East Rutherford

Regional Roundup

March 15, 2004

1. Saint Joseph's

Location: Philadelphia

Record: 27-1

RPI: 3

Record against tournament field: 6-1

Road record: 13-0.

Record in past 10: 9-1

Impressive victories: Nov. 14, Gonzaga, 73-66; Dec. 9, Boston College, 67-57; Feb. 2, Villanova, 74-67.

Disturbing losses: March 11, Xavier, 87-67.

Top players: Sr. Jameer Nelson, G, 20.0 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 5.4 apg, 3.0 spg; Jr. Delonte West, G, 18.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 4.7 apg; Sr. Tyrone Barley, G, 7.3 ppg; Jr. Pat Carroll, G, 10.0 ppg, 3.4 rpg; So. Dwayne Jones, C, 6.6 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 2.0 bpg.

Skinny: The Hawks' Nelson and West are widely considered to be the best backcourt in America, and they've proved it in running teams nearly ragged. In addition to being able to create, both have been deadly outside shooters, as has Carroll, the Atlantic 10's top three-pointer shooter. The Hawks were also the A-10's top defensive team.

Famous grad: Jimmy Lynam, former NBA coach.

Little known fact: The Hawks last reached the Final Four in 1961.

2. Oklahoma State

Location: Stillwater, Okla.

Record: 27-3

RPI: 6

Record against tournament field: 7-2

Road record: 7-2

Record in past 10: 9-1

Impressive victories: Jan. 24, at Texas, 72-67; Feb. 9, Kansas, 80-60; March 1, Texas, 76-67.

Disturbing losses: Dec. 6, at BYU, 76-71; Jan. 10, at Texas Tech, 83-62.

Top players: Sr. Tony Allen, G, 16.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg; Jr. John Lucas, G, 15.4 ppg; Sr. Ivan McFarlin, F, 12.3 ppg, 6.6 rpg.

Skinny: Defensive minded and knows how to play possession basketball, which are keys in tourney play. Have a defensive stopper in Allen and an excellent point guard in Lucas, a transfer from Baylor whose dad once played the position in the pros. Experienced, athletic, confident and guided by the slick Eddie Sutton, one of only 11 coaches who have taken two different schools to the Final Four.

Famous grad: Singer Garth Brooks

Little-known fact: The inspiration for Pistol Pete, the Cowboys' mascot, was former U.S. Marshall Frank B. Eaton, who led Stillwater's 1923 Armistice Day Parade. He attended athletic events at the school for the next 35 years and not until 1958 was he replaced by a stranger wearing a big head similar to the one still used today.

3. Pittsburgh

Location: Pittsburgh

Record: 29-4

RPI: 8

Record against tournament field: 7-4

Road record: 7-2

Record in past 10: 7-3

Impressive victories: Feb. 15, Connecticut, 75-68; Jan. 24, at Syracuse, 66-45.

Disturbing defeats: Feb. 29, Syracuse, 49-46; Feb. 9, at Seton Hall, 68-67.

Top players: So. Carl Krauser, G, 15.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 4.8, apg; Sr. Jaron Brown, G, 12.1 ppg, 5.6 rpg; Sr. Julius Page, G, 11.5 ppg; Fr. Chris Taft, F, 11.2 ppg, 7.6 rpg.

Skinny: The Panthers lost just about everything except their standing among America's elite teams. At guard, the departure of Brandin Knight only led to the emergence of Krauser. At forward, Taft's sensational freshman season has filled a void left by Ontario Lett. And coach Jamie Dixon, who took over for UCLA-bound Ben Howland, didn't lose his first game until a late-January game at Connecticut.

Famous grad: NFL Hall of Famer Mike Ditka.

Little-known fact: In 1906, Pitt engineering professor Reginald Fessenden proved radio waves could transmit human speech.

4. Wake Forest

Location: Winston-Salem, N.C.

Record: 19-9

RPI: 20

Record against tournament field: 8-7

Road record: 6-5

Record in past 10: 6-4

Impressive victories: Dec. 20, at North Carolina, 119-114; Feb. 15, Cincinnati, 91-84; Feb. 18, Duke, 90-84.

Disturbing losses: Jan. 25, at Florida State, 75-70; March 2, Virginia, 84-82.

Top players: So. Justin Gray, G, 17.2 ppg; Fr. Chris Paul, G, 14.2 ppg, 5.8 apg; So. Eric Williams, C, 12.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg

Skinny: The Demon Deacons are one of the streakiest teams in the field. They started hot, winning their first 11, then proceeded to lose six of the next eight. After rebounding to win six in a row, Wake Forest has now dropped three straight. The Demon Deacons have one of the top offenses in the country, averaging 84.3 points per game, but Skip Prosser's team is young and erratic on defense. If Wake Forest wants to go deep in the tournament, it has to rebound better and hope that Eric Williams is healthy. The sophomore center has been slowed by pain in his knee the past two weeks.

Famous grad: Former U.S. Senator Jesse Helms

Little-known fact: Gray, Wake Forest's leading scorer, broke his jaw last year and had to have it wired shut for a month. Unable to eat solid food, Gray often drank 10 milkshakes a day, and says he lost 20 pounds during the ordeal.

5. Florida

Location: Gainesville, Fla.

Record: 20-10

RPI: 13

Record against tournament field: 9-7

Road record: 4-5

Record in past 10: 7-3

Impressive victories: Nov. 28, Arizona, 78-77; Jan. 7, at South Carolina, 65-62; Jan. 27, at Alabama, 88-78.

Disturbing losses: Dec. 10, Maryland, 69-68; Jan. 31, at Tennessee, 65-63; Feb. 17, at Georgia, 76-62.

Top players: Jr. David Lee, F, 13.6 ppg, 7.0 rpg; Soph. Anthony Roberson, G, 18.1 ppg, 43.5 three-point FG percent; F Matt Walsh, 15.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg.

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