Sunday, March 07, 1999

OHIO STATE NOTEBOOK


Buckeyes remain positive

BY SCOTT MacGREGOR
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        CHICAGO — Ohio State coach Jim O'Brien doesn't intend to let Saturday's upset loss to Illinois in the Big Ten Tournament ruin the Buckeyes' turnaround season.

        “I don't think it's going to affect our psyche going in (to the NCAA Tournament),” O'Brien said. “There's nothing that's going to happen that's going to take away from our positive approach heading in. We're going to be very upbeat. We have to be appreciative of everything that's happened this year.”

        The Buckeyes (23-8), who are almost assured an NCAA Tournament berth for the first time since 1992, probably will get no better than a No. 3 seed, but probably no worse than a No. 4. They entered the Big Ten Tournament with an RPI of 14 and ranked 11th nationally.

        “I think (the seed) should be relatively good,” O'Brien said. “At this point, who knows? We'll know where we're going when you guys know. We'll get together as a group, very quietly with our team, and find out where we're going to go.”

        Ohio State guard Scoonie Penn believes the Buckeyes deserve a No. 4 seed. “We'd be happy with that,” he said, adding the loss isn't devastating. “We still have something to look forward to.”

More tourney talk
        O'Brien wished Illinois luck in the championship game against Michigan State today and hopes the Illini (14-17) win to grab the conference's automatic NCAA bid. But he said if they do get the bid, it shouldn't hurt the cases for Purdue and Minnesota, two first-round Big Ten losers considered bubble teams.

        “I personally feel Purdue and Minnesota deserve to be in,” O'Brien said. “If Illinois gets it, does it hurt Purdue and Minnesota? I think not. Their RPI and their quality wins shouldn't be affected by how many teams are in from our conference.”

To the hole
        Buckeyes sophomore star Michael Redd's 32 points came mostly as a result of hard work taking the ball to the basket. With Penn ailing with leg cramps, Redd took the offensive load on himself, driving aggressively to the hole and drawing fouls. He ended 11-of-18 from the field, 2-of-4 on three-pointers and 8-of-11 from the free throw line.

        “We didn't have many fouls against us, and that was because we weren't being aggressive,” Redd said. “So I just decided to take it strong to the basket.”

Hot Illini
        How tough will it be for Illinois to win a fourth game in four days today against No. 2-ranked Michigan State?

        “I think it's going to be a monumental thing for them to do,” O'Brien said. “It's not only because it's a fourth game. Michigan State is not the type of team that's going to back up and let you do your stuff.”

       



Sports Stories
Duke dominance doesn't diminish dance
Is Duke unbeatable? Maybe not
KENTUCKY 69, AUBURN 57
UK NOTEBOOK
Miami healing, hoping for NCAA bid
No easy ride to Rocky Top
ILLINOIS 79, OHIO STATE 77
- OHIO STATE NOTEBOOK
NKU wins on last shot
Look for 'limiteds' to block Dolan
BASEBALL INSIDER
Ohio boys basketball scores
Ohio girls basketball scores
Ohio girls regional tournament pairings
Indiana girls basketball scores
Indiana girls state basketball championships
Kentucky boys basketball scores
Kentucky girls basketball scores
Elder summons that old Panther magic
Moeller finds some revenge, sectional title
Withrow wins second straight sectional
CINCINNATI BOYS BASKETBALL ROUNDUP
Mason girls live up to No. 1 ranking
CINCINNATI GIRLS BASKETBALL ROUNDUP
Regional title sweetest for Highlands seniors
Scruggs wins state wrestling title
Ohio state wrestling results
ADIRONDACK 3, MIGHTY DUCKS 2
Cyclones 2, CLEVELAND 0
HOCKEY TONIGHT

UC may still get No. 2 seed
Muskies anxious about selection
OF tutor helps Young
REDS NOTEBOOK
Reds 6, Red Sox 4
Reds sale depends on 'limiteds'
Mack's a risk worth taking
Bengals land ex-Steeler note tackle