South Regional final

March 22, 1998|By Don Markus

At St. Petersburg, Fla.

No. 1 seed Duke (32-3) vs. No. 2 Kentucky (32-4)

Time: 5 p.m. today

TV: Chs. 13, 9

Line: Pick 'em

Conference records: Duke won the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title with a 15-1 record. Kentucky won the Southeastern Conference with a 14-2 record.

Coaches: Mike Krzyzewski is 505-211 in 23 seasons, 432-152 in 18 seasons at Duke; Tubby Smith is 156-66 in seven seasons overall, 32-4 in one season at Kentucky.

Starting lineups: Duke: PG Steve Wojciechowski (6.6 ppg, 4.6 apg, 2.3 spg), G Trajan Langdon 14.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg), F Roshown McLeod (15.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg), F Chris Carrawell (10.0 ppg, 3.6 rpg), C Elton Brand (13.8 ppg, 7.6 rpg). Kentucky: PG Wayne Turner (9.2 ppg, 4.3 apg), G Jeff Shepherd (13.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg), F Scott Padgett (11.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg), F Allen Edwards (9.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg), C Nazr Mohammed (12.0 ppg, 7.5 rpg).

Bench strength: The Blue Devils got 31 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and five steals from reserves Shane Battier, William Avery and Mike Chappell in Friday's 80-67 win over Syracuse. The Wildcats got 26 points, five rebounds, five assists and four steals from eight players off their bench, including 10 points from Heshimu Evans.

Key matchup: Brand vs. Mohammed. A 6-foot-8, 250-pound freshman, Brand took over the Syracuse game, scoring 20 points and pulling down 14 rebounds. Mohammed accounted for six of Kentucky's regional-record 14 blocks against UCLA and had 15 points and seven rebounds against the Bruins.

What Duke needs to do to win: The Blue Devils have to get more from McLeod and Langdon than they received against Syracuse, and Avery needs to be as efficient handling the ball (six assists, one turnover) when he takes over from Wojciechowski at the point.

What Kentucky needs to do to win: The Wildcats need to keep up their intensity on defense, and keep getting the ball inside to ++ Mohammed and Padgett. If Turner continues to play nearly mistake-free at point guard and Sheppard continues lighting it up from the outside, Kentucky is a load to handle.

Bottom line: The Blue Devils don't have the experience in this setting that the Wildcats do, and teams with size (Michigan, North Carolina) have given them trouble this season.

Pub Date: 3/22/98

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