March 19, 2006

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Bison fans at American Airlines Center Friday.

DALLAS - Here are some of the press clips from the NCAA Tournament in Dallas.

The Washington Post wrote about Bucknell's seniors' last game: Bucknell's Charles Lee and Kevin Bettencourt made the sorrowful final walk to the sideline Sunday in the closing seconds of a 72-56 loss to Memphis. They were met by coach Pat Flannery, who gave each of them a big hug and a surprising offer. "When we get back, we'll have some beers," Flannery told them.

The New York Times: The white sweatbands worn by Bucknell's players reflect their grief.

The San Francisco Chronicle: The white sweatbands with handwritten messages in black marker worn on the ankles of Bucknell's players reflect their grief. wrote that the Bison toured Dallas Thursday - ahead of the Arkansas game. "The precaution wasn't necessary. Bucknell is indeed sticking around for the weekend following a 59-55 victory over Arkansas on Friday. Then again, maybe those brainy kids from the Patriot League were merely being prudent with their scheduling. After all, they could use the extra time Saturday to get ready for their second-round matchup with top-seeded Memphis. `We expected to beat Arkansas,' senior guard Kevin Bettencourt said. `I don't think this is too big of an upset.'"

The Los Angeles Times: Even if Bucknell is sitting at the kids' table for the big family gathering, at least the Bison have shown they belong, that it's possible to mix academics with big-time sports. "We are a bunch of brainiacs, but I think we also can play ball really well," said Charles Lee, the Patriot League player of the year.

In an op-ed column in the online Inside Higher Education, Bucknell President Brian C. Mitchell wrote: "As Bucknell's president, I can tell you we mean what we say at Bucknell — on the court and, more important, in the classroom. Our basketball success has demonstrated that impressive academic and athletic achievements are not mutually exclusive. In fact, athletics directors and academic administrators at colleges and universities around the nation need to understand the new realities of Division I basketball competition."

The New York Times focused on senior Charles Lee and his father Charles Lee Sr. After the game, Lee's father, Charles Lee Sr., was among the orange-clad contingent of 250 Bucknell fans standing in celebration. As the university's band played the fight song and the crowd sang the words " 'ray Bucknell, 'ray Bucknell," he beamed with pride. Lee said he would repay his parents for paying for his education at Bucknell. But Charles Sr. said the money was of no significance to him because the sacrifices produced more joy than he ever imagined. "It's doesn't matter at all," he said. "He's getting a quality education and he's a great guy." They're not just smart guys who play a cute brand of basketball and get lucky every March. They're smart guys who can play. "They have the SATs, but they've bought into being basketball players," Bucknell head coach Pat Flannery said. "We don't ever mind the label," Lee said. "We are a bunch of smart guys. Chris McNaughton comes late for practice every day because of engineering labs. We are a bunch of brainiacs, but we also can play ball."

The Chicago Sun-Times: ''Wow,'' senior Charles Lee said, marveling at the bizarre box score. ''We were just feeling it today.''

New York Newsday: "Technically, Bucknell pulled off another upset because it was the ninth seed. The Razorbacks (22-10) were seeded eighth in their first tournament trip since 2001."

Dallas Morning News: Arkansas returned to the NCAA Tournament, making its first appearance in five years since the days of Nolan Richardson and "Forty Minutes of Hell." So Razorback fans poured across the border and into American Airlines Center and were treated to: "Forty Minutes of Bucknell."

The Boston Globe: "Kansas last year, Arkansas this year. The Bucknell Bison sure are taking down some historic programs on their way to making a name for themselves."

The Houston Chronicle: Bucknell brought its band this time around and will have to extend those hotel reservations through the weekend. "Maybe this shows last year wasn't as big of a fluke," Bucknell guard Kevin Bettencourt said, referring to the big win over Kansas.

The Washington Post: Bucknell officials were so confident the Bison would be back in the NCAA tournament again this season that when students reported for classes last August, they advised members of the school's volunteer band to leave their spring break plans open. Bucknell's basketball team didn't disappoint them, as it went undefeated in Patriot League play and again won the conference's postseason tournament.

The Dallas Morning News on bringing the pep band this year: "Last year, Cinderella didn't know she needed to bring her own boom box," Bucknell band director Phil Haynes said.

The Philadelphia Daily News: Memphis coach John Calipari certainly understands what he's up against next. "I think [Bucknell coach Pat Flannery's] a guy people don't know about, unless you're in coaching," he said. "Believe me, I'm scared to death about this one. I think our kids just felt they were going to get Arkansas. That's all anyone wanted to talk to them about."

Posted March 18, 2006


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