NCAA Tournament 2001 - null


When a player gets a standing O from the opposing team's fans, he's done something special. Marvin O'Connor was special in St. Joe's loss, scoring a tourney-high 37 points in 35 minutes.

Saturday brings
sanity to tourney

Even though top-seeded Stanford got a scare out West, normalcy returned to the NCAA Tournament on Saturday in the form of Duke, Maryland, Kentucky and UCLA doing what they're supposed to do: win convincingly. Now we'll see if Sunday's favorites can follow suit. More ...

Aggie-ny of Defeat
Brennan Ray and No. 11 Utah State took a tumble in Greensboro, N.C.

Question of the Day
Which of Sunday's second-round games intrigues you the most?'s Andy Katz
Michigan State-Fresno State could end up being the best game. The Bulldogs could give the Spartans some problems if Melvin Ely is a factor in the middle. He struggled in the WAC tournament but then was more focused in their win over Cal. But he needs to get the ball in a low-post situation. He could draw a double-team and that could lead to open looks from Demetrius Porter and Travis DeManby. That's what has to happen for Fresno State to win offensively. Michigan State will love to get into an open court game with the Bulldogs. Jason Richardson could have a hard time getting around Chris Jeffries. But the Spartans can get out and run. Richardson might be the best open-court player in the country. In the end, the Spartans should wear down the Bulldogs, who lack depth, and prey on potential turnovers with Tito Maddox. Jerry Tarkanian owns a win over Tom Izzo in the 1996 NIT. This should be a tight game, but expecting the No. 1 to fall might be too much.

ESPN's Dick Vitale
Michigan State-Fresno State will be a very intriguing game. Fresno State has athletes, quickness, explosiveness and a shot-blocker in Melvin Ely. The key to the game will be whether Tito Maddox can get the Bulldogs to run their offense efficiently. And will they be able to rebound with Michigan State? Defending and rebounding are the super strengths of the defending national champs. But if the Spartans are going to prevail, they must find a way to get Charlie Bell to snap out of his slump and make some 3s. It will be a tough game for the Spartans because the Bulldogs are legit. It should be a real Maalox Masher.

ESPN's Jay Bilas
I like the Butler-Arizona matchup. They played earlier this season at Arizona's McHale Center. Butler was only down only two points with six minutes to go before the Bulldogs ran out of gas at the end. Butler has to be really confident after just throttling Wake Forest in the first round. The Bulldogs must feel like they can beat anybody, and I think they can. One thing they do really well is take teams out of what they do best. Their defense is very much like Wisconsin's, the team that beat Arizona in last year's tournament. It will be interesting to see what Arizona learned from not only their experience last year, but from playing Butler earlier this season.

Saturday's Storylines
PLAYER OF DAY..............................
Tayshaun Prince. Even without mentioning Marvin O'Connor (see: The Number), there were plenty of additional candidates (see: Jason Williams, Troy Bell, Shane Battier, David Bluthenthal and Kenny Satterfield). But what Prince helped do with his 31 points, which included six 3-pointers, was take more pressure off his team than any other player mentioned. Behind the junior's sharp-shooting, Kentucky reached the Sweet 16 for the first time in three seasons -- an eternity in the Bluegrass State.
RANDOM THOUGHT...............................
The way the first half of the Sweet 16 has shaped up, you'd think the tournament was sponsored by an airline company. Separated by less than 30 miles on the Beltway, Maryland and Georgetown now must fly all the way to Anaheim to play each other in the West Regional semifinals. And while USC and UCLA won't play each other Thursday, they could share a charter to Philadelphia for the East Region semifinals. Again, somebody tell us why the brackets can't be regionalized?
STOCK RISING.....................................
West Coast hoops. The Pac-10 has three teams already in the Sweet 16 and a fourth likely in Arizona arriving shortly. It's only casualty lost to Fresno State, while Cal-State Northridge fell to Kansas.
STOCK FALLING..................................
Cinderellas. Georgetown is a 10 seed, but has too much history to fit the fairy tale. Besides, they knocked out Hampton. Sunday brings plenty more candidates. But Gonzaga isn't one. In fact, the No. 12 Zags will were their white jerseys for the first time in the tourney when they face 13th-seeded Indiana State.
HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU................
Tattoos are so last season. This year, it's all about the hair. Now, we can accept the retro look of Eugene Edgerson, the flowing locks of Wesley Stokes or even the lack of hair on Lucas Johnson's shaved head. But what is St. Joseph's Alexandre Sazonov thinking? The brades may work in Moscow, but not during March Madness on national TV.

The West is already a waste of paper. So, the Hoyas didn't do any further damage by making the Sweet 16. USC, therefore, gets the nod by default. The Trojans' win was a mild upset at best as a sixth seed -- even if they made it out of the second round for the first time since 1954.

Bracket fever has hit ESPN! We have our own Tournament Challenge group, and you can check it out. Check out the featured group Bristol University's Best to see our predictions. SportsCenter anchors Jim Frazier and Dave Revsine still lead the way with 30 of 40 correct picks, but Digger Phelps and Stuart Scott each have 28 winners.

"What a great experience. There were a lot of tears in the locker room after the game, but they are tears of joy, not tears of sadness."

Hampton coach Steve Merfeld, who's 15th-seeded Pirates lost to Georgetown 76-57


Vitale: Sunday previews

Vitale: Recaps of Saturday's second-round games

Full-Court Press: Friday, March 16

Full-Court Press: Thursday, March 15

 Stanford's Casey Jacobsen is expecting teams to get more physical against them (Courtesy: NCAA Productions).
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 After the game, Mike Krzyzewski and Quin Snyder exchange compliments (Courtesy: NCAA Productions).
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 Coach Lefty Driesell denies any emotional attachment to his former employer (Courtesy: NCAA Productions).
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 B.C.'s Kenny Harley explains his decision to pass on a 3-pointer and drive to the basket (Courtesy: NCAA Productions).
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 Juan Dixon knew Maryland's size and depth would wear Georgia State down (Courtesy: NCAA Productions).
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 Georgia State's Shernard Long felt Maryland ran their gameplan perfectly (Courtesy: NCAA Productions).
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 Earl Watson looks ahead to UCLA's matchup with top-seeded Duke (Courtesy: NCAA Productions).
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 Coach Al Skinner defends his team's shot selection at the end of the game (Courtesy: NCAA Productions).
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 Despite the score, Coach Phil Martelli felt his St. Joe's team didn't lose (Courtesy: NCAA Productions).
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 Stanford coach Mike Montgomery is relieved to come away with the victory (Courtesy: NCAA Productions).
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