Volume 95, Issue 87

Tuesday, March 19, 2002
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Mustang b-ball stars dominate national awards

Following the yellow brick road to end-game

Zags get a taste of "bad medicine"

Zags get a taste of "bad medicine"

For whom the bell tolls
Jordan Bell
Sports Editor

March Madness – the NCAA's national championship – is like a game of survival in the back woods: sometimes it's better to be the hunted than the hunter.

The Gonzaga Bulldogs learned this lesson the hard way. The Bulldogs, who played the role of giant-killer in recent years, came into the tournament as somewhat of a favourite. The veteran-laden team was led by guard Dan Dickau – a virtual clone of Dallas Maverick and Canadian Steve Nash – and were many experts' pick to reach the final four. Unfortunately, the Wyoming Cowboys weren't content to sit by and watch a fairy tale ending take place and they ousted the Bulldogs 73-66.

This year's madness wasn't as upset enthralling as in recent tourneys, but a few teams made their march past the beasts of the field.

The Missouri Tigers proved to the world they're the team many forecast to be at the beginning of the season. The Tigers completely decimated the Miami Hurricanes and the Ohio State Buckeyes, opening many eyes along the way.

The Kent State Golden Flashes also ran roughshod over the field in the South bracket. The Oklahoma State Cowboys and the Alabama Crimson Tide were no match for the Golden Flashes' disciplined offensive attack.

In addition to the squads mentioned above, the UCLA Bruins, Texas Longhorns, Southern Illinois Salukis, Creighton Bluejays and the UNC-Wilmington Seahawks all played a hand in silencing the big dogs of the tournament.

However, the seeding committee came out looking like the intelligent professor. The competition thus far has gone according to the seeding plan, with a majority of the favourites advancing in the big dance.

The Duke Blue Devils, Kansas Jayhawks, Maryland Terrapins, Oklahoma Sooners, Oregon Ducks and Connecticut Huskies all played true to form and set the stage for some intriguing showdowns in the sweet 16 and the elite eight next weekend.

Nonetheless, the foundation of collegiate power was decimated. The Cincinnati Bearcats, an annual malcontent in the madness, once again blew their chances at the hands of the Bruins and centre Dan Gadzuric. It's never quite apparent which Bruins team will show up – sometimes they're grizzly bears, while often times they're teddy bears.

The stage set this weekend was primetime for individual performances. Forward Tayshaun Prince of the Kentucky Wildcats was electric, scoring at will and notching 41 points in the second round against the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes. Even forward Keith Bogans, despite a poor regular season, managed to redeem himself in the eyes of NBA scouts with his early round play.

Creighton guard Terrell Taylor was unbelievable in the second half and two overtimes against the Florida Gators. Taylor scored 28 points and nailed a game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer. The joy of seeing Taylor on the rampage up and down the court unchecked pays much lip service to the claims of many that the madness is the greatest sporting event since – well, ever.

However, don't count out the wolf because he is lurking in the back woods and sees blood. He'll be looking to quench his desire this coming weekend at the 'Big Dance.'

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Copyright The Gazette 2002