Saturday, March 17, 2001

Who let the underdogs out?


13 lower-seeded teams advance

The Associated Press

        An upset or two by Gonzaga is becoming routine at the NCAAs. This year's topsy-turvy tourney saw a record number of low-seeded teams get in on the act, too.

        Indiana State, Butler, Temple, Charlotte and Fresno State joined the 12th-seeded Bulldogs in advancing Friday, meaning 13 of the tournament's 32 first-round games were won by underdogs.

        That's the most opening victories by teams seeded ninth or lower since the event expanded to 64 teams in 1985. Twelve such surprises happened in 1989 and 1999; there were three last year.

        Friday's six upsets in the South and Midwest Regionals added to the seven from Thursday's games in the West and East, including No. 15 Hampton's victory over No. 2 Iowa State.

        In the South Regional in Memphis, Tenn., Casey Calvary put back a blocked shot with 9.2 seconds left to give Gonzaga an 86-85 win over fifth-seeded Virginia.

        With Virginia ahead 85-84 and 21.4 seconds left, Cavaliers freshman J.C. Mathis was fouled but missed the front end of a one-and-one, giving Gonzaga another chance.

        After falling just a game short of the Final Four as a No. 10 seed in 1999, and reaching the regional semifinals from the same slot last year, Gonzaga (25-6) is hardly an unknown.

        “We weren't crazy about playing them,” Virginia coach Pete Gillen said. “They are much better than a 12 seed. It's not the committee's fault. They hadn't seen Gonzaga. These guys are tremendous.”

        The Bulldogs knocked out second-seeded teams in the second round each of the past two years. Now they'll face No. 13 Indiana State, which edged Big 12 tournament champion and fourth-seeded Oklahoma 70-68 in overtime.

        It was Indiana State's first tournament victory since Larry Bird led the team to the 1979 championship game.

        Matt Renn's 22 points paced the Sycamores, who overcame a second-half deficit that at one juncture matched their seeding.

        At the Midwest Regional, in Kansas City, Mo., 10th-seeded Butler won an NCAA tournament game for the first time in nearly 40 years, holding Wake Forest to a record-low 10 points in the first half en route to a 79-63 victory.

        Wake Forest (19-11) had the lowest-scoring half in any NCAA tournament game since the introduction of the shot clock in 1985-86, going only 3-of-25 from the field.

        In a near-upset that fell short, third-seeded Mississippi eked out a 72-70 victory over No. 14 Iona.

        With 1.8 seconds to go and the score 71-70, Ole Miss' Rahim Lockhart stripped Iona's Courtney Fields of the ball in the lane and Jason Holmes hit a free throw for the game's final point.

        Second-round play starts today in the East and West.

        South

        Gonzaga 86, Virginia 85

        Dan Dickau had 29 points and took the shot that was blocked, then grabbed and put in by Calvary (16 points, 15 rebounds).

        Roger Mason Jr. scored a career-high 30 for Virginia (20-9).

        Indiana State 70, Oklahoma 68

        Kelyn Block scored five of his 17 points in overtime for Indiana State (22-11) after having three teeth either knocked out or chipped late in regulation. Oklahoma finished 26-7.

        Michigan St. 69, Alabama St. 35

        Andre Hutson had 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Jason Richardson added 14 points for Michigan State (25-4), which is trying to become the sixth team to win consecutive titles and the first since Duke in 1991-92.

        Alabama State (22-9) was making its tournament debut.

        Fresno St. 82, California 70

        Demetrius Porter scored a career-high 27 points for Fresno State (26-6), giving Tarkanian a 17-1 record in the first round of the NCAAs. Tarkanian coached UNLV to the 1990 title, but hadn't won a tournament game since a regional final the next year.

        Cal (20-11) was making its first NCAA appearance since 1997.

        Temple 79, Texas 65

        Temple (22-12) held Texas to 39-percent shooting, and Quincy Wadley scored 20 of his 23 points in the first half.

        North Carolina 70, Princeton 48

        The Tar Heels (26-6), returning to the site of their last two NCAA titles, took an 8-0 lead and built it to 36-16 at halftime.

        UNC's Brendan Haywood scored 15 points, and Joseph Forte, an All-American, had 13 points and 12 rebounds. Ed Persia led Princeton (16-11) with 16 points.

        Florida 69, Western Kentucky 56

        The Gators (24-6), who reached the championship game last season, settled down after a shaky start and used a 14-0 run early in the second half. Udonis Haslem had 24 points and 11 rebounds.

        Western Kentucky (24-7) did not beat any team in the 65-team tournament field.

        Penn St. 69, Providence 59

        Brothers Joe and Jon Crispin combined for 24 points, nine rebounds and five assists to lead No. 7 Penn State (20-11).

        Providence (21-10) shot just 36 percent from the field.

        Midwest

        Butler 79, Wake Forest 63

        Brandon Miller led the way with 18 points as Butler (24-7) picked up its first NCAA tournament triumph since 1962.

        Mississippi 72, Iona 70

        The lead changed hands six times by halftime, when Iona led 38-35. The Gaels went ahead 70-67 with 1:56 left on Earl Johnson's basket, but Emmanuel Wade tied it with a 3-pointer.

        Wade led Ole Miss (26-7) with 19 points, and Lockhart added 12 in just 15 minutes.

        Nakiea Miller had 19 points and 10 rebounds for Iona (22-11).

        Arizona 101, Eastern Illinois 76

        Gilbert Arenas scored 21 points for the Wildcats (24-7), who had five players in double figures.

        Notre Dame 83, Xavier 71

        Matt Carroll scored 21 points and David Graves added 20 on 7-for-7 shooting as Notre Dame (20-9) played its first tournament game since 1990. David West had 19 points and had eight rebounds for Xavier (21-8).

        Charlotte 70, Tennessee 63

        Jobey Thomas scored the last six points, including four free throws in the final 25 seconds, for the 49ers (22-10).

        The game might have been the last at Tennessee (22-11) for coach Jerry Green, despite 20-win seasons and trips to the NCAA tournament in each of his four seasons.

        Illinois 96, Northwestern State 54

        Illinois (25-7) ran to a 10-0 lead in the opening 100 seconds, dazzling the Demons (19-13), who won Tuesday's play-in game.

        Marcus Griffin scored 16 points, leading six players in double figures for Illinois.

        Kansas 99, Cal State Northridge 75

        Nick Collison had 23 points and 11 rebounds, and Kenny Gregory added 18 points and 11 rebounds as the Jayhawks (25-6) muscled their way to an 18th straight first-round victory.

        Northridge (22-10) made 13 of 30 3-pointers to stay as close as eight points midway through the second half.

        Syracuse 79, Hawaii 69

        Damone Brown had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Orangemen (25-8). Boeheim, in his 25th year as the head coach at his alma mater, is 600-207.

        Hawaii (17-14) missed its first eight 3-pointers and ended up 7-of-26.

        Online pool and college hoops coverage at Cincinnati.com



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