News Nuggets, 04.01.05
NOTES FROM ECU AND BEYOND...
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Compiled from staff reports
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Gamecocks capture NIT title in thrilling finish
in place for closed ECU scrimmage ... Texas legislature
maneuvers to reign in BCS ... NIT master Odom leads USC into
title game ...
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)
NEW YORK Tarence Kinsey was a timeout
away from being a spectator instead of the hero.
Known more for defense, Kinsey hit a
3-pointer with 1.3 seconds left to lift South Carolina to a 60-57 victory
over Saint Joseph's Thursday night in the NIT championship game.
After Pat Carroll tied it with a 3 for
Saint Joseph's at the end of a miserable night for the sharpshooter, Kinsey
came up the floor and nailed the winning jumper from the right elbow.
``I figured if I miss we're in OT,''
Kinsey said. ``I didn't want to pass because of the time so I said, 'Why not
take the shot?'''
He was only in the game to guard
Carroll, who went 5-for-19 and 2-of-13 from 3-point range. Coach Dave Odom
was about to call timeout and get his shooter, Josh Gonner, back in the
But Odom didn't pull the trigger.
``I didn't want their defense to set
for the last play. So I swallowed my tongue, or whatever,'' Odom said. ``The
irony is, had I called a timeout, I would have put Josh in and taken Tarence
out no question.''
The win not only netted the NIT
championship trophy for the Gamecocks, it also sent one of Odom's top
assistants, Ricky Stokes, off to his new job as a winner. Stokes has been
named East Carolina's new head coach.
South Carolina was only the second team
in the NIT to get to 60 points against the Hawks, who controlled the tempo
with ball control and good defense.
``I felt if we could hit 60 we would
win,'' Odom said. ``I didn't know it would come on the last shot.''
Kinsey let his winning shot go just 6
seconds after Carroll tied it for the Hawks (24-12). But that was one of the
few shots Carroll, the Atlantic 10 co-player of the year, could get to go
The Hawks started 3-6 in the follow-up
season to their run to the NCAA round of eight in 2004. But they turned it
around and went 21-6 after Jan. 1.
Carroll's stellar career ended with a
15-point performance, after averaging 20.6 in the Hawks' first five NIT
``You're going to have good nights and
bad nights as a basketball player. Tonight was definitely a bad night,''
Carroll said. ``The only thing I wanted to do as a player was have no
``I am proud of the team because
everybody gave everything they've got and that's all you can ask for.''
South Carolina's Carlos Powell scored a
game-high 16 points and was chosen tournament MVP, showing no problems with
the right forearm strain he sustained in the semifinal victory over Maryland
on Tuesday. He had 31 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in his final two games
with for the Gamecocks.
South Carolina (20-13) reached 20 wins
for the third time in Odom's four seasons. The Gamecocks lost the 2002 NIT
title game to Memphis.
Odom improved to 16-3 in the NIT. He
won also won it in 2000 with Wake Forest.
Saint Joseph's got to the title game
the hard way, starting in the opening round and playing four times before
reaching New York. Of the final four, only the Hawks played in the opening
round and they were the only team to play on the road before reaching
Madison Square Garden.
The Hawks were the NIT runners-up in
1996, Phil Martelli's first season as head coach.
``We are not going to leave here in
second place, we are going to leave as champions,'' Martelli said. ``It just
doesn't say that in the end result.''
The Gamecocks must've felt as though
they were the visitors on Thursday, with about 8,000 Saint Joseph's
supporters on hand.
Coaches pushing for more
distant 3-point arc
ST. LOUIS Add college basketball
coaches to the long line of guys who can't stand prosperity.
Included in their ranks are at least
two of the coaches here at the Final Four and, according to the latest
survey, two-thirds of the basketball brethren. Never mind that we're coming
off the most thrilling weekend in NCAA tournament history, and that 3-point
shots, made and missed, were the reason for most of the chills.
From most coaches' vantage point, 19
feet, 9 inches is still too close. It needs to be a size 9 sneaker about 9
inches farther back.
``Maybe that way only the real good
shooters will take them,'' Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun said Thursday
through an exasperated grin, ``and the guys who don't have a prayer won't be
The debate over where to paint the arc
has been raging since the NCAA legislated it into being for the 1986-87
season. Some additional kindling was piled on only Wednesday when
Louisville's Rick Pitino and Illinois' Bruce Weber, whose teams launched an
average of 24 and 22 treys this season, weighed in on pushing it back to the
international distance of 20-6 still a good two feet closer than the
``It's always been too close,'' Pitino
That's the exact same thought he had 18
years ago, when Pitino was a rising star in the business at his second stop
in Providence, and he walked out on the court after arena officials finished
striping the floor. Standing behind the line, Pitino felt as if he'd been
granted a glimpse into the future. He already had three exceptional shooters
on that squad Delray Brooks, Ernie ``Pops'' Lewis and Billy Donovan, who
would go on to coach Florida and their long-range bombing validated that
vision and carried the unheralded Friars all the way to the national semis.
Considering how many coaches are
control freaks, not everybody bought into the 3 quite as quickly or as
thoroughly. But by season's end, even old-school disciple Bob Knight
reluctantly joined the parade. His Indiana team survived UNLV in the semis,
despite Fred Banks' single-game record of 10, then beat Syracuse for the
national championship as Steve Alford knocked down an incredible 7 of 10
On his way into the news conference
afterward, Knight saw the late Dr. Edward Steitz, then chief of the NCAA
rules committee, standing in the hallway. The two had been arguing, with
genuine affection, about the 3-point shot all season long and Knight
couldn't resist having the last word. With a wide grin and his index finger
pointed at Steitz like a lecturer, he simply said, ``You happy now?''
Steitz died in 1990, but chances are
good that if he were still around, the answer would be a resounding ``yes.''
The 3-point line was designed to create
more space on the floor by stretching defenses and lessening the pounding in
the post and that was before the days of serious weight training. It
serves that same purpose today.
But Pitino and the rest of the
push-it-back crowd not only believe the international line would create more
space; it would give the coaches more control over who does the launching.
The Illini took 35 3-pointers in their win over Arizona and Louisville's
overtime win over West Virginia came only after a combined 55 attempts
beyond the arc.
The first thing that came to mind
watching those games, North Carolina coach Roy Williams admitted, is where
the nearest exit was located. His team shoots the 3 just enough to create
space under the basket for Sean May, and like Calhoun he wouldn't mind if
the temptation were a little easier to resist.
``We always try to look for a great
balance, and sometimes we get it,'' Williams said, ``and sometimes we
Calhoun was so stunned by West
Virginia's use of the three against Louisville they made a staggering 18
of 27, some that looked as if they'd been launched from the stands that he
called Mountaineers coach John Beilein for the inside story.
``I told him I'd never seen anything
like it,'' Calhoun recalled, ``and he said, 'Jim, in 30 years of coaching,
neither have I.'''
And chances are good we won't see it
again anytime soon. The combined 3-point shooting percentage for the
regional finals last weekend was 47 percent a dozen percentage points
better than the average at midseason and for all of 2003-04.
On top of that, guys like Pitino and
Calhoun have become a clear majority. The last survey circulated by the NCAA
put the number of coaches favoring the international distance at 65 percent.
``That way, only the guys who can make
them for us,'' Calhoun said, ``will take them for us.''
This feature was written by Jim
Litke, a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to
him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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