Monday, March 17, 2003

SEC Notebook: No upset this time



The Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS - Until the final minutes of the game, it looked as if history were repeating itself Sunday at the Southeastern Conference Tournament.

The last time the SEC decided its championship on the Superdome court, it was Mississippi State and Kentucky in the final game in 1996.

Just as this season, the Wildcats were 16-0 in regular-season SEC play.

Kentucky was loaded with future NBA players - Tony Delk, Antoine Walker, Walter McCarty, Ron Mercer, Mark Pope, and Derek Anderson.

The main difference was that, in 1996, Mississippi State beat the Cats 84-73.

"I remember watching that game," said Mississippi State guard Derrick Zimmerman, who was in eighth grade then. "I remember Dontae Jones. I remember his high socks, the wristbands, him hitting those incredible shots and running down the floor holding up his index finger. He looked like a guy having some fun."

Kentucky and Mississippi State both advanced to the NCAA Final Four in 1996, when Kentucky won the national title.

BIG BLUE: The SEC Tournament drew 22,054 to the final session Sunday and a total of 166,410 for all six sessions played. Attendance was down from last year, when 198,929 attended. This year's second session drew only 8,526 because there was only one game after Georgia withdrew from the tournament.

Most of the fans at Sunday's final were decked out in blue and cheering Kentucky. Kentucky's "Blue Nation" filled most of the pavilions behind the baselines. Mississippi State fans were mainly in the corner of one side.

"It's almost like a home game," UK guard Keith Bogans said.

SIGN LANGUAGE: A Kentucky fan held up a sign in the closing seconds of the game that read: "Save our seats 4 April 7," the date of the NCAA championship game in the Superdome.




HOOPS MADNESS
Cincinnati.Com's bracket contest and full tournament coverage
Where Tristate teams are going
Everybody jumping in office pool
Tips for filling out your bracket
Hey fans, here's ticket info
One man's trip through the field of 65
NCAA team capsules

UC BASKETBALL
Bid gives UC new beginning
DAUGHERTY: Bearcats are a long shot
UC's opponent: Gonzaga
UC's road to the title

XAVIER BASKETBALL
No. 3 seed pleases Xavier
XU's opponent: Troy State
XU's road to the title

KENTUCKY BASKETBALL
Kentucky No. 1 in Midwest
UK's opponent: IUPUI
UK's road to the title
UK, Louisville can't meet until final
UK wins another SEC title
SEC Notebook: No upset this time

WOMEN'S TOURNAMENT
UC women savor selection, homecourt
UC women's opponent: Arkansas
UC women's road to the title
Waugh, Piipari know what it takes
XU women's opponent: Cal Santa-Barbara
XU women's road to the title
Texas coach brings star power here
Women's NCAA team capsules
Ohio teams headed to NCAA
Indiana teams headed to NCAA

MORE NCAA COVERAGE
Topsy-turvy IU, 'Bama to face off
Controversy abounds in this year's tourney
Men's NCAA Overview
East Region Outlook
Midwest Region Outlook
South Region Outlook
West Region Outlook
Women's NCAA Overview
AT A GLANCE
NCAA Men | Women

NIT COVERAGE
NIT picks Ohio State, 6 Big East schools
NIT AT A GLANCE
NIT Men | Women

DIVISION III
NKU seeks Elite Eight without top forward