Impressive Four-Team Field In New York To Open Season

Nov. 8, 2000

NEW YORK - Four of the 11 winningest programs in college basketball history are getting the new season started in the Coaches Vs. Cancer Classic at Madison Square Garden.

Kansas plays UCLA, and Kentucky faces St. John's in Thursday night's opening round as 318 Division I teams start paring down to the 65 which will play in the NCAA tournament.

"We celebrate the end of the season every year with the Final Four and this tournament has become the way we celebrate the start of the season and college basketball deserves that," St. John's coach Mike Jarvis said.

The Coaches Vs. Cancer Classic has raised almost $1 million to help fund research against the disease.

"This is great for the betterment of the teams along with a great cause," Kansas coach Roy Williams said. "It's a little early but it's the same for everybody."

No. 7 Kansas has almost everybody back after a 24-10 season, while No. 17 UCLA has 10 players returning from a team that went 21-12.

"Some of our up-and-down play was attributed to three freshmen (forwards Drew Gooden and Nick Collison and guard Kirk Hinrich) who are now sophomores so we can't use that as an excuse now," Williams said. "The biggest improvement I'm hoping for is that we went through those experiences and we are now more experienced."

UCLA lost Jerome Moiso and JaRon Rush, but guards Jason Kapono and Earl Watson can score and 6-foot-11 Dan Gadzuric is back in the middle.

"This team is not as athletic or as talented as even last year's but I like the experience and maturity and I'm hoping they will offset some of the firepower we lost to the NBA," UCLA coach Steve Lavin said.

Jarvis and No. 12 Kentucky's coach, Tubby Smith, make it sound as if they handed out name tags along with the practice jerseys last month.

St. John's has two starters back from its Big East championship team - Reggie Jessie and Anthony Glover - and six first-year players, including point guard Omar Cook.

Jarvis doesn't believe it's an advantage for his team to be playing in the building where they play most of their big home games.

"Most of these kids have never played a college game in the Garden," he said. "We will get to spend a little more time in our normal surroundings and that's a big plus."

Kentucky has three starters back from last season's 23-10 team, but newcomers Marquis Estill and Jason Parker will be getting a lot of attention.

The 6-9 Estill had surgery on both knees while he redshirted last season and is down to 240 pounds.

"Right now he is a lot more agile and that's helped his knees," Smith said. "He has good range for a guy his size but he is inexperienced at this level, inexperienced with high hopes and great expectations."

The 6-7 Parker signed with North Carolina, but was not admitted, so he went to Kentucky.

Last season, Duke lost both of its games in this mini-tournament, but then reeled off 18 straight victories and went into the NCAA tournament as the top-ranked team.

"This is as strong a competition as you can get this early in the season," Lavin said. "It's a great opportunity to learn about your team, to get that measuring stick and then go back and prepare for the rest of season."

AP Basketball Writer

UCLA Health Sponsor - Event Information
Friday, Nov 13
vs. Monmouth
Los Angeles, CA
L, 81 - 84 (OT)
Sunday, Nov 15
vs. Cal Poly
Los Angeles, CA
W, 88 - 83
Thursday, Nov 19
vs. Pepperdine
Los Angeles, CA
W, 81 - 67
Monday, Nov 23
vs. UNLV
Lahaina, HI
W, 77 - 75
Tuesday, Nov 24
vs. Kansas
Lahaina, HI
L, 73 - 92
Wednesday, Nov 25
vs. Wake Forest
Lahaina, HI
L, 77 - 80
Sunday, Nov 29
vs. CSUN
Los Angeles, CA
W, 77 - 45
Thursday, Dec 03
vs. Kentucky
Los Angeles, CA
W, 87 - 77
Sunday, Dec 06
vs. Long Beach State
Los Angeles, CA
W, 83 - 76
Saturday, Dec 12
at Gonzaga
Spokane, WA
W, 71 - 66
Tuesday, Dec 15
vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
Los Angeles, CA
W, 89 - 80
Saturday, Dec 19
vs. North Carolina
Brooklyn, NY
L, 76 - 89
Tuesday, Dec 22
vs. McNeese State
Los Angeles, CA
W, 67 - 53
Friday, Jan 01
at Washington
Seattle, WA
L, 93 - 96 (2OT)
Sunday, Jan 03
at Washington State
Pullman, WA
L, 78 - 85
Thursday, Jan 07
vs. Arizona
Los Angeles, CA
W, 87 - 84
Saturday, Jan 09
vs. Arizona State
Los Angeles, CA
W, 81 - 74
Wednesday, Jan 13
vs. USC
Los Angeles, CA
L, 75 - 89
Wednesday, Jan 20
at Oregon State
Corvallis, OR
W, 82 - 73
Saturday, Jan 23
at Oregon
Eugene, OR
L, 72 - 86
Thursday, Jan 28
vs. Washington
Los Angeles, CA
L, 84 - 86
Saturday, Jan 30
vs. Washington State
Los Angeles, CA
W, 83 - 50
Thursday, Feb 04
at USC
Los Angeles, CA
L, 61 - 80
Friday, Feb 12 - 6:00 PM PST
at Arizona
Tucson, AZ
Sunday, Feb 14 - 5:30 PM PST
at Arizona State
Tempe, AZ
Thursday, Feb 18 - 7:00 PM PST
vs. Utah
Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, Feb 20 - 8:00 PM PST
vs. Colorado
Los Angeles, CA
Thursday, Feb 25 - 6:00 PM PST
at California
Berkeley, CA
Saturday, Feb 27 - 1:30 PM PST
at Stanford
Stanford, CA
Wednesday, Mar 02 - 6:00 PM PST
vs. Oregon
Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, Mar 05 - 3:30 PM PST
vs. Oregon State
Los Angeles, CA
Wednesday, Mar 09 - All Day PST
vs. 2016 Pac-12 Men's ...
Las Vegas, NV
Thursday, Mar 10 - All Day PST
vs. 2016 Pac-12 Men's ...
Las Vegas, NV
Friday, Mar 11 - 6:00 PM PST
vs. 2016 Pac-12 Men's ...
Las Vegas, NV
Friday, Mar 11 - 8:30 PM PST
vs. 2016 Pac-12 Men's ...
Las Vegas, NV
Saturday, Mar 12 - 7:00 PM PST
vs. 2016 Pac-12 Men's ...
Las Vegas, NV
Tuesday, Mar 15 - All Day PST
vs. NCAA First Four
Dayton, OH
Thursday, Mar 17 - All Day PST
vs. NCAA First Round
Saturday, Mar 19 - All Day PST
vs. NCAA Second Round
Thursday, Mar 24 - All Day PST
vs. NCAA Regional ...
Saturday, Mar 26 - All Day PST
vs. NCAA Regional ...
Saturday, Apr 02 - All Day PST
vs. NCAA National ...
Houston, TX
Monday, Apr 04 - All Day PST
vs. NCAA National ...
Houston, TX