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Archive for Wednesday, March 21, 2007

NCAA TOURNAMENT SWEET 16 CAPSULES

March 21, 2007

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Thursday's Games

SOUTH REGIONAL

At San Antonio

Texas A&M (3) vs. Memphis (2)

Texas A&M - UP: The Aggies get to play closer to home than they did in the first two rounds, which included beating Louisville less than 80 miles from its campus.

DOWN: The Aggies have to return to their defensive ways after allowing Louisville to score 69 points, 10 over their average, and shoot 44 percent, well above the 37 percent that is second-best in the country.

Memphis - UP: The Tigers shot 73.8 percent (45-for-61) from the free-throw line in their two wins, well above their season mark of 61.8 percent, which is one of the worst in Division I.

DOWN: Leading scorer Chris Douglas-Roberts (15.4), who had 16 points in each of the tournament wins, sprained his left ankle against Nevada on Sunday and his status for Thursday is uncertain.

Ohio State (1) vs. Tennessee (5)

Ohio State - UP: The Buckeyes found out they can overcome the loss of Greg Oden when they rallied for 78-71 overtime victory over Xavier after the freshman center fouled out near the end of regulation. Freshman point guard Mike Conley Jr. scored 11 points in the overtime.

DOWN: Oden has to prove he can overcome the foul trouble he faced against Xavier, including the frustration of the hard foul with seconds left that kept him from playing in the overtime.

Tennessee - UP: The Volunteers are playing as well as they have all season and have to be bolstered by their 68-66 last-minute loss at Ohio State in January, one of Oden's best games of the season with 24 points and 15 rebounds.

DOWN: The Volunteers had trouble defending the backcourts in their first two games and guards Mike Conley Jr. and Ron Lewis of the Buckeyes had solid games against them earlier in the season.

WEST REGIONAL

At San Jose, Calif.

Kansas (1) vs. Southern Illinois (4)

Kansas - UP: The Jayhawks were impressive on offense in the opening rounds, averaging 95 points with seven players scoring nine or more against Niagara and five getting that many against Kentucky. Kansas shot 61 percent (23-for-38) from 3-point range in the two games.

DOWN: Three of the Jayhawks' four losses this season have come in games when the opponent tries to control the tempo.

Southern Illinois - UP: The Salukis are third in the nation in defense, allowing 56.1 points per game, a number neither Holy Cross nor Virginia Tech reached against them in the first two rounds.

DOWN: Junior forward Matt Shaw, the Salukis' third-leading scorer (11.4), sprained his ankle against Holy Cross, didn't play against Virginia Tech and is questionable.

UCLA (2) vs. Pittsburgh (3)

UCLA - UP: The Bruins will play their third straight game in California, the same route they took in reaching the championship game last season. They held their opponents to 42 and 49 points in the first two rounds.

DOWN: Leading scorer Arron Afflalo (16.7) had one of his worst games of the season in the second-round win over Indiana, shooting 2-for-11 from the field (0-for-3 on 3s) in scoring 10 points. The Bruins shot 36 percent (17-for-47) in that game, well off their season mark of 48 percent.

Pittsburgh - UP: The Panthers survived a bad ending to regulation when Levance Fields missed two free throws with 2 seconds left and the score tied to beat Virginia Commonwealth in overtime.

DOWN: The Panthers shot just 61 percent (25-for-41) from the free-throw line in the first two games while averaging 16.5 turnovers. They will have a much longer trip to get ready for what should be an emotion-filled matchup against former Pitt coach Ben Howland.

Friday's Games

EAST REGIONAL

At East Rutherford, N.J.

Georgetown (2) vs. Vanderbilt (6)

Georgetown - UP: Seven-foot-2 center Roy Hibbert dominated inside in the Hoyas' first two games with double-doubles, averaging 13.5 points and 12.5 rebounds while blocking five shots.

DOWN: The Hoyas were just 4-for-16 from 3-point range against Boston College in the second round, a game in which six players accounted for all but six minutes played.

Vanderbilt - UP: Derrick Byars lived up to the billing as Southeastern Conference player of the year with 27 points, 15 on 3s, in the double-overtime win over Washington State.

DOWN: The Commodores had the longest trip of all the teams still playing going from Nashville to Sacramento to East Rutherford. They have been outrebounded by an average of 1.8 per game.

North Carolina (1) vs. Southern California (5)

North Carolina - UP: The Tar Heels are one of the deepest teams in the country with 10 players averaging 10 minutes a game. They are second in the country in scoring (86.1) and third in rebound margin (8.7).

DOWN: The Tar Heels had three players score 67 of their 81 points in the second-round win over Michigan State, well off their usual balance that has five players averaging between 18.6 and 9.8.

Southern California - UP: Freshman center Taj Gibson had 17 points and 14 rebounds in the Trojans' second-round win over Texas in which they held the Longhorns to 68 points, 14 below their season average.

DOWN: The Trojans have to make a cross-country trip and get ready for a team that will want to play at a much quicker tempo. They have only won six times this season when their opponent scores more than 70 points.

MIDWEST REGIONAL

At St. Louis

Florida (1) vs. Butler (5)

Florida - UP: The Gators have become a second-half team, outscoring the two opponents last weekend 116-70 after halftime. They used second-half domination in both of their Final Four wins last season on the way to the national title.

DOWN: The Gators have struggled at the start of both games in the tournament, about the only thing they have done wrong.

BUTLER - UP: The Bulldogs have registered wins over five schools from the power conferences, including Maryland in the second round. They are 8-0 on neutral courts this season, one in which they reached a Top 10 ranking for the first time in school history.

DOWN: The Bulldogs don't match up well against Florida in any statistical category, especially rebounding. Butler is outrebounded by 1.5 per game.

Oregon (3) vs. UNLV (7)

Oregon - UP: The Ducks were 11-for-23 from 3-point range in their second-round win over Winthrop, well above their season mark of 38.6 percent. In their eight-game winning streak only one team has scored more than 63 points.

DOWN: The Ducks' starters have dominated the minutes in the tournament, playing all but 25 in the opener against Miami and all but 26 against Winthrop.

UNLV - UP: After struggling with their shooting in the opening win over Georgia Tech, the Runnin' Rebels shot 46 percent against Wisconsin, including going 10-for-20 from 3-point range.

DOWN: The Runnin' Rebels are banged up heading into a game where they will meet a team that likes to run as much as they do. Wink Adams has a badly bruised his tailbone and Kruger, his backcourt mate, is recovering from a bruised ankle.

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