NCAA Midwest Regional

NCAA Tournament

March 18, 2000|By Paul McMullen

NCAA Midwest Regional

No. 3 Maryland (25-9) vs. No. 6 UCLA (20-11)

What: NCAA tournament Midwest Regional second round

Where: Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis

When: Tonight, approximately 8: 08

TV/Radio: Ch. 13/WBAL (1090)

How they got here: Both teams were at-large selections. Maryland beat 14th-seeded Iona, 74-59, and UCLA beat 11th-seeded Ball State, 65-57, in Thursday's first round.

Conference records: Maryland was the Atlantic Coast Conference runner-up to Duke in both the regular season, when it went 11-5, and the conference tournament. UCLA went 10-8 and finished in a fourth-place tie in the Pacific-10, which does not have a postseason tournament.

Rankings: Maryland is No. 17 in the Associated Press Top 25. UCLA is unranked.

Coaches: Gary Williams is 424-255 in 21 seasons as a coach, 217-117 in 11 seasons at Maryland; Steve Lavin's four-year record at UCLA is 89-37.

NCAA tournament records: Maryland is in its seventh straight tournament and 17th overall, and it is 22-17 in NCAA games. The Terps got as far as the regional finals in 1973 and '75. UCLA is in its 12th straight tournament and 36th overall. The Bruins stand second in tournament wins at 80-28. UCLA has a record 11 titles, winning 10 of 12 from 1964 to '75 and again in 1995.

Key matchup: Juan Dixon has played 33.9 minutes a game for Maryland, and Jason Kapono 33.2 for UCLA. Kapono is announced as a starting forward, but works on the wing to the tune of 78 three-pointers. He was the co-Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, but besides being All-ACC, Dixon also made the conference's all-defensive team. If anyone is going to cool down Kapono, it's Dixon, and the battle between the leading scorers could be pivotal.

What Maryland has to do to win: Maryland needs to rebound like it did Thursday, but this is UCLA, not Iona. The Terps finished sixth in the ACC in rebounding margin, while the Bruins were second in the powerful Pac-10. Maryland must limit UCLA to one shot and make a good enough percentage of its own to keep the Bruins from running. The Terps' rotation could use some minutes from Danny Miller, who hasn't played since he sprained his left ankle Sunday.

What UCLA has to do to win: The Bruins need to play under control, get Kapono his looks and harness two of the Terps' big three: Dixon, Lonny Baxter and Terence Morris. UCLA is a horrendous free-throw shooting team. It has made just 58.3 percent of its attempts, by far the worst in the Pac-10, and it needs to do better than that against the Terps.

Bottom line: The Terps were tested by a tough schedule, but it wasn't as difficult as the Bruins'. Who can run his team better, Maryland's Steve Blake or UCLA's Earl Watson? The Terps' veterans have been to the past two Sweet 16's, while the Bruins' veterans were there two years ago. With Miller still hurting, the game could turn on Morris' ability to handle both forward slots. He was a preseason All-American, but got honorable mention in the vote that counted this week. If he wants to make his mark on the national stage, this is a good time.

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