East Regional final

March 23, 1997|By Ken Murray

At Syracuse, N.Y.

No. 1 North Carolina (27-6) vs. No. 6 Louisville (26-8)

Time: 2: 40 p.m. today

TV: Chs. 13, 9

Line: North Carolina by 9 1/2

How they got here: North Carolina beat Fairfield, 82-74; Colorado, 73-56; and Cal, 63-57. Louisville beat UMass, 65-57; New Mexico, 64-63; and Texas, 78-63.

Conference record: North Carolina went 11-5 to tie for second in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Louisville went 9-5 for third place the White Division of Conference USA.

Ranking: North Carolina is No. 4 in the Associated Press poll, Louisville is No. 25.

NCAA tournament record: North Carolina is 71-30, seeking its 12th Final Four appearance, and has won three titles. Louisville is 48-28 with seven Final Fours and two national titles.

Coaches: Dean Smith is 878-253 in 36 years at Carolina. Denny Crum is 613-232 in 26 years at Louisville.

Key matchups: The coaches have won 1,491 college games between them. On the floor, backup guard B. J. Flynn will run the Louisville offense if DeJuan Wheat can't play (sprained ankle). Flynn will be matched against freshman Ed Cota. North Carolina has the advantage inside with 7-3 Serge Zwikker against 6-7 Alex Sanders and 6-9 Antawn Jamison against 6-6 Damion Dantzler.

What North Carolina needs to do to win: Keep Louisville off the offensive backboard and protect the ball against the trap. Defense is important because the Cardinals are shooting just 43.9 percent for the season.

What Louisville needs to do to win: Running its offense will be a chore without Wheat. The Cardinals must make up for it with a strong shooting game and airtight defense.

Bottom line: North Carolina, which faced Cal without Ed Gray, gets Louisville perhaps without its star. It looks like midnight for the Cinderella Cardinals.

Pub Date: 3/23/97

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