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Ncaa

College Basketball

March 25, 2005|By Orlando Sentinel

No. 6 Wisconsin (24-8) vs. No. 10 N.C. State (21-13)

Time: 7:27 p.m.

How they got here: Wisconsin def. No. 11 Northern Iowa, 57-52, def. No. 14 Bucknell, 71-62; N.C. State def. No. 7 Charlotte, 75-63, def. No. 2 Connecticut, 65-62.

Tourney tidbit: N.C. State is the first team to get to the Sweet 16 with as many as 13 losses since North Carolina and Wisconsin in 2000. Both those teams made it to the Final Four.

The buzz: Neither team will wow you with their athleticism. But each is well-coached, tough defensively and structured on offense. Senior swingman Julius Hodge is N.C. State's key guy; he's one of the most complete all-around players in the nation (17.1 ppg, 50.3 percent from the field, 6.7 rpg, 4.8 apg). Hodge is the only Wolfpack player averaging in double figures, and if he struggles to score, the Wolfpack will lose. NC State has problems on the boards. Wisconsin's key player is forward Mike Wilkinson; he's the Badgers' second-leading scorer and leading rebounder. The Badgers are better from three-point range, better on the boards and better on defense than N.C. State; the Wolfpack has more quickness and a better overall offense. This should be close, but it may not necessarily be an entertaining game.

No. 1 North Carolina (29-4) vs. No. 5 Villanova (24-7)

Time: 9:57 p.m., chs. 13, 9

How they got here: North Carolina def. No. 16 Oakland, 96-68, def. No. 9 Iowa State, 92-65; Villanova def. No. 12 New Mexico, 55-47, def. No. 4 Florida, 76-65.

Tourney tidbit: North Carolina is in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2000; that ends the longest run of no Sweet 16s at the school since 1963-66.

The buzz: North Carolina is loaded with top-notch players, and those guys help the Tar Heels average a nation's-leading 89.1 ppg. Sean May and Marvin Williams can do a lot of things in the low post, guard Rashad McCants has great range and point guard Raymond Felton is an adept passer, a good shooter and able to get into the lane at will. But the Heels don't always bear down on defense. Villanova is missing its best frontcourt player (forward Curtis Sumpter has a torn ACL), but junior C Jason Fraser stepped in and had the best game of his career against Florida in the second round. He and Will Sheridan need to combine for at least 20 points if Villanova is to have a shot at the upset. The bulk of the points are going to come from the guard quartet of Randy Foye, Mike Nardi, Allan Ray and Kyle Lowry; it's a nice mixture of quick and physical players. Those guys are going to get their points. The question: Can the Wildcats keep the Heels' offense in check? That seems unlikely.

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