Monday, March 24, 2003

Family follows its sons


NCAA notebook

The Associated Press

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - When it comes to making impressive drives at the NCAA tournament, it's hard to top the Cornette family.

With sons playing for Butler and Notre Dame at separate regionals, Joel Sr. and Christi Cornette decided they didn't want to miss a minute, even if it meant making an eight-hour drive each day.

"We kind of took it in stages, and it turned into this," Christi said Sunday.

They left their Cincinnati home on Thursday and drove two hours to Indianapolis, where they saw son Jordan and Notre Dame beat Wisconsin-Milwaukee that night.

Older son Joel, a Butler big man, then called.

"He asked, 'Are you coming?'" his dad said. "We said, 'What do you think?'"

So it was back into their SUV and, after sleeping four hours in a Kentucky hotel, they rolled into Birmingham to watch Joel help Butler beat Mississippi State on Friday night.

With hardly any rest, they hit the road for the trip to Indy, and made it in time to watch Notre Dame defeat Illinois on Saturday. Not finished yet, the Cornettes piled back into the car and, after a brief stop in Cincinnati to check on a younger son, they rolled into Alabama to see Butler upset Louisville 79-71 Sunday afternoon.

"How could we miss this?" Joel Sr. said. "It's been worth it, especially because we won four games."

Sitting four rows from the sideline, Joel Sr. tossed his Butler cap onto the court as the Bulldogs celebrated. He also wore a Butler jacket, with a Notre Dame shirt underneath, and hugged his crying wife after the win.

"It really meant a lot to have my parents here," Joel Jr. said. "And I want to congratulate my brother."

Only one problem with this whole thing: With Butler playing in the East Regional and Notre Dame in the West, it's going to get real tricky if the Cornettes want to keep watching both sons.

Notre Dame next plays Thursday night against Arizona in Anaheim, Calif. Butler plays Friday night against Oklahoma in Albany, N.Y.

"We're going to try," Joel Sr. said. "But this time, we're flying."

TUNING IN, TUNING OUT: Indiana coach Mike Davis criticized his players after their second-round loss to Pittsburgh for playing selfishly and listening to "outside influences ... telling them how good they are."

Praising the Panthers, who won 74-52 to advance to the round of 16, Davis said, "Not one guy on that team cares who scores. That's the point we need to get to as a team."

Indiana made the championship game last year as a fifth seed. This year, the Hoosiers started off 8-0, climbed as high as No. 8 in The Associated Press poll and were 14-3 before losing nine of their last 16 games.

Last year, "Everyone was talking bad about them," Davis said. "This year, we started off good. That's when everybody started talking to them.

"They get 10 phone calls a night saying they should play more, that it's my fault. They all think they're very, very, very good. They are a good team, but team is a key word and we need to play like a team."

RATINGS CONTINUE TO DROP: The tournament's ratings on CBS have dropped 23 percent from last year. Through three days of games, the overnight ratings - measuring viewership in the country's biggest markets - averaged 5.0, down from 6.5 over the same span in 2002.

Each overnight rating point represents about 735,000 homes. Overnight ratings measure the 55 largest TV markets in the United States, covering nearly 70 percent of the country.




MEN'S TOURNAMENT
XU: Sweet 16 bid is denied
Daugherty: Xavier realized too late it could win
Nicholas delivers in clutch
Xavier-Maryland Photo Gallery
UK: Wildcats run win streak to 25
One-on-one does not shut down center Estill
At Kentucky, the defense never rests
UK-Utah Photo Gallery
East: Butler breaks through, downs Louisville
Midwest: Pitt's defense sends Indiana home
South: MSU stomps No. 2-seed Florida
Four No. 1s advance
Big East has sweet record heading to round of 16
Family follows its sons
Men's NCAA Tournament at a glance
NIT at a glance

WOMEN'S TOURNAMENT
Gauchos too deep for Musketeers
Shoemaker Regional: Arkansas 71, UC 57
The Shoe sticks it to top Hog
Shoemaker Regional: Texas 90, Hampton 46
Longhorns show off power
Ohio State crushes Weber State
Other games: UConn roars back into winning form
Women's NCAA Tournament at a glance

REDS / BASEBALL
Pitching staff takes shape
Larkin will get some work in the outfield
Reds players eager to see new digs
Indians 2, Reds 0
Day stakes claim to Expos starting spot

GOLF
Not rain, nor mud, nor sickness could stifle Tiger
Pak soars by Sorenstam

HOCKEY
Goalie Turco returns to align shining Stars
Cyclones clinch playoff berth

AUTO RACING
Busch rolls the dice and wins
Bumping causes grumbling
Kanaan posts 1st IRL win

HORSE RACING
New York Hero may be Derby-bound

PLAN YOUR DAY
Monday's sports on TV, radio