Ncaa Tournament

March 13, 2006|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

TOP 8 SEEDS

1. Villanova

Location -- Villanova, Pa.

Record -- 25-4.

RPI -- 2.

Record vs. tournament field -- 9-4.

Road record -- 10-2.

Record in past 10 -- 8-2.

Impressive wins -- Dec. 3, home vs. Oklahoma, 85-74; Feb. 13, home vs. Connecticut, 69-64.

Top players -- Sr., Randy Foye, G, 20.1 ppg., 5.6 rpg.; Sr., Allan Ray, G, 18.8 ppg.

Skinny -- Using mostly a four-guard lineup, Jay Wright's Wildcats understand the importance of the jump shot. And even though it is smaller than most opponents, Villanova has a rebounding edge of about two a game.

2. Ohio State

Location -- Columbus, Ohio.

Record -- 25-5.

RPI -- 5.

Record vs. tournament field -- 6-5.

Road record -- 6-3.

Record in past 10 -- 8-2.

Impressive wins -- Dec. 10, at Saint Joseph's, 81-74; Dec. 31, home vs. LSU, 78-76; Feb. 12, home vs. Illinois, 69-53.

Top players -- Sr., Terence Dials, C, 15.0 ppg., 8.0 rpg.; Sr., Je'Kel Foster, G, 12.4 ppg., 40% 3-point shooting; So., Jamar Butler, G, 10.2 ppg., 4.5 apg.

Skinny -- In a conference known for defense, the Buckeyes won with a potent inside-outside offense. They led the league in scoring (76.5 ppg during the regular season) and were second in scoring margin (12.4).

3. Florida

Location -- Gainesville, Fla.

Record -- 27-6.

RPI -- 15.

Record vs. tournament field -- 7-4.

Road record -- 6-4.

Record in past 10 -- 7-3.

Impressive wins -- Feb. 11, home vs. Louisiana State, 71-62; Mar. 5, at Kentucky, 79-64.

Top players -- So., Joakim Noah, F, 13.8 ppg, 6.7 rpg; So., Taurean Green, G, 13.8 ppg, 4.9 apg; So., Al Horford, C, 11.2 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 3.5 apg.

Skinny -- The SEC champion Gators have great bloodlines, with the son of former French Open champion Yannick Noah and the sons of former NBA players Sidney Green and Tito Horford on the team. They won their first 17 games before a loss at Tennessee in January, but had a three-game losing streak in February. Noah, who is 6-11, had a 37-point, 11-rebound game against Georgia. The Gators are among the national leaders in field-goal percentage and assists per game.

4. Boston College

Location -- Chestnut Hill, Mass.

Record -- 26-7.

RPI -- 22.

Record vs. tournament field -- 3-4.

Road record -- 8-3.

Record in past 10 -- 8-2.

Impressive wins -- Nov. 26, at Las Vegas vs. Oklahoma State, 76-68; Jan. 26, at North Carolina, 81-74; Feb. 25, at North Carolina State, 74-72 (2OT).

Top players -- Sr., Craig Smith, F, 17.3 ppg., 9.0 rpg.; Jr., Jared Dudley, F, 16.5 ppg., 6.8 rpg.; Jr., Sean Marshall, G/F, 11.5 ppg., 4.0 rpg.

Skinny -- This veteran team plays well together because coach Al Skinner started the same five players in all 30 regular-season games. Smith and Dudley dominate the boards, though the Eagles' shooting touch can disappear for long stretches.

5. Nevada

Location -- Reno, Nev.

Record -- 27-5.

RPI -- 19.

Record vs. tournament field -- 4-2.

Road record -- 10-3.

Record in past 10 -- 10-0.

Impressive wins -- Dec. 1, at Kansas, 72-70; Dec. 21, home vs. Georgia, 68-62; March 11, home vs. . Utah State, 70-63 (OT).

Top players -- Jr., Nick Fazekas, F, 21.8 ppg., 10.3 rpg.; So., Marcelus Kemp, G, 14.4 ppg.; Sr., Mo Charlo, F, 10.3 ppg.

Skinny -- Fazekas, the conference MVP, is the focal point, but Kemp and point guard Ramon Sessions give the Wolf Pack a dynamic backcourt.

6. Oklahoma

Location -- Norman, Okla.

Record -- 20-8.

RPI -- 16.

Record vs. tournament field -- 7-4.

Road record -- 6-5.

Record in past 10 -- 6-4.

Impressive win -- Jan. 28, home vs. Texas, 82-72.

Top players -- Sr., Taj Gray, F, 14.2 ppg, 7.6 rpg; Sr., Terrell Everett, G, 12.4 ppg, 6.7 apg; Jr., Michael Neal, G, 12.7 ppg.

Skinny -- The Sooners enter the tournament with a two-game losing streak after a 24-point loss to Texas in the regular-season finale and an upset loss to Nebraska in the Big 12 quarterfinals. Before that, Oklahoma displayed a knack for close games, going 5-2 in one-point games and winning four in a span of 10 days. A potential key performer is Neal, who shot 49.5 percent from three-point range in Big 12 games and has had at least five in a game six times.

7. Georgetown

Location -- Washington

Record -- 21-9.

RPI -- 36.

Record vs. tournament field -- 4-7.

Road record -- 7-6.

Record in past 10 -- 5-5.

Impressive wins -- Dec. 3, at Oregon, 71-57; Jan. 21, home vs. Duke, 87-84.

Top players -- So., Roy Hibbert, C, 11.2 ppg., 6.6 rpg.; So., Jeff Green, F, 11.9 ppg, 6.5 rpg.; Sr., Brandon Bowman, F, 11.5 ppg., 5.1 rpg.

Skinny -- Coach John Thompson III is quickly rebuilding the Hoyas into a defensively stifling and offensively aggressive national contender. Hibbert is 7 feet 2 and has blocked 47 shots, which makes him an intimidator on defense.

8. Arizona

Location -- Tucson, Ariz.

Record -- 19-12.

RPI -- 23.

Record vs. tournament field -- 3-8.

Road record -- 5-7.

Record in past 10 -- 6-4.

Impressive wins -- Nov. 21, at Maui vs. Kansas, 61-49; Dec. 31, at Washington, 96-95 (2OT); Jan. 21, home vs. California, 60-55.

Top players -- Sr., Hassan Adams, G, 17.3 ppg., 5.1 rpg.; Fr., Marcus Williams, F, 12.8 ppg., 4.5 rpg.

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