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MARCH MADNESS / NCAA TOURNAMENT | NOTES

Cupboard Is a Little Bare

March 17, 2001|VINCE KOWALICK

DAYTON, Ohio — Can Cal State Northridge do it again next season?

It won't be easy for Coach Bobby Braswell--assuming he returns--to engineer a repeat of the success the team experienced this season.

With a nucleus of seven seniors departing, including scoring leader Brian Heinle, the Matadors' cupboard will need replenishing for their move from the Big Sky Conference to the Big West.

But the team can build around one top returning player, point guard Markus Carr.

Carr, a junior, led the nation in assists, averaging 8.9 a game, while establishing himself as one of the best point guards on the West Coast. His ballhandling skills and flashy passes were the center of attention this season for Northridge.

"Markus Carr does such a good job of penetrating," Kansas Coach Roy Williams said.

Braswell, rumored to be a candidate for the coaching vacancy at Nevada Las Vegas, reiterated he has no plans to leave Northridge. Building a team around Carr will be his primary task if he returns.

"We're fortunate enough to have Markus Carr back with us next year," Braswell said. "We want to get back to this point next year, that's what we strive for. This year, we made the NCAAs and it's been a great experience. But we have to learn from it."

*

Braswell stuck by his rule that any key player who picks up two early fouls spends the remainder of the first half on the bench.

Heinle, a 6-9 senior center, picked up his second foul and was removed with 7:30 to play in the half. Forward Jeff Parris picked up his second foul with 3:53 to play.

With both players sidelined, Kansas engineered a 17-0 run that broke open a close game.

Both players returned in the second half, but the Matadors couldn't come closer than eight points.

Braswell defended his position.

"We got guys in foul trouble and we couldn't afford to get our guys a third foul in the early part of the first half," Braswell said. "We never second-guess."

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