If anyone was disappointed that Southern Utah University was going to Uniondale, N.Y., for its first-ever NCAA Tournament game with Boston College, it was forward Dan Beus.
"I wanted to go to Boise because that's where I'm from," Beus said after hearing of the T-Birds' destination Sunday. "But I'm happy to go anywhere."
Beus, a junior from Kuna, Idaho, earned league and team MVP honors by averaging 32 points and 15 rebounds a game during his senior season at Melba High School.
"We're not going in just to go," he said. "We want to make some noise and see what we can do."
LAND OF LIBERTY: Senior guard Jeff Monaco has never been to New York, and neither have most of the T-Birds, but Monaco knows New York City.
"I know there's a big lady out there with a torch," said the Scottsdale, Ariz., native.
NO RESPECT? Boston College (26-4), the Big East Champion, felt a little ripped off when they were sent to New York as a No. 3 seed.
After going from worst to first, the Eagles felt they deserved better.
" New York's been good to us, so I don't mind going back. But, yeah, I think it was a slap in the face, a lack of respect. It's just going to add fuel to the fire," senior forward XavierSingletary told the Boston Globe.
BUCKNER ON THE T-BIRDS: ESPN analyst Quinn Buckner gives his opinion of this year's SUU club on ESPN.com:
Point guard Jeff Monaco was the Mid-Continent Conference Player of the year. He and athletic Fred House — who shoots the ball well — make up a very potent tandem," he said. "The Thunderbirds' downfall may be their size. They have two big guys in the interior, Chris Walling and John Wheeler, but neither of them provide much scoring. Unless the Thunderbirds shoot the ball exceptionally well from the perimeter, they will probably run into trouble in the first round. But never count out a team with four senior starters; they may have the experience and leadership to get it done."
UTAH AT UNIONDALE: Boston College coach Al Skinner has Utah ties. He was part of the Utah Stars team to that fell to Julius Irving's Nets in 1974 — the last time a Utah team played a game in Uniondale.
FIRST MEETING: The T-Birds' Thursday meeting with Boston College will be their first. In fact, it is SUU's first-ever meeting with a team from the Big East.DIV. I RECORD: Since moving up to Division I status in 1988 the T-Birds are 192-173 in 13 seasons. Five of those seasons were losing seasons, and two — including this year's 25 wins — the T-Birds have won 20 or more games twice. The first was in the 1991-92 season when they finished 20-8.
HOW THEY HAVE FARED: In school history, the T-Birds are a combined 17-25 against teams that are in this year's tournament. Thirteen of those wins came against Cal-State Northridge, now of the Big Sky Conference. Their other four wins came over Butler (2), Xavier and Gonzaga.