Friday, March 21, 2003

Near upsets get XU's attention


XU notebook

By Dustin Dow
The Cincinnati Enquirer

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Troy State knows what it is up against in its first NCAA Tournament appearance, but that doesn't mean the Trojans can't play David to Xavier's Goliath role tonight in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Tournament history is full of major upsets, and Thursday's Marquette-Holy Cross game provided even more inspiration to the 14th-seeded Troy State. Holy Cross, another 14 seed, nearly defeated third-seeded Marquette before losing 72-68.

"That's a great example," said TSU guard Ben Fletcher. "Marquette, I'm sure, was favored by a lot, and Holy Cross never gave up. A few more minutes, and they might have pulled it off. Numbers don't mean anything now. It's about who wants it most now."

Xavier coach Thad Matta hopes his team took notice of the Marquette game to know how competitively every team, regardless of seed, plays in the NCAA Tournament.

"I hope so," Matta said. "I honestly do. But you never know. It's hard sometimes to know what kids are thinking, and that's why as coaches we try to think for them."

For Troy State, the key to having a chance at an upset is to stay in the game from the start. If not, Xavier could get on a roll to force TSU out of its game plan, which revolves around a trapping zone defense. Regardless, Fletcher said, the Trojans can come back from sizeable deficits.

"There are two ways of looking at this," Fletcher said. "If we get off to a good start, we can't get overly excited. If we don't get off to a good start, we can't panic."

SUNDAY REARRANGEMENTS: The second-round game between the winners of the Xavier-Troy State and Maryland-UNC Wilmington games has moved to 3:40 p.m. EST. The game was originally scheduled for 2:30 p.m., but in order to show the game on ESPN if war coverage preempts CBS' plans, the game time had to be moved back.

As of today, the radio broadcast of Sunday's game is scheduled for WKRC-AM (550) if Xavier advances. Normally Xavier is heard on WLW-AM (700), but 550 is the backup station if the game is pre-empted for Reds games, which is the case Sunday.

Yet 550 might not be able to carry the game Sunday because of war coverage. In that event, the likely scenario would be to move the game to WCKY-AM (1360), but there has been no official word yet.

SEVEN-DAY WAIT: When Xavier takes the court tonight, it will be the Musketeers' first game in seven days. Needless to say, XU players are excited to play, but the off time gave them a chance to regroup after a disappointing loss to Temple in the Atlantic 10 Tournament semifinals.

"Seven days was a chance for us to get prepared to come out and play," said Dedrick Finn. "We're definitely ready to play. We've had great practices."

Junior center Anthony Myles might be more ready to go than anyone else. He's playing in his first NCAA Tournament.

"I'm so excited," Myles said. "I'm trying to phase it back so I don't get out there and do something crazy."




UC BEARCATS
Gonzaga 74, UC 69
Referee to Machock: 'You're out'
Bobbitt wastes last shot
UC football staff set for 2003

XAVIER
Muskies planning to seize moment
Near upsets get XU's attention
Coach's intensity bringing out best in rookie Boothe

OTHER NCAA TOURNAMENT
Wildcats trying to keep their focus on IUPUI
Harper visits IUPUI
Daugherty: Crenshaw torn about playing during war
Satellite viewers at CBS' mercy
Three upsets and four that were close
East: Midgley shoots, California advances
Midwest: Tulsa upends Dayton; Wisconsin moves on
South: Okafor, UConn bounce BYU
West: Superior 'Zona handles exhausted Catamounts
NCAA Tournament at a glance

WOMEN'S REGIONAL TEAM CAPSULES
East | Mideast | Midwest | West

REDS / BASEBALL
How to customize your ballpark tour
Time for starters to take the field
Pirates 7, Reds 2
Bad outing good for closer Williamson
Players to decide on new All-Star format next week

NFL
Smith may return to Redskins

PREP SPORTS
Crusaders set sights on another crown
Boys state tournament goes as planned
High school hoops schedules

HORSE RACING
Favored Lion Tamer draws outside spot
Pins not all-access passes to Derby

GOLF
Tiger's spot not affected by mediocrity

PLAN YOUR DAY
Friday's sports on TV, radio

Return to Xavier front page...

Mail This Story (Click here) Send this story to a friend.