The Pacific 10 Conference, which sent four teams (Arizona, UCLA, Stanford and Washington) to the NCAA Tournament, is undefeated and sending all four schools to the round of 16.
It is the second straight year the conference has had four schools among the Sweet 16, with Arizona going all the way to the title last season.
The Atlantic Coast Conference, which sent five teams and has two No. 1 seeds in North Carolina and Duke, is 7-2. The Big East (five teams) is 6-2 and the Big 10 (five teams) is 7-3.
The Atlantic 10, which sent five teams, is 2-4. Another conference with five teams to start the tournament, the Southeastern, was 3-4 after Sunday’s games.
Duke rides the T
Duke built its biggest lead (66-55) against Oklahoma State Sunday with a 9-3 sprint that included a five-point swing during which Cowboys coach Eddie Sutton incurred his only technical foul of the season.
Duke led 57-52 when the Cowboys’ Adrian Peterson apparently made a 3-point shot from out front. But official Jim Copenhaver called a blocking foul on Brett Robisch, whose screen set up Peterson’s shot. Copenhaver also waved off the shot, bringing Sutton storming onto the floor.
“I don’t know whether Brett fouled or not, but my point was the shot was out of Peterson’s hand before the whistle ever blew,” Sutton said. “That was a big play.”
Peterson said: “I don’t know what happened on the screen. But I thought I had released the ball before the call occurred and the basket should have counted.”
OSU lost the 3-pointer, and Trajan Langdon made the two technical free throws. Duke then scored seven of the next 10 points en route to the 79-73 victory.
Learning a lesson
The youthful Cowboys, who lose only Robisch and reserve guard Chad Alexander, gained valuable lessons regarding the NCAA Tournament and the stretch leading up to Selection Sunday.
“What we didn’t really understand until we got here is that as a No.8 seed we were going to run into one of the best teams in the country in the second game in the tournament,” Peterson said. “Overall, what we learned is that seeding is very important in the NCAA Tournament.”
Said Joe Adkins, “Both of the Texas losses probably hurt us. So overall, we learned that this next season if we win the games we’re supposed to win, you probably won’t run into this situation again.”
OSU was the Big 12’s regular-season runner-up in a conference-wide rebuilding season, but Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said the Cowboys could compete in the ACC.
“Oklahoma State would do well in any conference, including the ACC, because they play every game”, he said. “They’re who they are just about all the time and, as a result, they would finish high in any conference.”
Duke likes it at the top
Duke is 13-1 in tournament play as a No. 1 seed. Krzyzewski is 42-11 in the tournament and now tied with Louisville’s Denny Crum in third place behind Dean Smith (65) and John Wooden (47).
xxxx 25 PERCENT EFFICIENCY Three times since the NCAA Tournament field expanded to 64 teams one conference has put four teams in the Sweet 16 in successive years: 1985, ACC: Georgia Tech, Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State 1986, ACC: x-Duke, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, North Carolina State 1989, ACC: x-Duke, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Virginia 1990, ACC: Clemson, x-Duke, x-Georgia Tech, North Carolina 1992, ACC: y-Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina 1993, ACC: Florida State, y-North Carolina, Virginia, Wake Forest 1997, Pac-10: y-Arizona, California, Stanford, UCLA 1998, Pac-10: Arizona, Stanford, UCLA, Washington x-reached Final Four; y-won national championship
Other conferences to place four teams in the Sweet 16: Big East, 1985; SEC, 1986 and 1996; Big Ten, 1989; ACC, 1995.