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THE INSIDE TRACK | PAGE TWO / RANDY HARVEY

Cyclones' Style More Like a Mild Breeze

March 17, 1997|RANDY HARVEY

March Madness is four Pacific 10 teams in the Sweet 16, Mack McCarthy out-coaching Tubby Smith and Lon Kruger and curiosity about Coppin State. What is it anyway, a police academy?

After four 12-hour days of watching college basketball, some observations:

Although Cincinnati was a higher seeded team than Iowa State, UCLA had to have been pulling for the Bearcats Saturday. They, however, lost to a Cyclone team that will force the Bruins into a slower, more disciplined game Thursday night in San Antonio than they prefer. . . .

That doesn't mean the Bruins can't play that style. They do it in the Pac-10, which they've won three straight years. But track meets like the one against Xavier Saturday are more fun. . . .

Out of high school in Tulsa, UCLA's Brandon Loyd was advertised as the eventual successor at point guard to Tyus Edney. But his game has been too one-dimensional. . . .

That wasn't the case Saturday, when he had three assists and two rebounds along with his seven points. More important, in an up-tempo, high-risk game, he committed only one turnover in 15 minutes. . . .

If the Bruins seem like a more composed team in dealing with officials, credit assistant coach Steve Spencer. He purposely makes bad calls in practice to teach the players how to deal with them. "He doesn't mind playing the bad-cop role," Coach Steve Lavin says. . . .

Who will block more shots, UCLA's Jelani McCoy, who had five against Xavier, or Iowa State's Kelvin Cato, who had eight in a first-round game against Illinois State? . . .

The 6-foot-11 Cato didn't play high school basketball. . . .

Basketball won't be the only thing on the Bruins' minds this week. They have final exams. Academic administrators will accompany the team to San Antonio to give players the exams they are unable to take before leaving Westwood Tuesday night. . . .

The answer to those who argue that teams need a postseason conference tournament so they'll be battle-tested for the NCAA tournament: The Pacific 10 is 8-1 in the tournament so far. . . .

USC was the lone loser, but who says the Trojans don't have a basketball tradition? Don't forget Cheryl Miller, Paula and Pam McGee, Cynthia Cooper and Lisa Leslie. . . .

Tina Thompson, who may or may not be playing her last game for the Trojans today in an NCAA second-round game against Florida, belongs on that list. . . .

Linda Sharp, who coached USC to two national championships, took Southwest Texas State to its first NCAA tournament appearance this season, losing in the first round Saturday to Texas. . . .

Joan Bonvicini, whose Long Beach State program was a national power, finally broke through in her fifth season at Arizona. The Wildcats earned their first tournament bid, losing in the second round Sunday to Georgia. . . .

Times are changing. Growing up, Maine's Cindy Blodgett, the leading scorer in women's basketball, idolized Larry Bird. Now kids in the state, boys and girls, are wearing jerseys with her name and number on the back. . . .

Want to see the men's tournament live next year? Tickets for the West Regional at the Pond of Anaheim go on sale today by mail. Call the Pond box office to request an application. . . .

After the St. Joseph's players had a flight from Philadelphia to Salt Lake City canceled, they were told by airline officials to run to another terminal for an alternative flight. Coach Phil Martelli wouldn't allow it. "The last guy that I knew who ran through an airport got himself in pretty big trouble," he said.

*

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day, the Forum was lucky to line up a couple of Irish fighters for the main event tonight. Check out Hector "Torero" Lopez versus Carlos "Bolillo" Gonzalez. . . .

It was fun seeing the United States' offensive barrage in the 3-0 victory Sunday over Canada in a World Cup qualifier, but I'm not sure the team needs it as long as Kasey Keller is in goal. . . .

Already without goalkeeper Jorge Campos because he's finishing his season with a Mexican team, the Galaxy probably won't have Eduardo Hurtado for the March 29 opener against D.C. United at the Rose Bowl. He's been named to play for Ecuador that day in a World Cup qualifier against Peru...

Michelle Kwan of Torrance says she's been skating like a "scared chicken." If she does that this week in trying to defend her world championship in Lausanne, Switzerland, her coach, Frank Carroll, says she's going to be "chicken soup."

*

While wondering if Greg Norman is inviting Nick Faldo over to his house, I was thinking: Reggie White has taken too many head slaps, John Calipari always has his teams ready in March, I'd like to start over in the office pool.

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