Monday, March 18, 2002

One-sided crowd helps Oklahoma




By Neil Schmidt nschmidt@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        DALLAS — In 1990, Xavier's most accomplished team lost in the Sweet 16 when it faced Texas here.Sunday, the second-winningest XU team in history also faced a near road-court setting.

        Oklahoma fans represented at least half of the American Airlines Center crowd, despite the fact rival Texas was playing in the other game here Sunday.

        “Playing in Dallas was an advantage,” OU coach Kelvin Sampson said. “Anybody that advances to the Sweet 16 is good, but our fans helped us.”

        A change in the way the NCAA Tournament locates teams helped keep the Sooners close to their fan base. The Musketeers said it impacted the game Sunday.

        “They went up five or six points, and it got so loud at one point I couldn't even hear the plays being called,” XU's David West said.

        Said XU coach Thad Matta: “I think the crowd helped them. . . . I thought for sure there would have been more Texas fans here today. I was trying to give the horn sign (Hook 'em Horns) to get them on our side.”

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