Calhoun to coach UConn in second round
PHILADELPHIA – Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun gets nervous before every game. His players, he said, often point out how high-strung he is before an NCAA tournament game in particular. So when he started to feel “lousy” on Thursday morning before his team’s first-round game against Chattanooga, he thought nothing of it.
“There’s a guy named Bill Russell who threw up before every game,” Calhoun said Friday afternoon as he addressed the media for the first time since missing the Huskies’ 103-47 victory over Chattanooga with the stomach flu. “He turned out OK, the greatest winner ever. … And there is no game that I’ve ever approached that I don’t feel that in my stomach, OK?”
Calhoun, whose Huskies are the top seed in the West Region, said that he would be on the Wachovia Center sideline Saturday for UConn’s second-round game against No. 9 Texas A&M. After his team practiced at the Palestra on Thursday morning, Calhoun did not anticipate having to go to the hospital at the University of Pennsylvania. But in light of Calhoun’s medical history – he has survived one bout of prostate cancer and two bouts of skin cancer – Jeff Anderson, UConn’s director of sports medicine, suggested Calhoun go to the hospital as a precautionary measure.
“All of us have been in a state where we’ve either had different types of flu,” Calhoun said. “I’ve had a few things much more serious than that. But [there are times] where you just feel miserable – can’t wait to have somebody fix me, just fix me. I didn’t feel that way. I felt lousy. I felt tired. And I thought, first, that Dr. Anderson, our team physician, would maybe give me something for my stomach, et cetera, et cetera. He said, ‘Let’s go get it checked out.’ And we did.”
Tests revealed that Calhoun was dehydrated. He was listed in good condition and stayed at the hospital overnight, then checked out early Friday morning – in time for UConn’s morning practice at the Palestra.
“They wanted to be exceptionally thorough, and they were very thorough, as in the whole time that I was there,” Calhoun said. “Then you realize: With that bracelet, unless you can whip a couple of security guards, you’re not going anyplace, and I wasn’t going anyplace.” – Mike Sielski
Missouri calm in first round
BOISE, Idaho – By tipoff, Missouri’s Zaire Thomas realized something was missing. The ball went up, the game between Missouri and Cornell was on, and the pregame jitters had never arrived.
“It kind of shocked me,” said Thomas, a junior guard. “I was trying to get myself nervous a little bit, because I felt I was too cool.”
At halftime, third-seeded Missouri led 14th-seeded Cornell by only four points – and Tigers coach Mike Anderson said his players were in for another surprise. The sometimes combustible coach was calmer than his players.
“I think that’s probably shocking to them,” Anderson said.
But in the end, nothing terribly shocking took place. Maintaining their composure, the Tigers opened the second half with a 13-6 spurt and coasted to a 19-point victory, 78-59. – Josh Peter
Cornell falls short of plan
BOISE, Idaho – Now it can be told.
Cornell entered its game a heavy underdog against Missouri, but Cornell coach Steve Donahue had envisioned a couple of things that would lead his team to an upset.
1. Commit no more than 10 turnovers.
Check. The Big Red committed only nine.
2. Limit Missouri to 10 offensive rebounds.
Check. The Big Red held Missouri to nine offensive rebounds.
Final score: Missouri 78, Cornell 59.
So what happened? “Honestly, we got fouled at the end – but I give Missouri credit,” Donahue said.
Deservedly so. The defeat dropped Cornell to 0-10 against Big 12 teams and 0-4 in the NCAA tournament. – Josh Peter
Hayward gives props to Utah State
BOISE, Idaho – Nice gesture by Marquette’s Lazar Hayward, who after their first-round game praised Utah State for its precision on offense and “never taking a bad shot.”
Perhaps Hayward missed Tyler Newbold’s 3-point attempt that caromed off the backboard and didn’t even hit the rim with Utah State trailing by one point late in the game.
Miraculously, the backboard did not crack. But Utah State did. The Aggies shot 30.8 percent from the field in the first half and 41 percent for the game despite averaging 49.8 percent this season. – Josh Peter