Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California on March 9, 2004 · Page 8
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Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California · Page 8

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Tuesday, March 9, 2004
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8 - TUESDAY, MARCH 9, 2004 SPORTS THE UKIAH DAILY JOURNAL St. Joseph's ranked No.l By JIM O'CONNELL The Associated Press Tiny Saint Joseph's and its ever-flapping Hawk have soared to the top of the basketball world. The Philadelphia school with an enrollment of 3,400 and not much recent sports history to brag about was No. 1 in the AP men's college basketball poll Monday for the first time. "It's a dream come true," Hawks senior guard Jameer Nelson said. "At the same time, we have to take care of business these last few games. We'll still approach each game and practice the same way." '• The Hawks (27-0) are the only unbeaten team in Division I, now that previously top-ranked Stanford was upset by Washington. '. Saint Joseph's needs three victories in the Atlantic 10 tournament to become the first team since UNLV in 1991 to enter the NCAA tournament without a loss. "All along, we have discussed the idea of having a great program," Saint Joseph's coach Phil Martelli said. "Obviously, we have a great team, and now we can talk about a great program, and this can be a springboard." With help from the Hawk, of course. The mascot never stops flapping its wings during games. A national basketball power in the 1960s, the Hawks were ranked in the Top 10 consistently. They made their only Final Four appearance in 1961, then reached No. 2 in the rankings twice in December 1965. "It's a significant feat for the longtime followers of this program," Martelli said. "Schools like ours have been overlooked for years by things like the BCS and the football powers." ; The coach doesn't think he has to worry about his team looking past the conference tournament and thinking ahead to a probable No. 1 seeding in the NCAA tournament field. '. The A-10 tournament starts Wednesday in Dayton, Ohio. ; "We're going there to fight," Martelli said, i The Hawks moved up from No. 2 thanks to the loss by JStanford (26-1) Saturday. That ended the Cardinal's !three-week run atop the AP poll. | Saint Joseph's received 67 first-place votes and 1,795 points from the national media panel. Second-ranked [Stanford was No. 1 on two ballots and had 1,648 points. ' Gonzaga (26-2) moved up one spot to No. 3, the highest Banking in school history, and received one first-place vote. Mississippi State (25-2) 'moved up one place to fourth, ^witching positions with puke (25-4), which was No. 1 on two ballots after losing to Georgia Tech and beating North Carolina. ; Air Force moved into the Top 25 for the first time in school history. The Falcons !(22-5), the No. 1 defensive team in the country, won the Mountain West regular season title. Pittsburgh, Oklahoma ;State, Kentucky and Connecticut held sixth through ninth from last week, while Wisconsin moved up ,seven places to No. 10, its highest ranking of the season. i Texas was No. 11, followed by Illinois, Cincinnati, .Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, .'North Carolina, North Carolina State, Kansas, 'Syracuse and Providence. : The last five ranked teams jwere Arizona, Utah State, .Memphis, Southern Illinois and Air Force. • Louisville (19-8) fell out 'from 25th after being ranked ;for the last 12 weeks, reach- ling No. 4. The Cardinals lost '81-80 at Marquette on 'Saturday, their seventh loss in ;10 games. For Bode Miller, speed on the slope is everything By ERICA BULMAN The Associated Press SESTRIERE, Italy — Brandishing a go-for-broke style that sometimes gets him in trouble on the slopes. Bode Miller can become the first U.S. man since 1983 to win the overall World Cup title. Asked about it, he lifts his head, squints and offers a derisive — and disarming — snort. "I just don't really care that much," Miller said. "I want to race fast, I want to see how good I can get, and I want to race as well as I can possibly race." Few understand how he can simply shrug off the prospect of the overall title, one of skiing's most prestigious trophies. Miller is second behind Hermann Maier with four races left at this week's World Cup Finals. And few understand, with so much at stake, how Miller can continue skiing with his gung-ho style. "I'm competitive, self- reliant, independent, pretty stubborn, " he said. "I have a lot of talent. I'm definitely unique. "The fact I have all those things together and I really don't care what anyone else thinks makes it really easy to do my own thing. To not be afraid of trying things maybe other people wouldn't because they are afraid of what other people think." Miller's irreverence is reflected in his skiing. Even early in his career he often sacrificed results by going all out — he failed to complete a single slalom for almost two seasons. But he was determined to squeeze speed out of every opportunity. After breaking onto the scene in 1999 with two fourth-place slalom finishes, Miller went 17 straight races without finishing in the top 30, a drought of nearly three years. But he suddenly found the key to harnessing his speed and his abandon, finishing 26th and second in races in Aspen, Colo., in November 2001. Then, at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, he won silver medals in the giant slalom and the combined. He won two gold medals and a silver at last year's world championships. "If you hold back and get third place, yeah, you may be achieving some objective or goal for your team or for yourself," he said. "But it just gets a bit hollow after a while. The whole purpose is to challenge yourself and race like you mean it." He has no use for timid skiers who choose to protect an advantage instead of going as fast as possible. "It's a bit arrogant to not race as hard as you can every time," Miller said. "You're not giving it everything you have because you think you're good enough to do whatever it is without giving it everything." The Franconia, N.H., skier is the only man to have competed in every World Cup race the last two seasons. He has 12 career victories, including six this season — the most by a U.S. man since Phil Mahre had that many en route to the overall crown 21 years ago. The record for most Alpine victories in a season is 13, by C01UGE BASKETBALL Stanford aims for new streak By JAMIE McCAULEY The Associated Press STANFORD, Calif. — Mike Montgomery never liked the idea of the Pac-10 tournament. Now his Stanford players are counting on it as a chance to rebound from their only loss of the season before heading to the NCAA tournament. A week ago, most members of the second-ranked Cardinal weren't looking forward to the conference tournament, which begins Thursday in Los Angeles. As they headed to practice Monday — two days after losing to Washington to drop to 26-1 — that attitude had changed. "Before the Washington trip, we were fatigued and tired and would have preferred not to play in the Pac- 10 tournament," guard Matt Lottich said. "After the loss, we're rededicated to it." The top-seeded Cardinal open the league tournament against eighth-seeded Washington State. The Cougars nearly ended Stanford's unbeaten run Thursday night, but Lottich's buzzer-beating 3-pointer lifted the Cardinal to a 63-61 victory. "If I were them, I'd come out and play us the same way," Stanford center Rob Little said. Montgomery and Arizona coach Lute Olson were the only coaches opposed to the idea of bringing the conference tournament back in 2002 after a 12-year absence. They said the tournament takes away from academics; as it happens, the Cardinal and Wildcats — annually near the top of the league — have little to gain from if '. Stanford has struggled in the conference tourney, too, losing its opener to USC the past two years. Little believes the Cardinal must win their first game this time. "It's important for (NCAA tournament) seeding and also important for our psyche," he said. "It's an opportunity for us to make another statement." Regardless of how they fare, the Cardinal are a lock for their 10th straight NCAA tournament bid — and prob- ably a No. 1 seeding. And they hope to have forward Justin Davis at full strength for the Pac-10 tournament. The senior bruised a bone and partially tore a left knee ligament against Oregon State in January and hasn't played since. He is averaging 11.5 points and 6.9 rebounds and is a good complement to Little inside. While Stanford hasn't announced for sure that he'll play this week, Davis said Monday plans to. He was set to practice at full speed for the first time since getting hurt. "I'm as good as I'm going to be," he said. "This is the first full bit of contact I've had on open court." The Cardinal finished one victory shy of becoming the first Pac-10 team to go 18-0 in conference play. "We just need to have a little more urgency and get back to what made us good and got us here," point guard Chris Hernandez said. 1 COUPON Dog 40* Bag or Cat 20* Bag Any Flavor per bag; With coupon, exp. 3/15/04. Limited to stock on hand. Your Low Price Leader Super RAINBOW LAKEPORT 1975 Argonaut Road'279-0550 America's Country Store " 235 East Perkins* 462-2404 Ingemar Stenmark in 1978-79 and Maier in 2000-01. Miller took the lead in the giant slalom standings a week ago. After a slow start in the slalom — mostly because of equipment problems — he placed in the top five in every race he has finished since January. The downhill and super giant slalom — added full time to his program last season — have proved troublesome. He has just two top-10 results in the speed events so far. "He's got such great turning skills, but the straighter stuff is not his forte," U.S. speed team coach John McBride said. "Edge to edge, he does things no one else in the world can do, but the gliding is a bit of an issue. He's pushing a wider line and covering more real estate." Miller failed to finish seven races this season, including three in speed events. He also failed to qualify for the second leg of two slaloms and was disqualified from another slalom in Park City, Utah. Over the season's final events (slalom, giant slalom, Super G and downhill), Miller is chasing Maier, a three-time champion. Maier is making a remarkable comeback in his first full season on the tour since nearly losing a leg in a motortycle accident more than two years ago. Miller will ski all four events at the finals, with 400 points up for grabs. Maier plans to enter the downhill, super-G and giant slalom. The Austrian has 1,165 points, leading Miller by 67. Last year, Miller was the overall runner-up to Stephan Eberharter. "I'm going to need major points in the Super G and downhill to win the title, and the way Maier has been skiing those he can definitely win those," Miller said. But Miller thinks he has what it takes, too. "I'm not a super consistent person, across the board," he said. "But I have a ton of intensity in my sport, and when it comes to going out of the gate, I race as hard or harder than anyone." MAJOR IEAGUE BASEBALL Nevin with injury PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) — San Diego Padres slugger Phil Nevin has a strained left shoulder and is expected to miss about four weeks. The first baseman was hurt in a spring training game against Anaheim on Sunday night, a year to the day he dislocated the same shoulder, which kept him sidelined until July 23 last season. Nevin had an MRIin San Diego on Monday that revealed the strain. The area that was surgically repaired last spring was still intact, the team said. "Actually, it came out as well as it could have with what happened," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He'll be back about opening day. He will be re-evaluated in three weeks. Of the two options, we got the best one. He might have reinjured the surgery." Nevin is expected to have his arm in a sling for seven to 10 days, then begin his rehabilitation. Going by the team's timetable, he could be back by opening day April 5 at Los Angeles. The Padres open their new ballpark April 8 against San Francisco. Nevin was hurt diving for a liner at first base in the second inning Sunday night. He immediately left the game and covered his face with his hands as he walked back to the dugout. He left the ballpark with trainer Todd Hutcheson. Nevin, 33, dislocated his left shoulder on March 7 last year while diving for a ball in left field. The team thought at first that he'd miss the whole season, but his recovery went well and he played in 59 games, hitting .279 with 13 home runs and 46 RBIs. The year before, he was limited to 107 games by a strained left elbow and a broken left arm. Lost Coast Motorcycles of Ukiah L.L.C. (707)462-5160 1125 S. State Street, Ukiah CALL 1-800-828-HIDE TO LOCATE YOUR LOCAL SUZUKI DEALER OR VISIT US ON THE WEB AT WWW.SUZUKI.COM. Suzuki QuadRunner ATVs may be used only by those aged 1 6 and older. Suzuki highly recommends that all ATV riders take a training course. We'll even pay lor It. For safety and training course Information, see your dealer or call the SVIA at 1-800852-1344. ATVs can be hazardous to operate. 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