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News Nuggets, 03.18.05
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Compiled from staff reports and electronic dispatches

UAB smothers 6th-seeded LSU in first-round shocker


03.17.05: Timeline on ECU hoops coach Ricky Stokes ... Nothing heals like an NIT win for Tigers' Washington ... Horned Frogs halt RedHawks' home streak ... Davidson rips VCU for first-ever NIT victory ... More...
03.16.05: It's not the Big Dance, but it's a win for DePaul ... NCAA preview: UAB vs. LSU ... NCAA preview: Cincinnati vs. Iowa ... CORRECTED Final AP college basketball poll ... More...
03.15.05: Handicapped Marquette makes quit exit from NIT ... New arena a factor in Virginia's firing of Gillen ... Heart attack hospitalizes Tech football coach ... Final 2004-05 college basketball poll ... More...
03.14.05: 12 current, future C- USA teams earn NCAA or NIT bids ... Finney dismissed by Tulane ... More...
03.13.05: Missed free throws cost Memphis league title ... Marquette to host Western Michigan in NIT ... Pac-10 jumps on instant replay bandwagon ... More...
03.12.05: Cards stand between Memphis and NCAA bid ... Pirates' head trainer wins statewide award ... N.C. college baseball coach reaches milestone ... More...
03.11.05: Upsets spawn unexpected C-USA semifinal pairings ... Updated Conference USA Tournament brackets ... Fla. Intl. baseball coach gets win No. 1000 ... More...
03.10.05: ECU boosters anoint new leaders ... Tournament shocker: USF ambushes Houston ... Basden, Pitino cop league's highest honors ... Marshall football coach hangs up whistle ... More...
03.09.05: 49ers' Basden, Pirates' Hammonds honored by C-USA ... Gamecocks' Thompson surrenders to police ... Holiday Bowl doles out highest all-time payout ... More...
03.08.05: ECU QB derby a focus as spring drills kick off ... Pirate pitcher recognized for taming Dogs ... 2004-05 All-Conference USA basketball team ... Cards top trio of C-USA teams in hoops poll ... More...
03.07.05: ACC membership no boon for Miami baseball ... C- USA Tournament brackets and TV lineup ... C-USA Final Regular Season Standings ... More...
03.06.05: C-USA Roundup: Cards buck trend on day of upsets ... C-USA Final Regular Season Standings ... More...
03.05.05: Last chance for Cardinals to earn an outright title ... C-USA basketball standings, scores, schedule & TV ... SEC football to use instant replay next season ... More...
03.04.05: ECU sprint sensation speeds to the big bucks ... Cards thump 49ers to nail down top seed ... C-USA basketball standings, scores, schedule & TV ... Spurrier lays down law on behavior at USC ... More...

BOISE — UAB could be ready for another deep run in the NCAA tournament thanks to its frenetic defense.

Marvett McDonald had 21 points and hit five 3-pointers, and 11th-seeded Alabama-Birmingham used its stingy defense to pull off another upset, knocking off Louisiana State 82-68 Thursday night in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

UAB (22-10) reached the round of 16 last year after beating Washington and top-seeded Kentucky, and the Blazers seem to have that same kind of confidence after taking out the Chicago Regional's sixth seed.

Next up for UAB is third-seeded Arizona, which had trouble with No. 14 Utah State before pulling away in the second half for a 66-53 victory.

LSU (20-10) got into the NCAA tournament with an eight-game winning streak and a one-point overtime loss to Kentucky in the SEC title game, but the Tigers were no match for UAB's in-your-face defense.

LSU seemed to press once it fell behind and didn't find a rhythm offensively until it was too late, ending its first trip to the NCAA tournament since 2003 in disappointment.

UAB's attacking defense gave the Tigers fits from the start.

Using a seemingly endless bench — all 12 players saw action in the first half — the Blazers pressed the length of the floor and trapped in halfcourt sets, hounding LSU into mistakes and disrupting the flow of its offense.

The Tigers had 21 turnovers — 12 in the first half — that led to 20 points, and had trouble controlling the ball even when UAB backed off, dribbling the ball off their feet out of bounds several times.

Bearcats dump Iowa, set sights on Kentucky

INDIANAPOLIS — Cincinnati expects blocked shots and rebounds from Jason Maxiell. But 3-pointers?

The 6-foot-7 senior had 22 points, nine rebounds, six blocked shots, a pair of steals and the first two 3-point baskets of his college career Thursday in a 76-64 first-round NCAA tournament victory over Iowa.

The Bearcats (25-7) advanced to Saturday's second round of the Austin Regional against Kentucky (26-5), which won its opener 72-64 over Eastern Kentucky at the RCA Dome.

Maxiell had missed all five 3-point attempts he had taken in his first 127 games with Cincinnati. But in the closing minutes against Iowa, with the game already decided, he shot twice from long range and hit both.

With the 250-pound Maxiell dominating the inside, Cincinnati showed a decidedly more physical game and threatened to run away from the Hawkeyes (21-12) almost from the start.

His six blocked shots gave him 89 for the season, second only to the school-record 107 by Kenyon Martin in 2000. With two other blocks by Hicks, the Bearcats are one short of the team-record 223 also set in 2000.

``Our guys did a real good job defensively,'' Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins said. ``We got the shooters. We were disciplined enough to stay down most of the time. Eric and Max were very active, which we need them to be. ... They have to be active and fly around the ball.''

With Maxiell repeatedly swatting away shots under the basket and Iowa unable to hit from the outside, the Bearcats limited the Hawkeyes to just one field goal and three free throws in the first 11 minutes of the game.

Three-pointers by Nick Williams, James White and Armein Kirkland, meanwhile, sparked a 21-3 run that put Cincinnati in control midway through the first half.

Preview: (7) Charlotte vs. (10) N.C. State

Six straight wins in the NCAA tournament gets you a national title. A losing skid heading into the tournament makes you a strong candidate for an early exit.

Charlotte, with the longest losing streak of any team in the NCAA tournament, takes on North Carolina State in a first round game on Friday in Worcester, MA (12:15 p.m.)

The 49ers have dropped three in a row, all on the road, including an 83-69 loss to Memphis in the quarterfinals of the Conference USA tournament last Thursday.

Charlotte's last win was on Feb. 26, when it beat Southern Mississippi 81-58. Its last road win came on Feb. 19, an 86-67 victory over Tulane.

The 49ers also have a two-game losing streak in NCAA tournament play. They were seeded ninth in 2002 and last season, losing in the first round both times.

With C-USA player of the year Eddie Basden and Curtis Withers leading the way, the 49ers have one of the most versatile frontcourts in the nation.

Basden, a first-team all-Conference USA selection and the league's defensive player of the year, is fifth in the nation with 3.2 steals per game. Withers, who averages 18.1 points per game, has upped that to 24.9 in his last eight contests.

The formidable frontcourt opens up the perimeter game for guard Brendan Plavich, who's first in the country with 3.9 3-pointers made per game. He's shooting 38 percent from beyond the arc.

N.C. State is making its fourth straight trip to the NCAA tournament, the second-longest run in team history. The Wolfpack went to five straight tournaments under Jim Valvano from 1985-89.

N.C. State was without point guard Jordan Collins and center Tony Bethel in a 76-69 loss to Duke on Saturday in the semifinals of the ACC tournament.

Bethel has missed two straight games with a groin pull. Collins played just two minutes in an 81-65 win over Wake Forest on March 11. The status of both players for Friday is uncertain.

``Hopefully, we will get one if not both back,'' Wolfpack coach Herb Sendek said. ``We have to be prepared to play in any way, shape or form, kind of the way we have had to play this entire season and in the ACC tournament.''

North Carolina State leads the series with Charlotte 5-2. The winner advances to face 15th-seeded Central Florida or No. 2 Connecticut in the second round Sunday.

PROBABLE STARTERS: N.C. State - F Hodge (17.0 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 4.6 apg), F Brackman (7.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg), F Evtimov (9.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg), G Bennerman (9.2 ppg, 2.6 rpg), G Atsur (9.3 ppg, 2.5 apg). Charlotte - F Withers (18.1 ppg, 8.3 rpg), F Basden (15.2 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 3.7 apg), C Martin Iti (5.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg), G Plavich (13.7 ppg, 2.8 rpg), G Baldwin (7.7 ppg, 3.9 apg).

HOW THEY GOT HERE: N.C. State - At-large berth, ACC. Charlotte - At-large berth, Conference USA.

ALL-TIME TOURNAMENT RECORD: NC State - 29-19, 20 years. Charlotte - 7-11, 10 years.

Preview: (4) Louisville vs. (13) UL-Lafayette

Rick Pitino's Louisville squad is on a season-high nine-game win streak — and has a roster that reminds him of some of his most formidable NCAA tournament teams.

Pitino hopes he has the players to make another deep run in the tournament as the Cardinals get set to face No. 13 Louisiana-Lafayette in the first round on Friday in Nashville, TN (7:10 p.m.)

With 18 wins in their last 19 games, the Cardinals are rolling as they make their 32nd appearance in the NCAA tournament after capturing their second Conference USA Tournament title in three years.

``This year, I think we're the real deal,'' Pitino said. ``We're a legitimate team and I haven't felt that way with any team I've coached at Louisville.''

Last season's Louisville squad lost nine of its last 13 games before falling 80-70 to Xavier in the second round of the NCAAs.

Though this season's group is deep in perimeter talent, it's power forward Ellis Myles that Pitino says stands out. Louisville's coach compares him to Antoine Walker, who helped lead Pitino to his only national title at Kentucky in 1995-96.

``Antoine Walker did so many things for us at Kentucky with his ball-handling and his passing,'' said Pitino, who's made four Final Four appearances. ``Ellis is doing the same things for us at Louisville. We know what he's all about.''

Myles' inside play is crucial to Louisville's success, but the athleticism of forward Francisco Garcia and guards Taquan Dean and Larry O'Bannon was just as important as the Cardinals won 29 games and earned a No. 4 seed — a spot that some observers criticized as being too low.

While confident in his team's ability, Pitino is also aware of the difficult task that lies ahead, and has plenty of respect for the Ragin' Cajuns. The Cardinals were sixth in the country in scoring at 81.2 points per game, but Louisiana-Lafayette hammered three foes by a combined 44 points to claim a second straight Sun Belt conference tournament and NCAA berth.

``We have ourselves a very difficult opening-round game,'' Pitino said. ''(But) they're talented and (we've got) to be ready for them.''

Louisiana-Lafayette also enters the tournament playing very well, with wins in 14 of its last 17 games. Tiras Wade averages 20.4 points per game to lead four Ragin' Cajuns starters averaging in double figures.

The Cajuns lost 61-52 to North Carolina State in the first round last season, and that experience has coach Robert Lee expecting more from his team this time around.

``Last year it was an exciting feeling to get in,'' Lee said. ``Now we're focused on winning games, then we can celebrate after it's all said and done. We need to keep our focus on winning. The team that focuses longer will be the one that wins the championship.''

Louisville has won all six meetings with Louisiana-Lafayette, previously known as Southwestern Louisiana, dating to 1966. The teams last met in 1991.

Friday's winner will face No. 5 Georgia Tech or 12th-seeded George Washington on Sunday.

PROBABLE STARTERS: Louisiana-Lafayette - F Hamilton (13.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg) C Cameron (8.1 ppg, 3.4 rpg), G Greene (11.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 4.1 apg), G Wade (20.4 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 2.4 spg), G Mitchell (10.6 ppg, 5.9 rpg). Louisville - F Palacios (9.8 ppg, 6.6 rpg), F Garcia (15.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg), F Myles (10.5 ppg, 9.3 rpg), G Dean (14.2 ppg, 3.9 rpg), G O'Bannon (14.9, 3.3 rpg).

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Louisiana-Lafayette - Automatic bid, Sun Belt Conference tournament champion. Louisville - Automatic bid, Conference USA tournament champion.

ALL-TIME TOURNAMENT RECORD: Louisiana-Lafayette - 4-9, 8 years. Louisville - 49-33, 31 years.

News Nuggets are compiled periodically based on material supplied by staff members; data published by ECU, Conference USA and its member schools; and reports from Associated Press and other sources. Copyright 2005 and other publishers. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Page Updated: 02/23/2007 12:22 PM


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