April 03, 1992|By Wayne Coffey | Wayne Coffey,New York Daily News



Cincinnati: Herb Jones, 6-4, 211, Sr.

Undersized, but don't underestimate him. Jones, most outstanding player of Midwest Regional, is Bearcats' top scorer (18.2 ppg) and rebounder (7.1 rpg), a relentless attacker at both ends. Explosive quickness to hole, but can also step outside and hit a three, as evidenced by his 42 percent shooting behind line. Plays hounding pressure defense all over court. Doesn't say much, but is team's emotional firebrand anyway. Used to have piranhas in a fish tank in his room. Got rid of them. Said they weren't aggressive enough.

Michigan: Ray Jackson, 6-6, 213, Fr.

Last of the heralded five freshmen to start, Jackson is versatile, quick and has emerged as defensive ace for Steve Fisher. Did stellar work in regional semis against Ohio State All-American Jimmy Jackson, who had nine turnovers and shot 9-for-21. Also had fine defensive effort against Oklahoma State. Doesn't shoot much (4.8 ppg) but when he does, it often goes in (55.1). The free-throw line? At 20-for-44 (45.5 percent), that's a different story.

EDGE: Jones


Cincinnati: Terry Nelson, 6-5, 213, Jr.

Coach Bob Huggins calls him Bearcats' premier post defender. Plays fewest minutes (14.1) of any starter, but has knack for making them count. Always around the ball, cheating in passing lanes, going for steals. Has done stand-up comedy routines in various clubs and aspires to be entertainer. Does dead-on impersonation of Huggins. If Michigan wants to slough off anybody, this is the guy: he doesn't even shoot three times a game.

Michigan: Chris Webber 6-9, 240, Fr.

A year ago, Webber was the most coveted prep player in the nation -- and he has proven why. First freshman ever to lead Big Ten in rebounding (9.9 rpg). Has phenomenal hands and inside moves, and also can step out and hit jumpers. Averages 2.6 blocks and dunks with as much joy as any man on earth. Had big effort (23 points, 11 rebounds, nine of 12 FGs) in victory over Ohio State. Does his share of showboating and gloating, beyond boundaries of normal freshman exuberance. Then again, there's a lot of talent to flaunt. About only thing he doesn't do well is shoot free throws (54-for-106, 51 percent).

EDGE: Webber


Cincinnati: Corie Blount, 6-10, 220, Jr.

Sleek, mobile pivotman who anchors back line of defense. Averages 6.3 rpg and 1.5 blocks per game. Named junior college Player of Year as All-American at Rancho Santiago (Calif.). Was 6-5 when he stopped playing ball after high school, and went to work at a K Mart. After growing six inches in one year, decided he'd give the game another try. Still developing physically and learning nuances of inside play, but has developed rapidly and could be huge force next season.

Michigan: Juwan Howard, 6-9, 242, Fr.

The meanest guy on the team, says Fabfellow Chris Webber. Howard has goatee and menacing countenance to prove it. First the Fabs to commit to Wolverines, in November 1990. Has deft moves around the basket. Coach Steve Fisher says he's best passing big man he's seen in his years at Michigan. Intense, fiery competitor who played large role in setting proper work ethic for Fabs, not allowing anyone to rest on reputation alone. Just turned 19. Looks about 30.

EDGE: Howard


Cincinnati: Norm Van Exel, 6-1, 171, Jr.

Became starting point guard 19 games ago, and chances are excellent Cincinnati wouldn't be here without him. Had 22 points and hit four of five three-pointers in regional final victory over Memphis State. Has been on fire throughout tourney (15.7 ppg, 31-for-46 FGs, 67.4 percent). A lefthander, he's a good penetrator who has developed into reliable three-point threat. Given rapid pace of team's games, Van Exel's turnover rate -- 1.5 per game -- is remarkable accomplishment. Named to all-regional team in Midwest.

Michigan: Jalen Rose, 6-8, 186, Fr.

Most outstanding player of Southeast Regional, Rose had 20 points and three steals, playing all 45 minutes in triumph over Ohio State. His size and savvy, not to mention his Michigan roots, have drawn inevitable comparisons with one Magic Johnson. Can get a little loose and wild with ball now and again, but overall, his maturation and improved decision-making have made this whole run possible. Had superb game against Duke, scoring all 18 of his points after halftime. A 49.4 percent shooter from floor, Rose's 573 points (17.9 ppg) make him school's highest scoring freshman ever. Has been in double figures in 31 of 32 Wolverines games.

EDGE: Rose


Cincinnati: Anthony Buford, 6-3, 196, Sr.

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