Sunday, March 23, 2003

IU ready to mount a charge


Midwest Regional: Hoosiers enter 2nd round, hope history repeats

The Associated Press

BOSTON - It's Indiana's time of year, the month when regular-season mediocrity is drowned out by screaming, red-clad fans who know anything is possible for the tradition-rich basketball program.

Last season, the Hoosiers entered the NCAA Tournament seeded fifth with a 20-11 record and made a surprising run to the championship game, where they lost to Maryland.

This season, they were seeded seventh with a 20-12 record, beat Alabama 67-62 Friday night and face second-seeded Pittsburgh in the Midwest Regional today (12:10 p.m. tipoff).

"We basically had the same record as we did last year," Indiana's Tom Coverdale said. "But if you do well in the tournament, nobody remembers that."

The Hoosiers have a much tougher start this season, playing Pittsburgh after beating No. 10 Alabama. Their first two opponents last year were No. 12 Utah and No. 13 North Carolina-Wilmington.

They went into this tournament with nine losses in their last 15 games.

"It seems that they've been putting it together the last couple of weeks, and this is really where you want to peak as a team," Panthers guard Brandin Knight said

Syracuse and Oklahoma State hope to do that in Sunday's second game in Boston in the second round of the East Regional.

In the opener, Indiana faces a more physical team. The Hoosiers aren't playing defense or setting screens as well as they did in the first game of last year's tournament.

"Is this team right now capable of being better than last year?" Indiana coach Mike Davis said. Today's game "is going to be a true test."

Indiana does have five NCAA championships and is in its 18th straight NCAA Tournament.

"Knowing Indiana and their history and tradition, they'll have more fans," Pittsburgh coach Ben Howland said. "I told our team, 'Even though we're going to wear the white jerseys this is a road game.' "

The Panthers, one of the nation's best defensive teams, took a crash course in Indiana's varied offense.

Pittsburgh, which has won 10 straight, hopes to knock Indiana off balance. It also won its first two games in last year's tournament before losing to Kent State in the round of 16.

Had the Panthers won, they would have played Indiana in the regional final.

"We went (a few) games shorter than they did," Pittsburgh's Ontario Lett said. "I don't think experience will really be that big of a key. Both teams have been through this before."




NCAA TOURNAMENT
Full coverage at Cincinnati.com

MEN'S TOURNAMENT
Maryland 77, Xavier 64
Underdog Xavier has upset in mind
Daugherty: Bookends on XU's roster
Coaches experts on Terps
Majerus has the big blues
UK, Utah still have ties to '98
Apology ahead for UC's Machock
Gators-Spartans: Things could get rough
Cowboys will test Orangemen
Butler now faces Louisville's press
IU ready to mount a charge
After spurning Spartans' offer, Gators' Roberson must face them

MEN'S TOURNAMENT - SATURDAY'S GAMES
East: OU's Bookout covers for ailing Price
Midwest: Little-known Novak burns Mizzou
South: UConn turns to top guns
West: Hot-shooting Irish burn Illini
NCAA Tournament at a glance
NCAA Tourney notebook
NCAAs: The Skinny
NIT: Providence tops College of Charleston

WOMEN'S TOURNAMENT
New coach rebuilds XU from guards up
UC faces an uphill battle at home
Living legend roams Texas sidelines
Wright happy to be home
Women's tournament at a glance
Lady Vols have no problems at home

REDS / BASEBALL
Reds fans get first look
Graves lets go of bothersome pitch
Blue Jays 4, Reds 1
Harnisch is pleased with performance
Reds Q&A
It's the same old Angels, champs or not
Devil Rays release Vaughn

BENGALS / NFL
Bengals look to turn weakness into strength
Bengals Q&A
Rams bolster line with trade for Saints' Turley

PREP SPORTS
D-I state title: Moeller 73, Brookhaven 65
D-III state title: Reading 50, Sugarcreek Garaway 44
LeBron leads Ohio team to third state title
Ky: No. 1 Mason Co. 86, Lou. Ballard 65
Princeton's Davis joins elite crowd

GOLF
Tiger tames field, leads by five shots
Sorenstam closes in on 1st win of season

HOCKEY
Rangers keep slim hopes alive
Mighty Ducks beat Norfolk in overtime

NBA
Hawks stop O'Neal's shot at victory for Pacers
Hill won't give up despite surgeries

HORSE RACING
New York Hero tames Lion
Rider Cooksey injured in Turfway Park spill

TRISTATE SPOTLITE
Merchant's Harvard finale is memorable
Enquirer Page Two power rankings
Swarm gear up for af2 season
Following in footsteps of defunct Rockers

PLAN YOUR DAY
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