Dallas Colleges: 2010 NCAA Tournament

Baylor's Hainsfurther carries on tradition

June, 4, 2010
FORT WORTH -- Baylor second baseman Joey Hainsfurther comes from a baseball family, but he's gotten to place that he can call his own.

His father played at Centenary and his two uncles played at LSU, but none had ever played in an NCAA Tournament. But Hainsfurther, a Highland Park grad, enjoyed a family first as a freshman.

And he's hoping for a better showing this year.

“Being a freshman, I was just following everybody and trying to figure it out and get my feet wet,” Hainsfurther said of his 2-for-11 showing during the Bears' three-game stay in the Baton Rouge Regional last year. “We ended up having a good year, but we didn’t do quite as well as we would’ve liked with the talent we had.

"But this year has just been awesome. ... We don’t have near the talent we did, but the chemistry we have going for us right now is unbelievable.”

While regionals can be very stressful for a lower-seeded team, Hainsfurther said he won’t be putting more pressure on himself.

“I think there’s definitely a lot of pressure on trying to win that first game,” said Hainsfurther, who has a .341 batting average with 47 RBIs. “I mean, there’s some pressure on me trying to help the team out, but up and down the lineup, if somebody’s not on one day, there are guys that are going to pick us up. That’s what has helped us this year.”

Hainsfurther, who will have family and friends supporting him at the Fort Worth Regional this weekend, grew up in a baseball culture.

“My dad is just having a blast watching me play college baseball," Hainsfurther said. "Growing up in that college baseball atmosphere has been awesome, so it’s been fun to carry on that tradition.”

Pro-Baylor crowd boos the Gaels

March, 26, 2010
HOUSTON -- The Saint Mary's Gaels just came out of the tunnel first and received a hearty welcome of boos from the overwhelmingly pro-Baylor crowd. However, let's make this perfectly clear: Reliant Stadium looks practically empty.

It looks like these two teams are playing a meaningless, non-conference game here like in some preseason tourney or something. The lower bowl, even the premium seats, let alone the end zone seats, isn't even full. The middle bowl has a few folks scattered about. It's another reason why it's too bad the Aggies aren't here.

A nice roar has filled the cavernous space for the Bears' entrance onto the raised floor in the center of Reliant. Unless there's 40,000 Dukies outside, this has to be a significant disappointment. One thing is for sure, this is not the Carrier Dome.

So close, but A&M so far from Houston

March, 26, 2010
HOUSTON -- How amazing would the scene at Reliant Stadium be tonight had Texas A&M held its 11-point second-half lead over Purdue and joined Baylor in the Bayou City, basically the Aggies' backyard?

Think there's a lot of green-and-gold out here? You bet. Can you imagine the size of the maroon invasion that would have flocked to Houston -- and the legions already in Houston -- to see their beloved Aggies take on top-seeded Duke? By sheer size of the schools and alumni bases, Aggies likely would have outnumbered Bears 3-to-1.

A&M coach Mark Turgeon fully registered the ramifications.

"There's just some losses you'll never get over," Turgeon said of the 63-61 overtime loss to Purdue at his season-ending press conference Thursday at Reed Arena. Turgeon compared the heartache of Sunday's loss to that of his playing days at Kansas when the Jayhawks fell to Duke, 71-67, in the 1986 national semifinal. "Sunday's [is] a game we'll never get over. Our effort was tremendous, our preparation was tremendous, we just came up short. I think it's what lied ahead of that game as far as being able to go to Houston and play a No. 1 seed. It would have been great for our program. It still stings."

Instead, the Boilermarkers, still without their injured star Robbie Hummel are here to face the Blue Devils. And, Baylor is the singular toast of the Lone Star state, the last of seven Texas schools standing that started the NCAA tournament last week. The Bears are gobbling up the media attention from all directions and, most important, they have the full attention of recruits across the state and region.

The Bears are just a couple hours away from taking on the Saint Mary's Gaels in the first game of the South regional. Duke and Purdue follow. Who knows how many Aggies can bear even watching.

"It's great to be down here," Baylor coach Scott Drew said. "I know our team is excited to be close to home and having an opportunity to have Baylor Nation down here, and more importantly representing the state of Texas and the Big 12 Conference, so we're excited."

Are Baylor, Purdue headed for rematch?

March, 26, 2010
HOUSTON -- Remember who beat Baylor in the first round of the 2008 NCAA tournament, the Bears' first entry in 20 years?

Yep, the Purdue Boilermakers, 90-79.

They'll meet again on Sunday with the South Region title and a berth in the Final Four on the line if No. 3 Baylor gets past No. 10 Saint Mary's and No. 4 Purdue upsets No. 1 Duke tonight at Houston's Reliant Stadium.

While both rosters have changed, many of this season's key players for both teams played in the 2008 game, including Tweety Carter, LaceDarius Dunn and Josh Lomers for the Bears.

Injured Purdue star Robbie Hummel didn't play a major role in that game, scoring nine points in 17 minutes. But, Chris Kramer, the hero in last week's second-round win over Texas A&M, E'Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson combined for 36 points.

The Boilermakers blew the 2008 game open in the first half on 50 percent shooting while knocking six 3-pointers to lead 46-27 at halftime.

Oh yes, Bears remember coaches' pick

March, 22, 2010
WACO -- Baylor Bears coach Scott Drew has been reminding those who might have forgotten that during the preseason the Big 12 coaches picked his team to finish 10th in the conference.

Oops, after tying for second place in the Big 12, the Bears are now one of 16 teams in the NCAA tournament still standing. Third-seed Baylor faces No. 10 Saint Mary's in Houston on Friday for the right to advance to the Elite Eight against either No. 1 Duke or No. 4 Purdue.

"I think everything happens for a reason, but at the same time when you see that and you know what type of team you have, especially as a leader of this team, I took it as disrespect," Bears senior point guard Tweety Carter said. "They just didn't give us any respect coming into this season. It's something that you've got to take."

Drew is quick to note that surely the Big 12 coaches took into consideration Baylor's loss of three starters in Curtis Jerrels, Henry Dugat and Kevin Rogers from a team that went 5-11 in conference last season -- although it rebounded to make the Big 12 tournament title game and the NIT title game. Baylor went 11-5 this season in conference play and has won a school-record 27 games. It has not lost a game this season by more than seven points.

Baylor advanced to its first Sweet 16 in modern history and pundits are giving the team a fighter's chance to get to the Final Four.

"I don't play this game to worry about what anybody else thinks," Carter said. "As long as this family here is tight, I'm all right. But, at the same time it comes up in the back of your mind that we've got to come out here and show them we're better than 10th."

St. Mary's giant Samhan eager to see Udoh

March, 22, 2010
Saint Mary's 6-foot-11 forward Omar Samhan pulls no punches discussing the importance of his upcoming battle against Baylor's 6-10 forward Ekpe Udoh. He believes Friday's Sweet 16 game at Houston's Reliant Stadium could hinge on it.

"I do. I think it's a very important matchup," Samhan, the dominant player in the NCAA tournament so far, averaging 30.5 points and 9.5 rebounds in two wins, said Monday on a teleconference. "There's also the guard matchup that's going to be huge, but I think the bigs have really dictated a lot for their teams this year, me and him, and I think it's going to be a key matchup."

So how does the 265-pound senior like his chances against the junior Udoh, who said he weighs in at about 240 pounds "on a good day"?

"Well, the biggest challenges is he can jump and I can't. Um, he's fast and I'm not. He's strong and I'm not. A lot of the challenges are physical," Samhan, laughing, yet halfway serious. "Like I said, he's a great athlete, but I'm pretty skilled down low. Although I'll have trouble guarding him, I think he'll have trouble guarding me. The biggest thing is he going to go one-on-one with me or are they going to run that zone? We don't really know what they're going to do."

Baylor will stick mostly with their 2-3 zone, why change now? That means Baylor's back line of Udoh, 7-foot Josh Lomers -- 6-7 Quincy Acy when he's in and Lomers is out -- and lanky 6-10 Anthony Jones will have their hands full containing Samhan, who has increased his scoring by 10 points from the regular season and is shooting 75 percent in two NCAA tournament games.

"It's going to be tough, we're just going to have to pick and choose when we switch out [of zone to man-to-man]," Udoh said. "I've watched him play, he's a bigger guy, he has a European taste to his game, I mean, it's going to be fun."

Villanova coach Jay Wright said he tried everything against Samhan and nothing worked.

"If they go one-on-one I think it will be a good matchup and could be a good battle in there," Samhan said. "If they go zone or double-team I'll probably have to kick out more, so we won't be able to see me go to work that much against him."

Battle of the Brazos III still on course

March, 19, 2010
NEW ORLEANS -- The No. 5-seed Texas A&M Aggies looked strong Friday in their NCAA tournament-opening win over Utah State in Spokane, Wash.

The Aggies to widespread production starting with impressive freshman Khris Middleton, who scored a team-high 19 points and make 5-of-6 from beyond the 3-point line.

And so after Round 1, the anticipated Battle of the Brazos in the Bayou City remains a possibility. A&M and the No. 3-seed Baylor Bears both passed their first tests and are each one victory away from a Sweet 16 spot at Houston's Reliant Stadium, and two wins away from a monumental showdown to move on to the Final Four.

A&M and Baylor split the season series with each winning on their home floor.

The Bears are up next with a second-round matchup Saturday agianst No. 11 Old Dominion at 4:50 p.m. The Aggies will practice on Saturday in preparation for No. 4-seed Purdue, which plays on after a win over No. 13 Siena despite missing star Robbie Hummel.

The Bears are favored to make the program's first Sweet 16 and without Hummel, the versatile Aggies will be a tough out as they seek a second Sweet 16 appearance in four seasons.

No tricks coming from ODU defense

March, 19, 2010

NEW ORLEANS -- Sam Houston State coach Bob Marlin has received plenty of praise since nearly pulling off a major upset in the first round thanks to employing a triangle-and-two defense to minimize Baylor's guards.

It worked so well that it got Old Dominion coach Blaine Taylor to thinking in preparation for the 11th-seeded Monarchs second-round game Saturday against the No. 3 Bears.

"Well, we've been working on the box-in-five. We think if we can get away with it, we think it will be very strategic," Turner said, while giving a good laugh. "That was for Bob. That was a good ploy, a good plan. If they made a few more shots, they might have pulled it off. But the surprise factor is probably gone. It's not a tactic that we've used at all, and I don't consider us to be a weak defensive team.

"A lot of times you gimmick when you are masking the inability to match up at certain spots. And I think it was a really good tactic on his part. But, that hasn't been our modus operandi. Ours has been to come pretty straight at you with maybe different looks, but not with the gimmick stuff."

Old Dominion plays mostly man-to-man defense while mixing in some zone. Their statistics are stingy, not unlike the Bears, allowing opponents to shoot just 39.9 percent from the floor and 29.7 percent from behind the 3-point arc. They allow 56.9 points a game.

The difference in the two squads is scoring. While Baylor has three scorers who average in double figures, the Monarchs have one. And that will be a key matchup featuring ODU's 6-foot-10 senior forward Gerald Lee, who averages about 14 points a game, and Baylor's 6-10 junior forward Ekpe Udoh, who averaged right at 14 in the regular season, but has averaged 21.0 points in two Big 12 tournament games and Thursday's first-round game.

Bigger moment: Baylor's win or Bryce's shot?

March, 19, 2010
NEW ORLEANS -- After Baylor won its first NCAA Tournament game in 60 years on Thursday, Bears coach Scott Drew was asked which was the bigger moment: the 68-59 historic win he had just coached or the miracle buzzer-beating 3-point shot his brother, Bryce Drew, made in the opening round of the 1998 tournament that gave No. 13-seed Valpariaso the upset win over No. 4-seed Ole Miss?

"Bryce's shot is still bigger," said Drew, an assistant on that Valpo team coached by his father, Homer. "Now if we keep winning, then we can talk."

Wow -- gulp -- really? I guess you've got to keep it in the family. Not sure how the Baylor family feels about that. After all, 60 years is a long time to wait.

"To me, definitely Bryce's shot," Drew continued. "But, as we keep winning, if we're fortunate enough to have that happen, then you can ask that question again. But right now that shot -- because for four years we had dreamed of winning the tournament game. Basically in the game we're down two [points]. So we're going to lose the game. Then you have a miracle shot, you get a chance to coach your brother one more time. I didn't want to see him take his jersey off for the last time. So that was pretty emotional that moment."

Bears channel their inner-Kobe?

March, 19, 2010
NEW ORLEANS -- When Sam Houston State's Ashton Mitchell drove the lane and dropped in a layup to tie Baylor at 55-55 with 3:48 remaining in their first-round NCAA tournament game, the No. 14 Bearkats could smell an upset of the No. 3 Bears.

But, Baylor Bears had been here before, playing tightly contested games all season. Remember, through 33 games entering the contest with Sam Houston, the Bears hadn't lost by more than seven points and they had seven wins by five points or less, so they understand the pressures of crunch time.

Baylor forward Ekpe Udoh said the team has a name for it.

"We call it Kobe time," Udoh said. "So we just buckled down, stayed aggressive and pulled out the win."

The Bears channeled the Lakers superstar after Mitchell tied it up, going on an 8-0 run over the next 2:44 for a 63-55 lead with 1:04 to go.

Udoh, A.J. Walton and Quincy Acy all came up with key steals. The run finally sprang LaceDarius Dunn, who scored six of his 13 points in the stretch. Sam Houston's surprising triangle-and-two defense caused Dunn and Tweety Carter problems throughout the game.

The Bears just might need to turn to "Kobe time" in Saturday's second-round game with a trip to the Sweet 16 in Houston on the line. No. 11 Old Dominion Monarchs pulled out a 51-50 win over No. 6 Notre Dame on Thursday.

Saturday's tip time is 4:50 p.m.

Strange first half for Bears in NOLA

March, 18, 2010
NEW ORLEANS -- Sam Houston State is shooting 28.1 percent and Baylor's LaceDarius Dunn and Tweety Carter have combined for three points and three fouls. The game is tied up at 23-23 with 3:14 to go.

If you're the Bearkats you have to like that you've held serve while missing 12 of 13 from 3-point land. If you're Baylor you have to be pleased that you're tied with Carter and Dunn, who combine to average about 37 points a game, haven't done much.

Wtih 3:14 left in the first half, definitely a more critical time for upset-minded Bearkats.
NEW ORLEANS -- Who knew it would take longer for the Baylor Bears to win an NCAA tournament game than for the school to end its ban on dancing?

They've been boot-scooting at Baylor since 1996, but they're still waiting on that elusive first Big Dance victory party. You know it's been a long time when the era of your last postseason accolades falls under the Wikipedia heading of: "Post-World War II Success."

"I don't know exactly when," said senior point guard Tweety Carter, who is 0-1 in NCAA tournament games, "but I know it's been a long time."

Last season's Bears captured the program's first postseason win at the NIT in 60 years. Now, the time is near for an NCAA victory. Baylor couldn't do it in 1988 or 2008, but 2010 seems just about right. Only the scrappy, up-tempo, 3-point-shooting No. 14 Sam Houston State Bearkats stand between the Bears and all of Waco celebrating like it's 1950 (with dancing fully encouraged, of course.)

Tip is scheduled for approximately 1:35 p.m., following No. 6 Notre Dame and No. 11 Old Dominion.

"Any time you get an opportunity to make history, you want to do that, and you want to do it by winning games," Carter said, knowing full well the Baylor program has plowed through enough infamy. "So we've got to continue to just strive for that.

"A first win for Baylor would be huge for this program. We didn't come up here just to win one game. We've come up here to win games. And that's what we've worked to do all season long. So we're going to continue to do that."

The Bears know that two wins in New Orleans sends them to Houston for the Sweet 16. The South Region is not loaded with powerhouses, in fact, some critics have conspired that the selection committee designed it for a Duke run to the Final Four. The Blue Devils and Bears, if both advance, would meet in an Elite 8 showdown at Reliant Stadium.

But, that type of speculation is for another day. Today is for taking that first, overdue step, a single victory 60 years in the making.

"What it would mean to win in the NCAA tournament?" seventh-year Baylor coach Scott Drew asked. "Any time anybody -- no matter how many games you have or haven't won in the NCAA tournament -- any time you win those are great memories and something that a school remembers and cherishes."

UT is President's pick, but is change on the way?

March, 17, 2010
NEW ORLEANS -- So President Obama likes the No. 8 Texas Longhorns to advance against the No. 9 Wake Forest Demon Deacons in a game pitting two teams on the skids.

The one-liners for Thursday's 8:35 p.m. matchup featuring the former No. 1 Horns, who went 7-9 in their last 16, and the Decons, who've lost five of six are piling up:

*Now there's two teams in need of a Wake (bada-bing).

*New Orleans is the perfect site, they're great at funerals (bada-boom).

OK, you get the point.

For the past two months, Texas has been singing the same tune. A fresh start is all it needs. If it can just put it all together its collective talent will take over. Well, it just hasn't happened. Now they get one more chance to make good on a season that initially looked like Final Four or bust.

Texas coach Rick Barnes still thinks one game -- one play, even -- can turn momentum -- especially in the NCAA tournament.

"We see it happen all the time. We see teams come into [the tournament] that have been down and out and they catch it and they kind of ride the wave," Barnes said. "And there’s other teams that come in with a lot of pressure on them and maybe not play to win as opposed to just trying to keep from losing and those are the teams that can be bit a little bit. So yeah, momentum is a big part of it and I think confidence; so yeah, I do think that this time of year one game here or there, one play here or there, can really swing it."

Maybe it can. Maybe Texas drew the perfect foe in a Wake Forest team that's won just once since Feb. 13.

But, Texas' issues seem to run too deep. They've dealt with offensive inefficiency, poor perimeter defense and a bizarre quality in which the team splinters when adversity strikes in a game with no recourse to pull it back together. Whether two months of team breakdowns that's often left Barnes grasping for explanations can be fixed overnight would leave some skeptical.

Some are so tired of discussing the slide from No. 1 to the ranks of the unranked they're done discussing it: "No comment on that," forward Damion James said.

Others can't stop analyzing the issues. Just listen to Texas junior Gary Johnson, who believes momentum can swing, but it will take more than some New Orleans voodoo.

"I think it can, but guys have to be willing to buy into it. I think we are," Johnson said. "It’s not the fact that we’re a selfish team, it’s just the basketball IQ of a lot of players aren’t as high. With that being said, we try to cover it up by running certain sets for guys and try to keep the focal point on certain aspects of the game instead of having a free-wheeling type of offense."

In the end, Barnes said, you're left with hope.

"Again, you hope. You hope they grow. What you want this time of year is energy I think more than anything. I think attitude is important as anything right now, that you're excited. I think you have to be rested both mentally and physically.

"But, yeah, you hope."

The winner will likely face No. 1 Kentucky, which plays No. 16 East Tennessee State at 6 p.m.