Thursday, March 20, 2003

NCAA Notebook

ESPN, CBS reach deal on tourney

Enquirer news services

ESPN has reached an agreement to televise any NCAA Tournament coverage that CBS would pre-empt today and Friday because of coverage of the U.S.-Iraq conflict.

"They would be on ESPN or ESPN2, and we would be able to give full coverage," ESPN spokesman Mac Nwulu said Wednesday night. "We have cleared all" the time slots.

ESPN would show daytime games today, if needed, with ESPN2 carrying night games because ESPN already had NHL coverage scheduled. The same set-up would be employed Friday, because ESPN has NBA games at night. Plans for the weekend still are in the works, because ESPN and ESPN2 have many more programming conflicts.

UCLA JOB: Gonzaga coach Mark Few has been mentioned prominently as a possible successor to Steve Lavin at UCLA, but he stayed away from the subject at his team's news conference on Wednesday.

"This is an NCAA press conference about our game. I want everybody focused in on that," Few said. "That's certainly all I'm focusing on. I feel my job here is to give my heart and soul to these guys on our team to help prepare them to try to attempt to win the game to Cincinnati."

And when Gonzaga's season is over?

"When it's all over and done, when we've played our last game and the buzzer goes off, good luck tracking me down to ask me that question," he said. "I'll be on a river in Montana somewhere."

Creighton coach Dana Altman, another potential candidate, was similarly vague.

"You never say never," he said. "But Omaha has been a great place to raise a family. We love Omaha."

Lavin was fired Monday after seven seasons in which he failed to get the Bruins to the Final Four despite reaching the NCAA tournament's final 16 five times in six years.

Other names that have popped up as potential candidates include Ben Howland of Pittsburgh, former NBA and college coach Lon Kruger, Rick Majerus of Utah, Pat Douglass of UC Irvine, Roy Williams of Kansas, Mike Montgomery of Stanford and Rick Pitino of Louisville.

NORTHERN KENTUCKY: The Northern Kentucky University women's basketball team (24-7) will face Washburn (Kan.), which is 30-3 and ranked No. 8 in NCAA Division II, in the Elite Eight next week. The national quarterfinal game will be played at 4 p.m. Wednesday in St. Joseph, Mo.

NKU advanced to its fourth Elite Eight in five years with a 64-61 victory Monday over Quincy.

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