South Regional

Ncaa Tournament

March 23, 2001

South Regional

Tonight's semifinals

Site: Georgia Dome, Atlanta

No. 1 Michigan State (26-4) vs. No. 12 Gonzaga (26-6)

Time: 7:38, chs. 13, 9

Conference records: Michigan State was 13-3 in the Big Ten and lost to Penn State in the conference tournament. Gonzaga was 13-1 in the West Coast Conference and won the WCC tournament.

Coaches: Tom Izzo is 146-52 in six seasons at Michigan State. Mark Few is 52-15 in two seasons at Gonzaga.

Michigan State's lineup: Charlie Bell's shooting suffered as he alternated between point guard and wing, where David Thomas has become the starter opposite Jason Richardson, who averaged 15.2 points on 52.3 percent shooting and 6.0 rebounds en route to second-team All-America status. Forward Andre Hutson is a returning starter and the leading rebounder.

Gonzaga's lineup: Casey Calvary is a 6-8, 235-pound forward who averages 19.1 points and 6.5 rebounds. Center Zach Gourde must continue his strong March play, and small forward Mark Spink needs to stay out of foul trouble. Point guard Dan Dickau, a transfer from Washington, averages 18.9 points and 6.4 assists.

Bench strength: The Spartans reloaded last autumn with point guard Marcus Taylor and low-post force Zach Randolph, who averages 10.9 points and 6.6 rebounds. Alex Hernandez and Anthony Reason combine for 11.5 points and 6.3 rebounds for the Bulldogs.

Key matchup: Who checks Richardson? The sophomore's shooting has rarely cooled off this season. Stepp may be the only Bulldog capable of staying with Richardson.

What Michigan State has to do to win: The Spartans outrebounded opponents by 15.3 a game. The second-best margin in the nation was 10.2. No one plays as hard as Izzo's team, which likely will limit Gonzaga to one shot.

What Gonzaga has to do to win: Shoot the way it has the past four months. Two teams in the nation shot better than 51 percent from the field. Stanford was one. Gonzaga was the other. Dickau needs to control the game.

Bottom line: Michigan State has been the steadiest program in the nation the past three seasons. The defending champions have the weapons and the desire to reach their third straight Final Four.

No. 7 Penn State (21-11) vs. No. 11 Temple (23-12)

Time: 10:08 approximate, chs, 13, 9

Conference records: Penn State was 7-9 in the Big Ten and lost to Iowa in the semifinals of the conference tournament. Temple was 12-4 in the Atlantic 10 and won the conference tournament.

Coaches: Jerry Dunn is 103-78 in six seasons at Penn State. John Chaney is 430-178 in 19 seasons at Temple, 655-237 in 29 overall.

Penn State's lineup: Senior Titus Ivory is a do-it-all wing who averages 15.6 points and 4.3 rebounds. Point guard Joe Crispin is Penn State's No. 2 all-time scorer with 1,974 points, and his brother Joe is the fourth-leading scorer. Gyasi Cline-Heard delivers 15.6 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.

Temple's lineup: Who else but John Chaney could get away with a center and four guards? Kevin Lyde, the lone big man, has been slowed by an Achilles' tendon injury for two months, but he contributes 12.6 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. Quincy Wadley was one of the shooting stars of the tournament's first weekend. Alex Wesby and David Hawkins average in double figures.

Bench strength: Penn State sophomore guard Brandon Watkins played brilliantly last Sunday against the Tar Heels, and forwards Marcus Banta and Jamaal Tate also get meaningful minutes. For Temple, Ron Rollerson spells Lyde and Greg Jefferson fills in.

Key matchup: Like every game that involves Temple, this one is about tempo. Greer directs an Owls team that can frustrate with a slow pace and its matchup zone. Joe Crispin made North Carolina play faster than it wanted to, and he must make sure that his team is patient.

What Penn State must do to win: Defend the three-pointer. When the Nittany Lions beat the Owls, 66-60, on Dec. 9, Temple made just six of its 26 three-pointers. That was without Wadley. With him, it made 18 of 51 last weekend.

What Temple must do to win: Lyde must stay out of foul trouble and find Cline-Heard, a mobile big man, at the defensive end. Wadley needs to maintain his outrageous shooting of the past six games, when he's made 25 of his 43 three-pointers.

Bottom line: The Owls bear little resemblance to the team that lost seven straight, including that visit to Happy Valley. They are averaging 7.4 turnovers in the postseason, so finding easy baskets before Chaney's team falls back into its zone has become futile. - Paul McMullen

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