UNLV ‘Green’ with envy

Mar 5, 2002 7:24 AM

Time for a feel good story in the midst of the Arkansas mess involving Nolan Richardson.

Sidney Green, who played at UNLV and wanted so badly to coach there,  guided  Florida Atlantic to its first-ever berth in the NCAA Tournament.

Green led the Owls to a 19-11 record that was capped by a 76-75 victory over Georgia State for the championship of  the Atlantic Sun tournament.

Green led a school that two years ago was a horrible  2-28.       Maybe UNLV will take Green’s coaching ability more seriously when the men’s job comes open again.

As for this week’s games, the major conferences are involved in tournament play to improve their seedings for the NCAAs.

Here’s a quick glimpse of what to expect.

Big East:  Seven teams (UConn, Pitt, Miami, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Syracuse and St. John’s)  figure to be in the Big Dance right now.  Look for BC and Villanova as upset possibilities. Each needs to win the tourney to get in

C-USA: Louisville’s wins this past week over Cincy and Charlotte probably earned the Cards a bid. UC, Marquette, Memphis and NC-C are locks. South Florida and Saint Louis are good upset possibilities.

Atlantic 10: Xavier at 22-5 is definitely in, while Dayton is in  good shape. St. Joseph’s can’t afford a first-round loss. Temple and St. Bonaventure are on the bubble, but each is capable of winning the tourney.

Right now, Temple is hot.

SEC: Figure six teams (Bama, Ky, Florida, Ole Miss, Miss St and Georgia) to get bids. That leaves Tennessee, Arkansas and Vandy as teams needing to run the table. LSU, Auburn and South Carolina probably exit early.

Big 10: Wisconsin gained a top seed, but at 17-11 could play its way out of the NCAAs with a first-round loss. Watch out for Michigan State, our pick to win this tourney and gain an NCAA bid.

Big 12: Six go (Kansas, OU, Okie St, Texas, Missouri and Texas Tech). It’s hard to figure any other team has a chance in the tourney, much less making  the second round.

ACC: Probably comes down to a Duke-Maryland final showdown. UNC has the most to gain, but expect the Heels to leave early. Virginia needs a good showing. NC State and Wake Forest are locks.

Mountain West: Throw a blanket over this group.  Our pick is UNLV to win it all and gain the bid. Underdog bettors should jump on Air Force, a solid ATS winner.