Friday, March 19, 2004

NCAA Tournament capsules

Today's games

St. Louis Regional

No. 6 Boston College (23-9) vs. No. 11 Utah (24-8)

Tipoff: 12:30 p.m. in Milwaukee.

Coaches: Al Skinner (Boston College), Kerry Rupp (Utah).

Difference-makers: Boston College - F Craig Smith (17.3 ppg, 55.3 percent FG overall; 19.3 ppg, 12.0 rpg in Big East tournament). Utah - G Nick Jacobson (16.3 ppg, 44 percent 3FG, 83.9 percent FT, game-winning shot in Mountain West final).

Statitude: Twelve games after the sudden departure of coach Rick Majerus for health reasons, the Utes will bring his defensive approach to his hometown. Their average of 57.3 points allowed ranks seventh in the nation. Boston College is 18-0 when outshooting its opponents.

No. 3 Georgia Tech (23-9) vs. No. 14 Northern Iowa (21-9)

Tipoff: 3 p.m. in Milwaukee.

Coaches: Paul Hewitt (Georgia Tech), Greg McDermott (Northern Iowa).

Difference-makers: Georgia Tech - G B.J. Elder (16 ppg, 77.1 percent FT). Northern Iowa - F Matt Schneiderman (11.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg).

Statitude: Georgia Tech's roster has a total of 20 points in NCAA Tournament play. After averaging 15.7 turnovers in its first three games, UNI has averaged 12.2 in the last 24.

No. 5 Providence (20-8) vs. No. 12 Pacific (24-7)

Tipoff: 7:25 p.m. in Kansas City, Mo.

Coaches: Tim Welsh (Providence), Bob Thomason (Pacific).

Difference-makers: Providence - F-C Ryan Gomes (18.6 ppg, 9.3 rpg 50.7 percent FG, Wooden Award finalist). Pacific - G Miah Davis (14.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.0 apg, Big West Player of the Year).

Statitude: Providence put up a Big East-high 21.5 three-point shots a game, making almost 37 percent. Pacific's opponents hit less than 33 percent behind the line.

No. 8 Washington (19-11) vs. No. 9 Alabama-Birmingham (20-9)

Tipoff: 9:30 p.m. in Columbus.

Coaches: Lorenzo Romar (Washington), Mike Anderson (UAB).

Difference-makers: Washington - G Brandon Roy (13.3 ppg, 48.8 percent FG). UAB - G Morris Finley (13.5 ppg, school's sixth all-time scorer).

Statitude: Keeping things close could be UAB's key, inasmuch that Washington's past two NCAA appearances, in 1998 and 1999, ended with one-point losses.

No. 4 Kansas (21-8) vs. No. 13 Illinois-Chicago (24-7)

Tipoff: 9:55 p.m. in Kansas City, Mo.

Coaches: Bill Self (Kansas), Jimmy Collins (UIC).

Difference-makers: Kansas - F Wayne Simien (17.8 ppg, 9.1 rpg, team-high nine double-doubles). UIC - G Cedrick Banks (18.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 43.7 percent 3FG).

Statitude: Kansas is 20-0 when it scores at least 70 points and 1-8 when it scores fewer. UIC has given up as many as 70 just once in its last eight games.

East Rutherford Regional

No. 7 Memphis (21-7) vs. No. 10 South Carolina (23-10)

Tipoff: 12:30 p.m. in Kansas City, Mo.

Coaches: John Calipari (Memphis), Dave Odom (South Carolina).

Difference makers: Memphis - F Sean Banks (18.0 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 38.5 percent 3FG, scored more than 20 in six of last seven games). South Carolina - F Carlos Powell (12.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg, first to lead USC in both since 1985).

Statitude: Memphis hasn't won an NCAA Tournament game since 1995 (losing openers in 1996 and 2003). South Carolina hasn't won one since 1973.

No. 2 Oklahoma State (27-3) vs. No. 15 Eastern Washington (17-12)

Tipoff: 3 p.m. in Kansas City, Mo.

Coaches: Eddie Sutton (OSU), Ray Giacoletti (EWU).

Difference-makers: OSU - F Joey Graham (11.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 56.5 percent FG). EWU - G-F Alvin Snow (15.2 ppg, 5.1 rpg, Big Sky MVP).

Statitude: OSU is the nation's second-best shooting team, hitting 51.4 percent. Opponents shot less than 35 percent against Eastern Washington.

No. 6 Wisconsin (24-6) vs. No. 11 Richmond (20-12)

Tipoff: 7:20 p.m. in Milwaukee.

Coaches: Bo Ryan (Wisconsin), Jerry Wainwright (Richmond).

Difference-makers: Wisconsin - G Devin Harris (19.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg). Richmond - G Tony Dobbins (11.4 ppg, 7.7 rpg).

Statitude: Wisconsin's appearance in the Bradley Center in Milwaukee will be its closest to home since the Badgers' 1941 NCAA Tournament championship included an East Regional game in Madison, Wis. Richmond ranks ninth nationally in points allowed (59.0 a game).

No. 3 Pittsburgh (29-4) vs. No. 14 Central Florida (25-5)

Tipoff: 9:50 p.m. in Milwaukee.

Coaches: Jamie Dixon (Pittsburgh), Kirk Speraw (Central Florida).

Difference-makers: Pittsburgh - G Carl Krauser (15.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg). Central Florida - F Dexter Lyons (18.5 ppg, 45.5 percent 3FG).

Statitude: Pittsburgh's four losses this season were by a total of 10 points, with one in overtime and another in double overtime. Central Florida was credited with 158 more assists than its opponents this season.

Phoenix Regional

No. 3 North Carolina State (20-9) vs. No. 14 Louisiana-Lafayette (20-8)

Tipoff: 12:15 p.m. in Orlando.

Coaches: Herb Sendek (North Carolina State); Jessie Evans (Louisiana-Lafayette).

Difference-makers: North Carolina State - F Julius Hodge (18.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg, ACC player of the year). Louisiana-Lafayette - F Brian Hamilton (11.7 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 60.8 percent FG).

Statitudes: North Carolina State, which runs a Princeton-style offense, is the nation's best free throw shooting team (79.8 percent). Louisiana-Lafayette, which likes to play a fast-paced game, shoots 40 percent from three-point range.

No. 6 Vanderbilt (21-9) vs. No. 11 Western Michigan (26-4)

Tipoff: 2:45 p.m. in Orlando.

Coaches: Kevin Stallings (Vanderbilt), Steve Hawkins (Western Michigan).

Difference-makers: Vanderbilt - F Matt Freije (18.5 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 81 percent FT, school's all-time leading scorer). Western Michigan - F Mike Williams (18.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg, MAC player of the year).

Statitudes: Vandy is one win away from doubling its victory total of last year, and Western Michigan has set a school season record for wins.

Atlanta Regional

No. 5 Illinois (24-6) vs. No. 12 Murray State (28-5)

Tipoff: 12:25 p.m. in Columbus.

Coaches: Bruce Weber (Illinois), Mick Cronin (Murray State).

Difference-makers: Illinois - G Deron Williams (13.9 ppg, 6.1 apg, all-Big Ten). Murray State - F Cuthbert Victor (14.6 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 63.4 percent FG).

Statitude: Murray State is 0-11 against the Big Ten, including 0-2 in the NCAA Tournament.

No. 2 Mississippi State (25-3) vs. No. 15 Monmouth (21-11)

Tipoff: 7:10 p.m. in Orlando.

Coaches: Rick Stansbury (Mississippi State), Dave Calloway (Monmouth).

Difference-makers: Mississippi State - C Lawrence Roberts (SEC player of the year, 17.0 ppg, 10.4 rpg). Monmouth - F Blake Hamilton (16.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg).

Statitudes: Mississippi State is fourth in the nation in rebounding margin (+7.5). Monmouth had the stingiest defense in the Northeast Conference (66.9 points a game).

USA Today

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Blue Demons oust Flyers in double OT
Florida's woes continue, this time vs. Manhattan
Syracuse's McNamara bursts BYU's upset bid
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