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March 13, 2002 Columns No Comments


Wednesday, March 13th, 2002

by Andrew Flynn

The Tournament has Started

Last night saw a very close and entertaining match between Alcorn State and Siena come down to the final seconds, and we caught a glimpse of what this is supposed to be about. While Adam Shandler provides the recap of the game (at right), I’d like to mention what happened after the game.

We in our office pools (and even here at Hoopville) have been a little smug about the Play-In game, mentioning such things as “the honor and privilege of getting stomped by Maryland”, and etc.

Meanwhile, after the game, the Siena Saints were jubilant. Cheerleaders, players, students, family, and any other fans that had made the trip from Loudonville, New York celebrated like they did last week when they won their conference tournament.

They celebrated not because they were facing certain elimination at the hands of the 1-seed on Friday, but because they as a team won an NCAA Tournament game. For the players, there’s no distinction between the Play-In game and the First Round action that gets underway tomorrow. They’re in The Dance. And they won.

And when you think about the fact that only half of the teams even win a game in the Tournament, never mind the RPI, suddenly Siena is among the top 33 teams in the nation. Not bad for a conference tournament 7-seed that was 16-18 on the season. The important stat is that they are now 1-0.

Side Dishes

Get yer Brackets!: Just over a day left in the Hoopville Tournament Challenge Signup period. Click that big image at the upper right.

One of the Good Guys Steps Down: College of Charleston head coach John Kresse announced his retirement yesterday, after 38 years of coaching, the last 23 at Charleston. He had a 560-143 overall record, with four trips to NCAA tournament and two to the NIT. For the last decade Charleston has won over 20 games, and in 1996, they finished ranked 16th in the nation with a 29-3 record, and defeated Maryland in the First Round of the Tournament.

Another Reason for Gonzaga to be Angry: The All-American teams were announced yesterday, and each of the 1-seeds had a player, plus 6th-seeded Gonzaga. Duke’s Jason Williams (unanimous), Maryland’s Juan Dixon, Kansas forward Drew Gooden, Cincinati’s Steve Logan, and Gonzaga’s Dan Dickau were named first-teamers by the Associated Press.

Second team honors consisted of Duke’s Mike Dunleavy, Stanford’s Casey Jacobsen, USC’s Sam Clancy, Xavier’s David West, and Indiana’s Jared Jeffries. The third team featured another Dookie – Carlos Boozer, plus Pitt’s Brandin Knight, ‘Bama’s Erwin Dudley, Kentucky’s Tayshaun Prince and Arizona’s Jason Gardner. Falling off the chart from pre-season awards were Frank Williams of Illinois and Kareem Rush of Missouri.

NIT Results: While Phil Kasiecki previews the NIT (at right), several teams have already been booted from the tournament. Ball State beat South Florida 98-92, Louisville squeaked by Princeton 66-65, and UNLV edged Arizona State 96-91. Something tells me some of tomorrow’s games aren’t going to be as entertaining. Also, St. Joe’s downed George Mason 73-64, and Montana State beat Utah State 77-69 in a game of two upended 1-seeds left over from conference play.

Tonight’s Menu:

The NIT gets rockin’ with nine games tonight.

• Opening Round games include Wagner at Richmond, Detroit at Dayton, Louisiana-Lafayette at Louisiana Tech, and Houston at Vandy. It seems that the NCAA is taking some lessons from the NIT when it comes to geography.

• First Round games include Georgia State at Tennessee Tech, the Bonnies at ‘Cuse, South Carolina at Virginia, the Lobos at the Gophers, and Louisiana State at Iowa.

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