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Author Topic:   March Madness 2006
fred
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From:Redmond, WA
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posted March 09, 2006 09:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fred   Click Here to Email fred     Edit/Delete Message
Fourteen NCAA tourney bids sealed

March 9, 2006

BRISTOL, Connecticut (Ticker) - The major conference tournaments are underway, but just one automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament will be handed out over the next two days.

Thus far, 14 schools have secured automatic berths. There are no conference title games Thursday and just one Friday, with Holy Cross facing Bucknell for the Patriot League title.

Monmouth and Montana earned NCAA bids on Wednesday.

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Chris Kenny took an outlet pass and weaved through defenders for a layup with 2.1 seconds to play, lifting Monmouth (18-14) to a 49-48 victory over intrastate rival Fairleigh Dickinson in the Northeast Conference tournament championship game. NEC teams are 1-25 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.

Montana (23-6) captured the Big Sky Conference tournament title for the second straight year with a 73-60 victory over Northern Arizona.

On Tuesday, Oral Roberts locked up its first NCAA berth since 1984 with an 85-72 victory over Chicago State in the championship of the Mid-Continent Conference tournament.

Also headed to the "Big Dance" following wins Monday are Wisconsin-Milwaukee, which won its second straight Horizon League title, and South Alabama, which won the Sun Belt Conference title game and has its first berth since 1998.

Other already in the field of 65 are fourth-ranked Gonzaga, Iona, North Carolina-Wilmington, Southern Illinois, Davidson, Murray State, Winthrop, Belmont and Pennsylvania, which won the Ivy League regular-season title Friday.

There are 31 automatic berths. The NCAA Tournament Selection Committee will make 34 at-large selections to complete the field, which will be announced Sunday.

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indiedan
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From:Santa Monica
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posted March 13, 2006 10:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message
NCAA tourney draw stirs more debate than it settles

By MICHAEL MAROT, AP Sports Writer
March 13, 2006

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- The top seeds for the NCAA tournament went as predicted: Duke, Connecticut, Villanova and Memphis.

As for the rest of the 65-team field, it was tougher to decipher a method to the madness.

While the Big East had a record eight teams make the tournament field, most thought it deserved a ninth.

While the mid-major conferences made major inroads in the at-large process, several teams still were overlooked.

No. 6 George Washington, at 26-2 with the best record in the tournament, drew only an eight seed in the Atlanta Regional and potentially faces a top-10 matchup against top-seeded Duke in the second round.

And big-name teams such as Michigan, Cincinnati and Maryland were left out completely.

There were enough complaints with Sunday's selections to rile up even the apparent winners.

"I think we're excited we finally got an at-large team in," Colonial Athletic Association commissioner Thomas Yeager said. "But it's been bittersweet because we thought we had a third team that looked very much like, if not better, than some of the teams that got in."

The questions ranged from minuscule to extraordinary.

By taking so many Big East teams, the selection committee nearly had to change its policy. Had Cincinnati (19-12), which seemed a virtual lock before Syracuse's surprising run to the Big East title, gotten in, the committee would have altered a rule prohibiting conference teams from facing each other before the regional finals.

Chairman Craig Littlepage said there was a contingency plan in place that would have given the committee more flexibility.

Instead, the committee used its last two at-large selections on Bradley (20-10) of the Missouri Valley Conference, expected to make it, and Air Force (24-6), a major surprise. Both were seeded 13th in their respective regions.

"We had a discussion and the questions that were asked were similar to `Who is tough?' or `Who is another team you wouldn't want to play?"' Littlepage said. "Air Force provided us with some unique things. I think there were enough things to grab onto that this was a solid selection."

At Cincinnati, Littlepage's explanation was met with dismay.

"I thought, honestly, we'd be in the 10, 11 range," Bearcats interim coach Andy Kennedy said. "For us to be completely off the board is shocking."

A few things did go as planned.

Duke earned its 10th No. 1 seed, tying North Carolina's record, while UConn earned a top seed for the fourth time. Duke and UConn were the only teams ranked No. 1 this year.

Villanova and Memphis are both making their first appearance at No. 1 even though Allan Ray's eye injury created a discussion about dropping the Wildcats a notch.

The committee has used injuries to dock other teams, but Littlepage said the committee decided against doing it this time. Losses by Ohio State and Texas in their conference finals also helped Villanova's case.

"At the end of it, we felt like this was a good basketball team even without him, and he probably makes them a great team," Littlepage said.

As usual, the biggest conferences dominated the 34 at-large picks. The Big Ten and Southeastern each had six teams, second to the Big East, while the Atlantic Coast, Big 12 and Pac-10 all had four.

The mid-majors also made progress. Among the new multibid leagues were the MVC (four) and the Colonial (two), although both commissioners had hoped for more. Utah State, which was left out in 2004 despite being ranked in the Top 25, also made it this time.

"It's something that's evolved, and something we should feel very good about," Littlepage said.

Duke (30-3) opens the tournament Thursday in nearby Greensboro, N.C., against Southern University. Texas, the No. 2 seed, plays Pennsylvania in Dallas. The other games in that regional are at Jacksonville, Fla., and Auburn Hills, Mich., where third-seeded Iowa, the Big Ten champion, faces No. 14 Northwestern State.

Memphis (30-3), which lost one game in Conference USA this season, leads the Oakland Regional and plays Oral Roberts, which was last in the tournament in 1984, in Dallas. UCLA was the No. 2 seed and the Pac-10 champions face tournament newcomer Belmont at San Diego. At Salt Lake City, third-seeded Gonzaga goes against Atlantic-10 champion Xavier and at Auburn Hills, fourth-seeded Kansas will play Bradley.

Connecticut is the top seed in the Washington Regional. The Huskies (27-3), who were beaten by Syracuse in the Big East quarterfinals, play Albany, the only other team making its first appearance, in Philadelphia. The other game has eighth-seeded Kentucky against No. 9 UAB. Illinois, last year's national runner-up and a fourth seed, faces No. 13 Air Force.

Tennessee, the second seed, plays Winthrop in Greensboro. At Dayton, defending champion North Carolina is the third seed against Murray State.

Villanova (24-4) is the top seed in the Minneapolis Regional. The Wildcats will open in their home city of Philadelphia against the winner of Tuesday night's opening-round game between Monmouth and Hampton. The other game in that doubleheader has eighth-seeded Arizona against No. 9 Wisconsin.

This will be the 27th tournament for Arizona coach Lute Olson, tying him with Dean Smith and Bob Knight for the most in NCAA history. It is Olson's 22nd straight appearance with Arizona, moving him within one of Smith's record set at North Carolina from 1975-97.

Ohio State is the second seed; the Buckeyes play No. 15 Davidson in Dayton. Third-seeded Florida, which repeated as Southeastern Conference tournament champions on Sunday, plays in Jacksonville against No. 14 South Alabama.

The Final Four is April 1 and 3 in Indianapolis.

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indiedan
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posted March 13, 2006 10:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message
Duke, UConn, ‘Nova, Memphis get No. 1 seeds
Blue Devils earn overall top spot in NCAA Tournament’s field of 65

The Associated Press
Updated: 10:00 a.m. ET March 13, 2006


INDIANAPOLIS - The madness was on before the first tipoff.

This year’s NCAA tournament draw was a mix of power and unpredictability, with the top seeds surprising no one — and the rest of the field stirring all the debate.

The No. 1 seeds went as expected Sunday, with Duke first overall, followed by Connecticut, Villanova and Memphis. Beyond that, the 65-team lineup was one big bracket of questions and curious omissions.

For starters:

The Big East landed a record eight teams in the field, but what’s shocking is that it didn’t get a ninth, with Cincinnati among the notables who were passed over. Meanwhile, the “mid-major” Missouri Valley got four bids, as many as the traditionally powerful Atlantic Coast Conference.
Air Force, 38th according to RPI rankings for record and strength of schedule, got in. By comparison, among the left-out teams were 21st-ranked Missouri State; Hofstra, which finished 30th; and 32nd-ranked Cincinnati.
Tennessee, which lost four of its last six games, was rewarded with a No. 2 seed, higher than both Southeastern Conference tournament winner Florida and SEC regular season champion Louisiana State.
George Washington, with the best record in the tournament at 26-2 and ranked sixth in the Associated Press poll, was dropped to an eighth seed.
Selection committee chairman Craig Littlepage explained that the reasons were as varied as the process itself.


In George Washington’s case, he cited the Colonials’ nonconference record. In the case of Missouri State, he cited a weak record against the other MVC schools under consideration.

And in the case of Air Force, it seemed the committee almost went on a gut feeling.

“We had a discussion and the questions that asked were similar to ‘Who is tough?’ or ‘Who is another team you wouldn’t want to play?”’ Littlepage said. “Air Force provided us with some unique things.”

Littlepage defended the committee’s decisions on everything from selections to seedings to placements — even how injuries factored.

At one point, the committee had to consider changing the rules. Had Cincinnati (19-12) become the ninth Big East team in the field, it would have broken a policy of not allowing conference teams to meet before the regional finals.

But Cincinnati went from a virtual lock to outside-looking-in after losing to Syracuse in the Big East tournament, an outcome that stunned interim coach Andy Kennedy.

“I’m open to anyone telling me a justifiable reason as to why this team did not get to the NCAA Tournament other than, ‘Andy, we cant let nine teams from one league get in, it sends the wrong message,”’ Kennedy said.

Villanova star Allan Ray’s eye injury was another consideration. The committee has been known to dock teams that lose key players, and the committee was discussing that possibility Sunday morning. But it got some help when Texas and Ohio State both lost in their conference tournament finals.


There was a more decipherable method to much of the madness.

Duke, which tied North Carolina for the most ever No. 1 seeds at 10, was the bracket’s top team overall. UConn, the only team other than Duke to be ranked No. 1 this year, is a top seed for the fourth time. Memphis and Villanova both earned their first appearances at the top of the bracket — right where they figured to be.

And, of course, the biggest conferences secured the vast majority of the 34 at-large bids. The Big Ten and Southeastern each had six teams selected, while the ACC, Big 12 and Pac-10 all had four.

Among the new multi-bid leagues were the Missouri Valley (four) and the Colonial Athletic Association (two), although both commissioners were hoping for more.

“I thought it was a good day, but we had hoped for a better day,” said Colonial commissioner Thomas Yeager, who saw Hofstra left out.

Duke (30-3) opens the tournament Thursday in nearby Greensboro, N.C., against Southern University. Texas, the No. 2, plays Pennsylvania in Dallas. The other games in that regional are at Jacksonville, Fla., and Auburn Hills, Mich., where third-seeded Iowa, the Big Ten champion, faces No. 14 Northwestern State.

Memphis (30-3), which lost one game in Conference USA this season, leads the Oakland Regional and plays Oral Roberts, which was last in the tournament in 1984, in Dallas. UCLA was the No. 2 seed and the Pac-10 champions face tournament newcomer Belmont at San Diego. At Salt Lake City, third-seeded Gonzaga goes against Atlantic-10 champion Xavier and at Auburn Hills, fourth-seeded Kansas will play Bradley.

Connecticut is the top seed in the Washington Regional. The Huskies (27-3), who were beaten by Syracuse in the Big East quarterfinals, play Albany, which is making its first appearance, in Philadelphia. The other game has eighth-seeded Kentucky against No. 9 UAB. Illinois, last year’s national runner-up and a fourth seed, faces No. 13 Air Force.

Tennessee, the second seed, plays Winthrop in Greensboro. At Dayton, defending champion North Carolina is the third seed against Murray State.

Villanova (24-4) is the top seed in the Minneapolis Regional. The Wildcats will open in their home city of Philadelphia against the winner of Tuesday night’s opening-round game between Monmouth and Hampton. The other game in that doubleheader has eighth-seeded Arizona against No. 9 Wisconsin.

This will be the 27th tournament for Arizona coach Lute Olson, tying him with Dean Smith and Bob Knight for the most in NCAA history. It is Olson’s 22nd straight appearance with Arizona, moving him within one of Smith’s record set at North Carolina from 1975-97.

Ohio State is the second seed; the Buckeyes play No. 15 Davisdon in Dayton. Third-seeded Florida, which repeated as Southeastern Conference tournament champions on Sunday, plays in Jacksonville against No. 14 South Alabama.

The Final Four is April 1 and 3 in Indianapolis.

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AuthorAuthor
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From:Des Moines, Iowa
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posted March 16, 2006 10:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for AuthorAuthor   Click Here to Email AuthorAuthor     Edit/Delete Message
I've got Iowa winning it all. Go Hawks!

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indiedan
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posted March 16, 2006 11:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message
San Diego NCAA arena evacuated on bomb scare 21 minutes ago


Police evacuated a San Diego college arena on Thursday, hours before a first-round NCAA championship basketball game, after a bomb-sniffing dog signaled a potential problem at a hot dog stand.

Cox Arena at San Diego State University was cleared while police tried to determine if there was an explosive device in the hot dog stand, college spokesman Jack Beresford said.

He said it was not immediately clear how many people were inside the building at the time but that the teams had not yet arrived.

"A bomb-sniffing dog noticed something in a hot dog cart," Beresford said. "They got a hit on something that was in the cart itself

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NEWSFLASH
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posted March 17, 2006 02:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message
March Madness Hits the 'Net

CBS today (Friday) claimed that record numbers of Internet users tuned into its out-of-market webcasts of the NCAA men's basketball tournament on Thursday. According to the network, more than 268,000 simultaneous video "streams" of games were served, with an actual total number of users estimated at 1.2 million by 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time. CBS Digital Media President Larry Kramer told Reuters: "The numbers and positive feedback we have seen from our users today are extremely encouraging." In an interview with MarketWatch.com, former CBS Sports chief Neal Pilson, who now heads a consulting firm, called the webcasts a "watershed event," explaining, "There have been a lot of events available [on the Internet] on a subscription basis, priced modestly, but this is the first time that a significant national event -- which is also covered on television -- is being made available free, with the revenue stream coming from advertisers."

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NEWSFLASH
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posted March 27, 2006 12:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message
Viewers of NCAA Webcasts Dribble Down

The number of viewers of CBS's webcasts of the college basketball tournament steadily declined during the first week of "March Madness," according to Nielsen Research figures reported today (Monday) by MediaPost's OnlineMediaDaily. While the first day of the tournament on March 16 drew more than 3.6 million online viewers, the number slowly fell to 1.7 million by March 21. Nevertheless, Advertising Age commented today that the initial rounds of the NCAA tournament were "arguably the most successful demonstration to date of TV on the web," while noting that the number of simultaneous streams -- 260,000 -- prevented many fans from watching. Meanwhile, TV ratings for the tournament are down about 3 percent from a year ago.

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NEWSFLASH
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posted March 30, 2006 01:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message
CBS Scores with TV/Web Hoop Coverage


A stunning 1.3 million people have registered to use CBS's free online player to access the network's March Madness on Demand, CBS said Wednesday. Brad Berens, executive editor of iMedia Communications, commented today (Thursday) that the player is "unquestionably a success and a big moment for the way that interactive and TV are working together." He cited figures from CBS Digital indicating that the 1.3 million users have accessed the player five million times during which they have generated over 15 million video streams of live game action.

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NEWSFLASH
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posted March 31, 2006 11:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message
Ad Buyers Jumping Through Hoops For CBS Over Webcasts

One of the primary advertisers on CBS's webcasts of the March Madness basketball games has called the five million visits chalked up over 56 games "absolutely outstanding." In an interview with the online edition of Business Week, ad manager Dino Bernacchi said that the webcasts, together with TV ads, increased traffic to a Pontiac site by at least 10-15 percent. Advertisers said the audience was about twice what CBS had promised. Meanwhile, Larry Kramer, president of CBS Digital Media, forecast that "next year, the audience will be bigger, because broadband video is a maturing medium." CBS said that the semifinal and championship games this weekend will not be shown on the Web.

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