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January 1, 2003 Columns No Comments

The Morning Dish – Thursday, January 2nd, 2003

by Brian Seymour

That breath on the back of Dean Smith’s neck is The General and it may not be long before he’s caught.

Bobby Knight’s Texas Tech Red Raiders posted a 62-48 nonconference victory over Houston to highlight a very light slate of games on New Year’s Day. In fact, college football games outnumbered college basketball.

The victory was Knight’s 796 for his career and raised the No. 22 Red Raiders’ record to 9-1. Dean Smith holds the Division I record with 879 career wins, but Knight shows no sign of slowing down and is enticing some talented recruiting classes to Lubbock.

Houston didn’t help itself any, shooting just 28 percent from the field, including an anemic 7-of-32 in the first half.

Kasib Powell was the leading scorer for Texas Tech with 21 points and Pawel Storozynski added 14.

Texas Tech’s next three games seem pretty winnable — at San Diego State, at Kansas State and home against Baylor — meaning the landmark 800th win could come Jan. 20 on the road at Oklahoma before a national television audience. Think NCAA president Miles Brand will be in Norman to congratulate Knight?

Yeah, I’m not holding my breath on that either.

Side Dishes

Xavier guard out for four weeks: Senior guard Lionel Chalmers will miss at least four weeks after foot surgery to repair a fractured right foot he suffered in Tuesday’s win over Creighton. Chalmers is averaging 13.8 points and 5.1 assists for the 19th-ranked Musketeers. He had started 43 consecutive games for Xavier.

Xavier coach Thad Matta attempted to set a modern record for cliches in one statement in describing the loss of Chalmers. “This is a tough break for our team,” Matta said as reported by the Associated Press. “Lionel has been our floor general. Now other guys need to step up and fill the void until he comes back.”

WACky loss for Tulsa: The No. 24 Golden Hurricane dropped their conference opener 74-65 at Fresno State and will likely drop out of the Hoopville Top 25 when it is released on Tuesday. The Bulldogs (8-2) jumped out to a 42-23 halftime lead and hung on for the win. Tulsa fell to 7-3.

The rest of the story: Heck, there were only four other games in Division I yesterday, let’s run ’em down for you — Air Force bombed Georgia Southern 78-40; Minnesota’s prayers were answered with a 85-80 win over Oral Roberts; Murray State raced to a 76-64 win over Middle Tennessee State and Northern Arizona beat Marist 68-65. I don’t have a pun on that one.

Tonight’s Menu:

• Definitely the biggest game of 2003 so far finds No. 4 Arizona hitting the road against No. 7 Oregon, though most of the country will miss the game as it starts at midnight Eastern time. A win for the Ducks would be their 24th straight home victory and break a school record for consecutive home wins. It will be the first meeting between Top 10 teams at McArthur Court since 1975. The rest of the conference is also getting a head start on league play with three other games — UCLA at Washington, Arizona State at Oregon State and USC at Washington State.

• Duke puts its No. 1 ranking on the line and will get its final tuneup before the ACC grind against Fairfield. I doubt the Cameron Crazies will have to sweat this one out.

• The rest of the Hoopville Top 25 squeezes in varying degrees of competition before their respective conference seasons — No. 5 Connecticut hosts St. Bonaventure, No. 20 Kentucky meets Alcorn State, No. 10 Mississippi State travels to UAB; and No. 16 Kansas hosts UNC-Asheville.

• Finally, in the patriotic battle of the day (But two weeks too early! Get together on Presidents Day, guys!) George Washington travels to American University for a nonconference battle. Free cherry trees and axes to the first 1,000 kids under 16 in attendance.

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