The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, February 28, 2001, Page 10, Image 10

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Daily Nebraskan Wednesday, February 28,2001 Page 10
nights and
cold sweats
Madness is
upon us. And
Sunday is
Coaches, _. 7'™
players and Chatelain
fans from all
over die country are sweating out
the final hours until Sunday,
March 11, the day when we find
out who’s in the NCAA
Ibumament and who’s left sitting
at home.
Which means only one thing
the phenomenon known as
“Bubble Fever” is in full swing.
And it’s sweeping the college bas
ketball world like a nasty viral
It can be found at universities
all over the country. From
Oklahoma State to Villanova.
From Minnesota to Georgia Tech.
Even in places like Butler and
“Bubble Fever;” the obsession
to find out if your team is going to
make the Big Dance, is spreading
with every upset win. Every unex
pected loss. It’s why coaches can't
sleep at night.
"Bubble Fever” is a highly
contagious epidemic that started
bade in January when experts like
Dick Vitale and Jay Bilas started
the first bubble watches. They
began informing us on ESPN and
CBS what to watch for.
They told us who’s in. Who's
out Who needs to hold on. Who
needs to get hot Iheyte the bub
ble doctors. In reality, they know
litrie more than we do.
The problem with "Bubble
Fever” is that it’s impossible to
predict. Just when the experts
have it all figured out Penn State
(a bubble team) loses to lowly
Northwestern; or Iowa (not a bub
ble team) loses four in a row, sud
denly finding itself on the bubble.
"Bubble Fever” goes like this:
Georgia is 15-12. Supposedly,
they're in. Utah State is 22-5.
They're out See, it's very simple.
So what are the magical
requirements necessary to get in?
Where do we begin? You need
somewhere around 19 wins if
you’re in a stronger conference.
Probably 25 in a weaker confer
ence. That’s if you don’t win the
conference tournament, which
has proved to be unpredictable in
Your RPI (ratings perform
ance index) needs to be high. You
need to have played well on the
road. Your record in the last 10
games needs to be good. Your
strength of schedule needs to be
high. Your conference record
should be impressive.
So all the selection committee
has to do is find 34 at-laige teams
(teams that didn’t win their con
ference tournament) to fit this
Not an easy task.
There would seem to be only
about 20 that are qualified in
every area So the last dozen or so
are picked based on the above
wiucii unes are must impor
tant? Nobody knows.
A week from Sunday, when it’s
all said and done, die committee
will tell us why they chose who
they did.
Why Connecticut's strong fin
ish was more important than
Mississippi State's high RPI. Why
Tennessee’s high RPI was more
important than Utah’s strong fin
I’m convinced they flip a coin
when it's dose.
Some things about Selection
Sunday are predictable, however.
They’ll interview a coach
who's baffled at why his guys did
n’t make it Hell state his case like
a trial lawyer.
There will most certainly be a
team that the experts wonder
about. And another that
“deserved” to get in.
Until then, we'll continue to
Who knows? The experts
might get lucky and have it all fig
ured out by the time the league
championship games get under
But then, just when the cure is
in sight “Bubble Fever” will send
us back to the medicine cabinet
Some No. 7 seed from a league
will get hot, go win a conference
tournament and send us back to
the drawing boards.
It's “Bubble Fever.” And treat
ment doesn't hit drug stores until
March 11.
Stay healthy.
■ttiiiuny uit uit lup uiitvtb in
NCAA history, Belcher has always
been NU's defensive stopper.
Cookie Belcher is Nebraska's
defensive stopper. He is by blood -
always has been.
As long as he can remember,
Belcher has been “the guy” that his
coach sticks on the other team's
best player and just says “shut him
But that is OKwith him. He rel
ishes the role and trusts himself to
make the right play.
Against Kansas, in his second
to-last home game, Belcher made
stop after stop and in the end, he
was given the assignment to stop
speedy KU point guard Kirk
It's a situation Belcher finds
himself in the majority of the time
- a shifty little guard dribbles
around the top of the key in an iso
lation set, looking to squeeze by
Belcher by any means possible.
At that point, the game
becomes one-on-one. Belcher
will try to stop the driver mentally
as well as physically.
If the guard is successful in
getting in the lane, Belcher has
been beaten. But as is the case
most of the time this season and in
years past, Belcher uses his
uncanny lateral movement to
beat die man he is guarding to die
spot and force him into a decision.
Kenny Gregory found out first
hand in Sunday’s game how hard
it is to take Belcher to the hole.
Gregory led a fast break down
the left-hand side of the top of the
lane and, looking to take it to the
front of die rim, die high-flyer put
on his move. Belcher didn’t budge,
shifting his feet into perfect posi
tion and pinning Gregory on the
“I knew that when Gregory
gets it he is going to go to the hole
most of the time,” Belcher said.
“Most of the time, he is going to
penetrate and dunk it That’s what
DN File Photo I
Cookie Belcher enters his last home game in fourth place amon§ the NCAA's all-time steals leaders. The NU guard started his final season with aspirations of breaking the steals
record, but he will fall around 20 thefts short.
Ka /4/snr Kart w i*Ta*4/ *** --
Gregory never got that far. In
fact he never set foot in the lane.
The result was a harmless pass
back to the top of the key for the
Jayhawks to set up their offense.
But good coaches and players
know that plays like that win ball
And Belcher can make those
plays because he does his home
Belcher knew Gregory, who,
despite having an uncharacteristi
cally good shooting day against s
NU on Sunday, isn’t usually a t
jump-shot threat t
“I gave him a lot of space, and \
if he would have pulled up on the 1
break, that is a lot better than
going to the hole,” Belcher said. I
Belcher’s talents on the defen- n
ive end have hardly gone unno- o
iced. Kansas Coach Roy Williams f<
old Belcher after the game that he
wished he would have recruited tl
lim. e
That meant a lot to Belcher
►ecause when you don’t average
!0 points a game, attention is
The statistic that Belcher is
lost prolific at, steals, surely isn’t ||
ne that the general public usually
Belcher said that the steal is
le stat that defines him as a play
r and gives him an identity all his
Please see BELCHER on 9
NFL tests more than muscles
When college football players show
up for the annual NFL combine, they
need to bring the right equipment
Packed in among the sweatpants, turf
shoes and footballs, there also needs to be
a couple of No. 2 pencils and maybe some
Links leader hopes for strong finish
Senior golfer Amy Roux looks back
on her career at Nebraska and wonders
where the time went
“When I was a freshman, the upper
classmen told me to enjoy (my time
here) because it goes fast,” the women’s
golfer said. “It makes me sad. My senior
year came way too quickly.”
In her first three years, Roux played a
key role in the success of the NU golf
team. She earned three letters and was
named to the Academic All-Big 12 list in
that span.
Roux has also improved her play,
lowering her scoring average from 81.41
strokes per round to her current average
Coach Robin Krapfl said the reason
for the drop in scores is an increase in
“The biggest improvement for Amy
is she is becoming more of a grinder,”
Krapfl said. “She fights for the best score
on die team.”
Roux, the self-described most
superstitious person on the team, said
seemingly trivial factors have played
into her and the team's success.
For example, Roux said, if NU wins a
tournament, she will try to wear the
same outfit next time. She added that
she washes the outfit between the
With her improved play and experi
ence, Roux has become a leader on the
“We have a diverse team with indi
viduals that have their own ideas,” the
Kearney native said. “To have one idea
that people stand behind is important”
Krapfl said Roux was a natural for
the role because of her personality.
“She’s really comfortable in the posi
tion,” she said. "She is outgoing and a
good leader.”
Roux, the lone senior on the
women’s golf team, began the last part of
her career last weekend at the Midwest
Classic in Dallas with a 226, a season
Please see ROUX on 9
because every participant in the NFL's
scouting combine, held this past week
end in Indianapolis, is tested on his men
tal capabilities and personality as well as
his physical abilities.
This, of course, means taking tests.
During the combine, the National
Football League administers the
Wonderiic test, an achievement test that
measures each competitor’s cognitive
and reasoning skills. Individual teams
then administer their own tests as well
Nebraska’s Russ Hochstein was one of
the many who took the Wonderiic and
individual team tests.
“I don’t know if you really can prepare
for it,” Hochstein said of the testing
The Wonderiic test was developed by
Wonderiic Inc, a group that specializes in
creating cognitive tests for employers.
One of those employers just happens
to be the NFL
The Wonderiic is a timed test
with 50 questions that gradually
increase in difficulty. Each player
is given 12 minutes to answer the
50 questions. Skipping questions
hurts your score more than
answering incorrectly.
Hochstein said he got through about
30 questions while fellow Cornhusker
Kyle Vanden Bosch completed the entire
The questions range from mathemat
ics and word association to problem solv
ing, Hochstein said.
“It’s kind of weird," Hochstein said,
“because you have to take that one and
another one for each team.”
The team tests, which each team cre
ates and administers differently, some
times determine a player’s personality.
■■ . _ . , •. - y ■ ■ : ■: ■
u(Broncos Coach) Mike
Shannahan puts a lot of
emphasis on character
and knowledge."
Joe Saccamano
Denver Broncos spokesman
The New York Giants, Hochstein said,
offered a test of434 questions that took
him two-and-a-half hours to finish.
“They tell you when you get there to
just answer the tests honestly,” Hochstein
That way, teams can determine if a
possible draft pick is a hard worker or a
slacker, arrogant or modest he said.
NFL teams invest a lot of faith in the
testing process. Organizations would
rather draft a player who can learn plays
quickly and is a person of moral character
than a person of equal talent and sketchi
er moral qualities.
Joe Saccamano, a spokesman for the
Denver Broncos who has been with the
NFL for 24 years, said teams take the tests,
along with a player’s physical ability, very
“(Broncos Coach) Mike Shannahan
puts a lot of emphasis on character and
knowledge,” Saccamano said.
But as much as the NFL has invested
in the Wonderlic test, it still has its critics.
Jack Stark, sports psychologist for
Nebraska, said he doesn’t fully trust the
First off, the test isn’t always used
Please see NFL on 9
NU forward's
motor always
on full throttle
Like she does with most people, Stephanie
Jones made a strong first impression on Paige
They were guarding each other during a scrim
mage in a summer Nebraska basketball camp
before they eventually became teammates on Paul
Sanderford’s team.
“The first play of the game when I played
against her, she ripped my shirt off when I drove by
her,” Sutton said. “That’s how we hit it off. I went by
her and she took my shirt and literally ripped a hole
in it, and I had to get a new shirt for camp. It was
And since then, well, not much has changed.
"To tell you the truth, she usually is pretty
charged up,” Sutton said. “She’s crazy. We always
say she has (attention deficit disorder) or some
thing. She’s always jumping around, screaming. If
not, something is wrong with her.”
mai Kinu oi aiuiuue nun juries more man n
helped her in her first several games back after last
year’s season-ending knee injury. She was too wild,
fouling and shooting too much.
Now, she’s more relaxed, believe it or not, and
playing much better. Steph Jones? Relaxed? As you
learn from talking with Jones, there are a few things
to her that aren’t so obvious.
Like what's happened with Sutton. What could
have ended in a fight has ended up being a great j
friendship on the team. Both are sophomores and
highly recruited blue-chippers (Sutton is from San
Diego, Jones from Omaha Benson), and the two
roommates have emerged in the last month as
relentless blue-collar forwards on a struggling
Husker team (11-16,4-11 Big 12) that finishes its
regular season at Oklahoma State (13-13,5-10 Big
12) tonight at 8:30.
Sutton got the Jones message that many of the
opponents Jones tore up at Benson and who she is
banging with in the Big 12 paint got right away-she
never pussyfoots around. Everything is done with
utter urgency.
And she makes no apologies for it.
“I want to be the kind of player no one wants to
play,” Jones said. “I just want to be someone that
when they know they’re playing Nebraska they say,
‘Oh no, not the Jones girl.' I want to be a nightmare.”
What Sanderford wants her to be is what every
NU fan expected her to be when they rejoiced in her
decision to spend college 50 miles down 1-80
instead of in storied Connecticut for the two-time
national champion Huskies.
He needs an intimidator who can take over a
game, and although NU continues to struggle,
Jones has stepped up a few notches, averaging 10
Please see JONES on 9