College Basketball



March 16, 2011, 9:09 pm

Looking Ahead to Thursday’s Games

East
Kentucky ended Cornell’s tournament run in the Round of 16 last season. This year, the fourth-seeded Wildcats have another date with an Ivy League champion. On Thursday, they will face No. 13 Princeton in Tampa, Fla. The Tigers could pull off an upset, but as the former Kentucky player DeMarcus Cousins said before the game against Cornell last year, “It’s not a spelling bee.” Also in Tampa, fifth-seeded West Virginia faces a trivia answer: No. 12 Clemson, the first winner of an at-large play-in game (or, as the N.C.A.A. refers to it, the First Four) in tournament history.

West
At first glance, it’s an obvious matchup: No. 7 Temple against No. 10 Penn State, an in-state rival. The twist comes when you realize that the Owls and the Nittany Lions had to travel to Tucson for their opening game. No. 2 San Diego State is much closer to home and will take on No. 15 Northern Colorado. In Washington, No. 11 Missouri’s frenetic style makes it a trendy upset pick against No. 6 Cincinnati. Bucknell faces No. 3 Connecticut and is dangerous in that position. In 2005, also as a 14 seed, the Bison upset Kansas.

Southwest
In Denver, Vanderbilt takes on Richmond in a dreaded 5 vs. 12 matchup. (Dreaded, at least, by No. 5 seeds.) The Commodores have struggled to hold on to leads this season, and the Spiders feature point guard Kevin Anderson, last season’s Atlantic 10 player of the year.

Southeast
In Tucson, No. 5 Kansas State against No. 12 Utah State is notable not just for its on-court possibilities. It also sets the stage for a possible screaming match between Wildcats Coach Frank Martin and the Aggies fan known as Wild Bill, a rotund student named Bill Sproat who often shows up in outrageous costumes to distract opponents. In Denver, No. 6 St. John’s takes on tournament darling-turned-perennial Gonzaga, seeded 11th, without D.J. Kennedy. Another team not at full strength, third-seeded Brigham Young, takes on No. 14 Wofford. The Cougars will be without Brandon Davies because of honor code violations, but they still have Jimmer Fredette, the nation’s leading scorer.


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The Quad is a blog about the fierce competition and engrossing culture of college sports. From the Bowl Championship Series to March Madness, to news and features about one’s alma mater or local collegiate team, The New York Times will take readers inside the world of collegiate athletics with interviews, insights and analysis from the tailgates to the locker room.

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Pete Thamel

Pete ThamelPete Thamel is the national college sports reporter for The Times, where his primary responsibilities are college football and basketball. He is in his sixth season with The Times, witnessing everything from the Bush Push at Notre Dame to Ian Johnson's sideline engagement at the Fiesta Bowl to Mario Chalmers's long 3-pointer to give Kansas the national championship. Before joining The Times, Thamel covered college sports for ESPN.com, ESPN The Magazine, The Syracuse Post-Standard and The Daily Orange. A native of Ware, Mass., Thamel graduated from Syracuse University in 1999.

Connor Ennis

Connor EnnisConnor Ennis has been a staff editor in the sports department of The New York Times since November 2006. Before coming to the Times, he worked for The Associated Press, where he was a supervising editor on the national sports desk in New York. While with the AP, he covered the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, and the 2006 World Cup in Germany. A native of Dallas, Pa., he graduated from Syracuse University in 2000.

Ray Glier

Ray Glier Ray Glier is a freelance reporter who, in addition to The New York Times, contributes to USA Today, AOL FanHouse, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Miami Herald and Unboundary, a strategy/communications firm based in Atlanta. Glier is a graduate of West Virginia University.

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