Wednesday, March 10, 2004

C-USA gives Bobbitt its sixth-man award

Area college notebook

The Cincinnati Enquirer

University of Cincinnati guard Tony Bobbitt was named recipient of the Conference USA Sixth Player of the Year Award Tuesday.

The 6-foot-4 senior is UC's second-leading scorer with a 13.3-point average. In 54 games during his UC career, he has started only once - on Feb. 11 against South Florida. He scored a season-high 26 points in that game.

This is the fourth time a UC player has won the award since the league's inception in 1995-96. The others were Darnell Burton (1996 and 1997) and Jason Maxiell (2002).

Memphis forward Sean Banks was named Freshman of the Year, and Charlotte's Eddie Basden was named Defensive Player of the Year. Joining Banks on the all-freshman team are Mike Cook of East Carolina, Martin Iti of Charlotte, Sammy Mejia of DePaul and Dameon Mason of Marquette.

PIRATES' UPSET? East Carolina lost to Louisville 76-66 in the two schools' only meeting this season, Jan. 15 in Greenville.

Louisville led by 10 points at halftime, then scored the first 10 points of the second half.

"They are very physical, good shot blockers and an excellent rebounding team," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said of East Carolina. "They played us some zone and we hurt their zone when we were able to get a little run."

The schools play today.

UC VS. LOUISVILLE: If Louisville beats East Carolina tonight and faces UC in Thursday's quarterfinals, it will be the third time the long-time rivals have met in the C-USA Tournament.

UC won both previous games, 92-81 in 1996 and 64-50 in 1998.

The two schools also met three times in the Metro Conference Tournament, with Louisville winning all three times, and once in the Final Four consolation game in 1959, with UC winning 98-85.

UC'S SCHEDULE: The Bearcats' schedule, maligned by many fans when it was released last summer, ended up doing what it was designed to do. UC was No. 19 in the Ratings Percentage Index after Sunday's games, with a strength of schedule ranked 32nd and a non-conference schedule ranked 27th.

Only Louisville, which played the second-toughest non-league schedule in the country, played a tougher non-conference schedule than UC among C-USA teams.

--Bill Koch

A-10 HONORS: Xavier's Romain Sato was named first-team all-Atlantic 10 for the second consecutive year. Sato averaged 16.0 points and 7.9 rebounds during the regular season. He joined Saint Joseph's Jameer Nelson and Delonte West, Dayton's Keith Waleskowski and Temple's David Hawkins on the first team.

Nelson was named the A-10 Player of the Year and Saint Joseph's coach Phil Martelli was named Coach of the Year after leading SJU to a 27-0 regular season record. Xavier senior Lionel Chalmers averaged 15.8 points and made the A-10's third team for the second time in his career after making the team his sophomore year. Sato also made the all-defensive for the third straight year, and Chalmers made the all-academic team.

--Dustin Dow

FOUR ALL-SEC: Four Wildcats were named to the Associated Press all-SEC teams - Gerald Fitch and Princeton High grad Erik Daniels to the second team, Chuck Hayes and Cliff Hawkins to the third team. No other school has as many honorees.

Mississippi State junior center Lawrence Roberts, a transfer from Baylor, was named both SEC Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year, and MSU's Rick Stansbury is Coach of the Year.

FITCH A FINALIST: Fitch is one of 10 finalists for the Bayer Advantage Senior CLASS Award, presented to the nation's outstanding senior. Fitch also last week was named one of 20 finalists for the Wooden Award All-America team.

--Neil Schmidt

Tournament preview section

Conference USA teams see prominence arrive too late
Leader a quiet force for UC
Fan's guide to the C-USA tournament
C-USA Tournament tidbits
C-USA Tournament trivia

Pressure-cooker success may determine NCAA bids
Muskies' A-10 goal: Boost NCAA odds
Fan's guide to the A-10 Tournament
A-10 Tournament tidbits
A-10 Tournament trivia

C-USA gives Bobbitt its sixth-man award
UK begins planting NCAA No. 1 seed
NCAA Tournament invitation takes NKU players by surprise
Player who broke color barrier dies
Tournament scores & schedules