East Regional

Ncaa Tournament

March 12, 2007|By ORLANDO SENTINEL

1. NORTH CAROLINA

LOCATION -- Chapel Hill, N.C.

HOW BID WAS EARNED -- Won Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.

RECORD -- 28-6.

RPI -- 2.

RECORD VS. TOURNAMENT FIELD -- 12-5.

KEY PLAYERS -- F Tyler Hansbrough (6-9 sophomore, 18.1 pts., 7.9 reb.); G Ty Lawson (5-11 freshman, 10.2 pts., 5.5 steals, 51.6 FG pct.); F Brandan Wright (6-9 freshman, 15.0 pts., 6.1 reb., 1.7 blocks).

THE BUZZ -- The Tar Heels are as talented as anyone - actually, players one through 10, they're probably the most-talented team in the nation - and have all the pieces to win the national title. Their depth is excellent. Hansbrough and Wright are big-timers in the paint; there is a ton of firepower and the Heels are athletic. But defense is iffy at times, befitting a team that has nine underclassmen among its top 10 players. In each of their losses, the Heels allowed at least 80 points.

2. GEORGETOWN

LOCATION -- Washington.

HOW BID WAS EARNED -- Won Big East tournament.

RECORD -- 26-6.

RPI -- 9.

RECORD VS. TOURNAMENT FIELD -- 10-5.

KEY PLAYERS -- F Jeff Green (6-9 junior, 14.3 pts., 6.1 reb., 3.3 assists, 1.2 blocks, 50.3 FG pct.); C Roy Hibbert (7-2 junior, 12.7 pts., 6.3 reb., 2.4 blocks, 69.3 FG pct.); G Jonathan Wallace (6-1 junior, 11.1 pts., 50.0 FG pct., 47.6 three-point pct., 90.0 FT pct.).

THE BUZZ -- The Hoyas are a frontcourt-oriented team. Green is a solid all-around player (he leads the team in assists). Hibbert isn't as dominant as he should be; he has great size and good mobility, but he often disappears. Wallace is the key guy in the backcourt; if his threes aren't falling, the guards aren't going to do much offensively.

3. WASHINGTON STATE

LOCATION -- Pullman, Wash.

HOW BID WAS EARNED -- At-large, from Pacific-10.

RECORD -- 25-7.

RPI -- 25.

RECORD VS. TOURNAMENT FIELD -- 7-5.

KEY PLAYERS -- G Derrick Low (6-2 junior, 13.6 pts., 40.0 three-point pct.); G Kyle Weaver (6-6 junior, 11.5 pts., 5.5 reb., 4.5 assists).

THE BUZZ -- The Cougars lack great talent, but they have a well-coached, cohesive unit that seems to make big plays when needed. Weaver is underrated nationally. Washington State plays solid defense, avoids turnovers and doesn't take bad shots. Ultimately, you have to figure a weak frontcourt dooms the Cougars.

4. TEXAS

LOCATION -- Austin, Texas.

HOW BID WAS EARNED -- At large, from Big 12.

RECORD -- 24-10.

RPI -- 26.

RECORD VS. TOURNAMENT FIELD -- 4-7.

KEY PLAYERS -- G A.J. Abrams (5-10 sophomore, 15.3 pts., 42.7 three-point pct.); G D.J. Augustin (5-11 freshman, 14.7 pts., 6.7 assists, 42.7 three-point pct., 92.6 FT pct.); F Kevin Durant (6-9 freshman, 25.3 pts., 11.3 reb., 1.5 blocks, 42.1 three-point pct., 80.5 FT pct.).

THE BUZZ -- What can you say about Durant? The guy is phenomenal. The Longhorns have a shot in any game because of him. Augustin is a steady point man, and Abrams is a long-range gunner. But there is no real low-post threat, the Longhorns don't always focus defensively, each of the top seven players is a freshman or sophomore, and outside of their "big three," the Longhorns are awful from the line. But, hey, did we mention how great Durant is?

5. SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

LOCATION -- Los Angeles.

HOW BID WAS EARNED -- At-large, from Pac-10.

RECORD -- 23-11.

RPI -- 47.

RECORD VS. TOURNAMENT FIELD -- 9-7.

KEY PLAYERS -- F Taj Gibson (6-9 freshman, 11.8 pts., 8.4 reb., 1.8 blocks, 55.9 FG pct.); G Lodrick Stewart (6-4 senior, 14.0 pts., 44.4 three-point pct.); G/F Nick Young (6-6 junior, 17.4 pts., 4.4 reb., 52.9 FG pct., 45.5 three-point pct.).

THE BUZZ -- The Trojans have a number of good athletes, and they put that athleticism to good use on defense. When they want to, the Trojans can play stifling defense. Despite good statistics (47.7 percent from the field and 40.3 percent from three-point range), the offense bogs down at time. The lack of a true point guard hurts.

6. VANDERBILT

LOCATION -- Nashville, Tenn.

HOW BID WAS EARNED -- At-large, from Southeastern Conference.

RECORD -- 20-10.

RPI -- 46.

RECORD VS. TOURNAMENT FIELD -- 5-5.

KEY PLAYERS -- G/F Derrick Byars (6-7 senior, 16.9 pts., 5.1 reb., 84.8 FT pct.); G Dan Cage (6-5 senior, 11.2 pts., 45.8 three-point pct.); G/F Shan Foster (6-6 junior, 15.5 pts., 4.8 reb., 84.8 FT pct.).

THE BUZZ -- The Commodores can stroke it from three-point range (37.7 percent as a team), and Byars has a ton of talent. This is a heady team, well-coached and unlikely to make major mistakes. But there is no real low-post threat on either end, the Commodores are out-rebounded by almost two per game and any offense from the bench is a miracle.

7. BOSTON COLLEGE

LOCATION -- Chestnut Hill, Mass.

HOW BID WAS EARNED -- At-large, from ACC.

RECORD -- 20-11.

RPI -- 32.

RECORD VS. TOURNAMENT FIELD -- 4-7.

KEY PLAYERS -- F Jared Dudley (6-7 senior, 19.0 pts., 8.3 reb., 56.2 FG pct., 45.7 three-point pct.); G/F Sean Marshall (6-6 senior, 14.8 pts., 4.5 reb.); G Tyrese Rice (6-1 sophomore, 17.2 pts., 5.5 assists).

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