Tournament at a glance

March 26, 2003|By Kent Baker

NCAA Division II Elite Eight

Site: Jenkins Arena, Lakeland, Fla.

When: Quarterfinals today, semifinals tomorrow, championship Saturday

2002 champion: Metro State

2003 favorite: Kentucky Wesleyan. This team has a storied tournament portfolio, with eight national titles since 1957. The third-ranked Panthers (29-3) lost in the final last season and are striving to make their sixth straight appearance in the championship game. Only UCLA (1967-73) has accomplished that in NCAA history.

Dark horse: Bowie State. Don't count out the locals. The Bulldogs have size, three-point shooters and nine seniors and are playing their best basketball now because of intense defense.

Players to watch: Tim Washington, Bowie, and Marlon Parmer, Kentucky Wesleyan. The 6-9 Washington erupted for 39 points in the regional opener and averages 20.1 points and 9.4 rebounds. Parmer, a 6-3 senior guard, is the catalyst for the Panthers (19 ppg, 8.4 apg, 5.6 rpg).

Outlook: Nebraska-Kearney is the only team in the field with at least 30 victories after ousting Metro State in the North Central Regional final. Bowie appears to be in the tougher half of the draw, facing 1988 national champ Massachusetts-Lowell, then, if it wins, probably Kentucky Wesleyan. If the Bulldogs get over those barriers, the title test could be a breeze.

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