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Wisconsin lets go of Soderberg

Brad Soderberg will not keep the Wisconsin job he inherited in the middle of the season.

Athletic director Pat Richter said he informed Soderberg on Monday, four days after the Badgers were ousted in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

"Obviously, he was disappointed," Richter said. Soderberg wasn't available for comment, but scheduled a news conference today at the Kohl Center.

Richter said he hoped to attract a coach with a "national reputation" by month's end, and acknowledged that Utah's Rick Majerus, a Wisconsin native, would be a prime candidate if he's interested.

Soderberg, 38, took over as acting coach Nov. 30, when Dick Bennett retired, citing mental and physical exhaustion.

CINCINNATI: The Bearcats have ruled Conference USA for six years and the Great Midwest Conference before that. Except for a few non-conference foes, they are the ones everyone on their schedule guns for.

"When you walk out there with Cincinnati on your chest, you're expected to win," UC coach Bob Huggins said.

Except this week.

Thursday in the West semifinals, UC faces Stanford, ranked No. 1 much of the season. Now, the Bearcats get to play a little role reversal.

"When you're No. 1, everybody you play against brings their best game, so you've got to bring your best game every night to show that you're No. 1," sophomore point guard Kenny Satterfield said. "Sometimes, it's hard to do."

DUKE: Injured center Carlos Boozer was cleared to practice and is expected to play against UCLA in the East semifinals.

"We're not going to change what we've been doing the last three weeks," coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "We're playing high-level basketball."

MICHIGAN STATE: Tom Izzo doesn't plan on picking Jud Heathcote's brain, though the former coach has a perfect address.

Heathcote, who coached the Spartans to the 1979 national title, lives in Spokane, Wash., the home of MSU's next foe, Gonzaga. He is a Gonzaga season-ticket holder.

"I've not even asked him," Izzo said during a conference call. "I know where his heart is, and I think it's here."

TENNESSEE: Coach Jerry Green has been offered a buyout package from the school and could be out in the next couple of days.

Green, 89-36 with the Volunteers, has had discussions with athletics director Doug Dickey about a financial settlement, but a final agreement has not been approved by Chancellor Dr. J. Wade Gilley.

Green, 57, has four years remaining on a contract that pays him about $600,000 per season.

RATINGS: TV viewership for the first two rounds dropped 9 percent from last year, when CBS Sports drew its lowest ratings ever for the 2{-week event. The preliminary ratings for games Thursday through Sunday averaged a 5.2 (percentage of all TVs) with a 13 share (TVs in use at the time).

_ TIMES WIRES

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