East Region Recap
by Adam Shandler
No. 4 Kentucky 83, No.13 Valparaiso 68
Keith Bogans bolstered his NBA resume tape by hitting 4 of 5 three pointers and scoring 21 points, 11 above his disappointing season average. Bogans had some help from usually reliable Tayshaun Prince, who despite a poor shooting day, netted 13.
Kentucky set the tempo early, running and gunning and lofting up long-range bombs as if there were stuffed animals to be won with every hit. Defensively, they shut down Valpo’s biggest inside threat, Lubos Barton, who was forced out of the blocks and up towards the arc.
It was the 12th-straight first-round victory for Kentucky, who now must face an inspired Tulsa team.
No. 12 Tulsa 71, No. 5 Marquette 69
Upset, Shmupset. Kent State, Wyoming, Tulsa and Missouri are representing the 12 seeds famously and making a strong case for parity in D-I college ball. And for the record, this isn’t a Hoosiers story. Tulsa didn’t have to dig deep into their hear-and-soul bag to win this one. They actually led by as many as 14 late in the second half!
But it took all of John Phillips’s weapons to upend Marquette. The biggest gun, Greg Harrington, chalked up 12 points, including the game-winner; a running one-hander, with 14 seconds left. Tulsa’s 2 other F-16’s, guards Antonio Reed and Kevin Johnson, sunk a combined 32 points.
Dwyane Wade led the Golden Eagles with 18 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists.
Previewing No. 4 Kentucky vs. 12. Tulsa
Now would be a good time to burn your brackets. But seriously, both teams are high-octane and love to shoot the three. Tulsa, in fact, connected on 6 of 10 attempts from behind the arch (St. Louis humor). This game will be won or lost on both tempo and stamina. The team that comes out gunning (and hitting) has a good shot of going to the Sweet 16, but a major letdown, as Tulsa learned against Marquette, may prove costly. Tulsa’s Harrington will need extra help underneath as Kentucky has five leapers on the court at any given time.
Tayshaun needs to find his touch again for Kentucky, but if Bogans can pick up where he left off, Prince can concentrate on his inside game.
Both teams have the firepower to make this yet another entertaining Eastern bracket contest.