The Erwin Center was evacuated for more than a half-hour today because of what Austin Fire Department officials described as an alarm malfunction in the building. Miami was scheduled to be practicing in a closed session during the evacuation window but media members exited the building from a different door than the one the team would have used. There has been no official update on whether the Miami practice was disrupted but that appears that was the case.
Today’s schedule for interviews with players and coaches has been pushed back by a half-hour because of the evacuation.
The game times are set for Sunday's regional games of the NCAA Tournament in Austin. The South Regional matchup between Miami and Minnesota will tip off at 5:10 p.m. The winner will advance to next week's South Regional finals at Cowboys Stadium. The late game will feature Miami vs. Illinios in an East Regional matchup. That contest will tip off at 7:40 p.m.
The application process has started for fans interested in purchasing tickets to the 2014 Final Four at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, with a May 31 deadline for submitting an order.
Fans are encouraged to apply for tickets online at www.NCAA.com/mbbtickets. All tickets for the 2014 Final Four in North Texas are sold in “books” for $190. Each book includes tickets to the national semifinals on Saturday, April 5, 2014 and to the national championship game on Monday, April 7, 2014.
Applicants’ credit cards will be charged upon submission of the application, including a $20 application fee that includes an NCAA Final Four game program along with shipping and handling fees. Fans will be allowed to apply to purchase up to four books of tickets. Only one application per individual/household will be accepted in the NCAA’s ticket selection process.
The NCAA will use a random selection process to determine ticket recipients. Individuals selected to purchase tickets will be notified by the end of September, 2013. Individuals not selected will receive a full refund, less the $20 application fee, by September, 2013.
For more information, visit www.ncaa.com/mbbtickets.
Louisville is the top overall seed in the 2013 NCAA Tournament, based on the findings of basketball selection committee members, but ranks as only a slight favorite over other teams – including No. 3 seed Florida, the favorite in the South Regional – based on odds released today by Bovada Sports Book (www.Bovada.lv).
Although the four top seeds in the various regionals rank among the website’s five teams with the best chance to win the tournament, Louisville (19/4) is given only slightly better odds than fellow No. 1 seeds Indiana (5/1), Gonzaga (10/1) or Kansas (10/1). Florida (7/1) actually received more favorable odds than Kansas, the Big 12 champion, to win the South Regional that will be decided March 29-31 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.
With no Texas teams in this year’s event, schools from neighboring states given the best odds to cut down the nets in Atlanta on April 8 include New Mexico (25/1), Oklahoma State (75/1), Oklahoma (250/1), New Mexico State (500/1) and Northwestern (La.) State (500/1).
Below is a look at the odds for all 68 teams in the tournament field, released today:
Odds to win the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship
UTA will play for a berth in the NCAA Tournament tonight in Las Vegas (10 p.m., ESPNU) when the Mavericks meet New Mexico State in the finals of the WAC men’s basketball tournament.
UTA, the No. 4 seed heading into the conference tournament, earned its second victory in as many nights Friday by knocking off UTSA, 69-53, behind the double-digit scoring efforts of Karol Gruszecki (19), Jamel Outler (13) and Kevin Butler (10). The Mavericks (19-12) will meet New Mexico State, the No. 3 seed, in tonight’s winner-take-all game in Orleans Arena to determine the WAC representative in the NCAA field.
Each school benefitted from a first-round loss by the WAC’s top two seeds. Top-seeded Louisiana Tech fell to UTSA, 73-67, in its opening game before the Mavs ousted the Roadrunners (10-22) with Friday night’s second-round victory. New Mexico State managed to avoid Denver, the No. 2 seed, because the Pioneers feel to Texas State, the No. 7 seed, by a 72-68 margin in that opening matchup.
A victory tonight by UTA would mean the second NCAA tournament berth in school history and the first since 2008, when the Mavs reached the tournament by winning the Southland conference tournament. The two teams split their regular-season meetings, with UTA winning 68-47 in Arlington and New Mexico State prevailing, 69-66, in Las Cruces, N.M.
_ Jimmy Burch
Below is a look at Saturday night’s box score from the victory over UTSA:
Box Score (Final) Western Athletic Conference UTSA vs UT Arlington (3/15/13)
Florida, the No. 5 team in this week’s Associated Press poll of men’s college basketball teams, did not earn a single first-place vote from participating panelists. But the Gators (21-3, 11-1 in SEC) have been installed as the favorite to win the 2013 NCAA Tournament, based on odds released today by Bovada Sports Book (www.Bovada.lv).
Florida, which plays tonight at Missouri (18-7, 7-5) received 5/1 odds to win the national title among a very balanced group of favorites. Other teams given the best odds of cutting down the nets in Atlanta, listed with this week’s AP poll ranking, include No. 1 Indiana (11/2), No. 2 Miami (11/2), No. 7 Michigan (15/2), No. 6 Duke (9/1), No. 4 Michigan State (10/1), No. 3 Gonzaga (12/1), No. 10 Louisville (12/1) and No. 9 Kansas (14/1). All other teams received odds of at least 20/1.
Odds given to other Big 12 schools include No. 14 Oklahoma State (50/1), No. 13Kansas State (60/1), Baylor (150/1), Oklahoma (200/1) and Iowa State (200/1).
Below is a breakdown of schools that received individual odds to win the 2013 NCAA Tournament:
Odds to win the 2012-2013 Men's NCAA Basketball Championship Florida 5/1 Indiana 11/2 Miami FL 11/2 Michigan 15/2 Duke 9/1 Michigan State 10/1 Gonzaga 12/1 Louisville 12/1 Kansas 14/1 Arizona 20/1 Syracuse 20/1 Ohio State 30/1 North Carolina State 40/1 Butler 40/1 Pittsburgh 40/1 Cincinnati 50/1 New Mexico 50/1 Oklahoma State 50/1 UCLA 50/1 VCU 50/1 Wisconsin 50/1 Georgetown 60/1 Kansas State 60/1 Marquette 60/1 Minnesota 60/1 Creighton 66/1 UNLV 66/1 Colorado State 75/1 Missouri 75/1 North Carolina 75/1 Notre Dame 75/1 Oregon 75/1 Illinois 100/1 Kentucky 100/1 Memphis 100/1 San Diego State 100/1 St. Louis 100/1 Baylor 150/1 California 150/1 Colorado 150/1 Virginia 150/1 Wichita State 150/1 Iowa State 200/1 Oklahoma 200/1 Mississippi 200/1 St. Mary's 200/1 Villanova 250/1 Alabama 300/1 Arkansas 300/1 Arizona State 500/1 Davidson 500/1 Iowa 500/1 LSU 500/1 Maryland 500/1 Stanford 500/1 Harvard 1000/1 St. John's 1000/1 Temple 1000/1
Although the chairman of the NCAA men’s basketball committee anticipates “more madness than we’re used to in March” in a parity-filled season, he stressed today that officials anticipate a smooth logistical run during Cowboys Stadium’s debut as an NCAA venue when it hosts the South Regional, March 29-31.
The key, said tournament chair Mike Bobinski, rests with the experience of the administrative staff from the Big 12, which will oversee the regional site.
“We feel like Cowboys Stadium will be a tremendous regional host and an equally tremendous Final Four host,” Bobinski said. “The Big 12 has hosted a number of regionals before ... For teams to play in one of the iconic venues in the country is great. We’re excited about being there.”
Bobinski said the setup of Cowboys Stadium at the South Regional will be used “as a dress rehearsal” for the 2014 Final Four, which also is coming to the facility.
LOS ANGELES -- TCU arrived in Los Angeles Thursday afternoon and practiced at Jackie Robinson Stadium after a quick stop at the team hotel. UCLA practiced first while the Horned Frogs sat in the stands and watched. After hitting in the cages, TCU took to the field. TCU (40-20) and No. 2 national seed UCLA (45-14) begin the best-of-three super regional at 8 p.m. Friday on ESPN. Game 2 is at 8 p.m. Saturday on ESPN2. If necessary, Game 3 is at 9 p.m. Sunday on ESPN2.
Here are a few photos I took today. Tried to tweet them earlier but apparently some of them were not viewable.
Third baseman Jantzen Witte waiting for a room at the hotel.
Statue of the legendary hero Jackie Robinson at the stadium named after him.
COLLEGE STATION – TCU’s offense continued to score at a sizzling pace and pitcher Stefan Crichton had his best outing of the season as the Horned Frogs eliminated Texas A&M 10-2 Sunday at Blue Bell Park.
The Frogs (38-20) stay alive to play Ole Miss (37-24) at 6:35 p.m. Sunday night in the College Station Regional championship. If the Frogs win, the two teams play again at 6:35 p.m. Monday.
Stefan Crichton (9-2) pitched his first-career complete game in the biggest start of his life. He held the Aggies to six hits (including two misplayed balls) that led to two runs.
TCU, which scored 28 runs Saturday in an elimination game, scored runs in the first five innings against the Aggies. Kevin Cron’s two-run homer highlighted a three-run fourth to give TCU a 6-2 lead. The Frogs added three more runs in the fifth. Brance Rivera’s two-run double scored Derek Odell and Jerrick Suiter.
The loss is the Aggies' (43-18) last game as a member of the Big 12 Conference. Texas A&M moves to the Southeastern Conference this summer.
COLLEGE STATION – TCU tries to stay alive in the NCAA tournament at 12:35 p.m. Saturday against Dayton at Blue Bell Park. The Flyers (31-29) lost 4-1 to Texas A&M Friday; the Horned Frogs fell to Ole Miss 6-2. The No. 7 Aggies meet the Rebels in the winners' bracket game at 6:35 p.m.
The Frogs (36-20) turn to right-hander Andrew Mitchell (5-3), who is coming off a disappointing performance at the Mountain West tournament. He started the season as TCU’s Friday night ace but has struggled at times this season. Flyers’ right-hander Tim Bury (8-2) didn’t make his first start until March 3, but the senior leads Dayton with a 3.14 ERA in 103 1/3 innings.
Dayton (31-29) likes to run, and run a lot. The Flyers lead the nation with 163 stolen bases and 849 total bases. Five players have more than 15 stolen bases, including shortstop Bryan Blasik who has 36 steals in 39 attempts.
The Frogs’ offense managed just five hits Friday against Ole Miss hurler Bobby Wahl. The bottom six hitters were a combined 1 for 20 with 10 strikeouts and reached base just twice. Both of those were by freshman Jerrick Suiter who had a single and was hit by a pitch.
But an offensive explosion is unlikely to happen. TCU pitchers have become used to an offense batting .266 and providing only a modicum of run support.
That puts the onus on Mitchell, who hasn’t looked sharp in his last two starts. He was roughed up last week against San Diego State at the MWC tournament. He surrendered six runs on eight hits in three innings. He has lasted seven innings only once this season, April 13 against Air Force. His last strong outing was also against Air Force May 12, when he struck out seven and held the Falcons to two hits. Mitchell’s most impressive recent start was May 6 when he held a great-hitting New Mexico team to three hits and struck out nine in 6 2/3 innings. That performance came two days after his start against the Lobos was stopped after one inning because of rain.
TCU is playing a Dayton team in its first NCAA tournament with few expectations and nothing to lose. The Frogs were ranked No. 15 in Baseball America’s preseason national rankings and were still in the Top 20 last week. Several Frogs, including catcher Josh Elander and outfielder and Kyle Von Tungeln, are trying to extend what could likely be their final seasons. Seniors Brance Rivera, Davy Wright and injured Jason Coats are also staring at the end of their TCU careers.
The Flyers, with 10 seniors, feel a similar urgency.
“We have 10 seniors so every pitch is important for them and the guys behind them will play very hard,” Dayton coach Tony Vittorio said. “We need more quality at bats [Saturday] so we’ll be fighting for quality at bats to get on base and get back to our running game. We’re excited about [Saturday] and putting a little more pressure on TCU.”
Scharf sets record TCU pitcher Justin Scharf made his 34th appearance this season, breaking Jeff Baker's 1994 record of 33 in a season. Scharf (2-2, 3 saves), a transfer from Paris Junior College, has been excellent in his first year with the Frogs, posting a 2.97 ERA in 39 1/3 innings.