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Archive for Tuesday, March 15, 1994

KU TOURNEY PREVIEW

March 15, 1994

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Tennessee-Chattanooga coach Mack McCarthy took his basketball team to Alabama, Michigan and Purdue this year.

It wasn't because he likes playing the role of underdog in enemy gyms.

He was hoping to catch the collective eyes of NCAA men's basketball committee members come seeding time.

"Obviously, it didn't matter to the NCAA," said McCarthy, miffed that the 23-6 Moccasins were awarded a No. 13 seed in the Southeast Regional and a first-round matchup against No. 4-seed Kansas.

Tipoff for Thursday's KU-UT Chattanooga game is approximately 2 p.m., Lawrence time, at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky.

A year ago, the Moccasins, 26-6, were awarded a No. 12 seed in the Southeast and were eliminated by Wake Forest, 81-58, in Nashville.

"We had a strong schedule. They said that is something we could control," McCarthy said. "We won our league and our tournament. A lot of high seeds didn't do that. I feel we've sort of been deceived."

The Moccasins defeated Alabama, 67-57, and lagged by just three points with five minutes left before succumbing to Michigan, 97-86. Also, UT-Chattanooga scared Purdue before tumbling, 74-66.

"Anybody who talks to me now about improving our nonconference schedule, it's going to fall on deaf ears," said McCarthy, who said he expected a No. 9, 10 or 11 seed. "We'll play the schedule we want for the reasons we want."

McCarthy hasn't been a happy camper for several reasons. On Monday, he said he said he would not start first-team all-Southern Conference players Chad Copeland and Brandon Born, plus starting center Roger Smith, against KU.

Copeland, a 5-11 senor guard who averages 20.7 points, and Born, a 6-7 junior, who contributes 17.7 tallies, were late for last Sunday morning's practice. Smith, a 6-10 center, who averages 10 points and 8.1 boards, missed a session with the Moccasins' trainer. He missed a month this season because of a broken foot.

Unless McCarthy changes his mind, they'll be replaced by Patrick Henderson, a 6-8 soph, who averages 3.9 tallies; John Oliver, a 6-5 freshman, who averages 2.9 points and LaMonte Woods, a 6-4 senior, who averages 3.9 points.

Born, Copeland and Smith are expected to enter the game game early, however.

McCarthy believes he'll need all his horses to stop Kansas.

"There are only four or five teams worse in the country to draw than Kansas, mainly because of (Greg) Ostertag and (Richard) Scott and their style of play," McCarthy said. "They're very, very difficult to prepare for because of their changing defenses and trapping. Then you look at their personnel and depth. They're a difficult team to play."

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