News Nuggets, 03.31.05
NOTES FROM ECU AND BEYOND...
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Compiled from staff reports
and electronic dispatches
Preparations in place for
closed ECU scrimmage
football on the menu for Pirate fans ... Gamecocks top Terps
to reach NIT title game ... Hawks halt Memphis in NIT
semifinal battle ...
Carolina southpaw takes Conference USA honor ... Beale
Street helps Memphis star cure the blues ...
helps Heels seal the deal over Badgers ... Scintillating
finishes supercharge TV ratings ...
Illini mount monumental rallies to reach Final Four ...
Terrapins dump TCU to win Garden date with South Carolina
... Sunday preview: North Carolina vs. Wisconsin ...
State bite the dust; Heels survive ... Louisville, WVU
rumble for spot in Final Four ... Fires plague Morgantown
after tourney win ... Players nabbed for passing fake
named to powerful USA Basketball panel ... ECU fans to have
rooting interest in NIT semis ... Triangle's Sweet 16 teams
converge at RDU ... Another DUI charge embarrasses
Memphis whips Vandy to advance to Garden ... NIT: Maryland
overcomes big Davidson lead ... Big East hops on replay
win over UNLV extends Stokes' ties to USC ...
Davidson-Maryland NIT matchup set for TV ... Activists file
suit over 'Chief Illiniwek' ...
over for East Carolina football team ... Frogs in NIT
quarterfinals after overtime win ... CBS reaping ratings
bonanza from tourney ... Baseball America & Collegiate
Baseball Polls ...
straps on visor, gets down to business ... NCAA Tourney
Sweet 16 pairings & schedule ... Tournament's TV ratings up
over 2004 ...
proves it still has Bearcats' number ... Memphis zaps
Hokies, starts thinking NIT title ... Davidson tames Bears,
turns focus to Terps ... Preview: (4) Louisville vs. (5)
Georgia Tech ...
leads Wolfpack to comeback win over 49ers ... Louisville
escapes upset bid by Ragin' Cajuns ... Preview: (7)
Cincinnati vs. (2) Kentucky ... Preview: (11) UAB vs. (3)
East Carolina's football team passed
the halfway point of its spring practice agenda on Wednesday, setting the
stage for the first of three scrimmages that will be conducted before the
conclusion of spring drills.
Wednesday's practice was the eighth of
15 scheduled sessions in Skip Holtz' first spring at the helm of the Pirates
and according to the coach's comments in an ECU release was marked by
improvement over the previous day's workout.
"I thought today's practice was a crisp
one and the kids were sharp mentally," Holtz said. "I believe we've come a
long way in the last eight practices. There has been a lot of individual
work done and now we're starting to put the team aspect together."
Those team aspects will be tested under
more game-like conditions in Friday afternoon's initial spring scrimmage,
which will consist of a series of 10-play possessions for each unit.
The scrimmage will be closed to the
According to the release, Holtz noted
his satisfaction with the development of the offensive line and indicated
that all levels of the Pirates' current depth chart would experience action
in Friday's scrimmage for the purpose of subsequent game-tape evaluation.
Among the seven remaining sessions in
the spring period, two more scrimmages are planned, including the annual
Purple-Gold Spring Game on April 16.
Compiled from an
ECU Athletics report.
Texas legislature maneuvers to reign in BCS
AUSTIN, TX A Texas senator wants to
ban the state's college football teams from playing in any post-season
championship games that are not part of a playoff system.
The bill by Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San
Antonio, is similar to a bill filed in the House last month by Rep. Rep.
Corbin Van Arsdale, R-Tomball.
Both bills would expire Dec. 2, just
before Bowl Championship Series bids go out, if a similar law is not enacted
in at least four other states.
In the end, both may turn out to be
mostly symbolic measures born out of frustration with the BCS system, in
which a poll of college football coaches and computer rankings help
determine which teams will play in the major bowl games.
The Associated Press has instructed the
BCS to stop using the AP Top 25 rankings by sportswriters and broadcasters
as part of the selection formula.
The University of Texas received its
first BCS bid this past season when it was invited to the Rose Bowl. The
Longhorns beat Michigan 38-37.
Wentworth's bill would prohibit Texas'
NCAA teams from playing in ``an intercollegiate post-regular-session
competition that is part of a series that includes a national championship
game unless that competition is part of a national playoff system.''
That system would have to consist of
``at least 16 teams competing in successive elimination games resulting in a
final game for the national championship of that entire division or level of
If at least four other states mentioned
in the bill enact a similar law before Dec. 1, the law would stay in effect
for Texas schools, according to the bill.
The other states are Alabama, Arizona,
California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Oklahoma,
Oregon, South Carolina and Washington.
NIT master Odom leads USC into title game
NEW YORK Carlos Powell thought about
picking up the shiny, silver National Invitation Tournament championship
trophy, then shook his head no.
It was close enough to touch, even if
he wasn't 6-foot-7, but the South Carolina forward looked at the
photographer who asked him to lift it and politely declined.
``I'll just wait until tomorrow,''
Powell said Wednesday, less than 12 hours after South Carolina advanced to
the NIT title game with a 75-67 victory over Maryland.
There'll be plenty of time to hold it
if the Gamecocks (19-13) knock off Saint Joseph's (24-11) on Thursday night.
Powell had a chance to win the NIT at
the end of his freshman season with the Gamecocks. They got all the way to
the final but lost to Memphis. Outside of Little League Baseball, he's never
been on a championship team.
He has two days and one game left in
his college career to change that.
Powell started slowly against Maryland
but finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds, his sixth double-double of the
season and 10th of his career. He moved up to sixth on the school's scoring
list Tuesday and has played the most games in Gamecocks history (131).
``It's something I don't want to end,
but I would like for it to end with a championship,'' he said.
And he is going in with the right
Dave Odom has made himself quite
comfortable in the NIT. He has a championship, a runner-up finish and a 15-3
record in five trips.
Odom went three times with Wake Forest
and won it all in 2000. He's trying to duplicate the feat with the Gamecocks
after falling one victory short in 2002.
``I certainly take pride in it,'' Odom
said of his NIT success. ``There is not a coach in the country who aspires
to have his legacy be 'He was a great NIT coach.' But I will tell you that
I'm not ashamed of that.''
Odom and the Gamecocks won't be the
fans' top choice against Saint Joe's and quick-witted coach Phil Martelli.
Saint Joseph's campus in Philadelphia is about a 2 1/2 -car ride to New York
``Thursday on our campus is a very big
study night,'' Martelli said with tongue firmly in cheek. ``I think if we
can get them to the library a little early tomorrow we might have in the
neighborhood of 6,000 people here.''
Odom said he wouldn't have picked to
play the Hawks, but now that both teams are there he is ready to embrace the
scene. That includes the circus, which is holding its annual New York run.
``Madison Square Garden turns me on,''
said Odom, who served a stint as East Carolina's coach from 1979-82 and has
never coached at a university north of Virginia. ``I like smelling the
animals. We're always here when the circus is here. I kind of walk around,
and there are elephants around. Go in the arena and you can smell some
``It's the way the game should be
But he wants to make sure Saint
Joseph's plays the game his team dictates. Odom will press and trap, but not
for 40 minutes. He wants to control the tempo, and speed it up.
The tough part will come when the
Gamecocks have the ball.
The Hawks' Pat Carroll has being firing
in 3s at a sensational pace but it's defense that makes this team win. In
the NIT, the Hawks have allowed 52.6 points per game. Only Holy Cross
``Their defense is the most underrated
and untalked about element of their game,'' Odom said. ``I think it is every
bit as good as their offense. Not complicated, just effective.''
The Hawks have played five games in
this tournament to four for South Carolina. They also played their
quarterfinal at Texas A&M while the Gamecocks stayed home.
Saint Joseph's turned around a 3-6
start and is 21-5 since Jan. 1.
``It's been dramatic,'' Martelli said.
``I hope that the players will be able to call on this for the rest of their
lives. It's never as dark as you think it was or as dark as you think it is.
Something like that.''
Saint Joe's felt the urging of the
crowd in the 70-58 semifinal victory over Memphis, and wants to ride that to
Carroll and fellow senior John Bryant
can relate to Powell's quest. They also are seeking their first college
championship and want to leave their mark on the school that went to the
NCAA regional finals last year on the backs of Jameer Nelson and Delonte
Carroll, the Atlantic 10 co-player of
the year, is averaging 20.6 points per game in the NIT and has buried 18 of
the Hawks' 32 3-pointers in the tournament.
``To make it a good program, you have
to be successful many years in a row,'' Carroll said. ``I think we're
getting toward that right now.''
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
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