Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Current Big East finishing with bang in NCAA

With the Big East as we know it coming to an end, Marquette coach Buzz Williams might have figured he had seen the last of Syracuse's zone for a while.

He has a 290-pound junior on his bench who can't wait to face it again.

"I know about spacing," Davante Gardner said Friday. "So they'll change it up and try to lock me down."

It takes a bit of bravado for a backup forward to have a "bring it on" attitude over Syracuse's 2-3 fortress, especially after the way coach Jim Boeheim's team dominated No. 1 seed Indiana on Thursday.

But Gardner had a standout game against the zone with a career-high 26 points in Marquette's 74-71 win over Syracuse on Feb. 25 in Milwaukee and sounded confident going into tonight's East final against the Orange in Washington.

"I love playing against athletic guys," Gardner said. "Because they think they can just stop me. But I use my weight to push them around."

"He got a lot of offensive rebounds, they found him in the lane, and he made good plays," Boeheim said. "To me he's a very good player down there, and we obviously have to do better with him, for sure."

The fourth-seeded Orange (29-9) is headed to the ACC after this season. The third-seeded Golden Eagles (26-8) are part of the "Catholic 7" that is taking the Big East name and leaving behind the current Big East's football-playing schools, including USF.

Upsets? What Upsets?: During Ohio State's journey to the Final Four last season, Aaron Craft learned the importance of focusing on the next 40 minutes, not the three-week trip.

So Craft didn't realize the highest seeds in the West Region in Los Angeles were dropping like dominoes until this week. He purposely didn't learn much about ninth-seeded Wichita State until Thursday, when the Buckeyes found out they're facing the Shockers today in the region final for another Final Four ticket.

"We watch all the games," said Craft, OSU's star point guard. "Obviously we're basketball fans, but I kept saying, 'Where is this team? Which bracket is this in? What is that?' It wasn't until after we played Iowa State (in the Buckeyes' second game) that I realized our bracket was being destroyed number-wise and really realizing how tough every team was."

No, the Shockers can't match Ohio State's financial resources or alumni base. But coming off of Thursday's 72-58 victory over No. 13 seed La Salle, Wichita State has everything else necessary to play with the Buckeyes. Why not — after all, the Shockers eliminated No. 1 seed Gonzaga in the Round of 32.

"What I love is the fact they're not really bouncing off the wall," coach Gregg Marshall said of Wichita State's first Elite Eight since 1981. "They seem to be legitimately unsatisfied thus far."

Conference pride: Maybe the women's Spokane, Wash., Region should be renamed the Pac-12 vs. SEC challenge.

West Coast powers Stanford and California on one side. Southern stalwarts Georgia and LSU on the other.

Since the brackets for the women's NCAA Tournament were released, it has been expected that No. 1 seed Stanford and No. 2 California would meet for the third time this season for a spot in the Final Four. It's up to fourth-seeded Georgia, Stanford's foe tonight, and No. 6 LSU to stop that.

Georgia had another factor to deal with aside from an elite Cardinal program. The Bulldogs also played in Spokane, Wash., for the first two rounds and decided to stay rather than going back to their campus.

In 2010 the Bulldogs won two games in Tempe, Ariz., went home, then returned to Sacramento, Calif., for the region semifinals, where they were routed by Stanford 73-36.

Coach Andy Landers joked his players spent the extra time in Eastern Washington getting registered to vote and taking up residency, but said the decision was smart and beneficial.

"It's been very productive, both academically, basketball-wise and from a rest standpoint. All of those things are important," Landers said.

Current Big East finishing with bang in NCAA 03/29/13 [Last modified: Friday, March 29, 2013 11:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Luke Del Rio regains UF starting job, for now


    GAINESVILLE — Luke Del Rio is once again the starting quarterback for No. 21 Florida.

    Luke Del Rio provided a needed spark when he replaced starter Feleipe Franks and rallied Florida past Kentucky.
  2. Four questions the Lightning still has to answer

    Lightning Strikes

    FORT LAUDERDALE — The Lightning made its biggest round of cuts Monday, with some of the big-named prospects heading out.

    Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos (91) looks on from the bench during a shift change at Lightning hockey training camp in Brandon on Monday (09/18/17). In background on right is Nikita Kucherov (86). DIRK SHADD   |   Times  

  3. Nine Florida football players, 62 felony complaints in fraud scandal


    GAINESVILLE — The fraud scandal that has engulfed the University of Florida's nationally ranked football team for weeks exploded Monday with the first detailed accounts of criminal accusations that threaten to derail the Gators' season.

    Florida Gators wide receiver Antonio Callaway (81) runs the ball during the Outback Bowl in January at Raymond James Stadium. [CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times]
  4. Where Rays shortstop Matt Duffy's lost season leads

    The Heater

    BRADENTON — In a perfect world, Matt Duffy would have been in New York on Monday with his Rays teammates enjoying the final off day of the year. Instead, he was on Field 4 at Pirate City on a sweltering afternoon, trying to restart his season.

    Rays shortstop Matt Duffy plays in his first game (since rehab was aborted) with the club's instructional league on Monday at the Pirate City baseball field and spring training complex in Bradenton [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]
  5. Vinny Lecavalier's jersey retirement will be another classic Vinny moment

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — He was the face of the franchise. He was taken first overall in the 1998 NHL Draft by a franchise at the bottom. Art Williams, the nutty Tampa Bay Lightning owner at the time, proclaimed the 18-year-old from Ile Bizard, a Montreal borough, "the Michael Jordan of hockey."

    Vincent Lecavalier makes a break for the net while playing an exhibition game on Sunday (9/24/17) with the 2017 U.S. Women???‚??„?s National Team at Amalie Arena in Tampa. Lecavalier was the captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning for the 2000???‚??€œ2001 season and between the 2008???‚??€œ2013 and spent his first 14 NHL seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning before signing with the Philadelphia Flyers.