Sunday, March 04, 2001

C-USA tourney up for grabs

UC Notebook

By Michael Perry
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        CHICAGO — The University of Cincinnati has not dominated the Conference USA tournament the way it has the regular season.

        The Bearcats have won the tourney just twice in five years (1998, '96). Saint Louis, Charlotte and Marquette also have won.

        With the top seed for the sixth straight year, UC again has to be considered the favorite when the tournament tips off Wednesday in Louisville.

        “I think even if we didn't win these games, we'd still go in the tournament as the team to beat,” sophomore guard Kenny Satterfield said. “We could be 0-20 and people would still come at us like we're 20-0.”

        Eight of the 12 teams have winning overall records, and if this season has proven one thing, it's that C-USA games are unpredictable.

        “I think it's really wide open,” UC coach Bob Huggins said. “At least 10 out of 12 certainly have a chance to win, and the others have a chance to win games. I don't know if they can win four in a row. But they've proven they can win games.”

        GOOD HANDS PEOPLE: UC turned over the ball five times in Saturday's 75-62 victory over DePaul, its lowest total since Jan.23, 1993, a 40-38 victory over UAB. It was the ninth time this season the Bearcats have committed fewer than 10 turnovers and the sixth time in the last 10 games.

        ZONE BREAKER: Twice when the Blue Demons went to a zone defense, Huggins sent freshman guard Field Williams into the game. Twice, Williams nailed a 3-pointer. Williams is 26-of-60 from 3-point range (.433). He has played a total of 217 minutes. Consider this: Leonard Stokes has 27 3-pointers (in 81 attempts) in 739 minutes.

        LOGAN WATCH: Junior guard Steve Logan has 1,112 career points and moved into 27th place on UC's all-time list, seven points behind Bill Lammert (1952-55) and Melvin Levett (1996-99). Logan also has hit 21 consecutive free throws over the past three games.

        LITTLE HURTING: Donald Little will be playing in pain the rest of the season. The sophomore center, whose right elbow is heavily taped and padded, is suffering from recurrent bursitis and is expected to have surgery after the season. He had similar surgery on his left elbow his first year at UC. Trainer Jayd Grossman said Little should be able to resume normal basketball activities within a month after the operation.

        Little had eight points on 4-of-5 shooting and four rebounds in 24 minutes against DePaul. The biggest problem right now: He is struggling at the foul line. Little was 0-of-3 Saturday and is just 3-of-12 over the past six games.

        NOTABLE NUMBERS: UC junior Immanuel McElroy finished with four points, breaking his string of four consecutive games in double figures. ... Antwan Jones is 2-of-18 from the field over the last three games. ... Jamaal Davis has averaged 8.0 points and 5.5 rebounds the past two games.


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