Ncaa Tournament

March 13, 2006|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

TOP 8 SEEDS

1. Connecticut

Location -- Storrs, Conn.

Record -- 27-3.

RPI -- 3.

Record vs. tournament field -- 12-3.

Road record -- 11-3.

Record in past 10 -- 8-2.

Impressive wins -- Nov. 23, at Maui vs. Gonzaga, 65-63; Jan. 7, at Hartford, Conn., vs. LSU, 67-66; Feb. 4, at Indiana, 88-80; Feb. 26, home vs. Villanova, 89-75.

Top players -- So., Rudy Gay, F, 15.3 ppg., 6.7 rpg.; Sr., Rashad Anderson, G/F, 13.2 ppg., Jr., Marcus Williams, G, 10.7 ppg., 8.6 apg.

Skinny -- The Huskies have a most impressive collection of long arms, height, speed and strength. Coach Jim Calhoun has withstood criticism over his handling of player suspensions after computer theft incident to coax some dominant performances out of his team.

2. Tennessee

Location -- Knoxville, Tenn.

Record -- 21-7.

RPI -- 6.

Record vs. tournament field -- 6-5.

Road record -- 8-5.

Record in past 10 -- 6-4.

Impressive wins -- Dec. 17, at Texas, 95-78; Feb. 7, at Kentucky, 75-67; Feb. 22, at Florida, 76-72.

Top players -- So., Chris Lofton, G, 17.3 ppg, 45.3% 3 pt.; Sr., C.J. Watson, G, 15.3 ppg, 4.1 apg.

Skinny -- The Volunteers, upset by South Carolina in a quarterfinal of the SEC tournament, lost four of their last six games. Despite that, it has been a strong first season for coach Bruce Pearl. Hired after taking Wisconsin-Milwaukee to the Sweet 16, he has the Volunteers in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2001. Lofton broke Allan Houston's school record for three-pointers in a game with nine against Georgia.

3. North Carolina

Location -- Chapel Hill, N.C.

Record -- 22-7.

RPI -- 12.

Record vs. tournament field -- 6-4.

Road record -- 9-3.

Record in past 10 -- 8-2.

Impressive wins -- Dec. 3, at Kentucky, 83-79; Jan. 30, home vs. Arizona 86-69; March 4, at Duke, 83-76.

Top players -- Fr., Tyler Hansbrough, F, 19.1 ppg., 7.8 rpg; Jr., Reyshawn Terry, F, 14.7 ppg., 6.0 rpg.

Skinny -- The Tar Heels led the ACC in assists, a testament to unselfishness and to coach Roy Williams' patience with a young team. And the Heels also led in offensive rebounding thanks mainly to Hansbrough.

4. Illinois

Location -- Champaign, Ill.

Record -- 25-6.

RPI -- 14.

Record vs. tournament field -- 9-4.

Road record -- 10-5.

Record in past 10 -- 6-4.

Impressive wins -- Nov. 29, at North Carolina, 68-64; Dec. 8, home vs. Georgetown, 58-48.

Top players -- Sr., Dee Brown, G, 14.4 ppg., 5.6 apg; Sr., James Augustine, F/C, 13.5 ppg., 9.3 rpg.

Skinny -- The Fighting Illini win with defense and rebounding. During the regular season, they led the Big Ten and ranked sixth nationally in scoring defense, giving up an average of only 57.7 points. They were also 16th nationally in field-goal percentage defense and out-rebounded opponents by almost seven a game.

5. Washington

Location -- Seattle.

Record -- 24-6.

RPI -- 35.

Record vs. tournament field -- 6-2.

Road record -- 7-4.

Record in past 10 -- 8-2.

Impressive wins -- Dec. 4, home vs. Gonzaga, 99-95; Jan. 14, at UCLA, 69-65; Feb. 11, home vs. UCLA, 70-67.

Top players -- Sr., Brandon Roy, G, 19.9 ppg., 5.7 rpg.; Sr., Jamaal Williams, F, 13.4 ppg., 4.7 rpg.

Skinny -- The high-scoring Huskies had been the hottest Pac-10 team until stumbling against Oregon in the conference tournament, but they still possess the firepower for a deep tournament run behind the dynamic Roy.

6. Michigan State

Location -- East Lansing, Mich.

Record -- 22-11.

RPI -- 18.

Record vs. tournament field -- 8-8.

Road record -- 10-9.

Record in past 10 -- 4-6.

Impressive wins -- Nov. 23, at Maui vs. Arizona, 74-71 (OT); Dec. 6, at New York vs. Boston College, 77-70.

Top players -- Sr., Maurice Ager, G, 19.1 ppg., 4.1 rpg; Jr., Shannon Brown, G, 17.6 ppg., 4.5 rpg; Sr., Paul Davis, C, 17.8 ppg., 9.3 rpg.

Skinny -- Ager, Brown and Davis account for 73 percent of the Spartans' scoring, which has made them easy to defend. The Spartans were fourth in the nation in free-throw shooting (77.7 percent) during the regular season, a skill that helps in tournament play.

7. Wichita State

Location -- Wichita, Kan.

Record -- 24-8.

RPI -- 27.

Record vs. tournament field -- 4-7.

Road record -- 10-6.

Record in past 10 -- 7-3.

Impressive wins -- Jan. 14, home vs. Missouri State, 81-57; Jan. 22, at Missouri State, 68-62; Feb. 14, home vs. Creighton, 62-61 (OT).

Top players -- Sr., Paul Miller, C, 13.0 ppg., 6.5 rpg.; So., Sean Ogirri, G, 11.9 ppg., Jr., Kyle Wilson, F, 11.2 ppg.; Sr., PJ Cousinard, G/F, 10.2 ppg.

Skinny -- With four players averaging in double figures, the Shockers can hurt opponents from the inside and the perimeter.

8. Kentucky

Location -- Lexington, Ky.

Record -- 21-12.

RPI -- 41.

Record vs. tournament field -- 5-9.

Road record -- 11-7.

Record in past 10 -- 6-4.

Impressive wins -- Nov. 22, at Kansas City vs. West Virginia, 80-66; March 1, at Tennessee, 80-78.

Top players -- So., Randolph Morris, C, 13.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg; So., Rajon Rondo, G, 11.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 4.9 apg.

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