Friday, March 15, 2002

DAUGHERTY: March Madness

History no friend to Boston

By Paul Daugherty,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        PITTSBURGH — You are a No.16 seed and you have never won a game in the NCAA Tournament. Not in 18 years. You are 0-for-70, hitting worse than Juan Castro.

        Since the field expanded to 64 teams, four teams seeded 15th have won. Another, Florida Atlantic, almost won Thursday. It is possible to win if you are a 15. The 16s never win. Their buses are always in the parking lot outside the arena, engines running.

        The University of Cincinnati, No.1 seed in the West Region, plays Boston University, No.16, in a first-round game tonight. In college basketball, Cincinnati against Boston is like New York against Fargo. A Martian will be at your door, selling magazine subscriptions, before a 16 beats a 1.

        The haves, have nots

        “If we can rebound at all, we'll be able to stay in the game for awhile,” says Dennis Wolff, BU's coach. Rebounding will be critical, Wolff figures. Rebounding is a big key.

        So is this:

        UC has two full-time men's basketball secretaries. BU has one, who also takes care of the soccer program. UC has a director of basketball operations and a video coordinator, both paid, both full time. BU?

        “Yeah, we got that,” Wolff says. “Non-paid. A guy that's going to grad school.”

        The video person? You have one of those?

        “Yeah. Same guy.”

        UC's operating budget for basketball this year is about $1.8 million. That's without salaries. BU's isn't quite that much. “If we need something, we get it,” says UC assistant coach Dan Peters.

        Dennis Wolff can recall a BU road trip several years ago when the hotel didn't have hot water for two days.

        “The disparity is tremendous,” Wolff says. Here's a disparity: Wolff is trying to simulate the Bearcats' rebounding and ball-pressuring defense in practice with reserve players who couldn't start against the likes of Binghamton and Stony Brook.

        “Once you get out there and they start dogging us, we can't prepare for that,” Wolff says.

        This is no knock on Wolff, who in eight seasons is BU's winningest coach, or on his players who were good enough to win the America East Tournament. It's just to say that the disparity within Division I basketball is wider than Jason Maxiell's shoulders.

        “It's almost the difference between Division I and Division III,” says Peters. Before he got to UC, Peters was the head coach at Youngstown State, a D-I school UC couldn't find with a telescope.

        Voodoo madness

        The notion the NCAA Tournament is Mad with upsets is about half-right, some of the time. It's a good image, but the chaos never trickles all the way down.

        This is what Dennis Wolff is telling his players about tonight's game: “This is the next game on the schedule. Make it as normal as possible.” Do not make it bigger than it is, or you will come to the bench during the first TV timeout and hyperventilate.

        He won't stress the nothing-to-lose angle, either. Coaches aren't like that. Every loss hurts. “Playing up the Rocky thing is counterproductive. That's acting like you don't have a chance before the game even starts,” Wolff says.

        They have a chance. It's the same chance a first-time lottery player has of winning $100 million.

        The Terriers hope to land a lucky punch. If they do, don't answer your door.

       Contact Paul Daugherty at 768-8454;


Bearcats Stories
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- DAUGHERTY: March Madness
Confident Bearcats thinking big
Twyman family nostalgic as UC-BU matchup nears
UC notebook
UC Women: For Pirtle, tourney was season-long

Ragtag Muskies prepare to dance
SULLIVAN: Future is now for West
Success starts with Chalmers
Buckeyes hold off tough Wildcats
Wildcats buck upset trend
NCAA Notebook
East Region roundup
Midwest Region roundup
South Region roundup
West Region roundup
NIT roundup
NIT scores
Maple Leafs topple Bruins
Sprewell pops Kings for 43 points in win
Coming up this week
Larkin leaves game against Yankees
Reds have big plans for final games
Reds notebook
Yankees 2, Reds 1
Baseball notebook
Bengals notebook
NFL notebook
Zone saves Winton Woods
Despite success, Tracy needs to leave Clermont Northeastern
Eastern Brown advances
St. Ursula, Rocky River evenly matched
Switch of offense boosts Reading past Hartley
Division II girls
Division IV girls
North Hardin, Lex Cath advance to Sweet Sixteen quarterfinals
Tournament pairings and results
Gymnastics all-stars

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• Nippert Stadium
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