South at a glance

March 13, 2000|By Christian Ewell

Going to Indianapolis: Stanford. There are other regions in which the top-seeded Cardinal might be more vulnerable than it is here, despite two losses in its past three games.

Team on the rise: After Weber State in 1999, this year's Big West surprise is Utah State, which has 19 straight wins, including a 16-0 conference record.

Team on the decline: Cincinnati would have been the automatic choice to take any region it was placed in until last week. Kenyon Martin's injury and the team's reaction to it -- a first-round loss to Saint Louis in the Conference USA tournament -- throw that into doubt.

Cinderella story: Before last weekend, the Arkansas season had NIT written all over it. Three wins in three days over ranked SEC opponents changed that.

Prime-time player: Scoonie Penn, Ohio State. Along with Michael Redd, Penn (15.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.5 assists) led the Buckeyes to the Final Four out of this same region last season.

Most underrated player: Out of what used to be the WAC come UNLV's Kaspars Kambala (18.5 points, 9.2 rebounds) and Tulsa's Eric Coley (11.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists).

Coaching edge: As cute a nickname as UCan't may be for Connecticut, Jim Calhoun has a solid record in tournament; only once in eight appearances have his Huskies made it to the Big Dance without reaching the Sweet 16. Stanford is the only truly difficult team in his side of the South bracket.

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