Ncaa Tournament

Regional Roundup

East

March 17, 2003|By Tribune Newspapers

1. OKLAHOMA

Record: 24-6, 12-4 in Big 12 Conference.

RPI: 3.

Location: Norman, Okla. (28,954 students).

Coach: Kelvin Sampson, ninth season, 211-80.

Tournament history: This is the 22nd appearance for the Sooners, who have been to four Final Fours, including last season's. This is their ninth consecutive appearance under Sampson.

Top players: PF Kevin Bookout (9.3 ppg, 6.1 rpg), SF Ebi Ere (13.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg), G Hollis Price (19.5 ppg, 44.4 three-point FG pct.).

Skinny: The Sooners played one of the nation's toughest schedules and did just fine, thanks to Price, a New Orleans native who would love nothing more than to go home for the Final Four. The Sooners are athletic and play good defense. But they're not the best offensive team and they're surprisingly mediocre on the boards. OU will go as far as its defense takes it.

Famous grad: Darrell Royal, who made his name as Texas' football coach, graduated from Oklahoma in 1950.

Little-known fact: Oklahoma's Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History has more than 5 million artifacts, including the oldest work of art ever found in North America -- a lightning bolt painted on a bison skull.

2. WAKE FOREST

Record: 24-5 overall, 13-3 in Atlantic Coast Conference.

RPI: 7.

Location: Winston-Salem, N.C. (3,850 students).

Coach: Skip Prosser, second season, 45-18.

Tournament history: 18th appearance in NCAAs, 23-17 record with one Final Four appearance.

Top players: F Josh Howard (20.0 ppg, 8.1 rpg), F Vytas Danelius (13.0 ppg, 7.6 rpg).

Skinny: Picked to finish sixth in the ACC, the Demon Deacons instead won their first outright crown since 1962 while building around likely All-American Howard and sophomore forward Danelius and Jamaal Levy and guard Taron Downey. Wake won seven in a row before falling to N.C. State in the ACC tournament. The Deacons average nearly 78.4 points and give up only 67.6 -- but it is a team that needs to find an answer to its troubles against frontcourts with bigger and more athletic players.

Famous grad: Arnold Palmer, professional golfer.

Little-known fact: The last year Wake Forest held sole possession of the ACC championship in men's basketball, in 1962, was also the year when the program made its only Final Four appearance.

3. SYRACUSE

Record: 24-5, 13-3 in Big East Conference.

RPI: 9.

Location: Syracuse, N.Y. (10,000 students).

Coach: Jim Boeheim, 27th season, 647-226.

Tournament history: 27 appearances (40-28). Three Final Fours (1975, 1987, 1996).

Top players: F Carmelo Anthony (22.7 ppg, 10.0 rpg), F Hakim Warrick (15.3 ppg, 9.1 rpg).

Skinny: Anthony, a freshman from Baltimore's Towson Catholic, is likely headed to the NBA after developing into one of the Big East's top scorers and rebounders.

Famous grad: Marty Glickman, former New York Knicks and Giants sportscaster and member of the 1936 Olympic track and field team.

Little-known fact: Syracuse's last home game, an 83-74 victory over Rutgers, was played before the largest on-campus crowd (33,071) in NCAA history.

4. LOUISVILLE

Record: 24-6, 11-5 in Conference USA.

RPI: 11.

Location: Louisville, Ky. (22,000 students)

Coach: Rick Pitino, second season, 43-19.

Tournament history: The Cardinals have won a pair of national championships (1980, 1986), have advanced to nine Final Fours and are now in their 30th NCAA tournament. But, they were bounced in the first round in their past two tournaments ('99, '00).

Top players: PG Reece Gaines, (17.7 ppg), C Marvin Stone, (10.7 rpg).

Skinny: The Cardinals fashioned a 17-game winning streak during the season, but were severely damaged when PF Ellis Myles went down for the year during their Feb. 27 loss to Marquette. That robbed them of their most-powerful inside force. They still have Gaines, a point who can both score and create. But they need to replace the inside presence they lost with Myles' injury if they hope to advance.

Famous grad: Johnny Unitas, Baltimore Colts Hall of Fame quarterback.

Little-known fact: Louisville's all-female cheerleading squad won last year's National Cheerleading Association Championship for the third time in five years. Its coed cheerleading squad, which finished third last year, has won eight national championships. And its dance team, the Ladybirds, won last year's National Dance Alliance Collegiate Championship.

5. MISSISSIPPI STATE

Record: 21-9, 9-7 in Southeastern Conference West.

RPI: 24.

Location: Starkville, Miss. (16,878 students).

Coach: Rick Stansbury, fifth season, 100-59.

Tournament history: This is the sixth appearance for the Bulldogs, who advanced to the Final Four in 1996.

Top players: C Mario Austin (15.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg), SG Timmy Bowers (14.8 ppg, 42.0 three-point FG pct.), PG Derrick Zimmerman (9.1 ppg, 5.6 apg).

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