Monday, March 12, 2001
Bearcats get what they wanted
UC likes seeding and location
By Michael Perry
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Dayton is roughly an hour away, yet the University of Cincinnati basketball team wanted to no part of playing there in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Bearcats wanted to get away.
They sure got their wish.
UC (23-9) was seeded No. 5 in the West Region and will play 12th-seeded Brigham Young University (24-8) at approximately 10:25 p.m. on Thursday in San Diego.
I don't know anything about them, UC coach Bob Huggins said Sunday after the NCAA Tournament draw was announced. I'll know in a few hours.
The winner plays the Indiana-Kent State winner Saturday. The West Regional is in Anaheim, Calif. The top seed in the West is Stanford (28-2), which would play the winner coming out of San Diego should the Cardinal advance.
Cincinnati was happy with its seeding and location. Huggins was confident UC would be a No. 5 seed, no worse than a six. The players were hoping for warm weather.
I wanted to go out west, to get away, to get our minds right, UC sophomore Donald Little said.
It seems like the further we go away, the better we play, junior Jamaal Davis said. We have less distractions.
The Bearcats believe one of their best trips of the season was in December when they played at UNLV, then went straight to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where they played three games in three days. They went 4-0 during that stretch.
With this group, probably the further away from home the better, Huggins said. With some groups, we're better off at home. With this one, we've played better when we've been away. When they get away, I think they concentrate a little bit more. Their focus is more on basketball.
The Bearcats are making their 10th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and 20th overall (35-18 record). They have their worst seed since 1995 when they were No. 7; they have been a No. 2 or 3 seed in each of the past five years.
UC has four consecutive second-round exits. It is playing in the West Region for the fourth time in eight years.
Final Four talk, of course, is premature. But last year, three of the Final Four teams were seeded No. 5 or worse: Florida (5), North Carolina (8) and Wisconsin (8).
Since 1990, only two other teams seeded No. 5 or worse advanced to the Final Four (No. 5 Mississippi State, 1996; and No. 6 Michigan, 1992).
I don't care too much about the seeds or where they send us, sophomore Kenny Satterfield said. If we come out and play the way we're capable of playing, I think we will do damage.
It's strictly business going out there, and that's what we've got to understand, junior Steve Logan said. "'We're not going out there to celebrate or have a good time; we're going out there to try to win this thing.
We just want to win. We don't care what people say. We've got to take care of the first game, and then worry about the second game.
Should UC advance, it would face either No. 4 seed Indiana (21-12) from the Big Ten, or No. 13 seed Kent State (23-9), which defeated Miami in the Mid-American Conference tournament final Saturday night.
Davis, who played high school basketball at Merrillville (Ind.) High School and was recruited by Indiana, wouldn't mind facing the Hoosiers.
It's not the same without coach (Bob) Knight, but it's home, Davis said. I played at Purdue and I never had a chance to play them.
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