South Regional semifinals

March 20, 1998|By Don Markus

At St. Petersburg, Fla.

No. 1 seed Duke (31-3) vs. No. 5 Syracuse (26-8)

Time: 7: 39 p.m. today

TV: Chs. 13, 9

Line: Duke by 13

Conference records: Duke won the ACC regular-season title with a 15-1 record; Syracuse won the Big East 7 division with a 12-6 record.

Coaches: Mike Krzyzewski 431-152 in 18 years at Duke, 504-211 in 23 years overall; Jim Boeheim 528-180 in 22 years at Syracuse.

Starting lineups: Duke: PG Steve Wojciechowski (6.6 ppg, 4.6 apg, 3 spg), G Trajan Langdon (14.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg), F Roshown McLeod (15.4 ppg, 5.5 rpg), F Chris Carrawell (10.0 ppg), C Elton Brand (13.5 ppg, 7.3 rpg). Syracuse: PG Jason Hart (10 ppg, 5 apg), G Marius Janulis (9.8 ppg, 3.2 apg), F Todd Burgan (17.5 ppg, 7 rpg), F Ryan Blackwell (12.6 ppg, 8.2 rpg), C Etan Thomas (11.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 3.9 bpg).

Bench strength: The Blue Devils started the season going 11 deep, but now only use seven or eight. Freshmen forward Shane Battier (7.4 ppg, 6.3 rpg) leads the Blue Devils with 49 blocks and is the team's defensive stopper. The Orangemen don't have much in reserve, but freshman Allen Griffin gave them a spark in the Big East semifinal win over St. John's.

Key matchup: Thomas vs. Brand. The Big East's best big man against the ACC's best young big man. If Thomas, one of the nation's top shot blockers, can force the Blue Devils away from the basket, Syracuse has a chance.

What Duke needs to do to win: The Blue Devils can't become the perimeter-oriented team they were in losing to North Carolina in the ACC tournament final, and get the ball inside to Brand and McLeod.

What Syracuse needs to do to win: The Orangemen must use their zone to perfection in bothering Duke's guards, in particular Langdon, who is shooting 5-for-20 in the tournament (3-for-9 on threes).

Bottom line: Duke should have too many bodies for the Orangemen. Only foul trouble should keep Duke out of the regional final.

No. 2 seed Kentucky (31-4) vs. No. 6 UCLA (24-8)

Time: 9: 59 p.m. today

TV: Chs. 13, 9

Line: Kentucky by 11 1/2

Conference records: Kentucky won the Southeastern Conference with a 14-2 record; UCLA finished third in the Pac-10 with a 12-6 record.

Coaches: Tubby Smith is 31-4 in his first year at Kentucky, 155-66 in seven years overall; Steve Lavin is 48-16 in two years at UCLA.

Starting lineups: Kentucky: PG Wayne Turner (9.3 ppg, 4.2 apg), G Jeff Shepherd (13.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg), F Scott Padgett (11.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg), F Allen Edwards (9.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg), C Nazr Mohammed (11.9 ppg, 7.5 rpg). UCLA: PG Earl Watson (5.8 ppg, 3.1 apg), G Toby Bailey (18.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg), F Kris Johnson (18.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg), F Travis Reed (3.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg), C J. R. Henderson (19.3 ppg, 7.8 rpg).

Bench strength: The Wildcats could be the deepest team left in the tournament, with four reserves playing between 11 and 20 minutes. Hashimu Evans (8.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg) has become a force and Cameron Mills (4.4 ppg) is tied for second on the team with 35 threes. The Bruins got 11 points from Reed and 10 from Watson off the bench against Michigan, but both will likely be starting tonight.

Key matchup: Turner has a 71-25 assist-to-turnover ratio in his last 11 postseason games, and his experience in this setting should give him a huge advantage over Watson at point guard.

What UCLA needs to do to win: Put Bailey and Henderson in situations where they can use their athletic ability, and hope Watson doesn't wilt under the pressure of the Wildcats' press.

What Kentucky needs to do to win: Make it a game of attrition, taking advantage of its depth.

Bottom line: The Bruins are running out of players. Eventually they will run out of gas.

Pub Date: 3/20/98

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