March 10, 1997

1. North Carolina

Record: 24-6.

Location, conference: Chapel Hill, N.C.; Atlantic Coast Conference.

Conference finish: Tied for second in the ACC; won conference tournament.

NCAA tournament record: 68-30.

Coach: Dean Smith (36th season, 875-253).

Starters: G Shammond Williams, 6-2, Jr., 13.5 ppg, 4.3 apg; G Ed Cota, 6-1, Fr., 7.9 ppg, 6.8 apg; F Ademola Okulaja, 6-9, So., 8.2 ppg, 6.4 rpg; F Vince Carter, 6-6, So., 13.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg; F Antawn Jamison, 6-9, So., 19.5 ppg, 9.5 rpg, C Serge Zwikker, 7-3, Sr., 11.6 ppg, 7.8 rpg.

Scouting report: The Tar Heels have won 12 straight, including their 14th ACC tournament championship. North Carolina ranks third in the nation in rebounding and grabs 10 more rebounds a game than its opponents.

2. South Carolina

Record: 24-7.

Location, conference: Columbia, S.C.; Southeastern Conference East Division.

Conference finish: First in SEC East Division.

NCAA tournament record: 4-6.

Coach: Eddie Fogler (fourth season, 62-55)

Starters: F William Gallman, 6-7, So., 8.5 ppg., 6.5 rpg; F Ryan Stack, 6-11, Jr., 6.0 ppg., 4.1 rpg.; G B.J. McKie, 6-2, So., 17.4 ppg., 3.9 rpg; G Larry Davis, 6-3, Sr., 16.5 ppg., 4.1 rpg.; G Melvin Watson, 6-1, Jr., 10.9 ppg., 4.7 rpg.

Scouting report: The Gamecocks have not won more than one game in their five tournament appearances, but that's not likely to happen this time. The three-guard offense of McKie, Davis and Watson can do it all.

3. New Mexico

Record: 24-7.

Location, conference: Albuquerque, N.M.; Western Athletic Conference.

Conference finish: Third in Mountain Division.

NCAA tournament record: 3-8.

Coach: Dave Bliss (ninth season, 196-90).

Starters: F Clayton Shields, 6-8, Jr., 16.1 ppg., 5.5 rpg. C Kenny Thomas, 6-8, So., 14.1 ppg., 7.1 rpg. G Lamont Long, 6-4, Fr., 7.9 ppg., 4.1 rpg. G Charles Smith, 6-4, Sr., 18.5 ppg., 5.6 rpg. G David Gibson, 6-2, Jr., 7.8 ppg., 2.3 rpg.

Scouting report: The Lobos, who finished third in the WAC Mountain Division behind Utah and Tulsa, are 22-2 in their past 24 nonconference games.

4. Villanova

Record: 23-9.

Location, conference: Villanova, Pa.; Big East.

Conference finish: Tied for first in Big East 6 division.

NCAA tournament record: 36-23.

Coach: Steve Lappas (fifth season, 102-55).

Starters: F Chuck Kornegay, 6-6, Sr., 7.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg; F Tim Thomas, 6-9, Fr., 16.8 ppg, 8.7 rpg; C Jason Lawson, 6-11, Sr., 18.6 ppg, 7.7 rpg; G Alvin Williams, 6-5, Sr., 16.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg; G John Celestand, 6-3, So., 7.8 ppg, 2.5 rpg.

Scouting report: The No. 21 Wildcats have followed Williams (52 percent shooting, 20.3 ppg past five regular-season games) and Thomas, likely the Big East Rookie of the Year, into the postseason.

5. California

Record: 21-8.

Location, conference: Berkeley, Calif.; Pacific-10.

Conference finish: Fifth.

NCAA tournament record: 14-9.

Coach: Ben Brown (first season).

Starters: F Alfred Grigsby, 6-9, Sr., 6.5 ppg., 5.4 rpg; F Tony Gonzalez, 6-6, Jr., 5.0 ppg., 4.3 rpg.; C Michael Stewart, 6-10, Sr., 6.4 ppg., 4.8 rpg.; G Randy Duck, 6-2, Sr., 11.6 ppg., 3.2 rpg.; G Prentice McGruder, 6-3, Sr., 5.3 ppg., 2.3 rpg.

Scouting report: With leading scorer Ed Gray (24.1 ppg.) out for the season with a broken foot, the Golden Bears turned to their defense to put together their fourth 20-win season in the 1990s.

6. Louisville

Record: 23-8.

Location, conference: Louisville, Ky.; Conference USA.

Conference finish: Third in White division.

NCAA tournament record: 45-28.

Coach: Denny Crum (26th season, 610-232).

Starters: F Nate Johnson, 6-6, Sr., 10.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg; F Damion Dantzler, 6-7, Jr., 7.2 ppg, 5.7 rpg; C Alex Sanders, 6-7, So., 9.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg; G Alvin Sims, 6-4, Sr., 11.4 ppg, 5.9 rpg; DeJuan Wheat, 6-0, Sr., 17.0 ppg, 2.4 rpg.

Scouting report: The Cardinals are struggling, having lost six of their past 11. Three of their victories in that span were by a total of six points. Louisville has been tough against Top 25 teams, however, going 7-1 in those games.

7. Wisconsin

Record: 18-9.

Location, conference: Madison, Wis.; Big Ten.

Conference finish: Tied for fourth.

NCAA tournament record: 5-2.

Coach: Dick Bennett (second season, 35-24).

Starters: G Ty Calderwood, 6-0, Jr., 8.2 ppg, 3.8 apg; G David Burkemper, 6-1, Jr., 0.8 ppg, 1.0 apg; F Sean Dougherty, 6-10, Jr., 9.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg; F Sam Okey, 6-7, So., 10.9 ppg, 8.5 rpg; C Paul Grant, 12.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg.

Scouting report: The Badgers made their tournament run in February, putting together their first six-game winning streak in Big Ten play in 46 years. During that stretch, Wisconsin held four of its six opponents under 50 points.

8. Indiana

Record: 22-10.

Location, conference: Bloomington, Ind.; Big Ten.

Conference finish: Tied for fifth.

NCAA tournament record: 50-20.

Coach: Bob Knight (26th season, 598-207).

Starters: F Richard Mandeville, 7-0, Jr., 3.6 ppg, 2.1 rpg; F Haris Mujezinovic, 6-9, Sr., 3.2 ppg, 2.4 rpg; C Jason Collier, 7-0, Fr., 9.9 ppg, 5.8 rpg; G Neil Reed, 6-2, Jr., 12.6 ppg, 2.3 apg; G A. J. Guyton, 6-1, Fr., 13.8 ppg, 4.1 apg.

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