Ncaa Tournament

March 13, 2006|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

TOP 8 SEEDS

1. Memphis

Location -- Memphis, Tenn.

Record -- 30-3.

RPI -- 4.

Record vs. tournament field -- 8-3.

Road record -- 11-2.

Record in past 10 -- 9-1.

Impressive wins -- Nov. 23, in New York vs. UCLA, 88-80; Dec. 27, home vs. Gonzaga, 83-72; Jan. 18, home vs. Tennessee, 88-79.

Top players -- Sr., Rodney Carney, F, 17.5 ppg., 4.3 rpg.; Fr., Shawne Williams, F, 13.4 ppg., 6.3 rpg; So., Darius Washington, G, 13.5 ppg.

Skinny -- The Tigers during the regular season were third in the nation in scoring (82.3) and second in margin of victory (15.0). They also led their conference in blocked shots (6.8), steals (10.0) and assists (14.9), which means they're aggressive all over the court.

2. UCLA

Location -- Los Angeles.

Record -- 27-6.

RPI -- 10.

Record vs. tournament field -- 7-5.

Road record -- 13-3.

Record in past 10 -- 8-2.

Impressive wins -- Dec. 10, in Anaheim vs. Nevada, 67-56; Jan. 5, at Arizona, 85-79; Mar. 2, at California, 67-58.

Top players -- So., Arron Afflalo, G, 16.6 ppg., 4.3 rpg.; So., Jordan Farmar, G, 13.6 ppg., 5.3 apg.

Skinny -- The backcourt of Afflalo and Farmar is one of the best in the country, and the Bruins' emphasis on defense has kept them from suffering any double-digit losses.

3. Gonzaga

Location -- Spokane, Wash.

Record -- 27-3.

RPI -- 9.

Record vs. tournament field -- 1-3.

Road record -- 12-3.

Record in past 10 -- 10-0.

Impressive wins -- Nov. 21, in Maui vs. Maryland, 88-76; Nov. 22, in Maui vs. Michigan State, 109-106 (3OT).

Top players -- Jr., Adam Morrison, F, 28.4 ppg, 5.5 rpg; Sr., J.P. Batista, F, 19.3 ppg, 9.5 rpg.

Skinny -- Near upsets by Loyola Marymount and San Diego in the West Coast Conference tournament make prospects of a deep run appear shaky despite impressive early-season results, including a two-point loss to Connecticut. Morrison's scoring might not be able to compensate for a Gonzaga defense that doesn't rank in the top 100 in defensive field-goal percentage or steals and isn't in the top 200 in scoring defense or blocked shots.

4. Kansas

Location -- Lawrence, Kan.

Record -- 25-7.

RPI -- 20.

Record vs. tournament field -- 5-4.

Road record -- 11-5.

Record in past 10 -- 9-1.

Impressive wins -- Jan. 7, home vs. Kentucky, 73-46; Feb. 5, home vs. Oklahoma, 59-58; March 12 in Dallas vs. Texas, 80-68.

Top players -- Fr., Brandon Rush, G, 13.5 ppg, 5.9 rpg; Fr., Mario Chalmers, G, 11.4 ppg, 3.8 apg; Fr., Julian Wright, F, 8.3 ppg, 4.6 rpg.

Skinny -- The young Jayhawks finished strong, defeating Texas to win the Big 12 tournament. Rush -- brother of former Laker Kareem Rush and former UCLA player JaRon Rush -- is among three freshmen who made the Jayhawks a major surprise, losing only three games since December after a 3-4 start. Kansas led the nation in defensive field-goal percentage during the regular season, holding teams to 36.6.

5. Pittsburgh

Location -- Pittsburgh.

Record -- 24-7.

RPI -- 11.

Record vs. tournament field -- 6-6.

Road record -- 8-6.

Record in past 10 -- 6-4.

Impressive wins -- Dec. 31, home vs. Wisconsin, 73-64; Jan. 28, home vs. Marquette, 77-71.

Top players -- Sr., Carl Krauser, G, 15.0 ppg., 4.7 apg.; Jr., Aaron Gray, C, 13.8 ppg., 10.6 rpg.

Skinny -- Krauser, 25, is the mature leader so important in late, close games. But the Panthers have struggled on the road and played tired in consecutive losses to end the regular season.

6. Indiana

Location -- Bloomington, Ind.

Record -- 18-11.

RPI -- 34.

Record vs. tournament field -- 5-8.

Road record -- 8-9.

Record in past 10 -- 5-5.

Impressive wins -- Dec. 10, in Indianapolis vs. Kentucky, 79-53; Dec. 19, at North Carolina-Charlotte, 71-54; Jan. 7, home vs. Ohio State, 81-79; Jan. 17, home vs. Illinois, 62-60.

Top players -- Sr., Marco Killingsworth, F, 17.3 ppg., 8.0 rpg; So., Robert Vaden, G/F, 13.1 ppg., 5.6 rpg.

Skinny -- Through a campaign in which coach Mike Davis announced his resignation with two weeks left in the regular season, but also said he would coach the Hoosiers until the bitter end, Indiana has survived mostly with outside shooting. The Hoosiers finished the regular season shooting 40.4 percent from three-point range, fourth in the nation.

7. Marquette

Location -- Milwaukee.

Record -- 20-10.

RPI -- 31.

Record vs. tournament field -- 5-6.

Road record -- 6-8.

Record in past 10 -- 5-5.

Impressive wins -- Jan. 3, home vs. Connecticut, 94-79; Feb. 18, home vs. Pittsburgh, 84-82.

Top players -- Sr., Steve Novak, F, 17.5 ppg., 5.9 rpg.; Fr., Dominic James, G, 15.1 ppg, 5.4 apg.

Skinny -- The Golden Eagles mix up defenses and have three freshmen who have accounted for 62 percent of the team's steals. Marquette was picked to finish 12th in its first season in the Big East, but finished tied for fourth.

8. Arkansas

Location -- Fayetteville, Ark.

Record -- 22-9.

RPI -- 45.

Record vs. tournament field -- 4-6.

Road record -- 7-8.

Record in past 10 -- 7-3.

Impressive wins -- Nov. 22, in Maui vs. Kansas, 65-64; Feb. 25, at Tennessee, 73-69; Feb. 18, home vs. Florida, 85-81 (OT).

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