Albuquerque Second Round Recap

by - Published March 21, 2005 in Conference Notes




Second Round Recap – Albuquerque Region

by Nick Dettmann

CLEVELAND – The newly-named Wolstein Center was just full of upsets for the first and second round of the NCAA tournament.

Shortly after the sell-out crowd of 13,332-plus witnessed the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee upset Boston College, 83-75, for a trip to the Sweet 16, West Virginia pulled off an upset of their own – much to the delight of the fans who rooted for both underdogs on Saturday.

The seventh-seeded Mountaineers defeated national champion contender Wake Forest, 111-105 in double overtime, to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1998.

“This is just a dream come true,” said Mike Gansey, who attended high school at nearby Olmstead Falls and worked out this summer in the Wolstein Center with his brother, Steve, a guard at Cleveland State. “It’s an unbelievable feeling.”

Gansey stepped up to the plate in the overtime, scoring 19 of his collegiate-high 29 points in the two overtime sessions. Wake Forest (27-6), who became the first ACC team knocked out of the tournament, was led by Taron Downey, who scored 17 of his 27 points in the two overtimes. Chris Paul scored 22 points.

West Virginia (23-10) will play Texas Tech on Thursday in the regional semifinal of the Albuquerque regional in New Mexico.

“It was what? Three OTs? Two OTs? It was just a long game,” said Paul, who fouled out with 3:24 left in the second overtime. “We got a little fatigued at the end, and Gansey kept making play after play after play.”

The Mountaineers beat their seventh top 25 team of the season, a new school record. In addition, they overcame the third largest deficit against a higher-seeded to win a game in any round of the NCAA tournament. West Virginia trailed Wake Forest 40-27 at halftime.

Syracuse First Round Recap

by - Published March 21, 2005 in Conference Notes




First Round Recap – Syracuse Region

by Neal Heston

“Where is Bucknell anyway?”

That was the question before the Bison tipped off with heavily-favored Kansas on Friday night. Everyone should know the answer to that now, as Bucknell pulled off what was clearly the largest upset in this tournament. With the defeat, Kansas became the first No. 3 seed to go down in the first round since North Carolina in 1999 – the team nearly everyone expected the Jayhawks to face in the regional final next weekend.

It was the Bison’s first NCAA Tournament victory in the school’s 110-year history, and the first for the Patriot League as well.

Kansas struggled throughout the first half, down by as many as six points early. The Jayhawks finished the half on a 10-0 run to take a 31-28 lead into the locker room and seemed in good position to begin running away with the contest in the second frame. It never happened, as the Bison hung around and put themselves in position for victory in the final minute. Chris McNaughton banked in a shot during the final seconds to give Bucknell the one-point advantage, and Wayne Simien missed a jumper as time expired to send the Jayhawks out in the first round.

McNaughton finished with 14 points, but the Bison were led by 19 points from Kevin Bettencourt. Wayne Simien paced the Jayhawks with 24 points and 10 boards. Bucknell advanced to play Wisconsin on Sunday, while Kansas dropped its sixth contest out of nine to finish 23-7. The media’s preseason favorite to capture the national title couldn’t get past the first weekend.

Chicago First Round Recap

by - Published March 21, 2005 in Conference Notes




First Round Recap – Chicago Region

by Neal Heston

A No. 15 seed hasn’t defeated a No. 2 seed since Hampton beat Iowa State in 2001, and Oklahoma State wasn’t about to let that happen in front of a sea of orange on Friday. A stingy Lions team nearly pulled off the upset with a strong second half, but Oklahoma State was able to avoid the disaster and keep on path to repeating its Final Four appearance from last season.

The Cowboys appeared to be cruising during the early minutes of the contest after jumping out to a 12-point lead, but Southeastern Louisiana cut the deficit to three midway through the second frame, grabbing the crowd’s attention. From there, the Cowboys slowly pulled away again for the final 13-point margin.

Senior forward Ivan McFarlin led the Cowboys with 18 points. James Curry and John Lucas chipped in 13 and 12 points, respectively. Southeastern Louisiana was led by 16 points from junior forward Ricky Woods.

Oklahoma State advanced to play Southern Illinois on Sunday, while Southeastern Louisiana concluded the season with a 24-9 record.

Morning Dish

by - Published March 20, 2005 in Conference Notes




The Morning Dish – Sunday, March 20th

Texas Tech Advances: In the first game of the day, Ronald Ross scored 24 points, including the go-ahead three-pointer with 1:06 to play and two clinching free throws with 7.5 seconds left to lead Texas Tech to a 71-69 win over Gonzaga. Jarrius Jackson added 18 points to support Ross as the Red Raiders (22-10) advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time since they became a member of the Big 12. Adam Morrison led Gonzaga (26-5) with 25 points and nine rebounds. For complete tournament coverage, including more detailed game recaps, visit Hoopville 2005 Tournament Central .

Huskies Coast to Sweet 16: Washington made it look easy in the second half, shooting 61 percent to break the game open en route to a 97-79 win over Pacific. Nate Robinson scored 18 of his 23 points in the second half to lead the Huskies (29-5), leading their up-tempo game as they never trailed. Pacific (27-4) was led by Guillaume Yango’s 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Panthers Keep Rolling: Wisconsin-Milwaukee forced 22 turnovers and took full advantage of them in an 83-75 win over Boston College, advancing to the Sweet 16 for the first time in school history. In the first couple of minutes, it looked like it would be all Eagles as they scored the game’s first 11 points. But the Panthers (26-5) went on a 19-3 run to take the lead, which they held until an 8-0 run by the Eagles gave them a 31-30 lead with under five minutes left in the first half. The second half was back-and-forth, with the Panthers scoring the game’s last nine points for the win. Joah Tucker led the Panthers with 23 points. Boston College (25-5) was led by Craig Smith’s 25 points, and Jared Dudley added 22.

Illini Big Men Can Play, Too: Illinois got a career-high 23 points from James Augustine and 12 more from Jack Ingram en route to a 71-59 win over Nevada. As if the offensive boost from the frontcourt wasn’t enough, they also shut down Wolfpack star center Nick Fazekas, who scored just 11 points on 5-20 shooting. The Illini (34-1) have reached the Sweet 16 for fourth time in the last five seasons. Kevinn Pinkney led Nevada (25-7) with 21 points.

Utes End Sooners’ Run: Andrew Bogut did it all for Utah, scoring 10 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and handing out seven assists as the Utes advanced to the Sweet 16 with a 67-58 win over Oklahoma. Bogut’s support was solid as Justin Hawkins had 20 points and 14 rebounds, Marc Jackson had 17 points and Bryant Markson 16 for the Utes (29-5). Oklahoma (25-8) shot 32 percent from the field, getting 19 points and 15 rebounds from Taj Gray.

Wildcats Coast Into Sweet 16: Despite some struggles in the first half, Arizona managed to lead most of the way, then pulled away in the second half in their 85-63 win over UAB. In the second half, the Wildcats (29-6) committed just four turnovers, and they continued to shut down UAB as the Blazers shot just 32 percent for the game. Salim Stoudamire led Arizona with 28 points. UAB (22-11) was led by Donell Taylor’s 13 points and Demario Eddins added 12.

These Wildcats Are Also In: Kentucky rode its strong inside play to a 69-60 win over Cincinnati in just the sixth time the two nearby schools have played each other since 1948. A 34-12 advantage in points in the paint was the big difference for the Wildcats (27-5), who shot 48.1 percent from the field and had all five starters score in double figures, led by Kelenna Azubuike’s 19 points. Nick Williams led Cincinnati (25-8) with 16 points as the Bearcats shot below 33 percent from the field. The game was played in front of 40,331 fans, a one-session record for an NCAA subregional site.

Mountaineers Stun Demon Deacons: Mike Gansey scored 19 of his career-high 29 points in two overtime sessions to lead West Virginia to a 111-105 upset of Wake Forest. The game was certainly a war of attrition, as each team had three players foul out and three other players had four fouls when the game ended. Taron Downey, who led the Demon Deacons with a career-high 27 points, hit two clutch three-pointers that kept the Demon Deacons (27-6) in contention, including one that sent the game into the first overtime. Eric Williams had 23 points and 12 rebounds and Chris Paul added 22 points and nine assists before fouling out in overtime. Tyrone Sally helped Gansey with 21 points before fouling out, as five players scored in double figures for the Mountaineers (23-10).

Tigers Win Easily in NIT: Rodney Carney led five players in double figures with 17 points coming off the bench, leading Memphis to an easy 83-62 win over visiting Virginia Tech. Anthony Rice added 16 points for the Tigers (21-15), who made 10-of-22 three-pointers. Virginia Tech (16-14) was led by James Gordon’s 16 points.

Other NIT Winners: Also advancing in the NIT were Texas A&M (21-9), 75-72 winners at DePaul (20-11) behind 23 points from reserve Bobby Leach; St. Joseph’s (21-11), 55-50 winners over visiting Buffalo (23-10) behind 26 points from Pat Carroll; Davidson (23-8), which got 22 points from Brendan Winters to knock off host Southwest Missouri State (19-13) 82-71; and Wichita State (22-9), 84-81 winners over Western Kentucky (22-9) thanks to shooting over 57 percent from the field and making six free throws in the final 91 seconds.

Injured Huskies Should Play Sunday: Connecticut junior guard Denham Brown did not practice with the team on Saturday, but should be ready to play in Sunday’s second round game against North Carolina State. Brown has been bothered by a nagging knee injury, and head coach Jim Calhoun said in his news conference that not having Brown practice is strictly a precautionary move. Calhoun also said that sophomore point guard Marcus Williams, whose knee was injured Friday’s win over Central Florida, would go for about 50 percent of practice and will start tomorrow.

Knight Doesn’t Like Practice and Game Times: Even with his team continuing to surpass many expectations, Bob Knight still found something to gripe about in Friday’s news conference in Tucson. He was not happy with the practice schedules, which included some teams on Wednesday practicing after 8 PM, as well as the game schedule, which included his Red Raiders playing at 11 A.M. local time against Gonzaga on Saturday.

Lebo Signs New Contract: Jeff Lebo signed a seven-year contract with Auburn, keeping him in town through the 2011-12 season. The Tigers posted a 14-17 record in his first season as their head coach, but Lebo feels good about what was put in place for the future. His base salary will be $175,000, according to athletic director Jay Jacobs, while endorsements, radio and television agreements will bring his overall compensation to $750,000 per year.

Tonight’s Menu

• In Worcester, No. 2 Connecticut takes on No. 10 North Carolina State (Syracuse region), then No. 5 Michigan State takes on No. 13 Vermont (Austin).

• In Charlotte, No. 1 North Carolina takes on No. 9 Iowa State (Syracuse), then No. 1 Duke takes on No. 9 Mississippi State.

• In Nashville, No. 4 Louisville plays against No. 5 Georgia Tech and No. 4 Florida plays No. 5 Villanova.

• In Oklahoma City, No. 2 Oklahoma State takes on No. 7 Southern Illinois, then No. 6 Wisconsin and No. 14 Bucknell battle.

Syracuse First Round Recap

by - Published March 20, 2005 in Conference Notes




First Round Recap – Syracuse Region

by Jesse Ullmann

The desirable quality of Jay Wright’s team this season is defense. So when New Mexico was held to just 11 first-half points, the Villanova head coach was a happy camper. Punctuated by a three-pointer from Mike Nardi, the Wildcats headed into the locker room with a 23-point lead and were the eventual winners of a 55-47 contest.

The Lobos did manage a second half run, but the game had far back been put out of reach. After four missed free throws by Villanova, Lobo guard Mark Walters penetrated the lane converting on a lay-up with 29.2 seconds left, bringing New Mexico within five, 52-47.

The Lobos, who won the Mountain West Conference Tournament and would have probably received an at-large bid anyway, end a 9-game win streak and finish the season 26-7.

Villanova, meanwhile improves to 23-7 and will next play in what appears to be a sensational matchup against Florida. The well-hyped junior class of Allan Ray, Curtis Sumpter and Jason Fraser combined to score 8 points. Nardi finished with 15 points and backcourt mate Randy Foye added 14 in the low-scoring affair. The Villanova defense, which mirrors the physically-oriented Big East conference, held the Lobos to 16.7 percent (4-24) shooting from three-point range.

Senior forward Danny Granger led UNM with 15 points and 12 rebounds. In January Granger underwent arthroscopic surgery and his team was 0-3 without him. Granger’s importance to this team was instrumental. Dating all the way back to December, the Lobos went 16-1 with Granger in the lineup. Walters also got into the mix, scoring 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting, and the Lobos received just two points from their bench.

The 26 wins New Mexico finishes with are the second-most in school history. This was the Lobos’ first loss of the season when holding an opponent to less than 60 points.

Austin First Round Recap

by - Published March 20, 2005 in Conference Notes




First Round Recap – Austin Region

by Phil Kasiecki

WORCESTER, Mass. – Alan Anderson and Paul Davis combined to make four free throws in the final 43 seconds to help Michigan State to an 89-81 win over Old Dominion in first round action.

The final game of the day in Worcester was much like the other three in being a close game, as the largest lead either team had was eight points. Old Dominion led for most of the first 35 minutes of the game, and they temporarily regained it on a layup by Brandon Johnson with 9:48 left and again on a jumper by Isaiah Hunter with 9:04 to play.

The Spartans (23-6) took the lead for good on a layup by Kelvin Torbert with 8:21 left. The Monarchs got the lead down to one on two occasions, but the Spartans had answers every time.

Michigan State shot just under 57 percent from the field and held the Monarchs (28-6) below 43 percent. The Spartans’ big edge was on the fast break, where they had a 20-4 edge.

Anderson led five Spartans in double figures with 15 points, while Davis added 14 and Shannon Brown, Maurice Ager and Torbert each had 13. Alex Loughton led Old Dominion with 22 points, 11 rebounds and six assists.

Albuquerque First Round Recap

by - Published March 20, 2005 in Conference Notes




First Round Recap – Albuquerque Region

by Steve Sheridan

The guard tandem of Ronald Ross and Jarrius Jackson combined to score 45 points and lead Bob Knight’s Red Raiders over UCLA on Thursday night.

In the first half, the Red Raiders jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead and never fell behind the rest of the way, although the Bruins would not go away without a fight. UCLA hung around for most of the contest, but a decisive 14-5 run that ended with 1:31 remaining gave the Red Raiders enough breathing room to take home a victory. In that pivotal run, Jackson scored eight points and Ross added four of his own.

Texas Tech held off the UCLA charge in large part by not allowing the Bruins any semblance of a run in the final 20 minutes. Over that span, UCLA could not score more than four consecutive points without a Texas Tech answer, ensuring the Red Raiders of a spot in the second round.

Texas Tech shot over 57 percent from the floor, including 11-of-21 shooting by Ross, who led all scorers with 28 points. Jackson added 17 points and Devonne Giles contributed 16 before fouling out with 2:11 left. Dijon Thompson was one of two Bruin players in double figures with 22 points.

Cincinnati vs. Kentucky

by - Published March 20, 2005 in Columns



Catfight Between The Bearcats and Wildcats!

by Bill Kintner

CINCINNATI – Only 85 miles separate the University of Cincinnati from the University of Kentucky, but for the last 14 years it might as well have been 8000 miles. For years the fans of both programs that live in the Greater Cincinnati area have been arguing about which program is better. But since they didn’t play each other, it was it was just an academic argument, if not an occasional fist fight.

The argument is about to be settled on Saturday night in Indianapolis during the second round of the NCAA Tournament at the RCA Dome. Well, the settlement will be area bragging rights, at least for awhile.

The last time the two ‘Cats teams played was in 1990, with Kentucky winning 75-71. That is the only time they have played since Bob Huggins has been the UC coach. Of course, before that there was the infamous slow down game in 1983, when Cincinnati’s coach Tony Yates’ outgunned team played a slow down game the resulted in a 24-11 Wildcats win. It so infuriated Kentucky coach Joe B. Hall that he vowed never to play the Bearcats again when the contract was up.

The series goes back to the first game during the 1901-02 season, when Cincinnati defeated Kentucky 31-21. In the all-time series, Kentucky leads Cincinnati 26-11. As you look down through the years when they played, Kentucky (26-5) had an uncanny ability to schedule the Bearcats when they were down and avoid them when they were good. The schools played in the 1930s and 1940s when UC was not a great team, and they didn’t play in the late 1950s and early 1960s when UC was a powerhouse. When UC was winning in the 1970s under Gale Catlett, Kentucky was nowhere to be found on the UC schedule. Then they popped up on the Cincinnati schedule in the 1980s for four games when UC was not very good. When UC got rolling under Bob Huggins in the 1990s surprise, surprise: no Wildcats on the UC schedule.

Now that we have established that Kentucky has thumped the Bearcats over the years, this game looks to be a real barn burner. This year’s editions of both the Bearcats and Wildcats feature teams that are not considered great, at least by traditional standards. Kentucky had problems beating Eastern Kentucky in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, and before that they were coming off a loss to Florida in the SEC Tournament. Before beating Iowa in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, the Bearcats lost to South Florida in the C-USA Tournament. Cincinnati doesn’t shoot well, but they are big, strong and know how to rebound.

For Bearcat fans it is finally a chance to prove that their team deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the Wildcats and maybe a chance to shut up some of their friends who are UK fans. This game for basketball fans in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky is Christmas in March.

For Kentucky fans that have numerous rivals, including Louisville and Indiana, it is not quite as big a game. It is probably a bigger game for the numerous UK fans that live in the Greater Cincinnati area than the ones spread out in every corner of Kentucky. From talking with Wildcat fans, it appears they are certainly worried about this game. But so are the UC fans.

For UK fan Joe Mardis, 27, from Covington, KY he is more than ready to see his beloved Wildcats take on the Bearcats. “It is a game I have been waiting a long time for. Huggins has really restored the program at UC. It has made all these UC fans think they can challenge one of the elite programs in the country,” said Mardis. He is definitely worried about the outcome of the game. “UC presents a lot of match up problems for Kentucky.”

Cincinnati fan Doug Kennedy, 41, of Cincinnati is not all that confident that his team will win either. “I would love to see UC win, but I didn’t pick them in any of my brackets. I think both UC and Kentucky proved they could play poorly in their conference tournaments,” explained Kennedy.

“It’s been a long time since UC has played Kentucky and all we ever hear about is that game back in the 1980’s when UC held the ball. UK just won’t let it go. It is a chance to show that UC is a worthy competitor of UK,” said 36 year-old Dave Lampe, a long-time UC fan from Cincinnati. “I hate to admit it but I think UK should win. But from what I have read the Kentucky players may not be taking this game serious enough. I think the UC players are taking it as more of a rivalry than UK players are. So who knows?”

Of course, there are some Kentucky fans who are not too impressed with all the success UC has experienced during Bob Huggins’ tenure as coach. “This game doesn’t mean a whole lot. It is a C-USA team and they don’t mean a whole lot. We (UK) are the ultimate team, the team to beat,” boasted 48-year-old Garry Clark of Louisville. But when asked who would win Clark hedged his bets saying, “If Kentucky runs then they will win and if they play a half court game they will lose.”

To UC fans… them there is fightin’ words! (A little Kentucky lingo there, folks.) There has been plenty of that kind of talk in offices, factories, bars and on sports radio. In Southern Ohio and Northern Kentucky, there is a lot of side betting going on in addition to all the office pools.

Of course, we can’t forget the celebrity aspect of this catfight. Actress Ashley Judd, who was born in Kentucky, will cheer UK on. For the Bearcats, they will be cheered on live and in person by Cincinnati native singer Nick Lachey. What that means to the outcome of the game, I am not sure. But it certainly can’t hurt the excitement factor in the RCA Dome.

When it the game is over, no matter which team prevails there will be a lot of very happy fans in Cincinnati and a lot of very sad fans, But maybe – just maybe – there will be a new rivalry for the hoops fans in this basketball-crazy area of the country.

     

Vermont’s First Round Win

by - Published March 19, 2005 in Columns




Can it Get Any Better in Vermont?

by Phil Kasiecki

WORCESTER, Mass. – The Bay State is fast becoming the place of great sports stories these days. There also seems to be a common theme, one that should be refreshing to sports fans all over.

The Boston area had the Patriots win two Super Bowls in three years, winning with a team of great character – the kind that makes you want to naturally root for a team. Still, they longed for a World Series title with the Red Sox, and finally, they got it in October. Once again, it was a team of some character, although a little different – this group was a very loose group of characters. For good measure, the Patriots added a third Super Bowl championship just last month, and earlier in the year, Boston College won their first 20 games of the season in basketball.

Friday night, the state became home to another sports story, although it ultimately belongs to a neighboring state to the north. With Vermont’s 60-57 overtime win over Syracuse at the DCU Center in Worcester, the story of the school in the tight-knit town of Burlington, Vermont just grows a little more.

“We’re good, I’ve been saying that all the time, and now, it’s just out there, it’s out there that we are good,” head coach Tom Brennan said.

Much of the story of the Catamounts is available to those outside of the immediate geographic area. In recent years, they have received their fair share of national attention, from winning three straight America East championships to the play of star senior Taylor Coppenrath to their retiring head coach. Anyone who has been to the campus has been able to realize that Burlington is home to one of the real hidden treasures of college basketball, and that isn’t just true on the hardwood.

“Everybody has come up to us,” said Brennan of the national attention they have received. “Everybody says the same thing – what’s wrong here, what aren’t we seeing, what’s going on? I told people the same thing: you came looking for me, we didn’t come looking for you! I didn’t call anybody and say, ‘come up and see what a good deal we have here.’ We’ve done it this way for 19 years – we’ve done it always this way, we graduate our kids.”

On Friday, much of it played out in their first round upset, which continued the assault on the school record books that has taken place over the last four years. They never won 20 or more games until the past four years, in which they have won at least 21 games each season and are peaking with 25 this season. In that time, their record is 89-35. Only two other teams have won three consecutive America East championships, so they join elite company there. Friday’s win is their first ever in the NCAA Tournament, their first ever over a Big East team, and also their first over a ranked team in 13 tries.

This is a team, much like all of the other teams Tom Brennan has had in 19 seasons, composed of players who are not elite talents. None were mistaken for McDonald’s All-Americans in high school; instead, they were good players, solid citizens, and good students. This is life as a mid-major; every so often, you might get a player talented enough to play at a higher level, or one who was still early in his development and flew under the radar, or one who simply gets more out of his talent than anyone. Sometimes, it’s the right mix of players – as the Red Sox and Patriots have shown, the importance of chemistry cannot be understated.

Vermont has a combination of some of the above. They have players like Sorrentine, a solid mid-major prospect coming out of St. Raphael’s High School in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Coppenrath never scored 1,000 points at the varsity level in Vermont, and redshirted his freshman year to develop further. Germain Mopa Njila was a role player on a good AAU team, but was not a star. Casual fans in the United States surely had no idea who senior David Hehn (who is from Ontario) or sophomore Martin Kilmes (from the Czech Republic) were, or even Mopa Njila, a native of Cameroon who came to the U.S. just two years before coming to Vermont.

After Friday night’s game, more people from outside Vermont know who they are now.

“Now, we’re validated, we are really validated as a program,” Brennan said.

Further validating them was a call from Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy. Brennan said Leahy and New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton put a friendly wager on the game. He didn’t know what was on the line, but didn’t care; the locker room erupted into laughter as he said that.

The win over Syracuse was vintage Vermont basketball in many respects. The crowd was decidedly pro-Vermont; part of it was how well they travel, especially to sites in Massachusetts, but part of it was surely sentimental and part of it was surely casual fans rooting for the underdog. The atmosphere was simply amazing, and it was close throughout as neither team ever led by more than six. The Catamounts were simply the tougher team, winning a game that was certainly not pretty, and they made the plays when it counted. They used their patient offense to make Syracuse work in their 2-3 zone defense, working the shot clock down and making shots when they needed to.

The star players didn’t carry the Catamounts like they did in the America East Tournament, but they certainly played key roles. The senior-laden team played like one, with Mopa Njila playing the game of a lifetime. His 20 points on 9-of-10 shooting, along with nine rebounds, five assists and four steals, was certainly the stat line of the night, but he did it playing just like he always has. He plays the game in flow, always seeming to make the right decision with the ball, whether it’s taking a shot or even passing up a shot where no defender is within several feet of him. Always a guy who plays bigger than his size, he was larger than life on Friday night.

“Today it was on national TV against one of the best programs in history,” he said after the game. “It’s even better, it’s by far the best game of my life.”

Another regularity was the clutch shot by Sorrentine, who has done this his entire career. On Friday, the stakes were much higher and the shot deeper – several feet behind the NBA three-point line. There was never a doubt as the shot clock ran down where the ball was headed.

“I knew it was down when I let it go. I had one more in me,” Sorrentine said.

Like the success of the pro sports teams, the success of the Catamounts is really something a fan of the game should appreciate. This is a team you can really get behind – they’re solid young men, excellent students, very down-to-earth, and they play the game the right way. In an age where the world of sports has things like performance-enhancing drugs, athletes and coaches who are hardly model citizens, as well as players who are showmen instead of winning players, Vermont is a breath of fresh air. This is the kind of team you want to see succeed if you want to see the good guys come out on top.

Vermont has been on quite a ride the last four seasons with its unprecedented success. They will face Michigan State on Sunday in the second round, hoping to continue it just a little longer. Friday night’s win is a great cap on the current run, but winning Sunday would just be a little extra-special, and it would be part of one more great sports story happening in Massachusetts of late.

     

Albuquerque First Round Recap

by - Published March 19, 2005 in Conference Notes



First Round Recap – Albuquerque Region

by Nick Dettmann

CLEVELAND – The West Virginia/Creighton match-up came as close to having a buzzer-beater you can without actually having one.

After a missed shot by Creighton’s Tyler McKinney, which would have given the Blue Jays the lead with under five seconds remaining, it was instead the Mountaineers who took an outlet pass by Mike Gansey, a graduate of nearby Olmstead Falls, to Tyrone Sally with a rim-rocking slam dunk with 1.7 seconds left to give West Virginia a 63-61 lead.

Creighton attempted to hit a shot at the buzzer by Nate Funk, but missed long, preserving the victory for West Virginia.

West Virginia (22-10) advances to play Wake Forest (27-5) on Saturday following the UW-Milwaukee/Boston College game at the Wolstein Center. That game begins at 5:30 p.m. (EST).

The Mountaineers hit 6-of-13 three-pointers in the first half. WVU came into the game having attempted 795 three-pointers, attempted only three in the first 13 minutes of the second half.

The defense was stifling at both ends of the floor. Creighton could only muster a 7-for-20 shooting performance in the second half.

Kevin Pittsnogle of West Virginia led the way for the Mountaineers with 17 points.

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June 30, 2014 by

big12

When it comes to overall depth, the Big 12 this season may have been one of the strongest leagues in a long time. The conference sent seven of its 10 teams to the NCAA Tournament, the first time in 21 years and just the fifth time ever that a league sent 70% or more of its teams to the tourney.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter