3/16/2018 5:38:44 PM
DALLAS (AP) Loyola-Chicago might have been the first Cinderella in the NCAA Tournament 55 years ago, and Buffalo might be the latest.
That"s even if someone gets into the term ""Cinderella.""
""Everybody thinks we should be here,"" Buffalo guard Jeremy Harris said Friday, a day after the Bulls" 89-68 blowout upset of fourth-seeded Arizona . ""And yesterday"s game wasn"t like a fluke or whatever you call it. And I don"t really like the term `Cinderella team."""
OK, so how about ""darlings?"" These were the first two of this year"s tournament, starting with Donte Ingram"s buzzer-beating 3-pointer that eliminated Miami in 11th-seeded Loyola"s first NCAA game in 33 years.
The Ramblers (29-5) play third-seeded Tennessee (26-8) in a South Region second-round game Saturday night in Dallas.
The Bulls? Oh, they just get eight-time champion Kentucky in Boise, Idaho, after the school"s first NCAA victory.
""It"s not the easiest,"" Buffalo coach Nate Oats said.
The Ramblers won the NCAA title in 1963 in a season more noteworthy for the social implications of a regional semifinal win over Mississippi State. Mississippi schools weren"t supposed to play integrated teams, but the Bulldogs went to East Lansing, Michigan, anyway, losing to Loyola 61-51.
Loyola beat Cincinnati, the two-time defending champion, 60-58 in overtime for the championship. UCLA won nine of the next 10 titles.
""If you look at all the programs that won national championships, I don"t think there"s more than 40,"" coach Porter Moser said. ""But Loyola-Chicago sticks out. Like, Loyola-Chicago won one? That year was such a monumental breakthrough for so many things.""
The Ramblers don"t take quite the issue with the term the way Harris does after the Cinderella moment for Ingram, the senior guard who grew up in Chicago. Ingram says the model for Loyola is Butler, a mid-major that went to back-to-back championship games in 2010-11.
""Teams that probably go unnoticed a lot but build culture over years and eventually get that success that those bigger schools always get,"" Ingram said. ""Obviously for a school of our magnitude of any other mid-major magnitude, to go on a long run as Butler did.""
Coach Rick Barnes" Volunteers were overlooked in their own way, picked to finish 13th in the 14-team SEC before finishing as co-champions in the regular season.
""If you want to say Cinderella, whatever, it"s probably a team that"s doing the unexpected,"" Barnes said. ""That label could be probably said about a lot of people in some ways. But all I can tell you today in college basketball, there"s a lot of guys that can play.""
CHEESE WITH THAT WHINE: For the record, Kentucky coach John Calipari was not really whining. And Oats didn"t really mean to say Calipari was.
In the excitement after Buffalo"s win over Arizona, Oats was quoted as saying: ""Calipari"s been whining about no experience, young, young, young. We don"t have that problem.""
Now that Oats is preparing the 13th-seeded Bulls (27-8) to face the fifth-seeded Wildcats (25-10), he"s amending the record ever so slightly.
""It was a misuse of the word,"" Oats said. ""He"s a pretty dang good coach. He"s made known the fact that he"s young all year. It"s a fact. It is what it is."""
The back-and-forth is part of the big picture in this matchup between one of the nation"s most storied programs and another that certainly isn"t.
Calipari starts five freshmen, which makes his team extraordinary, even for the coach who essentially invented ""one and done.""
Oats relies mainly on juniors and seniors, which is nothing out of the ordinary for a mid-major such as his.
At this point, though, a coach will home in on whatever advantage he can find. For Oats, it"s an easy play.
""The talent level is absolutely there, and when they go in the lottery, I"m going to agree with the NBA teams that took them,"" he said. ""They"re that good. But they"re still freshmen.""
Calipari, meanwhile, took only mild offense to being called a whiner.
""I don"t know if it"s whining or telling the truth,"" he said. ""I"m not whining about it. I"ve got a pretty good team. So, what, `He shouldn"t tell the truth? He shouldn"t even say it? Just introduce (the players) and don"t give their year?" That"s fine. But at the end of the day, we"ve got to play a basketball game. Everybody has to get in the ring and play.""
AP National Writer Eddie Pells contributed to this report from Boise, Idaho.
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