NCAA First Round: (4) Xavier vs. (13) Portland State

East Region: No. 4 Xavier (25-7) vs. No. 13 Portland State (23-9)
When: Friday, 7:25 p.m., EDT
Where: Taco Bell Arena, Boise, Idaho


XAVIER MUSKETEERS

1) A-10 bad, non-conference good Coach Sean Miller has Xavier prepared for the tournament. The Muskies have non-conference wins over the Big 12 tourney champs (Missouri), SEC regular season champs (LSU), and C-USA overlords (Memphis). In addition they played tourney teams Duke, Butler, and Robert Morris winning one of the three. (Guess which one.)

2) Who let my little brother on the court? Look out for Brad Redford, a freshman who looks like he's 12 years old. Of his 54 baskets, 94% are from 3-point range. Redford was Mr. Basketball in Michigan, hitting 102 consecutive free throws his senior year.

3) Learning is good, you know Unlike all some programs, the players graduate. Who do they have to thank, a tough disciplinarian? Actually it's a nun; Sister Rose Ann Fleming took over as academic advisor for student athletes in 1985, and since then every senior basketball player has graduated. So whether they are ballin' in Moldova or patrolling your local mall, their diploma is in tow. — Rob Sarasua

PORTLAND STATE VIKINGS

1) You Can Practically Smell the Patchouli From Here Portland State is one of our nation's "greener" institutions of higher learning; some of the classroom buildings are designed to be "environmentally sustainable;" the Princeton Review calls it a "college with a conscience;" and it has won much acclaim—including being called a Salmon Safe University—for a campus-wide initiative that treats storm water runoff before that dirty, dastardly, stinking bilge reaches the local watershed. They even list their school colors as Forest Green and White. Evidently purple used to be one of the school colors too, but it was eradicated. It isn't known why. But I bet I know why—I bet it just wasn't green enough.

2) Someone Fact-Check This Unbelievable Nugget While perusing the list of notable alumni (Neil Lomax, anyone?) at the obvious place to GET such information—that is, Wikipedia...you may have heard of it—I came across one name attached to a piece of information that just blew me away. "Courtney Love—actress and rock musician" and THEN the parenthetical note: did not graduate. I know. I couldn't believe it, and I still haven't recovered.

3) Get Back And Play Some D Portland State is actually in the top 100 of Division I schools in terms of shooting the basketball, putting up 45.4% from the field overall and 38% from three (88th and 32nd in the nation, respectively). Unfortunately they need a little help on the other end, as opponents shoot 45.5% from the field and 34.5% from beyond the arc (270th, and 179th, respectively). One thing they have going for them in the first round is that the game is played in Boise, which is significantly better for the Vikings than it is for opponent Xavier. If Xavier can lose at Charlotte (which happened on 2/19), then there's no reason to count out Portland State for a first-round upset over the
Musketeers Rush The Court

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