East at a glance

March 13, 2000|By Christian Ewell

Going to Indianapolis: This is the toughest region there is. Eight of the teams have Rating Percentage Indexes in the top 25. The best is Duke, which seemed to be slipping a few weeks earlier. The Blue Devils seem to have regrouped.

Team on the rise: The waxing by Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game notwithstanding, Illinois has won 10 of its past 12 games. The Illini also have a coach, Lon Kruger, who has been to the Final Four before, with Florida in 1994.

Team on the decline: That vote goes to Seton Hall, which built a glossy record early with a weak nonconference schedule and is now fading fast, having lost five of its past seven games.

Cinderella story: Hofstra. The Flying Dutchmen finally broke Delaware's hold on the America East, and have a big-time guard in senior Craig Claxton. The team gave St. John's a battle before falling in December.

Prime-time player: Chris Carrawell, Duke. While not necessarily a candidate to take over games, Carrawell (17.5 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 3.4 apg) has a knack for making big plays.

Most underrated player: Mark Karcher, Temple. While the Owls have only lost twice since point guard Pepe Sanchez re-entered the lineup, it helps to have the former St. Frances standout (15.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 2.2 apg) as a part of the offense he's running.

Coaching edge: Five coaches in this region have guided teams to Final Fours, four of them more than once. The one who has done it the most recently has been Krzyzewski, whose Blue Devils have played in eight Final Fours since 1986.

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