West semifinals

Ncaa Tournament

March 21, 2002|By Christian Ewell

West semifinals

No. 2 Oklahoma (29-4) vs. No. 3 Arizona (24-9)

Site: Compaq Center, San Jose, Calf.

Time: 7:55 tonight.

Conference records: Oklahoma finished second in the Big 12 with a 13-3 mark; Arizona finished in a four-way tie for second in the Pac-10 with a 12-6 record.

Coaches: Kelvin Sampson is 186-73 in eight seasons at Oklahoma and 361-221 in 19 seasons overall; Lute Olson is 471-142 in 19 seasons at Arizona, 663-234 in 29 overall.

Oklahoma's lineup: G Quannas White (7.9 ppg, 155 assists to 64 turnovers), G Hollis Price (16.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.8 spg), G Ebi Ere (14.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg), F Aaron McGhee (15.7 ppg, 7.8 rpg), C Jabahri Brown (4.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 40 blocks).

Arizona's lineup: G Jason Gardner (20.5 ppg, 4.6 apg, 52 steals), G Salim Stoudamire (12.9 ppg, 45.8 pct. 3-point FG), F Luke Walton (15.9 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 6.2 apg), F Rick Anderson (12.5 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 42 pct. 3-point FG), C Channing Frye (9.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 48 blocks).

Bench strength: The Wildcats' strength off the bench is mostly up front, where center Isaiah Fox and forward Dennis Latimore (weighing 255 and 230, respectively) are big bodies to take up space if Frye or Anderson needs a rest. A guard, Will Bynum (6.2 ppg), has been Arizona's most productive player off the bench. The two Sooners reserves most likely to see time are guard Jason Detrick (9.5 ppg) and forward Daryan Selvy (6.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg), who has had 24 rebounds over the past three games.

Key matchup: Walton vs. Ere. Walton, among the nation's most versatile players, was the Pac-10's first frontcourt player to lead the league in assists. At 6 feet 8 and 233 pounds, he also scores well, and that presents possible matchup problems for Ere, who may be spelled by Selvy.

What Oklahoma needs to do to win: Guards Price and White have to neutralize Stoudamire and Gardner in order to force an inconsistent Arizona post game to follow up a solid performance against Wyoming.

What Arizona needs to do to win: Toughen up inside. Though Frye had a nice game against Wyoming in the second round (18 points, 11 rebounds, five blocks), the Wildcats have given up 67 offensive rebounds in five postseason games.

Bottom line: After adding firepower this year to its customary lunch-bucket mentality, Oklahoma probably has too many weapons for a very good Arizona squad.

No. 8 UCLA (21-11) vs. No. 12 Missouri (23-11)

Site: Compaq Center, San Jose, Calf.

Time: 10:25 (approx.) tonight.

Conference records: UCLA finished sixth in the Pac-10 with an 11-7 record; Missouri finished sixth in the Big 12 with a 9-7 record.

Coaches: Steve Lavin is 135-58 in six seasons at UCLA; Quin Snyder is 61-37 in three seasons at Missouri.

UCLA's lineup: G Cedric Bozeman (3.8 ppg, 2.5 rpg), G Billy Knight (14.1 ppg, 3.4 rpg) F Jason Kapono (16.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg) F Matt Barnes (13.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg), C Dan Gadzuric (11.7 rpg, 7.7 rpg).

Missouri's lineup: G Clarence Gilbert (17.1 ppg, 111 assists, 46 steals), G Ricky Paulding (11.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 43.3 pct. 3-point FG), F Kareem Rush (19.9 rpg, 5.2 rpg) F Travon Bryant (6.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg), C Arthur Johnson (12.2 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 69 blocks).

Bench strength: Even without the loss of Rico Hines to a knee injury, UCLA goes nine deep. Freshman guard Dijon Thompson has contributed 26 points off the bench in two tourney wins. Fellow freshmen T.J. Cummings and Ryan Walcott also have pitched in during the postseason. Former starter Wesley Stokes has had a 2.7-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio over the past eight games for Missouri and leads the team in assists. All-Big 12 wide receiver Justin Gage (4.1 rpg) also has contributed minutes valuable for his work on the boards.

Key matchup: Kapono vs. Rush. Both small forwards have the ability to fill the basket up in a hurry, the surest things for UCLA and Missouri, respectively. Kapono had 17 points after halftime in UCLA's 105-101 victory over Cincinnati, and Rush has averaged 20.8 points over the past five games.

What UCLA needs to do to win: The Bruins could use another game like the one against Cincinnati. With Bozeman and Walcott running the point, the team had 21 assists and only nine turnovers in 50 minutes of play.

What Missouri needs to do to win: It would help the Tigers a bunch if Bryant and Johnson could wreak some havoc inside and somehow get Gadzuric into foul trouble.

Bottom line: Given UCLA's tendency to slough off against non-top 5 teams, a letdown against Missouri is not out of the question. However, the Bruins probably have too much depth and too much size for the Tigers.

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