The return to the NCAA Tournament for Bob Knight turned out to be a brief one Friday night, but the Pacific-10 Conference will apparently be around for quite a while.
Knight, who sat out a year following his dismissal as coach of the Indiana Hoosiers, brought Texas Tech to the tournament in his first year with the Red Raiders. Their stay, however, lasted just long enough for the 10th-seeded Southern Illinois Salukis to beat them in a first-round game Friday night, 76-68.
That setback in Chicago was one of just two games won by the lower-seeded team on the second day of the tournament. The other surprise winner was Southern Illinois' fellow-Missouri Valley Conference member Creighton.
The Bluejays shocked Florida, 83-82 in double overtime, on a three-point shot just before the buzzer by Terrell Taylor.
Among the favorites winning Friday were California (82-75 over Pennsylvania) and UCLA (80-58 over Mississippi), which meant that at the end of the first round of the tournament, the Pacific-10 had a 5-1 record. It is the only conference to put five teams into the second round with the Golden Bears and Bruins being joined by Oregon, Arizona and Stanford.
The only conferences to have more than one team in the tournament and get all of its teams through to the second round were the Atlantic Coast (4-0) and the Missouri Valley (2-0).
Although there were few shockers, there were the usual number of close calls.
During the afternoon action, Xavier trailed by 10 points late in the first half before rallying to beat Hawaii, 70-58; California had a difficult time with Pennsylvania before pulling out an 82-75 victory and North Carolina State had to come from behind to defeat Michigan State, 69-58.
And at night, Mississippi State had to rally to beat McNeese St., 70-58; Georgia was made to sweat before downing Murray State, 85-68; and Texas let a big lead all but get away before defeating Boston College, 70-57.
North Carolina State won the ACC's third game to start the day, a 69-58 victory over Michigan State, after which Connecticut earned a second-round contest with the Wolfpack by fighting off Hampton, 78-67.
Xavier will meet Oklahoma in the second round after the Sooners defeated Illinois-Chicago, 71-63. California's second-round opponent will be Pittsburgh, which overcame Central Connecticut, 71-54. And Illinois advanced to meet Creighton thanks to a 93-64 crushing of San Diego State.
During Friday night's evening action, No. 1 seed Cincinati had little difficulty while Maryland, another No. 1, was unable to completely crush Siena. The Terrapins settled for an 85-70 win.
Cincinnati, the top seed in the West, blasted Boston University, 90-52, to set up a second-round matchup with UCLA. And Maryland goes into the second round against Wisconsin. The Badgers disposed of St. John's, 80-70.
Southern Illinois' second-round game will be against Georgia and Mississippi State will meet Texas.
In the tournament's most entertaining game to date, Florida held an 82-80 lead with 29 seconds left in the second overtime and owned the ball. But the Gators were unable to inbound the ball in time and was whistled for a five-second call.
The Bluejays set up for a last shot and Gators guard Justin Hamilton nearly forced a turnover when he stripped Ismael Caro. But the ball went out of bounds to Creighton with 4.5 seconds left.
With star player Kyle Korver having fouled out, Creighton went right to Taylor. The Missouri Valley Conference's Sixth Man of the Year dribbled twice and then hit his eighth three-pointer of the game over Florida's Brett Nelson.
"Coach designed the play for me to take it out, but switched it at the last moment to give me the ball," Taylor said. "I got a good look and took what came to me."
Florida had chances to hold for the last possession at the end of regulation and the first overtime, but came up empty on both occasions.
Nelson, who injured his cheekbone in a fight in practice, badly missed a runner on the first opportunity and Justin Hamilton lost his dribble and had the ball stolen on the second.
The lack of execution down the stretch underscored a problem all year for the Gators, who finished 2-7 in games decided by five points or less.
Jonathan Dearman scored 18 points to pace Southern Illinois in its upset of Texas Tech.
"Going in, we knew what we had to do," Southern Illinois Coach Bruce Weber said. "We frustrated them and the ball bounced in our favor. We broke their spirit as good as we could have imagined."
Knight has lost in the first round in five of his last seven NCAA Tournament appearances.
"I would be disappointed eventually if we got beat in the championship game," Knight said. "Maybe we could beat them if we played them again. We were beaten by a good team tonight and if we are going to be able to compete with those teams, then we are going to have to become better."