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'Canes big man to sit out region semifinal

CORAL GABLES — Miami C Reggie Johnson had surgery Tuesday to repair a minor meniscus issue, the Associated Press reported.

Johnson did not accompany the Hurricanes to Washington on Tuesday night, though he could play in the Final Four if Miami wins the East Region. Miami plays Marquette on Thursday.

In a statement, the university said Johnson was injured in last weekend's third-round game against Illinois. It was not immediately clear when Johnson was hurt in that game, and he was in the contest with 15 seconds left.

Johnson, a 6-foot-10, 292-pound senior, is averaging 6.7 points and 4.8 rebounds.

LOFTIER GOALS: Marquette's season ended in the region semifinals in each of the past two years, and Vander Blue and company are focused on the school's first trip to the Final Four since Tom Crean and Dwyane Wade made it to New Orleans in 2003.

"I've had enough of Sweet 16s, man, I want to get over the hump," Blue said. "That's why we haven't celebrated much about this. We're happy we won, but we just got back to work and just got back to doing what we do. Just keep grinding."

BIG BODY BATTLE: Most college teams employ power forwards with guard-like size.

Michigan State has a 6-10 guy, Adreian Payne. Duke's Ryan Kelly checks in at 6-11. And they both shoot like guards.

That means Payne's assignment is most similar to the one he faced in trying to defend Ohio State's Deshaun Thomas three times this season. The difference is what Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski puts around Kelly.

"They had other people we could help" off of, MSU coach Tom Izzo said of the Buckeyes. "There's not a lot of people you can leave in this game. … Just about any one of those guards, or Kelly … is very capable of scoring big points and shooting the high percentage."

ALMOST AN OWL: La Salle junior PG Tyreek Duren has an old-school game based on fundamentals, intelligence and pace. He almost took that game to Temple instead of La Salle.

"I wanted to play with those guys at Temple," Duren said. "I am friends with those guys, Khalif (Wyatt), Rahlir (Hollis-Jefferson), Scootie (Randall), so I wanted to go there."

But as he does on the court, Duren sized up the situation.

"Temple had Juan Fernandez, and I wanted to play right away," he said. "I wanted to think about it from a basketball standpoint and whether I would be playing if I got there."

The Explorers face Wichita State on Thursday.

'Canes big man to sit out region semifinal 03/26/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 10:28pm]
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