East Regional Semifinals

March 19, 1998|By Ken Murray

At Greensboro, N.C.

No. 1 seed North Carolina (32-3) vs. No. 4 Michigan State (22-7)

Time: 7: 39 p.m. today

TV: Chs. 13, 9

Line: North Carolina by 12

Conference records: North Carolina (13-3) was second in the ACC regular season. Michigan State (13-3) shared the Big Ten regular-season title with Illinois.

Coaches: Bill Guthridge is 32-3 in his first season at North Carolina.Tom Izzo is 55-35 in three seasons at Michigan State.

Starting lineups: North Carolina -- PG Ed Cota (8.0 ppg, 7.4 apg), G Shammond Williams (16.9 ppg, 4.3 apg), F Vince Carter (15.4 (( ppg, 5.1 rpg), F Antawn Jamison (22.6 ppg, 10.4 rpg), C Ademola Okulaja (8.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg). Michigan State -- PG Mateen Cleaves (16.1 ppg, 7.3 apg), G Charlie Bell (9.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg), F Antonio Smith (8.0 ppg, 8.8 rpg), F Jason Klein (11.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg), F Andre Hutson (7.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg).

Bench strength: North Carolina -- C Makhtar Ndiaye (6.0 ppg, 4.1 rpg). Michigan State -- F Morris Peterson (8.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg), C DuJuan Wiley (6.4 ppg, 1.7 bpg).

Key matchup: Cota vs. Cleaves at the point.

What North Carolina needs to do to win: Win the battle on the glass. The Tar Heels were out-rebounded by UNC-Charlotte last week and needed overtime to win. Michigan State is fifth in the nation in rebounding margin at 9.7.

What Michigan State needs to do to win: Stop Carolina's vaunted transition game and keep Carter's acrobatic exploits around the basket to a minimum. The Spartans need their best game from everyone.

Bottom line: Michigan State doesn't appear to have the offensive firepower to stay with Carolina unless it can dominate on the boards and play a near-flawless game. Carolina was properly awakened by last week's close call.

No. 2 Connecticut (31-4) vs. No. 11 Washington (20-9)

Time: 9: 59 p.m. today

Line: UConn by 8 1/2

Conference records: UConn (15-3) was the regular-season champ in the Big East. Washington (11-7) was fourth in the Pac-10.

Coaches: Jim Calhoun is 269-117 in 12 seasons at UConn, 519-254 in 26 seasons overall. Bob Bender is 68-71 in five seasons at Washington, 128-128 in nine seasons overall.

Starting lineups: Connecticut -- PG Khalid El-Amin (15.7 ppg, 4.3 apg), G Ricky Moore (7.8 ppg, 3.6 apg), F Richard Hamilton (21.7 ppg, 4.4 rpg), F Kevin Freeman (10.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg), C Jake Voskuhl (6.9 ppg, 7.2 rpg). Washington -- PG Jan Wooten (5.8 ppg, 2.7 apg), G Donald Watts (16.7 ppg, 3.6 apg), G Deon Luton (15.3 ppg, 2.5 apg), F Thalo Green (5.4 ppg, 2.6 rpg), C Todd MacCulloch (18.6 ppg, 9.7 rpg).

Bench strength: Connecticut -- G Monquencio Hardnett (5.4 ppg, 2.7 rpg), F Rashamel Jones (4.5 ppg, 2.6 rpg). Washington -- F Patrick Femerling (5.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg), F Chris Walcott (3.9 ppg, 2.6 rpg).

Key matchup: Voskuhl vs. MacCulloch at center.

What UConn needs to do to win: Take away Washington's low-post game. That means Voskuhl must keep MacCulloch from operating freely down low, and the UConn guards must deny easy entry passes to the big man.

What Washington needs to do to win: Protect the ball better and get it inside to MacCulloch. Washington averages almost 18 turnovers a game, not always against pressure. It also has to handle UConn's transition game.

Bottom line: Unless MacCulloch runs wild, as he did in last week's games, Washington will be hard-pressed to hang with UConn. The Big East champs crushed Stanford of the Pac-10 in the regular season, and could deliver an encore tonight.

Pub Date: 3/19/98

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