The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on February 28, 1992 · Page 9
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 9

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Friday, February 28, 1992
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SPORTS MONEY Page 17 The Salina Journal Friday, February 28, 1992 KU could end up in Midwest Regional By DOUG TUCKER The Associated Press KANSAS CITY — Indiana and Kansas are ranked No. 2 and 3, and both are in the NCAA's Midwest Region. But that doesn't mean both cannot be No. 1 regional seeds when the 64- team NCAA field is announced, the head of the selection committee said. "Normally, we try to place a No. 1 seed closest to their natural geographic location," said Roy Kramer, who was named this month as committee chairman following the death of TomFrericks. "On occasion that becomes difficult if you have two teams out of the same similar geographical area. It could well be that one of those two teams could be placed in the adjacent regional and actually be closer to their campus." The Midwest Regional finals are scheduled this year for Kansas City. But the Southeast Regional is set for Lexington, Ky., not far from "Normally, we try to place a No. 1 seed closest to their natural geographic location." — selection committee chairman Roy Kramer Indiana. "Looking at Indiana and Kansas, as they were ranked 2-3 in The Associated Press poll, it may well be that you ... would take a look at Indiana being just as close to Lexington, as far as their campus is concerned," Kramer said. "Then you would resolve it in that way." The committee will have 34 at-large selections to pass out after the first 30 slots are taken by teams that win automatic qualification as conference champions. With great strength every year in conferences like the ACC and the Big Eight, this can lead to some leagues putting more than half their teams into the field. The Big Eight, which has had six teams ranked in the top 25 this year and currently has every team above .500, is hoping for six NCAA bids. "Our No. 1 goal is to select the best 34 at- large teams we possibly can," said Kramer, the commissioner of the Southeastern Conference. "Regardless of their conference, regardless of things of that nature." However, the Big Eight seems certain to have some teams finish below .500 in conference play. Could the committee take a team with a losing record in its own conference? "We would take a hard look at that," Kramer said. "While I wouldn't say being below .500 is automatic disqualification, we do think a win- ning record within your conference is a significant criteria we look at. "I would think it would be an unusual case, a very unusual case, when a team of that nature would find its way into the tournament. The predominant schedule is going to be through the conference schedule. A degree of success in the conference schedule is a very important factor we look at." Kramer said he is opposed to limiting the number of teams that can be taken from a single conference. "It would change the whole philosophy of what the tournament is about," he said. "Once you get the 30 automatics picked, that gives it the national flavor, gives it the possibility of every basketball-playing conference, so to speak, having entry to the tournament. "Once you pass that, the goal of the NCAA basketball committee ... is to make that the most representative national championship tournament that could be put together." Rash of incidents plague Nebraska By TOM VINT The Associated Press LINCOLN, Neb. -A series of unrelated incidents has smudged the image of Nebraska, considered by coaches as one of the cleanest programs around. A running back awaits trial on charges of beating a woman. Some football and baseball players got into a brawl. A basketball player was suspended for disciplinary problems. And the Big Eight conference will decide next month if Nebraska should forfeit games for using a football player who may have used up his eligibility. "We've looked at each other, some of us, and wondered, 'When is this going to stop ?"' assistant athletic director Don Bryant said Thursday. The longtime NU official and former Lincoln sports writer said the chain of events that began shortly before Nebraska's Orange Bowl appearance has been embarrassing to the university. "The public will have to judge us as they see us, some good, some bad," said head football coach Tom Osborne. "It's obviously trouble, but the think about it is we've probably gone about four or five years where the most serious incident had been a DWI (driving while intoxicated charge)," said Osborne, noting that the football program has about 150 players each year. Coaches like Colorado's Bill McCartney and Iowa State's Jim Walden have praised the Husker program as one to duplicate. But they probably wouldn't want the recent rash of incidents. It began when fullback Omar Soto was ruled ineligible to play in the Orange Bowl against Miami. The senior apparently had used up his eligibility in 1990 because he took part in a preseason scrimmage at a California junior college he never officially attended. In January, junior running back Scott Baldwin was charged with assault in an unprovoked attack on a Lincoln woman, who suffered serious head injuries and was hospitalized for almost two months. Osborne visited Baldwin at a mental hospital, where the normally mild-mannered player underwent psychiatric testing, and in jail. The coach also sat in court Wednesday when Baldwin pleaded innocent and innocent by reason of insanity. Last Friday, police cited seven football players for a fight with six members and a former member of the school's baseball team at a house party in Lincoln. No formal charges have been filed but the players are scheduled to appear in court March 11-13. On Tuesday, basketball coach Danny Nee suspended starting forward Carl Hayes for one game for unspecified disciplinary problems. Hayes didn't make the trip to Stillwater, Okla., Wednesday night in No. 25 Nebraska's 72-51 loss to No. 14 Oklahoma State. And in that game, sophomore point guard Jamar Johnson and Oklahoma State guard Darwyn Alexander were ejected for fighting. Johnson, who has been credited by File photo Nebraska football coach Tom Osborne is concerned with recent Incidents concerning his program. Nee for pulling his team together in its 17-7 season, is automatically suspended by the Big Eight for one game, meaning he's out of Saturday's home game against Colorado. "It does seem like it's almost something every day," said Brian Hill, sports editor of the Lincoln Journal and The Lincoln Star.' 'It's not really every day but, kind of beginning with the Soto incident, it seems like a string of things have been happening. You kind of wonder what's going to happen next." ' 'I don't know that it's a pattern of any decline in the program," Bryant said. "It makes everybody feel bad. But coaches can't live with players 24 hours a day and walk them back and forth to their beds. The athletes also have some responsibility." Bryant noted there have been player suspensions at Colorado, Iowa State, Missouri and Oklahoma in the Big Eight Conference, and a few reports of fights involving athletes at Louisiana State and other points. "That's happening everywhere," Bryant said. "That's typical of a basketball season, and certainly is not isolated to Nebraska." Levi grabs lead; Tiger' shoots 72 By KEN PETERS The Associated Press $< LOS ANGELES - Wayne Levi, ^playing with new determination after ;a,disappointing campaign last year, &Bot a 7-under-par 64 Thursday to jaJce the first-round lead in the Los> '.AfcgelesOpen. j; Levi rolled in a 3-foot birdie putt on jlnfe final hole to break out of a six- fljayer logjam at the top. t Doug Tewell, Keith Clearwater, JMark Carnevale, Buddy Gardner and Chris Tucker all were one shot off the pace with opening 65s. $ Tom Sieckmann was another shot behind with a 66, and Tom Weiskopf, playing more this year as he prepares to turn 50 and join the senior four in November, was in a group at 97. $ One of the most watched players in the tournament, 16-year-old high School sophomore Eldrick "Tiger" ;, shot a 72 and was back hi the as he became the youngest gplfer ever to play in a PGA tour Rose may apply for reinstatement By The Associated Press NEW YORK - Although he isn't in the Hall of Fame, Pete Rose thinks he deserves a spot on baseball's all-time greatest team. "I'd be the utility man because I could 1 1 play five posi- ] lions," he said. Rose, baseball's career hits leader, was always a serious student of the game. So who does he consider the greatest player in history? "Babe Ruth," he said. "Babe Ruth saved baseball. If Babe Ruth had been a soccer player, soccer would be our national sport." Rose was banned from baseball in August 1989 by then- commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti, who said the former Cincinnati Reds star and manager bet on games. Rose, who still denies that he bet on baseball, says he may apply for reinstatement this year. "It's possible," he said after taping an interview with NBC's Bob Costas. "The longer I wait, the better my chances (of getting reinstated). But I'm sure I'll apply in the next few years." Rose can't be elected to the Hall of Fame until he is removed from the permanently ineligible list—a decision that's up to current commissioner Fay Vincent, who took over after Giamatti died. None of the previous 14 people banned from baseball were allowed back in, but Rose said none ever applied for reinstatement. "I don't think anybody ever had more integrity or character about the game of baseball than I did," he told Costas. "Not only did I play the game as hard as anybody who ever played ... I think I'm baseball's best salesman. I always talk positive about baseball. I never say anything negative about the game." The two-part interview will be broadcast next Tuesday and Wednesday nights on "Later With Bob Costas." Houston helps OSU bounce back i, after winning four tournaments and more than $1 million in 1J90, failed to win a single event last y£ar, slumping from second to 87th ($195,861) on the money list. •{"I've changed my attitude," he Sfcid after his fine first round over the &r-71 Riviera Country Club course. 'Jj had been kind of slack. I'd play a week, take two weeks off, play a week, take three weeks off ... ^"I'm getting too old (40) and these guys out here are too good now for me jjjst to come back and pick it right up IJJcelusedto. 5"My putting was bad and it's easy The Associated Press Eldrick "Tiger" Woods watches a putt roll toward the hole on the seventh green Thursday In the Los Angeles Open. to get down on yourself, have a couple of bad holes and just go through the motions the rest of the way. I bet I missed a half-dozen cuts last year by one stroke." Levi's wife, Judy, helped him get back on the right track. "My wife just came out and told me, 'You should be ashamed of yourself the way you played (last year), and I think I was, too. 1 By OWEN CANFIELD The Associated Press STILLWATER, Okla. - Byron Houston didn't waste time answering questions about his badly sprained left ankle, and his response couldn't have been more encouraging for Oklahoma State. Houston, playing Wednesday night with his ankle in an air cast and heavily taped, took a pass down low on the Cowboys' first possession. He turned, jumped and Houston banked in a shot over a Nebraska defender. Houston scored eight of the Cowboys' first 12 points and seemingly grabbed every rebound as Nebraska struggled early on. Oklahoma State took a 16-7 lead, went on to lead by 14 at half time and wound up winning 7251. Houston, who had missed the previous game due to the injury, finished with 17 points, eight rebounds and three blocks in 31 minutes. "He knew his team needed him," Nebraska coach Danny Nee said. "I think he got himself ready mentally and emotionally and played with the pain. He knew he had to be out there. That's what makes him an All- American. I think he's a special player." Before Wednesday night, the Cowboys had been limping along. They had lost their previous four games and five out of six, falling from No. 2 in the rankings to No. 14. COMMENT Harold Bechard JOURNAL SPORTS EDITOR Without Houston against Missouri on Sunday, the Cowboys had no inside game. Their two post players, Bryant Reeves and Randy Davis, combined for five points while Missouri's big men feasted at the offensive end in a 66-52 victory. Someone asked Houston when he knew he would play Wednesday night. "After the Missouri game," he said. "It was kind of hard to play on it," he said. "Once it got pretty loose, I was able to move around a little bit. I still wasn't able to explode, but I was able to play." As it turned out, that was a big help. "Just his presence helps our ball club have confidence," coach Eddie Suttonsaid. I They're not there yet, but Wildcats are getting closer If a cat does indeed have nine lives, the Kansas State Wildcats are getting close to using them all. The Wildcats have been counted out more times than a Mike Tyson boxing opponent this season, but all of a sudden, with three games remaining in the regular season, an appearance in a post-season tournament looks promising. Very promising. Yes, the same Kansas State team that has lost more lopsided encounters this season than Saddam Hussein did a year ago, is within striking distance of a bid to the NIT and not out of the picture for the NCAA Tournament. Not too long ago, there were those —yours truly included—who figured the Wildcats were dead. They thought the Wildcats would roll over and meekly finish in the basement of the Big Eight Conference for the second straight year after Oklahoma pounded K-State, 117-76, on Jan. 18 in Manhattan. Itlookedatthattimelikethe Wildcats would have all kinds of trouble winning conference games at home, let alone on the road. Kansas State isn't out of the woods yet. There are still home games with Missouri and Oklahoma State and a road game at Nebraska, but at least we know this group of K-Staters won't go down without a fight. We now know the Wildcats will be competitive in those games, and don't be surprised if they win a couple of them. There were many of us who weren't sure Kansas State had the mettle to compete against the teams from what has become the strongest conference in America. But, for a team many expected to be residing in the cellar of the Big Eight right now, Kansas State has shown plenty of improvement. The Wildcats are tied for seventh place with Iowa State, are 14-10 overall and are just one game behind Nebraska and Oklahoma who are tied for fourth. What has turned the Wildcats into a respectable college basketball team? Several things: • Dana Altaian. The second-year K-State coach, who's been under the gun much of this season, has quieted many of his critics with solid coaching decisions, playing people who deserve to play and benching those who don't. • Marcus Zeigler. The solid play of Zeigler at the point guard position. Zeigler hasn't scored much, but his leadership and assist-to-turnover ratio (4 to 1) have been critical to K- State's recent success. • Vincent Jackson. The emergence of Jackson at the power forward position. Jackson, just 6-foot4, was moved there six games ago and has scored in double figures in five of those games. • Defense. The Wildcats have improved tremendously in this area, whether it be their man-to-man against Colorado or a variety of zones against Kansas. • Wylie Howard. Certainly not the most talented center in the Big Eight, but Howard plays with guts and determination. • Playing time. Altman has weeded out the players who haven't been productive and sat them on the bench, most notably Trasel Rone, Aaron Collier and Deryl Cunningham. • Brian Henson. TheMcPherson freshman has provided a spark with his outside shooting and gritty defense. • Better shooting. It's still not where Altman wants it to be, but for a team that had gone over two months without hitting 50 percent from the field, the last three games have provided hope. K-State hit 50 percent in the second half against Iowa State, in the first half against Kansas and for the entire game (52.4) against Colorado. • Askia Jones. When Jones shoots well, the Wildcats play well. He remains the go-to guy despite the improved play from several other teammates. Despite the improved play in recent games, there's still a long way to go for this year's team. And with six of K-State's losses being by big margins (41,41,38,29,26 and 22 points), it's unlikely K-State will have good enough numbers to reach the NCAA Tournament this season. But the fact that people are talking about the NCAA Tournament and K- State in the same breath is a victory in itself.

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