March 23, 1998 in Sports

Calls Have Rams Seething

From Wire Reports
 

Moments after Rhode Island’s 79-77 loss to Stanford in the Midwest Regional final Sunday, Rams coach Jim Harrick rushed to speak with McKinley S. Boston, a member of the NCAA’s Division I men’s basketball committee.

Harrick was outraged by the officiating in the Kiel Center all afternoon. Asked what he told Boston, Harrick replied, “Nothing you should know.”

Much of Harrick’s ire was directed at a non-call late in the game when Stanford’s Arthur Lee stripped Rhode Island guard Cuttino Mobley of the ball, leading to a three-point play by Mark Madsen that put the Cardinal ahead for good.

Said Mobley, who was near tears afterward: “I’m dribbling the ball and he hits my elbow and I thought they were going to call it. They’re being inconsistent at the end of the game.

“You can call it what you want to call it, but that little sequence right there was horrible,” Mobley said. “Horrible.”

Brain cramp

Stanford’s brainy image took a hit when Lee made the universal “choke” sign by wrapping his hands around his throat when Tyson Wheeler missed three free throws with five seconds to play and the Rams down 77-74.

Kentucky, North Carolina favored

Sports books in Las Vegas wasted no time in making Kentucky and North Carolina solid favorites to win their semifinal games and advance to the title game in San Antonio.

The Wildcats were listed as an 8-point favorite against Stanford.

North Carolina, meanwhile was an 8-1/2-point favorite over Utah.

Pac-10 still leads

Stanford’s win Sunday gave the Pacific 10 Conference an 11-3 record in this year’s tournament. Next in line was the Atlantic Coast Conference, which has North Carolina in the Final Four. The ACC’s record is 10-4.

Changing of the guard?

In the span of 40 minutes, the time it took Utah to dismantle Arizona by 76-51 on Saturday, the Wildcats went from a team seemingly on the verge of repeating as collegiate basketball champion to one of the nation’s biggest question marks for next season.

Arizona had returned all five of its starters from the team that won the NCAA tournament championship last season. Now, three of those five starters, forwards Bennett Davison and Michael Dickerson and guard Miles Simon, will be gone because they are seniors, and a fourth, the sophomore guard Mike Bibby, seems likely to declare himself eligible for the National Basketball Association draft.

MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story:

FINAL FOUR FACT

All four coaches - Bill Guthrie, Rick Majerus, Mike Montgomery and Tubby Smith - are making their first appearance as a head coach. Guthrie (North Carolina) and Majerus (Marquette) have been to the Final Four as assistants.

This sidebar appeared with the story: FINAL FOUR FACT All four coaches - Bill Guthrie, Rick Majerus, Mike Montgomery and Tubby Smith - are making their first appearance as a head coach. Guthrie (North Carolina) and Majerus (Marquette) have been to the Final Four as assistants.

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