Thursday, April 01, 2010
Sports NewsMayfield's Mutterings: Illini to Stony Brook, NY

Names and numbers from the regional semifinals

Send a link to a friend

[April 01, 2010]  HOUSTON (AP) -- Tennessee and Butler will both be making their first appearance in a regional final.

The sixth-seeded Volunteers moved on Friday night with a 76-73 victory over No. 2 seed Ohio State in the Midwest Regional semifinals.

"I'm just proud of my teammates and proud of the whole university," senior guard J.P. Prince said. "We fought hard. We've been through a lot of adversity, and I just thought - I think we've done a great job of actually deserving victory. We've worked hard. ... We're excited. We know it's not over. We still have another game to play. We just enjoy tonight, but tomorrow we'll be right back, and it will be all business from that point on."

Butler, a No. 5 seed, moved on Thursday with a 63-59 win over top-seeded Syracuse in the West Regional.

Northern Iowa also had a chance at a first-time trip to the round of eight, but the ninth-seeded Panthers lost 59-52 to No. 5 Michigan State on Friday night.


Two schools earned their first regional final berth in a long time.

Baylor beat Saint Mary's 72-49 on Friday night for its first run to the round of eight since 1950, when there were only eight teams in the field. Kansas State moved on to the round for the first time since 1964 with a 101-96 double-overtime victory over Xavier on Thursday night.


DUKE'S BACK: Duke's 70-57 victory over Purdue sent the Blue Devils on to the regional finals for the first time since 2004. They had lost three of their last five regional semifinal games. They improved their record in round-of-16 games to 12-7 since 1986.


INSIDE OUT: There was an easy explanation for Baylor's dominating 72-49 over Saint Mary's. The Bears were the best they have been from the outside and they were tenacious inside on defense.

Baylor was a tournament-best 8 of 17 from 3-point range and guards LaceDarius Dunn and Tweety Carter had their best games from long range. Dunn, who shoots 42 percent from 3, was 1 of 4 in the opener against Sam Houston State and 4 of 11 in the second round against Old Dominion. He was 4 of 7 in the blowout of Saint Mary's.

Carter, a 38.5 percent 3-point shooter, was 3 of 6 in the first two games and he matched that effort on Friday night.

"We come out and just play, you know, with the coach that we have that allows us to come out and be ourselves," Carter said. "It really helps you relax and know that you can make those shots and take them with confidence, not just take them to be taking them. But I always want to come out aggressive. I always want to come out aggressive and try to set the tone early and win the first meeting. I think we did a good job coming out and staying within ourselves, but also being aggressive."

Saint Mary's center Omar Samhan came into the Baylor game with a 29-point, 12-rebound effort against Richmond and a 32-point, seven-rebound performance against Villanova. In the two games he shot 75 percent from the field (24 of 32).

Against Baylor, Samhan started 1 of 8 from the field and finished 7 of 17 with 15 points and nine rebounds.

Josh Lomers, a 7-foot senior, was given a lot of credit for his defense against Samhan.

"Well, I think Josh is one of those guys that our players know how physical and strong he is in practice every day. And it's just great when he gets to bang with other people instead of always ours," Bears coach Scott Drew said. "But any competitor's going to rise up to a challenge. And I know our bigs were excited because we know just how good Omar is."

Samhan said Baylor's zone defense was a big reason for Saint Mary's 19-of-54 shooting.

"They were a good, really good defensive team - and long. But we didn't hit shots. You know, it's 50-50. They were good, and that's 50 percent of it and 50 percent of it is we didn't knock down shots that we normally knock down," Samhan said. "I mean, it's the zone, so it's never easy inside. But knocking down shots or our knocking down shots, I got good looks and didn't make them. I missed a layup in the first half and stuff. So it wasn't our guards were not knocking down shots, it was just I didn't play well."


NO. 1'S RECORD: Only once since the field was expanded to 64 teams in 1985 have three No. 1 seeds been gone from the tournament before the regional finals.

In 2000, Arizona, Duke and Stanford were all eliminated before the final eight, leaving eventual national champion Michigan State as the lone No. 1.

This tournament is the eighth with two No. 1s gone before the game that leads to the Final Four. Overall No. 1 Kansas lost to Northern Iowa in the second round and Syracuse fell to Butler in the regional semifinals. Top-seeded Kentucky reached the East Regional final by beating Cornell on Thursday and Duke, the No. 1 seed in the South, beat Purdue 70-57 on Friday night.

The last time two No. 1s were out before the last eight teams was 2005 when Washington was beaten by Louisville, and Duke was defeated by Michigan State.

The No. 1 seeds have a record of 75-16 in the regional semifinals.

Two No. 1 seeds reached the Final Four last year - Connecticut and champion North Carolina - and the record was set a year before that when all four No. 1s made it to San Antonio.


[to top of second column]

INJURY UPDATE: The latest on the rash of injuries affecting teams in the regional semifinals:

Michigan State, despite not having starting point guard Kalin Lucas, who ruptured his Achilles' tendon last week, and getting limited minutes from 3-point specialist Chris Allen (foot) and forward Delvon Roe (knee), managed to beat Northern Iowa 59-52 to advance to the regional finals for the second straight year.

Korie Lucious stepped in for Lucas, the 2008-09 Big Ten Player of the Year, by playing all but one minute and finishing with 10 points, six rebounds and four assists.

Allen had five points in 22 minutes, while Roe had six points in 27 minutes.

On Thursday, West Virginia was able to beat Washington 69-56 in its first game since point guard Darryl "Truck" Bryant broke his foot in practice. Redshirt junior Joe Mazzulla handled most of Bryant's minutes and provided an energy burst for the Mountaineers.

Mazzulla decided to continue playing rather than have shoulder surgery and his effect on the team isn't lost on Kentucky coach John Calipari, whose team plays West Virginia on Saturday night.

"I don't care what it looks like, he's going to win. He'll do something. And it seems as though to me he has a way that their team respects him and really wants him out there. They want him out there, because they don't want to do the stuff that he does," Calipari said. "Here's a kid, he probably should have had shoulder surgery, and decides I'm going to wait for his team. And guess what? It played out. They needed him to wait. So good for him. Everybody that talks to me about him says he's a great kid. Terrific player, playing a little bit beat up."


CONFERENCE CALL: The Southeastern Conference (Kentucky, Tennessee) and the Big 12 (Kansas State, Baylor) are the only conferences with more than one team in the regional finals.

The Big Ten started Friday's games with a chance at advancing three teams to the round of eight, but only Michigan State moved on as Ohio State lost to Tennessee and Purdue lost to Duke.

The other conferences with one team still alive for the national championship are the Big East (West Virginia), Horizon League (Butler) and Atlantic Coast Conference (Duke).


BAD HALF: Saint Mary's first half against Baylor wasn't the worst of this tournament but it was only one point away.

The Gaels trailed 46-17 after 20 minutes and Baylor went on to a 72-49 victory in the South Regional semifinal.

The lowest first-half output of the tournament came a night earlier when Cornell trailed Kentucky 32-16 after 20 minutes. The top-seeded Wildcats went on to a 62-45 win.

There were three first-round games when one team didn't reach 20 points: Ohio State led UC Santa Barbara 30-17 on the way to a 68-51 win; Gonzaga led Florida State 35-19 on the way to a 67-60 victory; and Wisconsin led Wofford 27-19 on the way to a 53-49 win.


GOOD OMEN: Saturday's West Virginia-Kentucky East Regional final will be the fourth between teams from the Big East and Southeastern Conference. The winner of the last two went on to win the national championship: Connecticut over Alabama in 2004, and Florida over Villanova in 2006.

The other one? Marquette beat Kentucky in 2003.


[Associated Press; By JIM O'CONNELL]

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


< Sports index

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor