The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Sports

March 19, 2014

Read before jumping into the deep end of NCAA pool

(Continued)

"This March Madness," he fumed, "is getting in the way of basketball."

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DON'T I KNOW YOU FROM SOMEWHERE (Part 2)?

If Johnny Dawkins and Craig Neal were still playing — instead of coaching — against each other, there's no doubt which one you'd pick.

The two will be back on opposing benches Friday night, 28 years after they faced off as players. But it looks like Neal has the upper hand now. His No. 7 New Mexico squad will be a slight favorite over Dawkins' No. 10 Stanford when they meet in St. Louis.

The last time they did — competitively speaking — was the 1986 ACC tournament title game. Neal, who kicked around basketball's minor leagues for seven seasons, played for Georgia Tech in that one. Dawkins, who was in his senior year at Duke, went on to win the game and become the ACC tourney MVP in 1986, as well as Duke's career scoring leader until 2006.

Small wonder the Cardinal coach was happy to reminisce with AP's Janie McCauley.

"He was younger than I was, so it was a little different," Dawkins recalled. "We played in a great game. ... It was an amazing environment."

After a nine-year NBA career, the coaching racket hasn't gone quite as smoothly. Stanford finally made the tourney in Dawkins' sixth season there, amid talk that his job depended on it.

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STAT OF THE DAY

From 2005 through 2009, a No. 1 seed was like an invitation to the Sweet 16. During that stretch all 20 top seeds got there. More recently, though, the big dogs haven't been quite as lucky, according to research by STATS. One No. 1 has been eliminated in the first weekend three of the last four years. The mighty who fell: Kansas in 2010 (to Northern Iowa), Pittsburgh in 2011 (to Butler) and Gonzaga in 2013 (to Wichita State).

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