Sunday, March 10, 2002

UC gets No. 1 seed; XU 7th

Both teams in West Region

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The Cincinnati Bearcats got what they wanted - one of the four coveted No. 1 seeds in the NCAA men's basketball tournament - while the Xavier Musketeers got less than they hoped for - a No. 7 seed. Both teams are in the West Region. Here are the first-round pairings for area teams:

  UC has about 90 tickets available for students and 150 for season ticket holders (Details). Xavier's allotment had been reserved and both arenas are sold out.
        • (1) Cincinnati (30-3) vs. (16) Boston (22-9), Friday at Pittsburgh (West Region)

        • (7) Xavier (25-5) vs. (10) Hawaii (27-5), Friday at Dallas (West Region)

        • (4) Ohio State (23-7) vs. (13) Davidson (21-9), Thursday at Albuquerque (West Region)

        • (4) Kentucky (20-9) vs. (13) Valparaiso (25-7), Thursday at St. Louis (East Region)

        Game times and TV schedules will be announced today.

UC star Steve Logan talks about the NCAA Tournament Sunday.
(Steven M. Herppich photo)
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        “We've never been a 1,” UC coach Bob Huggins said. “I feel terrific for these guys. I know they're going to play hard. I just hope we make some shots.”

        But being No. 1 in the West could be a double-edged sword for UC. It's the toughest bracket in the tournament, with Oklahoma seeded No. 2, Arizona No. 3 and Ohio State No. 4. The Bearcats are looking at a tough second-round matchup against eighth-seeded UCLA (19-11) or ninth-seeded Mississippi (20-10) and are on a collision course with Ohio State, which won the Big Ten tournament Sunday, in the third round.

        UC and Ohio State haven't played in 40 years - since 1962 when UC beat Ohio State for the national title for the second year in a row.

Xavier's Thad Matta, Kevin Frey, David West and Lionel Chalmers give their perspective.
(Michael E. Keating photo)
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        The Bearcats, ranked No. 5 in the major polls, edged fourth-ranked Oklahoma for the final No. 1 seed in spite of Oklahoma's victory over top-ranked Kansas in the Big 12 Tournament championship Sunday. UC apparently had wrapped it up after convincingly winning the Conference USA Tournament and regular season.

        “Cincinnati was a No. 1 before (Sunday),” Lee Fowler, chairman of the Division I Basketball Committee, said Sunday night. “We use the whole season. (Dropping UC) wouldn't be something done because of one game.”

        UC was the only No. 1 seed — Duke, Kansas and Maryland are the others — to win both its regular-season conference championship and conference tournament title. The Bearcats also are the only team of the 65 in the tournament with 30 victories.         If the Bearcats advance to the Sweet 16, they would go to San Jose, Calif.

        If No. 24 Xavier can get by Hawaii, it's staring at a second-round game with mighty Oklahoma. That's why the Musketeers were hoping for a No. 5 or 6 seed based on the Ratings Percentage Index - they were 19th going into Saturday.

        Although UC and Xavier are in the same regional, they're on different ends of the bracket and couldn't meet until the regional finals. UC won the Crosstown Shootut 75-55 this season, when Xavier star David West sprained his ankle in the first half. XU has won four of the last six against UC and would love a rematch with West at full strength.

        “I hope we get to play them because that means we're doing pretty well,” Xavier forward Kevin Frey said.

        Xavier wrapped up the Atlantic 10 Conference's automatic bid by beating Richmond 73-60 in Saturday's tournament championship.

        In the women's bracket, Cincinnati (26-4), ranked No. 21, got a sixth seed in the East Region and opens against 11th-seeded St. Peter's (25-5) on Saturday at Columbia, S.C. St. Peter's, from Jersey City, N.J., won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

        The Bearcats are looking at a second-round matchup with either the host school, South Carolina (22-6), or Liberty (23-7).

        The UC women got C-USA's automatic bid after winning the league tournament. This is the women's first NCAA appearance since 1999. They are riding a 13-game winning streak.

Complete tournament coverage

Sports Stories
- 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

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
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