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January 23, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – Thursday, January 23rd, 2003

by Brian Seymour

When I went to bed Wednesday night, everything was fine and dandy in the land of the Hoopville Top 25, a perfect 8-0 including an exciting win by No. 22 Georgia over Tennessee in overtime. (More on that in a second).

Then I wake up to find chaos with Duke and Kansas, two of the top six ranked teams in the land, as upset victims and No. 1 Arizona having to withstand an impressive Arizona State rally after having built a 20-point halftime lead.

No. 3 Duke lost its second straight game, this time 80-71 to a very underrated North Carolina State squad. Traffic monitors in Raleigh, NC last night recorded a stampede of people trying to get off the Dukie bandwagon. Is that Dick Vitale I see jumping off?

In any event, the Wolfpack (10-4. 3-1 ACC) snapped a 13-game losing streak against the Blue Devils (12-2, 3-2 ACC) thanks to 21 points from Clifford Crawford and 18 from Julius Hodge. J.J. Redick scored 24 for Duke, but only four in the second half while N.C. State rallied and then pulled away.

Meanwhile, in Boulder, Colo., a pair of streaks were snapped as the Buffaloes defeated No. 6 Kansas to halt a 27-game losing streak to the Jayhawks and snapping Kansas’ 10-game winning streak.

Stephane Pelle scored 27 points, including a jumper with 25 seconds left to take the lead for the Buffaloes (12-5, 2-2 Big 12), which hadn’t beaten Kansas since Feb. 20, 1991. The Jayhawks (13-4, 3-1 Big 12) shot only 33 percent from the field.

Until the losses by Duke and Kansas, No. 22 Georgia (11-4, 3-1) was really the only ranked team pushed hard, holding off a furious rally by Tennessee which saw the Bulldogs squander a six-point lead with 46 seconds left, forcing overtime. In the extra period, Jarvis Hayes scored 10 points for Georgia to help stave off the Volunteers. Ezra Williams added 23 points for the Bulldogs, 21 in the second half.

Side Dishes

Terps win another big one: You’ll have to forgive North Carolina fans for feeling a little pulled around so far this season. After a preseason NIT title and looking like one of the top teams of the country, the Tar Heels started to look more like the young, inexperienced team many pundits expected this season.

Now, after finally getting it together for a big win over Connecticut last weekend, the Tar Heels were bombed again last night, this time at home against Maryland, 81-66. The Terrapins, meanwhile, are one of the hottest teams in the country after winning back to back games over Duke and UNC, an exacta that is always impressive.

NTSB releases OSU crash report: Pilot error is likely the cause of the 2001 plane crash which killed eight members of the Oklahoma State basketball program, according to a National Transportation Safety Board report.

The crash was caused after some of the plane’s instruments malfunctioned after an electrical problem, but states that pilot Denver Mills, who also perished in the crash, failed to use backup instruments which could have allowed the plane to land safely.

Chicago State fires Ellis: After a dismal four and a half seasons at Chicago State, the school has fired head coach Bo Ellis. Ellis, whose career record at CSU was 23-104, will be replaced by assistant coach Kevin Jones.

Jones had replaced Ellis for two games earlier in the season while Ellis served a school-imposed suspension for conducting a post-game practice following a conference-opening loss against UMKC. The Cougars are 3-15 this season and their next game is Saturday against Southern Utah.

Clock problems in OU win over Texas Tech?: Someone needs to alert the clock operator in Lubbock, Texas that it’s customary for clock “problems” to assist the home team and not the visitors. Yet, the Big 12 is investigating whether a problem with the clock assisted in Oklahoma’s 69-64 win over Texas Tech on Tuesday.

Television replays showed a pair of pauses in the clock that may have given the Sooners an extra 1.7 seconds at the end of regulation. OU’s Hollis Price hit an off-balance jumper as time expired in regulation to send the game to overtime.

Even if a problem is discovered in the investigation, the result of the game will not change. A Big 12 spokesman said the review was to help Texas Tech correct any problems with the clock and prevent a similar problem from happening again at all conference schools.

Wolverines win 12th straight: Michigan defeated Minnesota, 75-63, to claim their 12th straight win and maintain their lead in the Big Ten with a 5-0 mark. After Michigan lost to Duke on Dec. 7 to fall to 0-6, I never would have imagined typing that previous sentence. If I had a Coach of the Year vote, I’d think I’d be penciling in Tommy Amaker right about now.

Tonight’s Menu

A pair of Top 25 teams get a chance to prove themselves to the skeptics and two big games are on tap for the Mid-Majors.

• Still not convinced that No. 17 Wake Forest’s 12-1 record is for real? They face what’s likely to be a stern test on the road against Virginia tonight.

• Still not sure No. 10 Creighton deserves to be ranked in the top 10? They hit the road to face Evansville, always a tough opponent on its home floor.

• Finally, two Mid-Major conferences have very important matchups tonight. The Horizon League has Butler traveling to preseason favorite Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Big West leader Cal-Irvine hits the road to face a struggling, but talented Pacific squad.

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