Monday, March 15, 2004
St. Louis regional
Top three seeds: 1. Kentucky, 2. Gonzaga, 3. Georgia Tech.
Early upset pick: Illinois-Chicago (24-7) over Kansas (20-8) in the first round. The Flames have won 12 straight.
Noteworthy: Hey, who's that hanging out at No. 11 in Kentucky's region? Why, it's Wildcat fans' favorite team, Utah. Granted, Rick Majerus is gone and the Utes are unlikely to make it to the Elite Eight, but does it seem as though the Selection Committee was having a little fun with the Mountain West champs?
East Rutherford, N.J., regional
Top three seeds: 1. Saint Joseph's, 2. Oklahoma State,
Early upset pick: Texas Tech-Charlotte could go either way, but one of those teams is going to oust Saint Joe's. Say what you will about disrespecting the 27-1 Hawks, but that chip on their shoulder could become burdensome.
Noteworthy: A second-round matchup of Manhattan-Wake Forest would pit Jaspers coach Bobby Gonzalez, a Xavier assistant in 1993-94, against Deacons coach Skip Prosser, the Muskies' coach from 1994-2001. And Gonzalez's top assistant is former UK walk-on Steve Masiello.
Top three seeds: 1. Duke,
2. Mississippi State, 3. Texas.
Early upset pick: 12th-seeded Murray State over Illinois in the first round. That could yield a tasty second-round matchup between Murray rookie coach Mick Cronin and his mentor, UC's Bob Huggins.
Noteworthy: That Xavier-Louisville game is one of the best first-round pairings in the field. And let's hear it for Cincinnati high schools, represented by alumni Cronin (La Salle) and Louis Orr of Seton Hall (Withrow).
Top three seeds: 1. Stanford, 2. Connecticut, 3. N.C. State.
Early upset pick: 11th-seeded Western Michigan over Vanderbilt in the first round. The Commodores used all they had to topple Mississippi State on Friday.
Noteworthy: The last two NCAA champions - Syracuse and Maryland - could square off in the second round.
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Defense remains work in progress
Owens decision expected by Tuesday
MND faces Final 4 for the ages
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THIS WEEK'S SPORTS POLL
Which Xavier win was bigger: UC when the Bearcats were ranked No. 1 or No. 1 St. Joseph's?