Today's NCAA tournament games

March 23, 2006|By ORLANDO SENTINEL

Atlanta Regional

No. 1 Duke vs. No. 4 LSU

TIME -- 7:10 p.m.

RECORDS -- Duke 32-3, LSU 25-8.

HOW THEY GOT HERE -- Duke beat No. 16 Southern, 70-54, No. 8 George Washington, 74-61; LSU beat No. 13 Iona, 80-64, No. 12 Texas A&M, 58-57.

THE BUZZ -- LSU's only hopes for an upset rest on big men Glen "Big Baby" Davis and Tyrus Thomas. They have to score points and keep Duke's Shelden Williams from taking over down low. LSU is not going to be able to stop Duke guard J.J. Redick, so if Williams also is productive, Duke rolls. LSU will be as physical as possible with Williams, so don't be surprised to see LSU frontcourt reserves Darnell Lazare and Magnum Rolle get in foul trouble. Darrel Mitchell is LSU's only three-point threat - in fact he's the only LSU guard who is a legitimate scoring threat - but given that Duke allows opponents to shoot just 30.4 percent from three-point range, don't expect Mitchell to get a lot of good looks.

No. 2 Texas vs. No. 6 West Virginia

TIME -- 9:40 p.m.

RECORDS -- Texas 29-6, West Virginia 22-10.

HOW THEY GOT HERE -- Texas beat No. 15 Penn, 60-52, No. 10 North Carolina State, 75-54; West Virginia beat No. 11 Southern Illinois, 64-46, No. 14 Northwestern State (La.), 67-54.

THE BUZZ -- These teams met early in the season, in a semifinal of the Guardians Classic on Nov. 21 in Kansas City, with the Longhorns winning, 76-75. Texas out-rebounded West Virginia 41-22, and you can expect a similar margin again. Texas thrives when its big men - center LaMarcus Aldridge and forwards P.J. Tucker and Brad Buckman - dominate down low. West Virginia can win only if it is hitting three-pointers. More than half the Mountaineers' shots are three-pointers; they shoot 29 per game and make 10 of them. West Virginia takes good care of the ball; it averages just 8.7 turnovers per game and has a team assist-turnover ratio of 2 to 1.

Oakland Regional

No. 1 Memphis vs. No. 13 Bradley

TIME -- 7:27 p.m.

RECORDS -- Memphis 32-3, Bradley 22-10.

HOW THEY GOT HERE -- Memphis beat No. 16 Oral Roberts, 94-78, No. 9 Bucknell, 72-56; Bradley beat No. 4 Kansas, 77-73, No. 5 Pittsburgh, 72-66.

THE BUZZ -- Bradley has enjoyed a marvelous run, but it's hard to imagine the Braves can hang with Memphis. Bradley has a good group of athletes, and they have a legit big-time center in Patrick O'Bryant, a 7-0, 260-pound sophomore. Still, the Braves' only hope is that O'Bryant and talented forward Marcus Sommerville (an Illinois transfer) hold their own up front against Memphis' big men and that somebody makes three-pointers. Sommerville, who is 6-7, is the Braves' best outside threat. The Braves want the game in the high 60s or low 70s. Memphis wants a fast pace and can't let a solid Bradley defense get easy baskets in transition.

No. 2 UCLA vs. No. 3 Gonzaga

TIME -- 9:57 p.m.

RECORDS -- UCLA 29-6, Gonzaga 29-3.

HOW THEY GOT HERE -- UCLA beat No. 15 Belmont, 78-44, No. 10 Alabama, 62-59; Gonzaga beat No. 14 Xavier, 79-75, No. 6 Indiana, 90-80.

THE BUZZ -- Nobody has scored even 60 points against the Bruins since Feb. 23 - a span of eight games. Gonzaga won't win if it is held to less than 60 points. UCLA gives up 58.7 points per game, wins the rebounding margin and runs an efficient offense (48.3 percent from the field). There's an excellent backcourt in Jordan Farmar and Arron Afflalo. As with many young teams, the Bruins can be sloppy with the ball (four more turnovers than assists). The Zags are good offensively, lackluster defensively. In forward Adam Morrison and center P.J. Batista, Gonzaga has an excellent frontcourt offensive duo that averages 47.9 points per game on 53.6 percent shooting.

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