Childress appears better, but Collins' finger troubling EAST REGIONAL NOTEBOOK NCAA TOURNAMENT


Health is one of the key questions surrounding tonight's East Regional semifinal matchup between Wake Forest and Oklahoma State.

For Oklahoma State, senior forward Terry Collins continues to be bothered by a torn tendon in his right index finger. Collins, who injured the finger at the Baltimore Arena in last week's first-round victory over Drexel when he hit his hand on the backboard, looked uncomfortable shooting during yesterday's practice.

"He is the most improved player on our team this year," Cowboys coach Eddie Sutton said of Collins, who averages 7.9 points. "We need him tonight."

Collins also scored only five points in two games at the Baltimore Arena, which suggests he may be a severe liability tonight. He will have surgery to repair the finger after the season.

No pox on Childress

On the Wake Forest side, the talk centered on the health of senior guard Randolph Childress, who followed his 107-point show in the ACC tournament with 36 points in two games in Baltimore last week, despite being bothered by the flu.

Childress pronounced himself ready to go yesterday, although Demon Deacons coach Dave Odom said earlier this week Childress mistook a rash on his body as an outbreak of the chickenpox. Odom said the rash turned out to be a byproduct of the virus Childress has been carrying for the past two weeks.

"It's the first time I've ever seen him [Childress] afraid," Odom said. "There was a look in his eyes that said 'I've played my last college game.' I saw him petrified."

Tulsa's Maryland connection

Tulsa's program began to turn around the day the school hired Tubby Smith four years ago. And the Golden Hurricane program leaped forward two years ago, when Smith landed guard Shea Seals, a Tulsa native who was hotly recruited by Oklahoma State.

All Seals has done is help Tulsa go 47-15 over the last two seasons.

"We have a very fertile high school and junior college basketballarea in Tulsa," said Smith, noting that NBA players Byron Houston and Wayman Tisdale come from Tulsa.

Smith, incidentally, is a native of Scotland, Md. In 1969, he graduated from Great Mills High School in St. Mary's County, where he starred in basketball and track.

Calipari 'psycho'?

Massachusetts coach John Calipari, pointing out his team's tough nonconference schedule, noted that the Minutemen have played teams of varying styles, including up-tempo squads such as Arkansas and Maryland and grinding, half-court teams such as Kansas.

He also singled out Princeton, which has driven opponents crazy for years with its slow-down approach.

"No one plays Princeton unless you're a psycho or a drug addict," said Calipari, whose team defeated the Tigers, 88-67, on Dec. 14. "I'm not a drug addict, so I must be a psycho."

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