NCAA BASKETBALL NOTES : Oklahoma State Player Suspended for Fighting

From Associated Press

Oklahoma State Coach Leonard Hamilton suspended John Potter from the team Monday for Potter's role in a fight that broke out at the end of the Cowboys' loss to Colorado in the Big Eight tournament.

"This is certainly an unfortunate situation," Hamilton said. "We do not condone this kind of action and will take whatever steps are necessary to prevent something like this from ever happening again."

The suspension was effective immediately and will cover Oklahoma State's first-round National Invitation Tournament game against Tulsa at Stillwater, Okla., on Thursday. The length of the suspension hadn't been determined.

Hamilton said Potter has written a letter of apology to Colorado Coach Tom Miller and the team.

Louisville Coach Denny Crum said that too much attention is being focused on center Felton Spencer's arrest for reckless driving in south-central Kentucky.

"If it'd been anybody who wasn't involved with athletics, there would have been no questions asked, period," Crum said. "It just would have been someone in a speeding violation, and that's all there would have been to it."

A police officer reported driving 90 m.p.h. to catch up with Spencer, who was briefly jailed Sunday after his arrest.

Notre Dame Coach Digger Phelps, despite his team's 16-12 record, obviously thinks the NCAA selection committee was justified in picking the Irish.

Notre Dame, which will play Virginia (19-11) in the Southeast Regional at Richmond, Va., Friday night, had two losses to DePaul in the final month of the season. But the Irish had upset victories over Syracuse and Missouri over the same period.

"I think a lot of eyes were opened (by those victories)," Phelps said. "That, and the fact that last year we played well in the first and second rounds."

Virginia, playing at Richmond, and Connecticut, playing at Hartford, Conn., would seem to have advantages. But playing close to home isn't always a plus in the tournament.

For the best evidence, there was the 1979 East Regional in Raleigh, N.C., the heart of Atlantic Coast Conference territory. Duke and North Carolina were waiting there and both got stung--the Blue Devils by St. John's and the Tar Heels by Penn.

In 1980, Kentucky lost in the regional semifinals to Duke at Lexington, Ky.

In 1982, Tulsa lost a second-round game to Houston at Tulsa.

In 1986, Syracuse was bounced out by Navy in the Carrier Dome on its own campus and Georgia Tech played in the East Regional at the Omni in Atlanta, only to be eliminated by Louisiana State.

Last year, Idaho lost in Boise, Ida., Texas lost in Dallas, Ball State lost in Indianapolis and East Tennessee State and Middle Tennessee State both lost in Nashville, Tenn.

Sam Mack, a transfer from Iowa State who was sitting out the season, was dropped from the Arizona State team.

He and Coach Bill Frieder declined to comment on the reasons for Mack's dismissal. Frieder said it related to Mack's "performance outside the program."

Mack was charged with robbery and kidnaping a year ago in the holdup of a fast-food restaurant in Ames, Iowa. But he was acquitted by a jury, which convicted a football player for the Cyclones in the same incident.

The NCAA has put the Marshall University men's basketball team on two years' probation and barred it from postseason play next year, but said the school avoided stiffer penalties because it turned itself in.

The university reported 10 violations to the NCAA a year ago--including gifts to recruits, free housing and other benefits--after an in-house investigation.

Oklahoma is No. 1 going into the tournament.

While a lot of moving and shaking went on below them, the Sooners received 57 first-place votes and 1,590 points, finishing first in the final Associated Press poll.

It was second consecutive week atop the poll for Oklahoma (26-4).

Nevada Las Vegas finished No. 2, Connecticut No. 3, and Michigan State No. 4.

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