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News Nuggets, 01.15.05
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Compiled from staff reports and electronic dispatches

Bearcats hope to shake off ECU hangover against Cards


01.14.05: NCAA poised to wield big academic hammer ... Gruden, Turner to coach Senior Bowl squads ... More...
01.13.05: ECU schedules early peeks at its 'Field of Dreams' ... NCAA baseball considers warm- weather shift ... Coaching convention tackles secret poll ballots ... More...
01.12.05: Reconfigured C-USA TV arrangement a mixed bag ... Former ECU assistant lands top job at TSU ... Cards deal record-shattering rout to Southern Miss ... More...
01.11.05: 12th football game gets preliminary nod ... Pirate Radio plans T-shirt promotion for Cincy game ... Associated Press basketball poll ... More...
01.10.05: More TV exposure announced for 49ers ... Cincy declares Laurinburg freshman ineligible ... Memphis loosens grip on seating areas ... More...
01.09.05: Tigers' Means heads west to Shrine Bowl ... Baseball America anoints Tulane No. 1 ... More...
01.08.05: CEO's of BCS schools block consideration of playoff ... List of NCAA Division I-A coaching changes ... More...
01.07.05: Downtrodden member of historic Chaminade team slain ... Bowl Season Wrap-up: Results and Payouts ... More...
01.06.05: Louisville losing battering ram Shelton to NFL draft ... TV ratings nosedive for BCS title matchup ... Injured Hodge set to return to Wolfpack's lineup ... More...
01.05.05: BCS ponders establishment of selection committee ... Trojans trample Sooners en route to title ... Final Associated Press and Coaches polls ... More...
01.04.05: Petrino sets out to mend fences at Louisville ... Auburn holds off Tech, turns attention to voters ... More...
01.03.05: Tech sack artist looks to Baghdad for inspiration ... Meyer bids adieu as Utah relishes perfection ... More...
01.02.05: Utah domination of Pitt exposes BCS ... Petrino backpedals as LSU zeroes in on Miles ... More...
01.01.05: Cards hang on in Liberty Bowl shootout with Broncos ... Utes poised to cap off perfect season in style ... More...
12.31.04: Offensive juggernauts collide in Liberty Bowl ... Tire Bowl goes flat for North Carolina ... More...

One of the biggest rivalries of Conference USA begins its last chapter in the league when the two programs that raised the profile of the conference collide in Cincinnati on Saturday.

No. 18 Cincinnati (14-1, 2-0) and No. 19 Louisville (12-3, 2-1) have established themselves as Conference USA's flagship programs since the league was created 10 seasons ago. Both are leaving to join the Big East next season.

``I think it's our biggest rival,'' Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. ``They have Xavier in state, we have Kentucky in state. But we know that Cincinnati means more for both of us because it's a league game.''

Saturday's battle between the two teams and the rematch in Louisville on Feb. 2 will mark the teams' final meetings in C-USA play, unless they meet up in the conference tournament. The teams also had rivalries in the Missouri Valley Conference (1964-70) and the Metro Conference (1975-91).

The Bearcats won two of three meetings with the Cardinals last season. After Louisville posted a 93-66 win in the first matchup, Cincinnati countered with an overtime win at home before posting a 64-62 victory in the quarterfinals of the C-USA tournament.

Cincinnati remained unbeaten in conference play with an unexpectedly difficult 84-78 win at East Carolina on Wednesday. Jason Maxiell had 24 points and eight rebounds for the Bearcats, who let a 20-point lead dwindle in the final minutes.

Bearcats coach Bob Huggins was not pleased with how his team played with the large lead.

``I didn't want to have to go back and try to fix things two days before we play Louisville,'' he said. ``I was hoping that the light had come on, that we knew what we had to do, but that's apparently not the case.

``When you have to spend your time fixing things, that takes away from your time to prepare.''

Louisville seems to have some momentum heading into the showdown after a 107-62 win at Southern Mississippi on Wednesday. The Cardinals shot 69 percent in the first half to build a 60-27 cushion and topped the 100-point mark for the second time all season.

Francisco Garcia scored 25 points and Ellis Myles added 20 for Louisville, which improved to 2-1 on the road.

Garcia has enjoyed some tremendous success against Cincinnati, averaging 21.2 points in five career games against the Bearcats. He scored 28 points in the last meeting.

Maxiell has averaged 12.7 points in seven career games against Louisville. The 6-foot-7 senior forward is averaging 16.1 points and 8.3 rebounds this season — which Pitino considers his best.

``I think he's be an outstanding (pro prospect) because he has a great low-post game,'' Pitino said. ''(He's a) big time shot blocker and big time rebounder. The lack of size is of no consequence because his wingspan makes him 6-11. So he's an outstanding player.''

The game will feature the league's top defense against the league's top offense. Cincinnati is limiting opponents to 35.4 percent shooting while Louisville is tops in C-USA in field-goal percentage at 49.1 percent.

Cincinnati and Louisville each have all starters averaging in double figures.

``They're like us, they just don't rely on one player,'' Pitino said.

The Bearcats are 8-0 at home this season, where they have won by an average of just under 20 points per game.

No. 22 Marquette seeks cure versus USF

Marquette looks to cut down on its mistakes and continue its dominance of South Florida when the teams meet in Milwaukee on Saturday.

The 22nd-ranked Golden Eagles (13-2, 1-1 C-USA) opened conference play with an 82-68 victory at Tulane last Saturday to extend their winning streak to four games. On Monday, they returned to the AP poll for the first time since last January.

Marquette, however, failed to solidify its newfound position Thursday night when its win streak was snapped with a 78-68 loss at Memphis.

Golden Eagles coach Tom Crean looked only as far as the turnover column to find an explanation for his team's loss.

``Turnovers were the story of the game, they really were,'' Crean said. ``Sixteen in the first half; 25 in the game. ... When you commit 25 turnovers in a game, it's going to be awful tough to beat anybody home or away.''

Dameon Mason led the Golden Eagles with 20 points, Ryan Amoroso had 16 points and 12 rebounds, and Travis Diener also scored 16 points for the Golden Eagles. Diener had nine of Marquette's season-high 25 turnovers.

The Golden Eagles trailed 41-25 at the half after Diener missed all five of his shots and mishandled the ball six times. Marquette committed six turnovers, including three by Diener, before the first media timeout and averaged a turnover-per-minute through the first 14 minutes.

Memphis converted the turnovers into baskets, eventually building the lead to 20-3 before Marquette hit its first field goal with 13:30 left.

The Golden Eagles will be looking to get back in the win column against the Bulls, a team they've beaten four straight times and are 11-2 against all-time.

South Florida (8-5, 1-1) saw its three-game winning streak end last Saturday with a 62-61 home loss to UAB. The Bulls were trying to win back-to-back conference games for the first time since February 2003.

After trailing by 11 at halftime, South Florida tied the game at 61-61 on a free throw by Collin Dennis with 10.5 seconds left. UAB's Marques Lewis was then fouled on an in-close shot, and after missing his first free-throw attempt, he converted the second to give UAB the win.

Terrence Leather missed a desperation 3-point shot at the buzzer for South Florida, which committed 19 turnovers and shot a season-low 52 percent from the free-throw line.

``We were close to finishing the first week of conference play being 2-0 as opposed to being 1-1, but I guess realistically we could of very well been 0-2 as well,'' Bulls coach Robert McCullum said. ``So, if you are trying to find a silver lining somewhere I guess that's how we'll look at.''

News Nuggets are compiled periodically based on material supplied by staff members; data published by ECU, Conference USA and its member schools; and reports from Associated Press and other sources. Copyright 2005 and other publishers. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Page Updated: 02/23/2007 12:20 PM


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