Midwest 1. Michigan State (26-7) Location, conference...

March 13, 2000

Midwest

1. Michigan State (26-7)

Location, conference: East Lansing, Mich., Big Ten.

Conference finish: Tied for first; won conference tournament.

Tournament Record: 23-13, 13 years.

Coach: Tom Izzo.

Last 10: 9-1.

Top scorers: Morris Peterson 16.8; Charlie Bell 12.4; Mateen Cleaves 11.5; Andre Hutson 9.9.

Top rebounders: Morris Peterson 6.4; Andre Hutson 6.2; A.J. Granger 5.4; Charlie Bell 4.6.

Scouting report: Cleaves missed the first 13 games of the season with a foot injury, but his return makes the Spartans a dangerous tournament team. Peterson was the coaches' choice as the Big Ten player of the year. Can Michigan State win on the road? It was 14-0 at home, 6-6 on the road, and 3-1 on neutral courts.

2. Iowa State (29-4)

Location, conference: Ames, Iowa, Big 12.

Conference finish: First; won conference tournament.

Tournament record: 8-10, 10 years.

Coach: Larry Eustachy.

Last 10: 9-1.

Top scorers: Marcus Fizer 23.2; Michael Nurse 12.0; Jamaal Tinsley 10.1.

Top rebounders: Marcus Fizer 7.5; Stevie Johnson 5.9; Jamaal Tinsley 5.0; Paul Shirley 4.5

Scouting report: Fizer, the conference's player of the year, has the ability to bang underneath and also can step outside to shoot a jump shot. Key statistic: When the Cyclones were the first team to reach 40 points in the regular season, they were 22-0.

3. Maryland (24-9)

Location, conference: College Park, Md., Atlantic Coast.

Conference finish: Second; lost in final of conference tournament.

Tournament record: 21-16, 16 years.

Coach: Gary Williams.

Last 10: 7-3.

Top scorers: Juan Dixon 18.0; Terence Morris 15.7; Lonny Baxter 15.7.

Top rebounders: Lonny Baxter 8.7; Terence Morris 8.6; Juan Dixon 5.5.

Scouting report: With little depth and no senior starter, Williams did one of the better coaching jobs in the nation after losing brilliant guard Steve Francis from last year's team. Although it largely went unnoticed, Dixon put up numbers that compared favorably with Francis'.

4. Syracuse (24-5)

Location, conference: Syracuse, N.Y., Big East.

Conference finish: Tied for first; lost in quarterfinals of conference tournament.

Tournament record: 37-26, 25 years.

Coach: Jim Boeheim.

Last 10: 5-5.

Top scorers: Etan Thomas 14.0; Jason Hart 12.0; Damone Brown 11.0; Ryan Blackwell 11.0; Preston Stumpert 10.1.

Top rebounders: Etan Thomas 9.6; Ryan Blackwell 7.3; Damone Brown 6.3.

Scouting report: The Orangemen opened their campaign 19-0, the longest Division I streak at the start of a season this year. Syracuse has been knocked out of the NCAA tournament in the first round in two of the last three years.

5. Kentucky (22-9)

Location, conference: Lexington, Ky., Southeastern.

Conference finish: Tied for first in East Division; lost in quarterfinals of conference tournament.

Tournament record: 86-36, 41 years.

Coach: Tubby Smith.

Last 10: 6-4.

Top scorers: Jamal Magloire 13.3; Tayshaun Prince 12.9; Keith Bogans 12.3.

Top rebounders: Jamal Magloire 9.1; Tayshaun Prince 5.9; Jules Camara 4.6.

Scouting report: Only one players who gets significant playing time -- J. P. Blevins -- shot better than 30 percent from three-point distance. Magloire is one of the nation's more physical low-post players, and is shooting almost 50 percent.

6. UCLA (19-11)

Location, conference: Los Angeles, Pac-10.

Conference finish: Tied for fourth.

Tournament record: 79-28, 35 years.

Coach: Steve Lavin.

Last 10: 7-3.

Top scorers: Jason Kapono 16.4; Jerome Moiso 12.9; JaRon Rush 12.5; Earl Watson 11.6; Dan Gadzuric 9.7.

Top rebounders: Jerome Moiso 7.5; Dan Gadzuric 7.0; JaRon Rush 5.3; Jason Kapono 4.5; Earl Watson 4.1.

Scouting report: The Bruins can thank a controversial overtime win over then-No. 1 Stanford on March 4 for their tournament berth. It has been a tumultuous season for UCLA and Lavin, who was criticized by many observers, including legendary coach John Wooden. In his first game since Dec. 1, Rush made 7 of 10 shots and scored a team-high 17 points.

7. Auburn (23-9)

Location, conference: Auburn, Ala., Southeastern.

Conference finish: Second in West Division; lost in final of conference tournament.

Tournament record: 9-6, 6 years.

Coach: Cliff Ellis.

Last 10: 5-5.

Top scorers: x-Chris Porter 14.6; Doc Robinson 11.5; Scott Pohlman 10.4; Daymeon Fishback 9.7. x-ineligible

Top rebounders: Mamadou N'Diaye 7.9; x-Chris Porter 7.4; Mack McGadney 4.5. x-ineligible

Scouting report: The Tigers hopes crashed when Chris Porter was declared ineligible. Robinson is a smooth guard who provides steady leadership and a respectable three-point shot.

8. Utah (22-8)

Location, conference: Salt Lake City, Western Athletic.

Conferenbce finish: Tied for first; lost in semifinals of conference tournament.

Tournament record: 31-24, 21 years.

Coach: Rick Majerus.

Last 10: 5-5.

Top scorers: Hanno Mottola 17.4; Alex Jensen 13.2; Nate Althoff 10.0; Tony Harvey 9.4; Jeremy Killion 9.4.

Top rebounders: Alex Jensen 7.6; Nate Althoff 4.9; Hanno Mottola 4.7.

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