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Richard Midgley
Richard Midgley and the Cal Golden Bears meet NC State in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament in Oklahoma City today
(Photo: Cal Athletics)
Brits ready for the big dance

20 March 2003
Oklahoma City, Indianapolis & Boston, USA

It's March Madness, with 64 college basketball teams left standing and three of them will have British representation for the NCAA Tournament, which starts later today in the US.

Richard Midgley and Neil Fingleton, at California and Holy Cross respectively, both line up in the opening games of the First Round, whilst Ugonna Onyekwe will be in action for Penn tomorrow.

California (21-8) vs North Carolina State (18-12)
Ford Center, Oklahoma City, OK - 5.25pm (UK Time)

Playing the role of starting point guard for Cal, Richard Midgley has had a stand-out first season on the West Coast, being named to the Pac-10 All Freshman team, averaging 9.5 points, 2.9 assists per game and shooting 45.6% from 3-point range - currently a Cal record for a Freshman.

Cal suffered with injury problems and exited the Pac-10 Tournament at the semi-final stage last Friday, with a 62-79 loss at the hands of USC Trojans.

Seeded 8th in the East region of the bracket, their opponents are North Carolina State (seeded 9th), who led Duke for much of the ACC Conference Final on Sunday, but fell victim to a late Blue Devils charge and were defeated 77-84.

Midgley was in no doubt about the threat that their opponents pose to Cal's Tournament ambitions. "NC State is going to be a hard match-up. I watched them this morning against Duke. They are really good with lots of talent. They have a lot of big guys that seem pretty good," he said.

"I first learned of the tournament when I came to Modesto my sophomore year in high school. I thought the tournament was cool and exciting," Midgley recalled.

"All the teams in it play real hard and pretty much any team can win any game as we have seen with all the upsets."

The Cal - NC State game will be shown live on TV in the UK and Ireland on NASN from 5.00pm this afternoon.

Holy Cross (26-4) vs Marquette (23-5)
RCA Dome, Indianapolis, IN - 5.20pm (UK Time)

Neil Fingleton will line up for the Holy Cross Crusaders as they take on the Marquette Golden Eagles, in the Midwest Region in Indianapolis this afternoon.

Holy Cross secured their NCAA Tournament berth by winning the Patriot League Championship last Friday, with a 72-64 victory over American.

The Crusaders (seeded 14th) will be making history if they are able to secure victory against Marquette (3rd seed), as no Patriot League team has ever won a NCAA Tournament game previously.

7ft 6in Fingleton, who hails from Durham, transferred to Holy Cross from North Carolina last season, and was redshirted until mid-December.

This season has seen Fingleton playing a supporting role to Holy Cross' starting centre Patrick Whearty, who has led the Crusdaers and achieved All-Team honours, being named Patriot League Player of the Year.

Fingleton is currently averaging 3.1 points and 1.7 rebounds, on a limited 7.3 minutes per game.

Penn (22-5) vs Oklahoma State (21-9)
FleetCenter, Boston MA - Tomorrow, 7.45pm (UK Time)

Ugonna Onyekwe will lead his Penn Quakers (seeded 11th) against the Oklahoma State Cowboys (6th seeds) in the East Region, at Boston's FleetCenter tomorrow.

The Quakers picked up their fourth Ivy League title in the past five years, and remained unbeaten in conference games throughout the whole season.

That 15-game unbeaten run will certainly be put to the test against Oklahoma State, but some pundits have picked Penn for a potential upset victory.

Hailing from London, Onyekwe has been the stand out player for the Penn Quakers this season. As starting forward in his Senior year, he has averaged 16.0 points (on 50.3% shooting from the field) and 6.4 rebounds per game.

A proven talent with an ever-increasing list of accolades that reflect his play, Onyekwe was named the 2003 Ivy League Player of the Year, only the second player in Ivy League history to win the award twice outright.

Onyekwe was also an unanimous first-team All-Ivy selection for the second consecutive year, and he finished his collegiate career with four-straight appearances on the All-Ivy squad.

  Tournament Bracket: Download


Thursday 20th March 2003
Cal vs NC State
Ford Center, Oklahoma City, OK - 5.25pm (UK Time)
Radio - KFRC (610 AM) LIVE Click Here

Holy Cross vs Marquette
RCA Dome, Indianapolis, IN - 5.20pm (UK Time)
TV - NASN (Possible highlights during the LIVE Cal-NC State game)
Radio - WTAG (AM 580) LIVE Click Here

Friday 21st March 2003
Penn vs Oklahoma State
FleetCenter, Boston MA - 7.45pm (UK Time)
Radio - WXPN (88.5 FM) LIVE Click Here

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