Monday, March 11, 2002

Bearcats low-key about high seed

By Michael Perry
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins.
(AP photo)
| ZOOM |
        After Oklahoma knocked off top-ranked Kansas in the Big 12 Tournament final Sunday, the University of Cincinnati players had more than doubts. Some flat-out figured the Bearcats would lose an NCAA Tournament No. 1 seed to the Sooners.

        They didn't.

        “We've been working hard all season and the summer,” UC senior guard Steve Logan said. “I think it's a reward now for that. We believed in one another, and we believed in our coaching staff ... and look at us now: We're No. 1, and we've got a chance to win the whole thing.”

        UC (30-3), unranked in the preseason, was selected as a top seed for the first time in school history. The Bearcats were assigned to the West Regional and will face 16th-seeded Boston University (22-9) Friday at Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh. Game times have not been released.

        The No. 5-ranked Bearcats won the Conference USA regular-season and tournament championships and were No. 2 in the Ratings Percentage Index on Sunday. They defeated Mississippi State — which won the Southeastern Conference Tournament — by 34 points in December in Las Vegas.

        Of their three losses, two came to teams in the NCAA field — Oklahoma State, the No. 7 seed in the South; and Marquette, the fifth seed in the East.

        It has been a businesslike team, which may explain the players' reactions Sunday when their No. 1 seed was announced in the first few minutes of CBS' telecast.

        “I think everybody else, like the coaches and the coaches' wives, were more excited than we were,” junior center Donald Little said. “I don't know why. I'm excited now. I'm ready to roll.”

        Said senior Jamaal Davis: “We were just like, "OK, we've got practice tomorrow.' Being No. 1 in anything is always good. I don't think it was a real goal. Making it to the Final Four is our goal now.”

        Added junior Leonard Stokes: “We're glad we have the No. 1 seed, but whether we had a 1 or a 2, we were going to come out and play as hard as we can, no matter what.”

        CBS analyst Clark Kellogg was more lively than the Bearcats, firing this off right after the announcement: “I'm anxious to hear what the committee's rationale is. ... That may have already been decided prior to the end of that (Oklahoma-Kansas) game.”

        Lee Fowler, Division I Men's Basketball Committee chairman, said a 30-minute discussion took place about whether the Kansas-Oklahoma result would affect the No. 1 seedings.

        “We do look at the total season from start to finish, and we want to make sure one game doesn't influence too much,” Fowler said.

        This is UC's 21st NCAA Tournament appearance and 11th in a row. UC has been a No. 2 seed four times in the past nine years, but never a No. 1 under 13th-year coach Bob Huggins.

        Cincinnati advanced to the Sweet 16 last season before losing to Stanford; that came after four consecutive second-round losses.

        UC's last Final Four appearance was 10 years ago — in Huggins' third season.

        The Bearcats already had tape of Boston University, and Huggins was preparing to spend the night watching his first-round opponent, the American East Conference champion he admitted knowing little about.

        A potential second-round game against UCLA or Mississippi looms. If seeding holds, UC then would play Ohio State and Oklahoma to reach the Final Four in Atlanta.

        “The only thing I look at is the first two rounds,” Huggins said. “The more you do this, you learn it's a two-game tournament and you've got to get ready for the other people in that particular bracket. And you've got time after that's over with -- hopefully you're still alive -- (to) look at the next bracket.”


Bearcats Stories
- Bearcats low-key about high seed
UC sees Ohio State ahead
Most UC fans will get shut out
Terriers may be underdogs but they'll be dogged
UC's road to title game
UC women hope to make 'some noise'
Peahens are puzzle to Pirtle
UC wins C-USA tourney
Conference tourney just a warmup
Logan earns MVP honors

UC gets No. 1 seed; XU 7th
DAUGHERTY: Our city's got game
SULLIVAN: 65 teams not enough
Ohio St. confounded by seed, site
Ohio St. wins Big Ten tourney
UK warned: Don't look ahead
Goliaths don't scare Valparaiso
UK's road to title game
NCAA Men's Tournament preview
NCAA Men's Tournament schedule
NCAA Men's Tournament seedings
NCAA Women's Tournament preview
Men's NIT schedule
NIT takes half of Atlantic 10
NCAA Women's Tournament schedule
NKU women reach Elite Eight
Coming up this week
Division II women's basketball tournament
Hershey 2, Mighty Ducks 1
Wilmington women lose D-III regional
Xavier wants to do some damage
Hawaii has international lineup
XU's road to title game
Xavier wins Atlantic-10 tourney
Clark named fourth outfielder
Added years don't hurt Pineda
Blue Jays 4, Reds 3
Three girls teams eye state basketball titles
Five boys teams enter regionals
Ohio girls state tournament pairings
Ohio boys regional pairings
Ky. boys Sweet 16 schedule
Ky. girls regional pairings

Mail This Story (Click here) Send this story to a friend.

vs. South Florida (3-4)
• 1:00 p.m. Sat. Nov. 20
• Nippert Stadium
• Radio: WLW-AM 700


Paterno Won't Coach Penn St.-Temple Game

Paterno Won't Go to Penn St.-Temple Game

Spurrier Shadow Looms Large in Florida

No. 15 Rutgers Bracing for Historic Game

Hurricanes Stunned by Teammate's Murder

Big East logo
UC joins Big East
• A special section of complete coverage, as the UC Bearcats join one of the nation's elite sports conferences.


Terps Sign Gary Williams Through 2010-11

Bob Knight Approaches Winning Milestone

Buckeyes' Oden Content to Wait for NBA

Larranaga Enjoy Spoils of Final Four Run

Hansbrough Leads AP's All-America Team

AP's Preseason All-America Team

Gators Runaway Preseason No. 1 in Poll

Gators Return Starters to Defend Title

Texas Tech's Jackson Returns to Practice

Sutton Released From Hospital in Okla.


Paris Headlines AP's All-America Team

ACC New Powerhouse in Women's Basketball

Maryland Tops AP Women's Basketball Poll