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TOURNAMENT : NORTHRIDGE NOTEBOOK

Heinle, Chenowith Take Center Stage

March 16, 2001|VINCE KOWALICK

DAYTON, Ohio — Eric Chenowith and Brian Heinle need no introduction.

Chenowith, a 7-foot-1 center for Kansas, and Heinle, a 6-9 center for Northridge, will square off tonight when Northridge (22-9) plays Kansas (24-6) in a Midwest Regional opener at Dayton Arena.

They have faced each other before.

Chenowith, from Villa Park (Calif.) High, and Heinle, from Sheldon High in Eugene, Ore., played against each other during the summer while in high school.

Last summer, they worked out together among a small group of players.

"I know he's a good player," Chenowith said. "When they beat UCLA, I was actually happy for him because I know all the hard work he's put in.

"I just hope we catch them on a bad night because they're a very good team."

Heinle, the Big Sky Conference's player of the year, averages 20.4 points and 9.4 rebounds to lead Northridge.

Chenowith averages 10 points and 7.8 rebounds.

"We are quite familiar with each other, we like to play the same type of game," Heinle said. "I'm excited to get the chance to play against him."

Chenowith, at 270 pounds, is relied upon for defense and rebounding.

Heinle ranks second on the Matadors in three-point shooting.

Kansas Coach Roy Williams said Heinle could cause problems if he plays well from the perimeter.

Heinle is 49 of 113 (43.4%) on three-pointers.

"Our biggest [concern]i is trying to guard Heinle and keep him out of his comfort zone," Williams said. "Eric, for example, would not feel comfortable chasing Heinle around the perimeter."

*

Heinle, Markus Carr and Carl Holmes represented Northridge during a media session Thursday. Braswell sat at the dais after they were finished.

During the players' turn, Braswell poked his head from behind a curtain and made faces at the players while they answered questions.

Carr did the same when it was Braswell's turn.

Suffice to say, the Matadors are enjoying their trip.

"We are just silly people sometimes," Braswell said. "I want my guys to feel loose."

*

Holmes was his characteristically eloquent self dealing with the media.

After praising his teammates and expressing his thanks for being able to play in the NCAA tournament, he gave an assessment of Kansas.

"They're very big," Holmes said. "Not very athletic, with the exception of a couple of guys. They shoot the ball very well. We have to go out and pressure them to have a good game.

"They're a good team, but it's not the name. It's the players who make teams. I'm looking forward to having a little March Madness on our side."

As for the outcome, Holmes said, "A lot of people are thinking, 'Little ol' Cal State Northridge . . . blowout . . .'

"I don't think so. We're going to come in and give them a fight."

*

MORE COVERAGE

TALL ORDER

Northridge tries to enjoy its fame and believes an upset of bigger, more storied Kansas is not out of the question. W1

SCOUTING REPORT

Kansas and Northridge employ the same type of offenses, which rely on savvy play from point guards Kirk Hinrich and Markus Carr, respectively. W7

MATCHUPS

Take a look at the breakdown of matchups, complete with rosters and season logs. W7

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