West1. Arizona (27-4)Location, conference: Tucson, Ariz...

March 09, 1998

West

1. Arizona (27-4)

Location, conference: Tucson, Ariz.; Pac-10

Conference finish: First

NCAA tournament record: 23-15 in 16 seasons

Coach: Lute Olson

Last 10: 9-1

Top scorers: Michael Dickerson 18.7; Miles Simon 17.3; Mike Bibby 17.2

Top rebounders: A. J. Bramlett 7.6; Bennett Davison 6.5

Scouting report: Defending champions obviously have the talent to repeat but they've shown some lapses during season with losses to Duke and Florida State and they struggled the final two games of season.

2. Cincinnati (26-5)

Location, conference: Cincinnati; Conference USA

Conference finish: First in America Division; won conference tournament

NCAA tournament record: 32-15 in 16 seasons

Coach: Bob Huggins

Last 10: 9-1

Top scorers: Ruben Patterson 16.3; Melvin Levett 14.8; Bobby Brannen 14.0; Djuan Baker 13.0

Top rebounders: Kenyon Martin 8.6; Bobby Brannen 8.0

Scouting report: The Bearcats play mean and have the muscle to back it up. And if they don't they hear about it from Huggins, who is worth the price of admission just to watch him patrol the sideline. This could be the surprise team in tourney.

3. Utah (25-3)

Location, conference: Salt Lake City; WAC

Conference finish: First in Mountain Division

NCAA tournament record: 25-22 in 19 seasons

Coach: Rick Majerus

Last 10: 7-3

Top scorers: Michael Doleac 15.4; Andre Miller 13.7; Hanno Mottola 12.8

Top rebounders: Michael Doleac 7.0; Alex Jensen 5.8; Hanno Mottola 5.3

Scouting report: Losses to New Mexico (by three) and Wyoming (by six) prevented a perfect regular season. A consistent team without a superstar quality player.

4. Maryland (19-10)

Location, conference: College Park; Atlantic Coast

Conference finish: Third

NCAA tournament record: 17-14 in 14 seasons

Coach: Gary Williams

Last 10: 7-3

Top scorers: Laron Profit 16.1; Rodney Elliott 14.8; Obinna Ekezie 13.2; Sarunas Jasikevicius 12.2

Top rebounders: Rodney Elliott 7.2; Obinna Ekezie 6.6; Laron Profit 5.0

Scouting report: Little-known fact: The Terps won the first-round game in each of their first 12 appearances, but they have lost in the first round the past two times. A team on the uptick at the right time, but can they play smart enough? With the draw, this team should reach the Sweet 16.

5. Illinois (22-9)

Location, conference: Champaign, Ill.; Big Ten

Conference finish: Second

NCAA tournament record: 22-19 in 18 seasons

Coach: Lon Kruger

Last 10: 8-2

Top scorers: Kevin Turner 17.9; Jerry Hester 14.7; Matt Heldman Top rebounders: Jerry Hester 5.5; Jarrod Gee 5.2; Brian Johnson 4.4

Scouting report: Keep starting five healthy; shoot well and avoid teams with dominating centers as long as possible and stay away from Purdue. The Illini lost three times to the Boilermakers. Overconfidence not a problem.

6. Arkansas (23-8)

Location, conference: Fayetteville, Ark.; Southeastern

Conference finish: Second in Western Division

NCAA tournament record: 37-22 in 22 seasons

Coach: Nolan Richardson

Last 10: 5-5

Top scorers: Pat Bradley 15.0; Kareem Reid 11.6; Tarik Wallace 10.4

Top rebounders: Nick Davis 10.2; Derek Hood 6.4

Scouting report: This team isn't close to the ones in Richardson's glory seasons, but they play the same way: Press, run and wear people out. Richardson used to call it 40 minutes of hell. It's been more like 40 minutes of heck at the end of the season.

7. Temple (21-8)

Location, conference: Philadelphia; Atlantic 10

Conference finish: First in East Division

NCAA tournament record: 24-21 in 21 seasons

Coach: John Chaney

Last 10: 8-2

Top scorers: Lamont Barnes 14.1; Rasheed Brokenborough 11.8; Pepe Sanchez 9.4

Top rebounders: Lamont Barnes 8.1; Lynard Stewart 5.2; Pepe Sanchez 4.2

Scouting report: The Owls won the regular-season conference title for the first time since 1990, but this is far from Chaney's

best team. Maybe capable of two wins, but probably can't get past Sweet 16.

8. Tennessee (20-8)

Location, conference: Knoxville, Tenn.; Southeastern

Conference finish: Third in East Division

NCAA tournament record: 5-10 in nine seasons

Coach: Jerry Green

Last 10: 7-3

Top scorers: Brandon Wharton 14.9; Tony Harris 14.4; C.J. Black 12.4

Top rebounders: C.J. Black 6.9; Charles Hathaway 6.4; Isiah Victor 5.5; Rashard Lee 5.1.

Scouting report: First appearance since 1989 for the Volunteers and they draw a tough assignment in Illinois State. Green has done wonders turning around a dilapidated program, but the loss of Charles Hathaway means they must get huge efforts from guards Torrey Harris and Brandon Wharton.

9. Illinois State (24-5)

Location, conference: Normal, Ill.; MVC

Conference finish: Won regular season and tournament

NCAA tournament record: 2-5 in five seasons

Coach: Kevin Stallings

Last 10: 9-1.

Top scorers: Rico Hill 18.7; Dan Muller 13.0; Leroy Watkins 9.7; Skipp Schaefbauer 8.6

Top rebounders: Rico Hill 7.7; Dan Muller 5.1; LeRoy Watkins 4.3

Scouting report: MVC Player of the Year Rico Hill and Dan Muller are tough to defend. ISU shoots 47 percent, but can get too perimeter-oriented (20 threes per game). Center LeRoy Watkins was dominant in MVC tournament win.

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