7:10 PM ET, March 17, 2005
INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Two teams vying for a likely matchup with top-ranked Illinois meet Thursday at the RCA Dome when eighth-seeded Texas takes on ninth-seed Nevada in a first-round game in the Chicago Region.The Longhorns shook off the loss of star sophomore P.J. Tucker and freshman standout LaMarcus Aldridge to finish strong and earn their seventh straight tournament berth. Tucker was suspended due to academics while Aldridge was lost for the season with a hip injury.Texas won five of its last seven regular-season games, including a 74-73 upset of then-No. 8 Oklahoma State on March 5, that went a long way to securing the tourney bid. The momentum from that victory quickly was lost when the Longhorns dropped an 81-69 decision to Colorado in the first round of the Big 12 Conference tournament.Junior Brad Buckman and freshman standout Daniel Gibson lead the attack and picked up the slack in the wake of the loss of Tucker and Aldridge. Buckman is averaging 12.4 points and 8.2 rebounds and matched a career high with 27 points in the win over Oklahoma State.Gibson was named Big 12 Freshman of the Year after leading the Longhorns in scoring (14.4), assists (4.1) and steals (1.8).Buckman will contend with the Wolf Pack's strong front line, led by sophomore Nick Fazekas, the Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year, and Kevinn Pinkney.Fazekas ranks 13th in the country with a scoring average of 21.4 and was third in the WAC with 9.4 rebounds. Pinkney added 12.4 points and 7.6 rebounds for a club that outrebounded its opponents by almost eight a game.Nevada, which beat Michigan State and Gonzaga last year to reach the Sweet 16, also comes into the tournament on a down note after suffering a 73-72 loss to Boise State in the quarterfinals of the WAC tourney. Despite losing as a top seed in that contest, the Wolf Pack still enter the NCAA's with their best seed ever.
|Avg Points Allowed||61.5||68.8|
|Conference||Mountain West||Big 12|
|» Mar 17, 2005||NEV 61, @TEX 57||Recap|