Don't expect Temple to take No. 12 seed Cornell lightly. Temple's Fran Dunphy coached at Penn in the late 1980s and 1990s, so he's familiar with the system installed by Cornell's Steve Donahue, whom Dunphy gave his Division I coaching start. Cornell is the best three-point shooting team in D-I, averaging 43.9 percent; Temple was No. 2 in the country at defending the three (28.1 percent). Something's got to give.
For a No. 4 seed, Purdue doesn't get much respect. A few weeks ago, the Boilermakers were looking at a No. 1 seed. Then guard Robbie Hummel tore up his knee and Purdue looked lost in a Big Ten Tournament blitzing by Minnesota. The latest diss for Purdue: President Obama picked Siena to win today's game. Siena is the MAAC champ and one of the standard-bearers for mid-major conferences. The Saints won their first-round game the last two years.
As if No. 15 Morgan State didn't have enough to worry about against West Virginia, the Mountaineers come in with a king-sized chip on their shoulders. They believe they deserved better than the No. 2 seed in the East Regional after winning the Big East Tournament. "We're putting [the bull's-eye] on every team we're playing against," said Da'Sean Butler, the Mountaineers' go-to guy when the game is on the line.
Trivia question: Name the nine coaches who have led four schools to the NCAA Tournament. You'll have to look that answer up yourself, but one of them is Houston's Tom Penders, whose Cougars are in the tournament for the first time since 1992. Penders is a veteran of 36 years in the coaching wars, during which he has made stops at Tufts, Columbia, Fordham, Rhode Island, Texas and George Washington. Houston faces No. 4 seed Maryland, whose coach, Gary Williams, is in only his 33rd season on the sidelines.
Evan & Co.
Contrary to popular opinion, Ohio State's Evan Turner, the Player of the Year favorite, isn't a one-man team. UC Santa Barbara will have to contend with the No. 2-seeded Buckeyes' four-guard offense of Turner, Jon Diebler, David Lighty and William Buford. The four scored 83 of Ohio State's 90 points in the Big Ten Tournament championship game win over Minnesota. Don't look for Ohio State to look past 15th-seeded UCSB; the Buckeyes were first-round victims of Siena last March.