Midwest1. Kansas (34-3)Location, conference: Lawrence...

March 09, 1998

Midwest

1. Kansas (34-3)

Location, conference: Lawrence, Kan.; Big 12

Conference finish: Won regular season and conference tournament

NCAA tournament record: 56-26 in 26 seasons

Coach: Roy Williams

Last 10: 10-0

Top scorers: Raef LaFrentz 20.1; Paul Pierce 20.1; Billy Thomas 13.8.

Top rebounders: Raef LaFrentz 11.3; Paul Pierce 6.9; Lester Earl 6.4; T.J. Pugh 5.2.

Scouting report: Three starters are future NBA players: Raef LaFrentz, Paul Pierce and Billy Thomas. To advance, the Jayhawks must play big in big games.

2. Purdue (26-7)

Location, conference: West Lafayette, Ind.; Big Ten

Conference finish: Third in regular season

NCAA tournament record: 19-16 in 16 seasons

Coach: Gene Keady

Last 10: 7-3.

Top scorers: Chad Austin 17.5; Brad Miller 17.2; Jaraan Cornell 13.9; Brian Cardinal 12.2; Mike Robinson 11.1.

Top rebounders: Brad Miller 8.8; Brian Cardinal 5.0; Mike Robinson 4.9.

Scouting report: Wasn't preseason league favorite for nothing. The Boilermakers have increased consistency from senior starters Brad Miller and Chad Austin.

3. Stanford (26-4)

Location, conference: Stanford, Calif.; Pac-10

Conference finish: Second

NCAA tournament record: 7-5 in six seasons

Coach: Mike Montgomery

Last 10: 8-2

Top scorers: Kris Weems 13.5; Arthur Lee 13.4; Tim Young 11.1; Mark Madsen 10.9; Peter Sauer 9.7.

Top rebounders: Tim Young 8.0; Mark Madsen 7.2; Jason Collins 6.0; Peter Sauer 4.8.

Scouting report: The Cardinal should be too big for the Cougars to deal with in the first round. Last season, Charleston upset Stanford, but only because 7-footer Tim Young got into foul trouble.

4. Mississippi (22-6)

Location, conference: Oxford, Miss.; Southeastern

Conference finish: Won Western Division

NCAA tournament record: 0-2 in two seasons

Coach: Rob Evans

Last 10: 8-2

Top scorers: Ansu Sesay 18.9; Keith Carter 14.5; Joezon Darby 11.7; Jason Smith 9.9.

Top rebounders: Ansu Sesay 7.7; Jason Smith 6.6; Keith Carter 6.1; Anthony Boone 4.2.

Scouting report: The Rebels don't have a dominant big man, but they do have versatile Ansu Sesay. They need more consistent play out of point guard Michael White, who hasn't shot well this year and can be pressured into making mistakes.

5. Texas Christian (27-5)

Location, conference: Forth Worth, Texas; Western Athletic

Conference finish: Won division

NCAA tournament record: 5-6 in six seasons

Coach: Billy Tubbs

Last 10: 9-1

Top scorers: Lee Nailon 24.7; Mike Jones 21.4; Malcolm Johnson 18.8.; James Penny 10.6; Renny James 10.0.

Top rebounders: Dennis Davis 9.8; Lee Nailon 8.9; Mike Jones 5.8; James Penny 5.1; Malcolm Johnson 4.9.

Scouting report: First WAC team to go undefeated (14-0) in regular season. Lee Nailon, a 6-9 junior, and 6-3 Mike Jones lead a team that has broken the 100-point barrier 14 times and scored 153 points in one wipeout.

6. Clemson (18-13)

Location, conference: Clemson, S.C.; Atlantic Coast

Conference finish: Tied for fifth

NCAA tournament record: 8-6 in six seasons

Coach: Rick Barnes

Last 10: 6-4

Top scorers: Greg Buckner 16.4; Terrell McIntyre 14.0; Harold Jamison 9.6.

Top rebounders: Harold Jamison 7.2; Tom Wideman 4.9; Greg Buckner 4.1.

Scouting report: They are among best defensive teams in tourney and among worst shooting teams of the 64. As point guard Terrell McIntyre goes, so go the Tigers. For Clemson to reach the Sweet 16 as it did a year ago, forward Buckner must produce points as well.

7. St. John's (22-9)

Location, conference: Jamaica, N.Y.; Big East

Conference finish: Second in Big East 6

NCAA tournament record: 23-25 in 23 seasons

Coach: Fran Fraschilla

Last 10: 7-3

Top scorers: Felipe Lopez 17.7; Zendon Hamilton 15.5; Ron Artest 11.6; Lavor Postell 10.0.

Top rebounders: Zendon Hamilton 8.4; Tyrone Grant 6.8; Ron Artest 6.4; Lavor Postell 5.1.

Scouting report: Red Storm won 11 of 12 in a late run and needs to generate momentum with an early win and needs to start fast. Felipe Lopez is an NBA talent who can carry this team through a rough night. Their win earlier over Connecticut signifies they are capable.

8. Rhode Island (22-8)

Location, conference: Kingston, R.I.; Atlantic 10

Conference finish: Second in East Division

NCAA tournament record: 3-6 in six seasons

Coach: Jim Harrick

Last 10: 7-3

Top scorers: Cuttino Mobley 17.1; Tyson Wheeler 14.6; Antonio Reynolds-Dean 11.2.

Top rebounders: Antonio Reynolds-Dean 7.5; Luther Clay 6.6; Cuttino Mobley 4.3

Scouting report: Harrick wants everyone to forget the UCLA mess and again proves he can coach. The Rams' guards, hyperquick Tyson Wheeler and sweet-shooting Cuttino Mobley, have to carry the team.

9. Murray State (29-3)

Location, conference: Murray, Ky.; Ohio Valley

Conference finish: Won regular season and tournament titles

NCAA tournament record: 1-8 in eight seasons.

Coach: Mark Gottfried

Last 10: 10-0

Top scorers: Deteri Mayes 21.7; Chad Townsend 13.8; Isaac Spencer 13.7

Top rebounders: Isaac Spencer 8.3; Duane Virgil 6.0; Rod Murray 4.8

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