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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

3 p.m. Mar 14

Dayton Ohio

On the final shot of today's shoot around at the Dayton Arena Monmouth's Dejan Delic launched a 35-footer. Swish! An omen?

Blond ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews talked to a number of MU players getting tid bits for tonight's game. If she told Tyler Azzarelli once she told him five times, "Tyler you're so cute."

Venerable Brent Musburger of ESPN, who may have called more NBA and NCAA games on TV than anyone active in the field, said he feels tonight's game, "is a wonderful opportunity," he told me.

""Any time you can be the only show in town, I think it's teriffic. Is it tough having to turn around this quickly - you bet it is. Is it tough than knowing you've gotta go play Villanova if you win it? You bet it is. But, you know, life is all about challanges. I don't see anything negative about it. It's a great opportunity for the Monmouth youngsters and the Hampton youngsters.
""Hey, what kind of a chance do you have at winning a game (as the No. 16 seed)? Now you're playing someone you can beat, both these teams. They can say we won an NCAA Tournament game. And that's not all bad.
""I always thought the opening of the tournament belonged to these smaller schools. Once you get to the Sweet 16 the power boys take over. This first week belongs to the underdogs. ''

Musburger knows MU coach Dave Calloway from when Calloway worked as a college basketball researcher for CBS during its selection shows some years ago.
"He became Pat O'Brien's right-hand man,'' said Musburger. "He knew all the schools and all the coaches. Pat O'Brien would ask him, "How about this team, how about that team.
""How about this Duke team. Can they play Dave?" ''.

And yes, Chris Kenny told the story of his game-winning layup for the 3 zillionth time, this time to Musburger and the ESPN crew.

Off to the pep rally..later.

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