8B - The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - March 17, 2003
MickzkanDaily cor/Pizza House Challenge
NCAA MEN'S DASK E TBALL TOU RNAM E NT
March 27, 29
March 28, 30
12 Weber State
Pick the most winners and receive a
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11 Southern Illinoi
3 . M a rq u ette .. .n
14 Holy Cross
5 Notre Dame
1-3 West. Kentuck
11 Cent. Michigan
14 Colorado State
10 Arizona State
15 Utah State
.- ~ West
TX So.JUNC- Ash. 16
Louisana State 8
Briham Youn 12
:..an Dieo 13
UNC- Wilmington 11
Michigan State 7
Sam Houston 15
NrhCarolina St. 9
Mississippi State 5
Oklahoma State 6
i St. Joseph 7
Wake Forest 2
East Tennesse St. 15
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Total Points in
The first round games are worth one point, two in the second round, then three, four, five and six for the other rounds
Illini end Buckeyes'
NCAA tourney hopes
NCAA needs major
CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois got
everything it wanted out of the Big
Except, maybe, a better seed in
the NCAA tournament.
Still irked at finishing second in
the regular season, Illinois won the
Big Ten tournament with an easy
72-59 victory over weary Ohio
State yesterday. But that apparently
wasn't enough to impress the
NCAA selection committee, which
seeded the Illini fourth in the West,
perhaps the toughest region.
"I think when you first see it,
you say, 'Oh, gee, I thought we
could have been a three,' " Illinois
coach Bill Self said. "I'm not going
to say it didn't mean anything to
win the tournament, it means a lot.
That's a championship we wanted,
it was a goal and we got it.
"I don't know if we helped our-
selves seedingwise, but we helped
ourselves from a confidence stand-
In winning for the eighth time in
nine games, the Illini (24-6)
proved that not only are they the
Big Ten's best team, they're its
Illinois' two best players - Big
Ten player of the year Brian Cook
and freshman guard Dee Brown -
had off days, but it hardly mattered
as the rest of the Illini picked up
Roger Powell scored 16 points,
and Sean Harrington had 12, all
from 3-point range. James Augus-
tine, who struggled the past few
games, had a monster day with 12
points and 10 rebounds.
Cook still finished with 15
points, but he was a dismal 4-of-
16. Brown had only four points,
and had four turnovers to go with
his five assists.
"Everybody played collectively
well, and we had to have a great
team effort," Powell said. "That's
what we need to win games like
this. Hopefully we can carry this
into the tournament - the big tour-
Ohio State (17-14) was playing
its fourth game in as many days,
and its fatigue showed. The Buck-
eyes had trouble finishing their
shots, going 20-of-55 (36 percent)
from the field, and they were no
match for the Illini inside.
If not for yet another big effort
by Brent Darby, who finished with
27 points and six assists, the game
would have been a total rout.
"I got a little winded out there,"
Darby said. "But when you play a
team like Illinois, that's going to
The Buckeyes had won their first
three games by a total of 11 points,
and they had little left to challenge
Illinois. Powell and Harrington beat
Ohio State from the perimeter,
while Augustine took care of busi-
In addition to outrebounding
Ohio State 39-36, Illinois
outscored the Buckeyes 34-18 in
the paint and had a 16-4 edge on
"I think we can be a really dan-
gerous team," Cook said. "We did-
Illinois forward Brian Cook led his team to the Big Ten Tournament crown yesterday
in Chicago. The senior scored 15 points in the Illini's 72-59 win over Ohio State.
n't play as well as we wanted today,
but everybody picked each other up
and that's the mark of a great
Illinois held the Buckeyes with-
out a field goal for almost seven
minutes midway through the first
half while it ripped off an 11-3 run.
Powell started it with a driving
layup, and Cook capped it by mak-
ing a free throw after a technical
foul to give Illinois a 33-20 lead,
its largest of the half.
The Buckeyes pulled within 36-
25 at halftime, but Illinois came
out gunning to start the second.
Cook scored on a putback and then
hit a 3-pointer, and Powell added a
hook shot to give the Illini a 43-27
lead with 17:56 still to play.
Illinois wasn't done with its daz-
zling displays, either. After Darby
made two free throws, the Illini ran
off seven points in just 49 seconds
to go up 52-30 with 15:56 to play.
"There's a lot of answers on that
team," Ohio State coach Jim
O'Brien said. "They put five guys
out on the court that have to be
defended at all times."
But Ohio State has an impressive
player of its own, and Darby gave
the Illini one last challenge. Trail-
ing by 16, Darby made three
straight 3-pointers to pull Ohio
State within 60-51 with 7:02 to
After a timeout to regroup,
Augustine made two free throws
and Harrington drilled a 3-pointer
to put Ohio State away for good.
When the buzzer sounded, the
Illini threw their arms into the air
and quickly put on their Big Ten
championship hats and T-shirts.
Wisconsin may have won the regu-
lar-season title, but Illinois was
the Big Ten's best team when it
"Wisconsin won something we
thought we should have had and we
couldn't get that back," Self said.
Fans of (revenue-generating) college
athletics expect shenanigans from the
BCS and the college bowl system.
Teams being pushed out of major bowls
by a random number generator pos-
sessed by the NCAA is to be expected
within the world of college football.
That is part of what makes the NCAA
Men's Basketball Tournament pure to
fans. The selection process is based on a
meritocracy (for the most part), and each
team is given a fair chance at winning
the tournament. But somehow, over the
past two years, the NCAA has managed
to allow the cess and idiocy from the
BCS to spill into the selection process.
In an effort to limit the amount teams
have to travel after Sept. 11, the NCAA
decided to keep teams
closer to home. But-in
doing so, it rearranged
the selection and site
more than a PicassoA
The NCAA mixed
and matched sites,
placing Spokane, ,
Wash. in both the
South and Midwest
brackets. It is not clear
exactly how far Spokane is from either
the South or the Midwest, but the log-
ging town in eastern Washington is as
close to the two as Bogota, Columbia.
What makes this an even more fla-
grant error is that of the eight teams
playing in Spokane, 12th-seeded Weber
State (which is located in Ogden, Utah
- due east of the Great Salt Lake) is the
closest university to Spokane. The 700-
mile separation between Ogden and
Spokane should give Weber State the
home court advantage over Big Ten
And in a further effortato limit the
amount of money teams need to spend
on traveling, the NCAA placed No. 5
Connecticut in Spokane (which is a
meager 44-hour drive across 13 states
from Storrs) instead of Boston - is a
two-hour drive in rush-hour traffic. But
who can blame the NCAA for such a
mistake because, according to it, Boston
is now in the East and Midwest -
which surely has John Adams spinning
in his grave.
The NCAA also went and placed
Indianapolis in the West bracket. The last
time Indianapolis was considered to be
in the West was when Henry Clay was
still trying to decide who went where.
Such geographic errors should be
no more acceptable for the NCAA
than for an eighth-grader.
As for neutral sites, the NCAA
missed the mark on
that one, too.
No. 1 seed Texas,
which has arguably
the best guard in
the nation in T.J.
Ford, will play in
San Antonio if it
makes it into the
Sweet 16. That
should allow it to
march through the
South Regional -
which already appears to be the weak-
est region - like General Sherman on
his march to the sea.
In the East Regional, top-seeded
Oklahoma gets to play its first two
games in Oklahoma City, which is no
different than the Brazilian National
Soccer Team playing in San Paulo. But
the tables will be turned on it when it
travels up to Albany, N.Y. the following
weekend, where Syracuse and Carmello
Anthony will be waiting for them like an
angry Tony Soprano.
And as if none of these mistakes were
egregious enough, the NCAA also
placed Brigham Young University in a
bracket that would have them play in the
Elite Eight on Sunday. But school rules
dictate that the teams not play games on
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