May 26, 2009

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Notes and observations of the tourney field

By Phil Stanton


There are five schools making their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament and two will meet in the first round. Kansas State and Xavier will face each other in the Houston Regional. The other three first-timers include Binghamton, Cal Poly and Georgia State.


There are five teams in the field from the state of Florida and four are in the Gainesville Regional: host Florida, Miami, Jacksonville and Bethune-Cookman.


Three of the five entrants from the state of California are in the Irvine Regional: host UC Irvine, San Diego State and Fresno State. Virginia is the No. 2-seed in Irvine.


The state of Texas leads the way with seven teams. Georgia and Ohio have four.


Miami (Ohio) is called the cradle of coaches, primarily for football. But two head coaches in the tournament are alums: Danny Hall of Georgia Tech and Tracy Smith of Indiana.


Another Ohio institution has a pair of alums as head coaches: Ohio Wesleyan. a school of 1,850 in Delaware, just north of Columbus. Tim Corbin of Vanderbilt and Scott Googins of Xavier were both Battling Bishops.


Two schools have three alums as head coaches in the tournament, and both schools are in the same conference and located in the same state. Can you name that state?


It’s North Carolina, with Elon (Mike Kennedy, Elon; Jim Morris, Miami; Jim Schlossnagle, TCU) and Western Carolina (Terry Alexander, Jacksonville; Rodney Hennon, Georgia Southern; Tim Sinicki, Binghamton).


Other schools with multiple alums as head coaches in the tourney include Emporia State (Frank Anderson, Oklahoma State; Brad Hill, Kansas State), Maine (Jack Leggett, Clemson; Bob Whalen, Dartmouth), and Missouri (Gene Stephenson, Wichita State; Bob Todd, Ohio State)


There are 14 head coaches working where they earned their degrees:

John Anderson, Minnesota

Bill Brown, George Mason

Roger Cador, Southern

Mike Fox, North Carolina

Gary Gilmore, Coastal Carolina

Tony Gwynn, San Diego State

Mike Kennedy, Elon

Mike Martin, Florida State

Mervyl Melendez, Bethune-Cookman

Corky Palmer, Southern Miss

Dave Perno, Georgia

Steve Smith, Baylor

Scott Stricklin, Kent State

Dave Van Horn, Arkansas


The Baton Rouge Regional contains a menagerie of nicknames: Tigers (LSU), Gophers (Minnesota), Bears (Baylor) and Jaguars (Southern).


The field contains three Golden Eagles (Oral Roberts, Southern Miss, Tennessee Tech) and two more Eagles (Boston College, Georgia Southern). There are Bulldogs (Fresno State, Georgia, Gonzaga), Tigers (Clemson, LSU, Missouri) and Wildcats (Bethune-Cookman, Kansas State). There are Bobcats (Texas State), Bearcats (Binghamton) and Bearkats (Sam Houston State).