By Wendell Barnhouse | firstname.lastname@example.org
Baylor coach Kim Mulkey noted that no one is completely happy at this time of the year. March Madness can bring out grouchiness based on seeds or site assignments.
As the top-seeded and undefeated team, Mulkey was asked about the Lady Bears being shipped to Bowling Green, Ohio – 1,200 miles from Waco - for the first round of the women's NCAA Tournament.
"You're always surprised when you see the bracket," Mulkey said. "I learned last year none of us are happy when the selections are announced. I just feel for our fans. It's too expensive and too far for our fans to travel.
"Our players, they're so focused, it doesn't matter where we play. But for our fans, I would have liked to see it a little bit closer (to home)."
Playing on Bowling Green University's campus has made Baylor's Brittney Griner feel at home.
"She thinks they named the school after her," Mulkey joked. "Everywhere she goes, she sees 'BG.' That's got her fired up."
Do They Need A Miracle?
Only once has a No. 16 seed upset a No. 1 seed in the women's NCAA Tournament. No. 16 seeds have a 1-68 overall record. When No. 16 UC Santa Barbara faces No. 1 seed Baylor Sunday in Bowling Green, Ohio, only the Gauchos and their fans think they have a chance.
"I want our kids to be so confident that they actually believe they have a chance to win," UCSB first-year coach Carlene Mitchell said. "We might play our best game and still not win but I want these kids to believe and enjoy the opportunity."
One of the greatest upsets in sports occurred in the 1980 Winter Olympics when the United States defeated the Soviet Union in hockey. UCSB senior guard Emilie Johnson lists "Mircale," the 2004 movie that chronicled the Miracle On Ice, as her favorite flick.
"I just watched it the other day," Johnson said. "(Teammate Kelsey Adrian) was making fun of me for watching it again. It's inspiration for us, being a 16 seed."
Two members of the gold-medal winning team – Ken Morrow and Mark Wells - played for Bowling Green University and their gold medals are displayed at the hockey rink.
Johnson's favorite part of the movie is the pre-game speech
delivered by U.S. coach Herb Brooks (played by Kurt Russell).
"Great moments are born from great opportunity," Johnson said with a smile, quoting one of the lines. "We're excited about being one of 64 teams in the bracket and we've got the opportunity to compete."
Study The Foe: UC Santa Barbara
* The Gauchos were 8-13 on Feb. 4 but when nine of their last 11, including the Big West Conference tournament to gain the NCAA automatic bid. UCSB finished 8-8 in the Big West.
* UCSB's last victory in the NCAA Tournament came in 2004. The last time the Gauchos beat a ranked team was in December of 2005. They have never faced a team ranked No. 1.
* Angelei Aguire, a 5-11 junior guard, started every game last season but this season has been a reserve who averages 2.8 points and 13 minutes per game. She is the daughter of former NBA star Mark Aguire.
* Grovinya "Sweets" Underwood is a 6-foot junior who averages 7.8 points and 7 rebounds a game for the Gauchos.
* The program's motto is "Gaucho heart, Gaucho (got your) back." As the team's news conference was wrapping up, players Kirsten Tilleman and Emilie Johnson asked coach Carlene Mitchell if they should stay on the podium. "She wanted to make sure they had my back," Mitchell said.
* Mitchell is in her first season as UCSB's coach. She was the starting point guard at Kansas State in 1996. Before that, she helped Trinity Valley (Texas) Junior College win a national championship. That team was coached by the late Oklahoma State coach Kurt Budke.
Kansas State's Jamar Samuels Suspended
Kansas State senior Jamar Samuels, the team's leading rebounder, didn't play in the eighth-seeded Wildcats' 75-59 second-round loss to No. 1 seed Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament Saturday.
K-State athletic director John Currie told CBS that the suspension was not academic related.
"This is something that has come up rapidly in the last 24 hours," Currie said. "We are working diligently to solve it. … Jamar Samuels has worked extremely hard academically and athletically throughout his career. We are certainly going to do everything we can to advocate for him."
Samuels averages 10 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. Freshman Thomas Gipson started in Samuels' place.
Give credit to Kansas State coach Frank Martin and point guard Angel Rodriguez for keeping their perspectives and class. In the Wildcats' first-round NCAA Tournament victory over Southern Miss, members of the Golden Eagles' pep band taunted Rodriguez with "Where's your green card?"
The Southern Miss president immediately issued an apology Thursday. Before K-State played Syracuse Saturday, both Martin and Rodriguez were asked about the incident.
"What happened yesterday is unfortunate," Martin said. "It's not a representation on the University of Southern Mississippi. That with me was open and closed when it started. Angel handled it probably a lot better than I would have when I was 18 years of age."
Rodriguez first heard the chant when he was shooting free throws in the first half.
"I don't pay attention to that nonsense," he said, "especially because Puerto Rico is a commonwealth, so we don't need no type of papers. … I accepted it, because there are ignorant people and I know that's not how they want to represent their university. I moved on already."
Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale on sophomore guard and leading scorer Aaryn Ellenberg:
"We carry ourselves differently when she's making shots. There's just sort of an exhale when the ball's going in. Everything gets easier. We don't try to do too much when she's making shots. We do enough, and we are efficient, but we don't try to hit too many home runs and do too many things."
Kansas senior forward Aishah Sutherland on the Jayhawks making the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2000:
"It's been great. It's my senior year, and we're going to the NCAA Tournament. It can't get any better as a senior. We accomplished a great thing. All our hard work has paid off. I feel like we're relaxed. I feel like there's not any pressure on us."
Purdue coach Matt Painter, whose team faces No. 2 seed Kansas Sunday, on the Boilermakers streak of reaching the round of 32 in 14 consecutive NCAA Tournaments:
"It can flip on you quick in this profession. With the teams that we have had in the past five, six years, we have had some mature guys that care about Purdue. They check their egos at the door, especially as the year goes on as you realize how important the team really is.''