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Archive for Saturday, March 24, 2007

Today’s capsules

March 24, 2007

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South Region

No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 2 Memphis

Time: 2:30 p.m.

Records: Ohio State 33-3, Memphis 33-3.

How they got here: Ohio State d. No. 16 Central Connecticut State, 78-57, d. No. 9 Xavier, 78-71 (OT), d. No. 5 Tennessee, 85-84; Memphis d. No. 15 North Texas, 73-58, d. No. 7 Nevada, 78-62, d. No. 3 Texas A&M, 65-64.

The buzz: Memphis has won 25 in a row, Ohio State 20 in a row. Both survived close games Thursday, Ohio State winning in a shootout with Tennessee and Memphis out-toughing Texas A&M in a defensive battle. While Ohio State played a lot of grind-it-out affairs late in the regular season, the Buckeyes have the athletes - especially on the perimeter - to run with Memphis, which favors a fast pace. Still, the Buckeyes seem more comfortable with the game in the high 60s/low 70s, games in which C Greg Oden has more of an impact. The Tigers substituted liberally and wore down A&M, and look for more of the same today as they'll attempt to tire out Oden. Memphis is strong in the low post, so the biggest sub-plot to this game is how effective the Tigers can be with Oden in their way. One thing to watch: Joey Dorsey is Memphis' best low-post threat, but he's also foul-prone. If Oden can coax Dorsey into foul trouble, Memphis is in big trouble. Both teams are strong on the perimeter; Ohio State has four good three-point shooters, the Tigers three. Ohio State is less sloppy with the ball than Memphis, and neither is particularly proficient from the line. Memphis, though, has been money from the line the past two games.

The pick: Ohio State.

West Region

No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 2 UCLA

Time: 6:05 p.m.

Records: Kansas 33-4, UCLA 29-5.

How they got here: Kansas d. No. 16 Niagara, 107-67, d. No. 8 Kentucky, 88-76, d. No. 4 Southern Illinois, 61-58; UCLA d. No. 15 Weber State, 70-42, d. No. 7 Indiana, 54-49, d. No. 3 Pittsburgh, 64-55.

The buzz: Kansas was held to its second-lowest point total of the season Thursday, but still prevailed. UCLA, meanwhile, was involved in its sixth consecutive game in which it didn't score more than 70 points. The Jayhawks want a fast pace, but the Bruins aren't going to allow that to happen. Kansas proved against Southern Illinois that it could handle a blue-collar team that plays great defense; now it has to prove it can beat an athletically gifted team that plays great defense. Kansas has lost four times; in three of the losses, the Jayhawks scored 66 or fewer points, and in the other, they scored 71. The Jayhawks should enjoy an advantage in the low post, where Julian Wright, Darrell Arthur, Sasha Kaun and Darnell Jackson are as talented a quartet as you can find. But UCLA generally finds a way to negate its opponent's height advantage. As usual, UCLA will rely on its perimeter players to provide the bulk of its offense. UCLA PG Darren Collison is going to have to work hard on the defensive end trying to contain Kansas' Sherron Collins, Mario Chalmers (who was shut down by SIU on Thursday) and Russell Robinson. UCLA wing players Arron Afflalo and Josh Shipp are more physical than their KU counterparts, and Afflalo, in particular, is going to be a tough matchup for the Jayhawks. The biggest wild card is KU swingman Brandon Rush, who has lacked consistency this season but still has a world of talent.

The pick: UCLA.

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