East Regional

Ncaa Tournament

March 12, 2007|By DON MARKUS

GOING TO ATLANTA

Georgetown. John Thompson III has the kind of team a father - his - could love, winning with a defense ranked fifth in points allowed (56.5) and a dominating frontcourt led by juniors Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert. Green could be one of the most underappreciated players in the country while the 7-2, 278-pound Hibbert leads the nation in field goal percentage (69.3). The X-factor for the Hoyas could be freshman DaJuan Summers (McDonogh), who scored in double figures 16 times. The Hoyas grew up in last year's tournament before losing a close game to eventual champion Florida (57-53) in the Sweet 16.

MOST OVERRATED TEAM

Washington State. Tony Bennett has done a wonderful job with the Cougars, so good that reporters in Pullman have recently been asking him whether he plans to leave the Pacific-10's most distant outpost as soon as the tournament ends. That potential distraction and a lack of tournament experience could be the downfall for the Cougars, who got a surprising No. 3 seed despite losing to unranked Southern California in the semifinals of the conference tournament.

MOST UNDERRATED TEAM

George Washington. A year ago, the Colonials had a better team and a worse draw, having to play Duke in the second round in Greensboro, N.C. Coming back from a certain National Invitation Tournament bid by winning the Atlantic 10 tournament, Karl Hobbs' 11th-seeded Colonials have enough experience with senior guard Carl Elliott and junior guard Maureece Rice to make some noise if they beat sixth seed Vanderbilt in Sacramento.

BEST PLAYER

Kevin Durant. If anyone doesn't think that the Texas freshman isn't the best player in the East Regional, and probably the tournament, they should find something else to do for the rest of the month. The 6-9 wunderkind from Suitland has the talent to carry the Longhorns all the way to the Georgia Dome, but as Kansas proved yesterday, it is possible to beat Texas without stopping Durant.

BEST PLAYER YOU'VE NEVER HEARD OF

Caleb Green. The 6-8, 255-pound senior at Oral Roberts will likely become the Mid-Continent's first three-time Player of the Year. Ask Kansas how good Green is: When Oral Roberts went into Allen Fieldhouse to play the then third-ranked Jayhawks back in November, Green led the Golden Eagles to a 78-71 win with 20 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.

COACHING LEGENDS

This regional has no shortage of big-name coaches. Bob Knight, who earlier this season set the NCAA men's record for wins, will take Texas Tech to Winston-Salem's Lawrence Joel Coliseum, which is where former record-holder Dean Smith broke Adolph Rupp's mark during the NCAA tournament a decade ago. Others in the regional include Roy Williams of North Carolina and Tom Izzo of Michigan State.

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