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W.Va. still unsure of Bryant's return

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia PG Darryl "Truck" Bryant sat out of practice Tuesday, and his availability for the Final Four remains a mystery.

Bryant broke his right foot at practice March 23, missed the past two games then was fitted for a specially designed shoe that shifts weight away from his fractured fifth metatarsal.

Bryant's status hasn't changed for second-seeded West Virginia (31-6), which plays top-seeded Duke (33-5) on Saturday in Indianapolis.

Bryant was optimistic the shoe could help him return, but coach Bob Huggins said he wanted to see how Bryant reacted in practice. Bryant didn't show up for interviews, and practice was closed.

"If he can't practice, he's not going to play," Huggins said before practice. "We're not going to throw him out there without knowing what he's going to do. At some point in time here, he's going to have to practice. I won't know really until he comes out and we see what he does."

Ticket flap: Butler said it confiscated and redistributed 178 student tickets for the Final Four. The NCAA allotted the university 660 student tickets for Saturday's semifinal against Michigan State, Butler spokesman Marc Allan said. Many of those tickets were reserved on a Web site for cheerleaders, band members and others with the provision they not share the logon information. But word about the site spread quickly Monday, and all the tickets were taken before the general student population had a chance to buy them. The school has an enrollment of more than 4,000.

Economic letdown?: Having a hometown team play in the Final Four has Indianapolis buzzing, but Butler's run — and the proximity of Michigan State and West Virginia — could hurt the bottom line. Civic leaders and the NCAA expect the tournament to pour more than $50 million into the local economy, but economists say the city shouldn't bank on it just yet. Butler is 7 miles from Lucas Oil Stadium, where the games will be played, and Michigan State and West Virginia are less than seven hours away by car. Even Duke is about a 10-hour drive, which means more fans could make shorter trips out of the games. But city tourism officials aren't concerned. Having the hometown underdog and a new venue will boost excitement and attendance, they say.

Fast facts

Final Four

The national semifinals will be Saturday on Ch. 10:

• Butler vs. Michigan State, 6:07 p.m.

• West Virginia vs. Duke, 8:47 p.m.

W.Va. still unsure of Bryant's return 03/30/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 30, 2010 11:04pm]
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