C. Michigan has upset on its mind vs. Duke

Chippewas are hoping to do to Blue Devils what E. Michigan did in 1996

NCAA tournament notebook

College Basketball

March 22, 2003|By Don Markus | Don Markus,SUN STAFF

Central Michigan's Mike Manciel has distinct memories of a certain NCAA tournament game in 1996. It was an opening-round game between Eastern Michigan and Duke in Indianapolis.

"I was a junior in high school, and I [sneaked] out of class to watch it," Manciel recalled yesterday in Salt Lake City. "I knew some guys on Eastern Michigan. It was a pretty exciting game. But this is a different team and a different era."

Eastern Michigan, led by current Golden State Warriors guard Earl Boykins, upset the Blue Devils that afternoon. Tonight, Manciel and 11th-seeded Central Michigan hope to pull off a similar result against third-seeded Duke at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City.

Central Michigan coach Jay Smith, whose Chippewas nearly blew a 26-point lead in Thursday's 79-73 win over No. 6 seed Creighton, knows all about Duke. He was an assistant at Michigan when the Wolverines and Blue Devils seemingly played every year, including Duke's victory in the 1992 championship game.

"We're not playing Christian Laettner and Grant Hill," said Smith. "They're a very good Duke team. But we're playing the players, not the front of the jersey."

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said that the 1996 game against Eastern Michigan will not be part of his pre-game speech.

"We were like the Russian troops going off to the Eastern front," said Krzyzewski. "Chris Collins had a broken foot and Steve Wojciechowski had a sprained ankle. We were playing with walk-ons. We were just happy to be in the tournament. And our kids don't really care about 1996. And [Central Michigan] is lot better than Eastern Michigan was."

Manciel, who scored a career-high 29 points in the win over Creighton, knows that one of his former high school teammates will pay special interest in today's game. Manciel was a year behind Shane Battier at Detroit Country Day.

"I'm excited to play his old school," said Manciel. "It would have been nice to play them when he was there. I haven't spoken to him in about a year, but hopefully I'll get a call when we beat them."

Consistent Sanders

After a mostly disappointing career at Duke, senior center Casey Sanders is playing with more consistency than at any time since coming to Durham, N.C., as a McDonald's All-American.

Despite fouling out, Sanders had a large impact in Thursday's 67-57 win over Colorado State, finishing with six blocked shots.

"The kid who had the biggest impact on that game was Casey Sanders," Krzyzewski said.

Sanders will have a pretty big assignment tonight - both literally and figuratively - in Central Michigan's 7-foot center, Chris Kaman.

"He's as good as anybody I've played against," said Sanders. "He's 7 feet and 235 pounds, but he finishes well and moves well."

Kaman, who struggled in the altitude against Creighton, is looking forward to getting single-teamed by the Blue Devils.

"I hope they play me one on one," said Kaman. "That will be in my favor."

Kaman consulted the team trainer about trying to get acclimated to the altitude.

"He said it would take about six weeks," said Kaman. "I'm not going to be there six weeks."

Redick ailing

Freshman guard J.J. Redick did not practice with Duke yesterday because of an undisclosed illness.

Redick, who scored 16 points against 14th-seeded Colorado State on Thursday night, has been under the weather for a few days. Krzyzewski expects him to play today.

Carroll may play for Irish

Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said Matt Carroll would try to play today against Illinois despite spraining his left ankle in the first round.

Carroll, averaging 20.1 points and 5.1 rebounds, missed the second half of Thursday night's 70-69 win over Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

"We've got another 24 hours, so I think we'll tape him up and send him out there," Brey said.

Lashing out

After his team's victory over Saint Joseph's yesterday, Auburn coach Cliff Ellis lashed back at ESPN analyst Dick Vitale, who criticized the NCAA selection committee for placing the Tigers in the tournament.

Ellis said Auburn deserved its spot based on its 20-11 regular-season record and second-place finish in the Southeastern Conference West division.

"He needs to study the facts," Ellis said. "You can tell him I said that."

Owens questionable

Wisconsin guard Freddie Owens is questionable for today's game against Tulsa because of a sprained right ankle.

Owens hurt the ankle late in the first half against Weber State on Thursday night when he went up for a shot and landed on Patrick Danley's leg. He returned and played nine minutes in the second half.

TV ratings

With the nation's attention on the war in Iraq, TV ratings for the first evening of NCAA tournament coverage dropped more than 20 percent from last year.

CBS Sports' broadcast at 7:15 p.m. Thursday night drew a 5.2 overnight rating, down 29 percent from 2002. The 9:45 p.m. game's overnight rating was 4.7, a 15 percent decrease.

First-round games Thursday afternoon were carried by ESPN because CBS was airing war coverage. The opening game had a 1.2 national rating, down 62 percent from the 3.2 on CBS last year. The second afternoon game had a 2.1 national rating, down 38 percent from 2002.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

NCAA line

Today's games

Favorite Line Underdog

At Indianapolis

Illinois 5 1/2 NotreDame

Marquette 4 Missouri

At Oklahoma City

Oklahoma 7 1/2 California

Kansas 7 1/2 Arizona St.

At Salt Lake City

Arizona 9 1/2 Gonzaga

Duke 10 Cent.Michigan

At Spokane, Wash.

Connecticut 2 1/2 Stanford

Wisconsin 3 Tulsa

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