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January 15, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments




The Morning Dish – Thursday, January 15th

Maryland commands ‘Tar, Heel, good North Carolina’: Maryland has trouble with the West Virginia’s of the world, but it can beat the likes of Wisconsin, Florida and now North Carolina. Maryland out-worked a shallow North Carolina team in the second half to make yet another impression on college basketball pollsters. The 49 first half points given up by Maryland was the most all season, but they still only trailed by two at the half. North Carolina again had their five starters in double figures, but it wasn’t enough as Maryland iced the win with ten straight free-throws late in the second half. Jamar Smith led all scorers with 22 points, and he added after the game “After watching them on tape I knew (UNC center Sean May) couldn’t keep up with my quickness, I tried to go around him every time I got the ball.” Terrapin fans hope that his quickness can do the same thing against Sheldon Williams of Duke, not to mention the entire Georgia Tech squad, Maryland’s next two opponents.

Purdue Coach Keady impresses home fans with 500th win, not NCAA: Not only did Purdue beat a tough Wisconsin squad 53-51, but they climbed back above five hundred in conference play and righted themselves with two consecutive victories over ranked opponents. Plus, something about Coach Gene Keady getting his 500th career win with the Boilermakers. Keady’s overall mark of 538-258, which includes a two year stint at Western Kentucky, is impressive, but not recognized by the NCAA. In fact, according to the NCAA, he still needs 19 victories to achieve the historic 500th win with a Big Ten school, something only Bob Knight did at Indiana. Why isn’t this feat recognized by the NCAA? In 1995-96 a player was ruled ineligible, and the 19 victories that year were forfeited.

Oklahoma State beats Oklahoma: It is one of the more passionate rivalries in college basketball, and 13,611 Cowboy fans in Gallagher-Iba Arena made sure nobody on Oklahoma could hear each other on the court. They did well, as the Cowboys took a 12-2 lead in the opening minutes, and never looked back. “This is what I play the game for,” said Lucas, a Baylor transfer. “This has to be the craziest (atmosphere). I didn’t think it was going to be as loud as it was. My ears are ringing right now.” Imagine the Oklahoma players.

Cincinnati wins first big Conference USA game: Cincinnati put its stamp on Conference USA with a solid win over Marquette on the road. Defense was the name of the game for Cincinnati, and senior Tony Bobbitt, a Wooden Award Whoops led the balanced offensive attack with 18 points. Cincinnati took care of the boards, out-rebounding Marquette 35 to 23, and they turned the ball over 8 less times. With Oklahoma and North Carolina’s losses, Cincinnati will be looking for a single digit ranking, depending on which poll you follow.

Hoopville Top 25 jinx: Not only did #10 North Carolina, #22 Marquette and #12 Oklahoma lose, so did lesser-weights #23 Vanderbilt, #24 Creighton and #25 Illinois. Creighton ended yet another undefeated season by falling by 9 to Northern Iowa, leaving only four teams with undefeated records: St. Joseph’s (PA), Stanford, Pittsburg and Cincinnati. Brooks McKowen had an amazing game, hitting 6 of 7 three pointers to lead now 8-5 Northern Iowa to its third conference victory. Jimmy Motz hit all three of his three pointers, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a 6 for 23 showing by Creighton from behind the arc. Vanderbilt hit a road block in Tennessee, who bounced back from its first SEC loss to Florida, an embarrassing 95-57 loss at that. Twenty points a piece from Brandon Crump and Scooter McFadgon were too much for Matt Freije to overcome. The Commodores leading scorer could only manage 8 points on 2-12 shooting from the field. His other contributions, 2 rebounds and 0 assists.

Illinois lost their game in grand fashion, blowing a 9 point lead at the half and allowing Northwestern fans to flood the court afterwards. It was Northwestern’s first victory over Illinois in nearly ten years. Davor Duvancic led the way for Northwestern with 22 points on 4 of 6 shooting from behind the arc. Jitim Young had a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. The win brought Northwestern back to five hundred overall, and 2-1 in conference play. With the bottom four teams in the Hoopville top twenty-five poll losing, the way is left open for such teams as Purdue, Maryland, and LSU.

Tonight’s Menu:

• The marquee match up is North Carolina State against Duke in an ACC match up for the ages. This game will decide who has a chance to go undefeated in conference play and who will have to wait a month until revenge can be sought.

• A lesser ACC match up will be Virginia against Georgia Tech. Both teams are coming off losses to ranked opponents, and both will be looking to get back on the right track. In other notable games, Louisville travels to East Carolina, San Francisco plays at Gonzaga, Arizona travels to USC and Arizona State hits up UCLA.

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