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January 16, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – Friday, January 16th

Romero to sit: Diego Romero of Florida State has decided to sit out this season, just days after he was ruled eligible by the NCAA. Romero, a 6-foot-10 star from Argentina, was initially ruled a professional by the NCAA but was reinstated Monday. He could have played immediately, but decided to redshirt because half of the season was already over with. He will have two years of eligibility remaining. Romero missed the first 15 games of the season while his case was being sorted out. The decision to sit out was made after the player consulted with his parents in Argentina and coach Leonard Hamilton. The social studies major said that he would use the rest of the year to concentrate on his class work and work on his basketball skills. Romero will practice and travel with the team for the rest of the year. Romero played two seasons at Lon Morris Junior College in Texas. He averaged 14.5 points and 8.5 rebounds last season.

Gonzaga signs 7-footer: Gonzaga has announced that they have signed Calum MacLeod, a 7-foot center from New Zealand, for next season. MacLeod, who hails from Wellington, New Zealand, arrived in Spokane on Monday night and was in class by Tuesday morning. He will redshirt the reamining of this season and will maintain four years of elibibility. MacLeod has been playing for the New Zealand Junior National Team. The big man got to do not many people get to do – celebrate their birthday twice in one year. Wellington left New Zealand on Jan. 12 and after nearly 30 hours of traveling, he arrived in Spokane on Monday, which was still Jan. 12. MacLeod’s arrival is key as Gonzaga will lose senior centers Cory Violette and Richard Fox to graduation after this season.

Gordon to play: Top-ranked Connecticut will have the services of guard Ben Gordon for their big game against 10th ranked North Carolina. But he will play with a broken nose. Gordon broke his nose when he was hit by an elbow while guarding Gerald Riley midway through the first half of the Huskies’ 94-70 victory over Georgetown on Wednesday. Gordon sat out briefly and finished with 11 points in 35 minutes. Gordon is averaging nearly 19 points and and leads the Huskies with 25 steals.

Watch your mouth: Weber State coach Joe Cravens was suspended one game by the Big Sky Conference for critical comments he made about league officials. Dusty Clements, the Big Sky’s assistant commissioner, said Cravens’ made his comments during a morning radio talk show Wednesday in Salt Lake City. Cravens sat out last night’s game against Montana State, which Montana State won 61-48, questioned the “level of officiating” and suggested some officials can get intimidated by home crowds. “I apologize for the comments on the radio, which were inappropriate,” Cravens told the Ogden Examiner. “I know what a tough job officials have and I in no way meant to criticize how they do their jobs. I was trying to point out how difficult it is, not just for our team, but for any team, to go on the road and play before enthusiastic crowds.”

Louisville knocks off ECU: Taquan Dean and Larry O’Bannon each scored 16 points and Louisville’s swarming defense forced 16 turnovers in a 76-66 victory over the ECU Pirates. The Cardinals won their 12th consecutive game and fifth straight by double digits. Louisville is second nationally in scoring margin at over 23 points per game. Derrick Wiley scored 23 points for East Carolina, which lost its ninth consecutive conference game dating to last season. The Pirates did play without the services of second-leading scorer Gabriel Mikulas, who broke his arm during practice on Wednesday and is out for the remainder of the season. It was the fourth straight loss overall for the Pirates, who have committed 73 turnovers during their losing streak. The Pirates dropped to 3-37 all-time against ranked opponents and 2-2 against the Top Ten.

Bird in the rafters: Larry Bird’s No. 33, which is already retired by the Boston Celtics, will be retired at Indiana State, where he led the Sycamores to the NCAA championship game in 1979 against Magic Johnson’s Michigan State Spartans. No one has worn the number at Indiana State since Bird left, but the university wants to finally make it official, athletic director Andi Myers said. Former player and coach Duane Klueh’s No. 54 jersey will also be retired during a ceremony at halftime of Indiana State’s home finale against Northern Iowa on Feb. 28. Bird, now the Indiana Pacers president of basketball operations, was an All-American and college player of the year in 1979, when he led his team to the nation’s No. 1 ranking. The Sycamores were undefeated until they lost the NCAA tournament championship game to Michigan State. Bird played 13 years with the Celtics and is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame. Klueh played at Indiana State in 1946-49 and was the Helms Foundation player of the year in 1948. He then played in the NBA with Denver and Fort Wayne and returned to Indiana State as a basketball and tennis coach.

Tonight’s menu

&#8226 On tap for tonight is one top-25 team, Marquette. The 22nd ranked Golden Eagles will look to rebound from their loss to Cincinnati on Wednesday night, as they are hosted by Southern Miss in Green Bay, Wisconsin, of all places. Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre is anticipated to be honored at halftime by Southern Miss, his alum.

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