Sunday, March 23, 2003

Butler now faces Louisville's press

East Regional: Outside shooting is plus for Cards, too

Enquirer news services

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Butler's first-round NCAA Tournament game was easily one of the most exciting.

Brandon Miller hit a running shot in the lane with 6.2 seconds left and the Bulldogs held on to beat Mississippi State 47-46.

The win sent 12th-seeded Butler into today's matchup with Louisville (25-6), which flustered Austin Peay 86-64 with a full-court press. Miller and his Bulldogs (26-5) are fully aware Louisville coach Rick Pitino will try to trap them, too.

"Louisville likes to press and get the game up and down. It'll be very important for us to take care of the basketball," Miller said.

While Austin Peay was known to have problems handling the ball, Pitino thinks it won't be so easy against Butler.

"We don't speed up a team like Butler with four seniors," he said. "You're not going to get them to play in the 80s like we want them."

Center Marvin Stone could have a field day inside against the Bulldogs, who've been exposed by teams with formidable frontlines. Two other things in the Cardinals' corner: the 3-point shooting of Reece Gaines (17.7 ppg) and Francisco Garcia (11.0) and Rick Pitino's coaching (wins in 12 of his last 13 NCAA games, dating back to the 1996 final with Kentucky.).

Also playing today in the East for a trip to the Sweet 16 are Auburn, Wake Forest, Oklahoma State and Syracuse.

Syracuse didn't make it to the tournament last year and Oklahoma State lost in the first round the past two years. Both struggled for a while in the first round before Syracuse beat Manhattan 76-65 and Oklahoma State defeated Pennsylvania 77-63 Friday night. The Cowboys, who use a man-to-man defense, must stop Carmelo Anthony, one of two freshmen in a starting lineup that also has two sophomores.

"I don't think there's any substitute for experience," said Oklahoma State coach Eddie Sutton, who starts three seniors and two juniors, but "I don't know if there's any advantage because by this time, a ballclub like Syracuse has had experience."

Syracuse hopes to have a healthier Hakim Warrick, a starting forward who was subpar Friday after missing three days of practice with a fever. The Orangemen prefer a 2-3 zone defense and hope they can control Victor Williams, who scored a season-high 29 points Friday. Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim knows his team's youth could lead to defensive inconsistency.

"We have some breakdowns in our zone," he said, "but we've been able to play through them."

Auburn (21-11) will need another huge effort from Marquis Daniels today when it takes on ACC regular-season champion Wake Forest (25-5) in the second round of the East Regional in Tampa. In addition to his scoring and rebounding, Daniels will be called on to guard Wake Forest's Josh Howard, the ACC player of the year.

Full coverage at

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