BY MATT BAKER World Sports Writer
Monday, March 21, 2011
4/01/11 at 12:18 PM
See who’s advancing
the NCAA field.
John Klein: Late calls go against Texas, who are sent home from NCAA Tournament
Dave Sittler: Bill Self's return to Tulsa made weekend at the BOK Center special
Sweet Kansas: Morris brothers power Jayhawks past Illinois and into Sweet Sixteen
Arizona uses another cardiac finish to upend Texas, 70-69
Tulsa's one shining moment in the NCAA Tournament ended Sunday with one of the largest crowds in BOK Center history, two exciting games and, most importantly for the city's future, no major problems.
"Logistically we couldn't be more pleased," Tulsa Metro Chamber president and CEO Michael Neal said.
A pair of competitive third-round games Sunday on national television didn't hurt.
West regional fifth-seeded Arizona edged No. 4 Texas 70-69 in a thrilling ending that featured three questionable officiating calls in the final 15 seconds and a game-winning three-point play by Arizona's Derrick Williams with nine seconds to go.
The Wildcats advanced to next week's Sweet Sixteen in Anaheim, Calif., where they'll play top-seeded Duke in the West regional on Thursday.
"Words can't even explain the emotion," Arizona guard Lamont Jones said.
In the late game, Illinois hung with Kansas before the Southwest region top-seeded Jayhawks pulled away in the final minutes for 73-59 victory.
The BOK Center's large Kansas crowd serenaded the players with "Rock Chalk Jayhawk" chants as the Big 12 champions advanced to the Sweet Sixteen and Friday's matchup with 12th-seeded Richmond in San Antonio.
Former University of Tulsa and Oral Roberts University coach Bill Self pumped his fist to the hometown crowd as he exited the court after beating the ninth-seeded Illini - his former team.
The event didn't sell out as area officials hoped. Through the first two days of the tournament, only Tucson had smaller crowds than Tulsa among the tournament's eight sites.
But the tournament still took two of the top 10 spots among the arena's most attended single-events and drew 42,823 fans.
Sunday's third-round games drew an announced attendance of 15,839 - passing Paul McCartney's 2009 concert as the sixth-most attended event since the arena opened in August 2008.
The late Friday session, which featured Kansas-Boston University and UNLV-Illinois, drew 14,353 spectators - ninth-best in arena history.
The four-day event was expected to have an economic impact of $15 million for Tulsa.
NCAA officials are not allowed to comment on how Tulsa fared as host, but area organizers said the games went well and that they've learned about marketing and logistical operations from the four-day event.
"That's going to help us long-term," said Ray Hoyt, the executive director of the Tulsa Sports Commission.
Area officials hope this is just the beginning of Tulsa's growth as a sports town. The Reynolds Center will host two international volleyball matches in June, and USA Fencing officials were on hand to see how Tulsa handled the NCAA Tournament.
Hoyt said Tulsa officials will meet with the NCAA next month to assess the city's performance this year and its hopes of landing March Madness again.
But that won't happen until 2014 at the earliest. The NCAA has already set sites for 2012 and 2013.
Matt Baker 918-581-8358
Top-seeded Kansas defeated Illinois 73-59 in the NCAA Tournament on Sunday in front of 15,839 fans at the BOK Center. MICHAEL WYKE / Tulsa World