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March 25, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – Tuesday, March 25, 2003

by Adam Shandler

Win or lose the NCAA Tournament, Texas has a winner.

It was announced yesterday that Texas point guard T.J. Ford was awarded the James Naismith award for being the top mens college basketball player in the country. Fords accomplishments, aside from leading his team to a regional 1 seed in the NCAAs, include averages of 15 points per game, 7.4 assists and 1.96 steals. Last year as a freshman, Ford was tops in the country in assists with 8.27 per game and is second on the Longhorns all-time dish list with 495.

Texas, at 24-6 overall, bounced Purdue in the second round of the south regional on Sunday for the right to face fifth-seeded UConn. Ford was fab against the Boilermakers with a 21 point, 9 rebound and 8 assist performance. Hes averaging 9.5 assists in two tourney games.

UConns sparkplug point guard Diana Taurasi wins the Naismith on the womens side. The 6-foot guard averaged 16.5 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game and climbed up the all-time Lady Husky scoring list 10 with 1,452.

In their opening round tournament game, UConn clobbered Boston U., 91-44, recovering nicely from the upset by Villanova, 52-48, in the Big East tournament a week and a half earlier. Against the Terriers, Taurasi poured in 21 points and hit 4-of-7 three pointers. She also had 7 assists and 2 steals.

Geno Auriemmas squad faces Texas Christian tonight in round 2 of the Womens NCAAs. The Horned Frogs bring in a record of 20-13.

Side Dishes

No NCAAs? No problem! The NIT took center stage last night with five scintillating matchups. Heres the lowdown:

Georgia Tech 79, Iowa 78: Techs B.J. Elder nailed a game-winning jumper in the closing seconds, ending the Hawkeyes season and a chance for Steve Alford to meet his old mentor and nemesis, Bobby Knight, in the quarterfinals of the NIT. Instead, the Yellowjackets will face Texas Tech. Georgia Tech improves to 16-14 with the win.

St. Johns 73, Virginia 63: The Red Storm want a chance at a hometown championship real bad. A 14-4, led by 9 Marcus Hatten points, propelled St. Johns to the win and a quarterfinal matchup with the winner of the Siena-UAB game, which will be played tonight. Hatten totaled 30 points on the night.

Georgetown 67, Providence 58: In a battle of two Big East teams that are quite familiar with one another, the Hoyas came out the victors. G-towns Mike Sweetney scored 26 points, including 10 free throws all this despite getting slapped with four fouls early in the second half. The Hoyas will now face UNC on Thursday night.

North Carolina 90, Wyoming 74: Carolina just might make it a 20-win season. UNC was just too much for the scrappy Cowboys as five players scored in double figures. Rashad McCant and Mike Scott each had 20 points, and Raymond Feltons 15 assists broke the single-game freshman assist record of 13, set by Jeff Lebo in 1985 against Manhattan. If the Heels can beat Georgetown on Thursday, it will make 32 20-win seasons in the last 33 years.

Minnesota 84, Hawaii 70: The Golden Gophers also got a full night of production from its squad with four players in double figures and a 14-point win over Hawaii. Maurice Hargrow paced Minnesota with 22 points, while Ben Johnson netted a season-high 18. The Gophers await a quarterfinal challenge from either Temple or Rhode Island, who play tonight.

So You Didnt Have Butler: If your bracket looks anything like mine then youve probably made use of the office shredder by now. But for all the off picks youve made, your buddy in the next cubicle might have done worse. If youve signed up for the Hoopville Tournament Challenge, you can check your bracket by simply clicking into Tournament Central and logging in with your user name and password.

Tonight’s Menu:

• There are two NIT games on the docket tonight. Alabama-Birmingham heads to Albany for a date with Siena, while Temple visits fellow A-10 foe Rhode Island to do battle with the Rams.

Thats your dish for Tuesday. Enjoy!

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