Bucknell not awed this time around

Sunday, March 19, 2006

— The day after their shocking first-round NCAA Tournament victory last year, the Bucknell Bison still were caught up in the excitement of what they had done.

"We just wanted to enjoy it for so long," coach Pat Flannery said Saturday.

"I think we'll be more prepared this year," guard Kevin Bettencourt said. "Last year, we didn't get back to the hotel until well after midnight and had a hard time getting to sleep with the emotions of beating Kansas."

Things are much different for the ninth-seeded Bison (27-4) after winning in the first round again this year.

Their tourney-opening 59-55 victory Friday over Arkansas started the day and wasn't the last game like a year ago when they were a No. 14 seed and became the first Patriot League team to win in the NCAA Tourney with the 64-63 stunner over Kansas University.

And the latest NCAA victory wasn't really seen as an upset.

"This time, we know the task that is in front of us," Flannery said. "We came here to play two games. Believe me, we're enjoying it, but we're not getting ahead of ourselves."

Not with top-seeded Memphis (31-3), a 94-78 first-round winner over Oral Roberts, waiting in today's second round of the Oakland Regional. Only three No. 9 seeds have won a second-round game since the NCAA field expanded to 64 teams in 1985.

Still, Memphis coach John Calipari is concerned about a deliberate Bucknell team that is going to try to slow down the Tigers as it did the Razorbacks. Arkansas was held to its fewest points this season and in 41 NCAA Tournament games.

"This is a hard game to prepare for. They run too much stuff, they hold the ball," Calipari said. "Our guys, they have no idea that they're not going to run with us. ... This is a terrific team we're playing"

Bucknell has won 18 of its last 19 games. Calipari hadn't even shown his players any film of the Bison before they practiced Saturday afternoon in the American Airlines Center.

"I don't want to scare them," Calipari said. "I don't want their heads spinning."