The Big Dance at a Glance:
The Sweet 16
| At the Water Cooler
| William Avery is Duke's most valuable -- and most talented -- player ... Tulsa's Michael Ruffin wins the Kenny Thomas Memorial Tourney No-Show Award ... Oklahoma doesn't seem to understand (or care) that it's a 13 seed ...|
Utah had won 23 straight before losing to Miami of Ohio, but the Utes didn't seem to realize the game was slipping away until it was too late ... Wally Szczerbiak is going to make one terrific NBA player ... If it took Rick Majerus three months to recover from Utah's loss in the title game last season, how long will it take him to get over a second-round exit?
When Temple flashes rare moments of good shooting to go with the always-awesome match-up zone defense, the Owls are unbeatable ... Somebody get Tennessee a shooting coach ... Who knew SW Mo St. coach Steve Alford could teach such smothering defense? ... Michigan State looks awfully vulnerable right now ...
Who would have guessed the Miami still alive after the first weekend would be the one from Ohio ... Kentucky-Kansas lived up to the billing. Give Kentucky credit for being the only '98 Final Four team to make it out of '99's first weekend.
Oklahoma F Eduardo Najera , the versatile forward (37 pts, 28 reb in two games) has seemed able to score at will as he's led the tourney's highest remaining seed (13) to the Sweet 16 -- and a winnable game vs. Michigan St.
Cindys under spotlight Unlikely teams regularly get to the Sweet 16. The real Cinderellas aren't blinded by the next three day's worth of publicity; they keep winning. This year's crop -- Gonzaga, Miami (Ohio), Purdue, Oklahoma and SW Missouri State -- seems grounded.
Rick Majerus will not return to Utah next season.
One-man wrecking crews
Of the players most people couldn't recognize before the tourney started, who's had the best individual tournament so far: Oklahoma's Eduardo Najera, Miami's Wally Szczerbiak, Weber State's Harold Arceneaux, Temple's Pepe Sanchez or Gonzaga's Matt Santangelo?
Oklahoma F Eduardo Najera:
37 pts, 28 reb
Temple G Pepe Sanchez:
29 pts, 13 reb, 11 ast
Iowa coach Tom Davis:
Still has a job
Miami F Wally Szczerbiak:
67 pts, 19 reb
Duke G William Avery:
34 pts, 13 reb, 6 ast
No. 2 seeds
Tulsa PF Michael Ruffin:
0 pts vs. Duke
Second round, day one
First round, day two
First round, day one
Second Round: S | W | E | MW
| Charting the Tournament,|
Game by Game
First Round: S | W | E | MW
| The Cinderella Bandwagon
|SW Mo St.
||Found O to go with D
By Dan Shanoff, CNN/SI
Read a new "Dance at a Glance" Thursday through Monday throughout the NCAA Tournament.
Now this is Madness
The Sweet 16 is set -- and the Cinderellas have made themselves known: No. 10 Gonzaga in the West; No. 10 Purdue and No. 12 SW Missouri State in the East; and No. 10 Miami (Ohio) and No. 13 Oklahoma in the Midwest. The South advanced its top four seeds, but the matchups are so compelling, we don't mind.
Besides, the five Cindys make great stories: Gonzaga playing from the start like they belong with the big boys; Purdue, so random; SW Missouri State winning with defense and the next course for Duke (we see shades of UNLV-Ball State '90; Duke will win, but not as handily as they have been); the individual brilliance of Miami's Wally Szczerbiak and Oklahoma's Eduardo Najera in upending Utah and Arizona, both favored region contenders.
In fact the fizzle of the two seeds was one of the weekend's big stories. See ya, Utes. So long, Stanford. Florida's Miami (embarrassingly now known as the "other" Miami), we hardly knew ye. You, and the 45 other first-weekend drop-outs, are already forgotten.
It's all about the 16, and by this time next week, we expect Duke to knock off Temple in an '88 East Region final redux, Kentucky -- back to the Final Four yet again -- to end Oklahoma's miracle run, UConn to sweat out Florida, and Maryland to realize its manifest destiny -- a trip to the Final Four over Ohio State. More Madness surely to come....
East and Midwest
Before moving on to East Rutherford, N.J. (East) and St. Louis (Midwest) for regionals Friday and Sunday, let's show some appreciation for the finest efforts of the four Friday/Sunday sub-regionals:
Kevin Ault, SW Mo St.; William Avery, Duke (MOP); Elton Brand, Duke; Danny Moore, SW Mo St.; Isiah Victor, Tennessee
Name goes here, Purdue; Johnny Hemsley, Miami (Fla.); Kenyon Martin, Cincinnati; Pepe Sanchez, Temple (MOP); Quincy Wadley, Temple
Mateen Cleaves, Michigan St.; Eric Martin, Oklahoma; Eduardo Najera, Oklahoma (MOP); Jason Smith, Ole Miss; Galen Young, UNC Charlotte
John Estick, Miami (OH); Scott Padgett, Kentucky; Ryan Robertson, Kansas; Wally Szczerbiak, Miami (OH) (MOP); Wayne Turner, Kentucky; Greg Stolt, Florida
(MOP) -- Most Outstanding Player
Best game: Florida 82, Weber St. 74 (OT)
All-second-round team: Brian Cardinal, Purdue; Eduardo Najera, Oklahoma; Scott Padgett, Kentucky; Matt Santangelo, Gonzaga; Wally Szczerbiak, Miami
Best coaching job: Miami (OH)'s Charlie Coles out-strategized Utah super-coach Rick Majerus
Biggest surprise: Purdue in the Sweet 16
Biggest dud: A tie between two-seeds Miami (Fla.), Stanford and Utah
Best moment: Iowa coach Tom Davis' face after the Hawkeyes beat Arkansas: Five more days of work.
| Sweet 16 at a Glance
| Marquee Matchup: Maryland (2) vs. St. John's (South) |
A Final Four-quality matchup between two of the most entertaining teams in the country. The Red Storm have had a revival under first-year coach Mike Jarvis, while the Terps have been among the nation's highest-rated teams since the preseason. Expect a high-scoring run-and-gun game.
Under the Glare: Matt Santangelo, Gonzaga
Do the Bulldogs have another upset in them? Their floor leader is the key vs. Florida.
| Key Games to Watch
|| (1) Auburn vs. (4) Ohio St.
|Subplot: Buckeyes PG Scoonie Penn is healthy, OSU plays more clutch than your usual Big Ten tourney team and unimpressive Auburn is ripe for toppling.
|| (6) Florida vs. (10) Gonzaga
|Subplot: Don't insult Gonzaga by calling them a Cinderella; the Bulldogs are playing too well. Meanwhile, Florida coach Billy Donovan has experience with tourney magic.
|| (1) Duke vs. (12) SW Mo St.
||East Rutherford, N.J.
|Subplot: The Bears are a fine defensive team, but it won't matter. If Duke wins by less than 20, it's a moral victory for Alford and Co.
|| (3) Kentucky vs. (10) Miami (OH)
|Subplot: The Wildcats -- the lone remaining '98 Final Four team -- have to try to stop scorching Wally Szczerbiak and the heady Red Hawks.
| The Glance picks the regional semifinals
|| Semi 1
|| Semi 2
|| Ohio St. (4) d. Auburn (1)
|| Maryland (2) d. St. John's (3)
|| UConn (1) d. Iowa (5)
|| Florida (6) d. Gonzaga (10)
|| Duke (1) d. SW Mo St. (12)
|| Temple (6) d. Purdue (10)
|| Okla. (13) d. Michigan St. (1)
|| Kent. (3) d. Miami (OH) (10)
| Predictions from Sunday's second-round games: 6-2 |
(Missed: Miami (Fla.), Utah)
Overall prediction total: 32-16