Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Charleston Coach Lobbied for Nit, Landed in NCAA

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Charleston Coach Lobbied for Nit, Landed in NCAA

Article excerpt

Of all the 64 teams in the NCAA Tournament, one of the most surprised to be there is the College of Charleston.

The Cougars, who jumped from NAIA to Division I only three years ago, were such long shots that coach John Kresse suggested to his players they not show up at the restaurant where he was watching the NCAA selection show with fans Sunday.

"I told them, `We need not have you at a gathering where if you don't see your name pop up, it would be a major bummer,' " Kresse said.

Meanwhile, Kresse had solicited the help of Lou Carnesecca, his former boss at St. John's, in trying to secure a place in the National Invitation Tournament for Charleston.

"They had never looked at the little guy for an at-large bid" in the NCAA, Kresse said.

When the Cougars were selected as an at-large NCAA entry, Kresse said, "I was flabbergasted," and the players began celebrating.

Shortly afterward, the Cougars (24-3), who were seeded 12th in the Southeast Regional, began practicing for their first-round game against No. 5 seed Wake Forest (20-11) in Lexington, Ky., today.

That game will be the opener of a quadrupleheader at Rupp Arena. It will be followed by Kansas (25-7), the No. 4 seed, against 13th-seeded Tennessee-Chattanooga (23-6); Purdue (26-4), the No. 1 seed, against Central Florida (21-8), seeded 16th, and eighth-seeded Providence (20-9) against Alabama (19-9), the No. 9 seed.

The East Regional begins today in Uniondale, N.Y., with Connecticut (27-4), the No. 2 seed, against 15th-seeded Rider (21-8); Alabama-Birmingham (22-7), seeded seventh, against No. 10 seed George Washington (17-11); Nebraska (20-9), seeded sixth, against Penn (24-2), the No. 11 seed, and Florida (25-7), seeded third, against James Madison (20-9), seeded 14th.

First-round games in the Midwest Regional will be played in Wichita, Kan., today, with St. Louis (23-5), the No. 7 seed, against Maryland (16-11), the No. 10 seed; Massachusetts (27-6), seeded second, vs. Southwest Texas State (25-6), seeded 15th; Michigan (21-7), seeded third, against Pepperdine (19-10), the No. …

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