(At Charlotte (N.C.) Coliseum)
Western Kentucky (26-5) vs. Florida State (24-9)
Time: 7:35 p.m.
Coaches: Western Kentucky, Ralph Willard (61-30 in three years at Western Kentucky); Florida State, Pat Kennedy (276-135 in 13 years overall, 143-75 in seven years at Florida State)
Analysis: The seventh-seeded Hilltoppers upset Memphis State and Seton Hall last weekend with their swarming full-court game. To continue past the Sweet 16, they must beat a team that is almost a mirror image of themselves -- but bigger inside. That means Western Kentucky must do an adequate job of boxing out on the boards and force enough turnovers to create a similar number of possessions. Strong team defense also is imperative against the Seminoles, who have numerous offensive weapons. Florida State will accent containment against Hilltoppers point guard Mark Bell on the theory that he is the key offensive player. Forwards Rodney Dobard and Doug Edwards should flourish, but the Seminoles also must hold on to the ball. Too many give-aways could be disastrous for Florida State, which had a relatively easy time against Evansville and Tulane in getting here.
Wake Forest (21-8) vs. Kentucky (28-3)
Time: 10 p.m. (approximately, begins 30 minutes after end of preceding game)
TV: Channels 11, 9
Coaches: Wake Forest, Dave Odom (69-47 in four years at Wake Forest); Kentucky, Rick Pitino (226-104 in 12 years overall, 93-30 in five years at Kentucky).
Analysis: Much is being made of the duel between All-Americans Jamal Mashburn of Kentucky and Rodney Rogers of Wake Forest. But standoffs are common in such matchups and the supporting casts could be crucial in this one. The Deacons' chief outside threat, Randolph Childress, regained his three-point touch in first- and second-round victories against Tennessee-Chattanooga and Iowa at Nashville and a good night from him is probably imperative. The team also must take advantage of its superior physical strength up front. That means Rogers (6-7, 235), Trelonnie Owens (6-8, 245) and Derrick Hicks (6-9, 220) must dominate the Wildcats' front line. Kentucky will have to hit the boards with intensity to offset that disadvantage. The Wildcats also have deeper quality on the bench, which means frequent substitution in an attempt to wear out Wake. One intangible: Although the game is in North Carolina, Kentucky fans have bought up approximately 14,000 tickets, so the team should feel right at home.