, with three lead changes in the final 12 seconds, and St. John’s defeated Seton Hall 64-68.

Conference USA had a bit of offense, as Rick Pitino’s Louisville Cardinals downed TCU (in Billy Tubbs’ last game leading the Horned Frogs) 110-86. Houston downed an East Carolina team that probably hadn’t recovered from defeating No. 9 Marquette last week, 58-49. South Florida, who started the season hot, edged Alabama-Birmingham 65-62, and bottom-seeded Tulane upended the 5th-seeded St. Louis Billikens, 50-47.

The Atlantic 10 Tournament started, and winners included UMass, Dayton, LaSalle, and St. Bonaventure. The Mid-American Conference has already seen two upsets, as 12th-seeded giant-killer Central Michigan downed 5-seed Ohio 65-56, and 11-seed Akron closed the door on Western Michigan (6-seed) 90-83. Marshall, Toledo, and Miami (Ohio) all advance.

Tonight’s Menu:

• Quarterfinal action in the following conferences: Atlantic 10, Big East, Conference USA, and Mid-American.

• Even More Tournaments start: The ACC, Big Sky, Big West, Big Ten, Big 12, Mountain West, Pac-10, and SEC all get under way today.

There should be more great games, and we’re just warming up. The weekend should have an insane amount of hoops action. Enjoy!

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