Edney puts his big shot behind him NCAA TOURNAMENT WEST REGIONAL NOTEBOOK


OAKLAND, Calif. -- Tyus Edney was last week's hero for UCLA, driving the length of the court in 4.8 seconds for a driving layup that helped beat Missouri and put the Bruins in to the regional semifinals. But he quickly attempted to downplay one of the most dramatic endings of the early rounds.

"People have been congratulating me, calling me, stuff like that," Edney said. "Personally, I realize that we're just glad we won the game. I know we have a bigger job now. I know these games are going to be even tougher, so that's in the past and I'm just glad we were able to advance."

Edney's a senior, and the NBA has a severe shortage of quality point guards. But many have questioned his 5-foot-10 size, and whether he'll be able to make it at the next level.

"That's always been a question that people have said about me," Edney said. "I just, as a player, have had to do whatever I had to do to overcome that. Basically, just play my game and have the confidence in myself that I knew I had the ability to play, regardless of what my size was. I think that's one of the main things that's helped drive me to improve as a player."

Not ready for prime time?

When it comes to playing at the next level, well, Mississippi State coach Richard Williams would rather you not mention it around his 6-11 sophomore center, Erick Dampier.

"If everybody would quit writing about how good he is, he might not be thinking about it," Williams said. "He's a long way from being an NBA player, but potentially he could be a very good NBA player.

"Physically, he might be ready," Williams added. "Mentally, he's not even close to being ready for that kind of grind. I hope he's back. He'd make me a pretty good coach if he'd come back."

A state's expectations

Connecticut may have made it to the Sweet 16, but it's just the second-best team on campus, behind the top-ranked women's team. It has all given the state some recognition, but Donny Marshall doesn't feel his team the Huskies have to carry the flag for the entire state.

"The only pressure that is upon us is the pressure we put on ourselves," Marshall said. "We try to live up to the expectations not of others around us, but ourselves. If we can overcome the barriers, negative talk and pessimistic views people have of us, we'll be fine."

A matter of rank

The last time Mississippi State beat a top-ranked team was 1959, a 66-58 win over Kentucky, then No. 1 and the defending national champion. That Mississippi State team went on to finish 24-1 and third in the national rankings.

Last year, the Bulldogs recorded a 72-71 win at home over a then NTC third-ranked Arkansas team that went on to win the national championship.

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