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January 13, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – January 13th

Pitt Streaks On: Once again, the undefeated Pitt Panthers bend but do not break. Coming off an 84-80 OT win against Miami, Pitt put together a stunning second-half comeback to irk the Notre Dame Irish, 74-71. Chris Thomas had a career night for Notre Dame with 29 points, but Julius Page (18 points) and Jaron Brown (19) helped erase a seven-point deficit with seven-and-a-half to go to. Carl Krauser nailed a three to start an 8-0 that put the Panthers up for good. The victory kept alive the longest home winning streak in college hoops at 36. The streak goes back two years, when the Panthers called Fitzgerald Field House home. Since moving into the Petersen Events Center, Pitt, now 17-0 thus far, has peeled off 30 straight. Pitt’s last loss? To Notre Dame, 56-53, almost two years ago to the date.

Missouri Gripped By Orange Fever: Too much ‘Cuse, too much Hakim Warrick. That was Missouri’s problem when they faced a Syracuse team that had four players in double figures, led by Warrick’s 21. Craig Forth shot 70 percent for 18 points, Gerry McNamara added 17 and Josh Pace poured in 15, as the Orangemen rolled 82-68. Ricky Paulding hit on 8-of-19 for 23 points, but the Tigers could only find the hoop on five of its 27 shots from beyond the arc.

Provi-did it: Providence has tasted from the Hoopville Top 25 platter. Seton Hall wanted a nibble. But the Friars, who lost two straight games by a combined three points, put the Pirates away, 63-60. After several lead changes and record high-blood pressure readings, Marcus Douthit gave the Friars the lead for good by sinking a foul line J with just under two minutes to play. Douthit and Ryan Gomes each hit for 14 points. Andre Barrett also scored 14 for Seton Hall and was one of three Pirates who missed a three-pointer in the final eight seconds. Providence snapped the Hall’s 13-game home winning streak and eight-game overall win streak.

No Major Reshuffling: Well, the move announced last week to speed up the conference realignments has been nixed. At the NCAA convention in Nashville, conference commissioners couldn’t finalize a financial resolution to pay Conference USA to speed up realignment, so the mass shuffling will wait until the 2005-06 academic year. Most conferences, such as the Big East, were trying to step up the move with the newly drawn and quartered C-USA, which wanted $10 million in compensation for its rapid destruction. As it stands, the only realignment for next season will be Virginia Tech and Miami going to the ACC, along with the WAC adding Utah State and New Mexico State, and Troy State and Florida Atlantic will be moving to the Sun Belt for next season.

Don’t Cry For Him, Argentina: Diego Romero, the controversial Argentine at Florida State, had his NCAA eligibility restored yesterday. Romero sat 15 games due to amateurism violations that occurred when he signed with two pro teams in his foreign country and accepted $2400 in living expenses. The school argued that Romero never intended to play pro ball in Argentina and should have been exempted from amateurism rules when he began playing ball for a Texas JUCO. No word yet on whether Romero will sit out as a redshirt this year.

Dramane Drama Over: Continuing the internationals-can-play theme, Kansas State forward Dramane Diarra has just been declared eligible by the NCAA. The JuCo transfer can play immediately. The controversy surrounded Diarra’s play with a French team that was considered professional and not club. (It’s a European thing.) It was discovered during the investigation that Diarra only received expense money while with that team. The transfer, who averaged 15.7 ppg and 7 rebounds with Cloud County Community College, missed K-State’s first 11 games.

No Bull. Walcott Gone: According to U. Buffalo coach Reggie Witherspoon, swingman Jason Walcott has been a bad boy. Walcott has been dismissed from the Bulls team for behavior unbecoming of a young matriculating student. It’s quite a waste for Walcott, who sat out the first 12 games to focus on his studies. Also, reserves Marcus Henderson and Parnell Smith were recently declared academically unfit.

Spear Named Comrade in Moscow. Idaho: Big West (basketball) school Idaho has named interim athletic director Rob Spear as its full-time AD. He’ll get a three-year contract to boot. Spear took over the Vandals athletic program on October 10, when then-AD Mike Bohn fled for the same post San Diego State. Idaho men’s hoops currently stands dead last in the Big West at 0-3, 3-9 overall.

Tonight’s Menu:

• Wake Forest is perfect at 11-0 and would like to stay that way. Texas wants to improve on 9-2 and an unblemished mark at home. The two go at it at the Erwin Center in Austin tonight . . . 13-0 Mississippi State is also off to a fast and impressive start but get their first true challenge of the year against SEC counterpart Kentucky…St. Joe’s, also at 13-0, hosts flailing Fordham, with its 4-9 clip.

• In other games of interest, Florida State, once a Hoopville Top 25 member, looks to bounce back from a two-game skid that included losses to Florida and N.C. State. The Noles travel to Clemson hoping to tame the Tigers, who had some trouble against Wake Forest and Duke of late . . . Western Carolina’s Kevin Martin has slipped a few decimal points in the race for this year’s D-I scoring title. K-Mart, who still owns the top spot at 26.7 ppg, looks to build on his lead when the Catamounts travel to Davidson . . . Thought Harvard had it bad? How bout Loyola? The Greyhounds are 0-13 but may catch a break against 3-10 Siena in Baltimore tonight . . . The College of Charleston, 11-2, travels to UNC-Greensboro, and in a Garden State battle, Rutgers, which lost to UConn by a point but upset Providence on Saturday, hosts Monmouth.

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