Hoop Time Notebook (Fri. midday edition)

SEE OF ORANGE – The sold-out Ford Center is painted orange for the first of today’s four games as Oklahoma State fans basically took the place over.

Oklahoma State’s campus is only about a half-hour away, and the partisan crowd is giving the Cowboys a decided home advantage over Southeastern Louisiana.

It will be interesting to see what the crowd is like for tonight’s Bucknell-Kansas game. KU is expected to bring a large contingent. But Oklahoma City is almost midway between the Oklahoma State and Oklahoma University campuses. Local folks will likely have little enthusiasm for the Jayhawks, who are like the Yankees of the Big 12, the team despised by most everybody who is not on of their fans.

Tickets for the afternoon and evening sessions are separate. But if there is a large local contingent tonight, they might well lend some support to Bucknell.

The Bison sold their allotment of 550 tickets. But some of those were actually purchased by non-Bucknell fans who joined the school’s Bison club in order to get priority status for purchasing tickets to see Oklahoma State or Kansas.

Even if they were all sold to BU fans, 550 voices in a crowd of over 18,000 will be tough to hear if the Kansas folks start to get excited.

SORRY, YOU’LL HAVE TO WATCH ON TV – That apparently is the message from the NCAA to the teams who do not play until tonight. Although there is a small seating section for the teams awaiting the second game of the afternoon session, and presumably for the teams in the first game if they want to watch the second, there are no seats and no tickets for the other four teams.

SPIRIT RATIONS – Also shut out are many members of some schools cheer and dance squads. The NCAA limits schools to 12 spirit-types and a mascot. For Oklahoma State, that means six cheerleaders and seven dance team members are on hand (the spare dancer rotates, with one sitting off the floor).

HARTZELL UPDATE – Former Bucknell athletics director Rick Hartzell has a distinction few, if any, other ADs share. Hartzell actually is repsonsible for having hired two coaches in the 64-team field, both of whom happen to have their teams at the OKC pod.

Hartzell hired Bucknell’s Pat Flannery before he left Lewisburg to take his current position as AD at his alma mater, Northern Iowa, where he hired Panthers coach Greg McDermott.

You might recall mention a few days ago about Hartzell being criticized about his second job. Some people questioned the propriety of Hartzell, a long time NCAA hoops official, working games involving other bubble teams when Northern Iowa team was also vying for a tournament bid.

Hartzell, who has worked the NCAA Tournament for many years, said he was offered a tournament game assignment, but turned it down, in part because it was a game scheduled for the same time as Northern Iowa’s first round game.

“It was a no brainer,” Hartzell said.

In light of the recent dustup, it will be interesting to see who is on the crew for NI’s game tonight. Frank Scagliotta, a ref familiar to Patriot League fans, is one of the officials assigned to the OKC pod. He also is a longtime friend of Hartzell’s, dating to their days working together in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

If he should happen to be assigned the Northern Iowa game, it will also be interesting to see if the midwestern writers know of, and make anything of, the connection.

Since Scagliotta is an East Coast ref, it would be surprising if anybody out here is even aware he and Hartzell used to work together.

As an aside, Jim Haney, another ref who works Patriot League games, is also on hand in OKC. Haney is working the first game, between Oklahoma State and Southeastern Louisiana. Of course if you are watching that game on TV, you are probably already aware of that. Haney has not been inconspicuous in the first half.

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