Men's Division II NCAA tournament

March 12, 2005|By Bill Free

South Atlantic Regional

Site: A.C. Jordan Arena, Bowie

When: Today, tomorrow, Tuesday

2004 champion: Kennesaw (Ga.) State, defending NCAA Division II champion

2005 favorite: Bowie State. The top-seeded Bulldogs (24-4) gained the No. 1 ranking in the country two weeks ago and were selected to host the South Atlantic Regional this week. Bowie suffered a first-round loss for a second straight year in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association tournament last week, dropping the Bulldogs to No. 3 in the nation. But it's hard to dismiss a Division II team whose revamped starting lineup is taller than 6 feet 6 except 6-2 point guard Kevin Bell.

Dark horse: Columbus State (22-8). This high-energy offensive team can be dangerous, especially if 5-11 point guard Yandel Brown comes up big. Brown averages 28.2 points, second in the nation, and he is coming off a 38-point effort in the Peach Belt Conference championship game.

Player to watch: Lee Cook, Bowie State. Cook scored a game-high 24 points and gabbed 12 rebounds in a 61-59 loss to Fayetteville State last week in the CIAA tournament. Cook, 6-10, 235 pounds, was chosen CIAA Player of the Year after averaging 20.8 points and 12.0 rebounds in addition to 1.7 blocks and shooting 56 percent from the field. He scores mostly on post-up moves and rebounds.

Outlook: Bowie has two major injuries. Starting center Attila Cosby (6-10, 230) is out with a knee injury, and his backup, Aaron Watson, broke his ankle last week. Starting point guard Bell is bothered by a foot injury and will be playing at 80 percent, coach Luke D'Alessio said.

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