Dallas Colleges: Old Dominion
The source also said that Louisiana Tech and Florida International will be joining the Mean Green in Conference USA, along with UT-San Antonio, whose move was approved by the University of Texas System regents on Thursday morning.
The source said that Old Dominion and Charlotte also possibly could be added to the revamped Conference USA lineup.
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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.
"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."
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.
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."
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