No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 2 UCLA

Ncaa Tournament

March 24, 2007|By ORLANDO SENTINEL

Site -- San Jose, Calif.

Time, TV -- 7:05 p.m., chs. 13, 9

Records -- Kansas 33-4, UCLA 29-5

Line -- Kansas by 2

How they got here -- Kansas def. No. 16 Niagara, 107-67; No. 8 Kentucky, 88-76; and No. 4 Southern Illinois, 61-58; UCLA def. No. 15 Weber State, 70-42; No. 7 Indiana, 54-49; and No. 3 Pittsburgh, 64-55

The buzz -- Kansas was held to its second-lowest point total of the season Thursday, but still prevailed. UCLA, meanwhile, was involved in its sixth consecutive game in which it didn't score more than 70 points. The Jayhawks want a fast pace, but the Bruins aren't going to allow that. Kansas proved against Southern Illinois that it could handle a blue-collar team that plays great defense; now it has to prove it can beat an athletically gifted team that plays great defense. In three of Kansas' losses, the Jayhawks scored 66 or fewer points, and in the other, they scored 71. The Jayhawks should enjoy an advantage in the low post, where Julian Wright, Darrell Arthur, Sasha Kaun and Darnell Jackson are as talented a quartet as you can find. But UCLA generally finds a way to negate its opponent's height advantage. As usual, UCLA will rely on its perimeter players to provide the bulk of its offense. UCLA PG Darren Collison is going to have to work hard on the defensive end trying to contain Kansas' Sherron Collins, Mario Chalmers (who was shut down by the Salukis) and Russell Robinson. UCLA wing players Arron Afflalo and Josh Shipp are more physical than their Kansas counterparts, and Afflalo, in particular, is going to be a tough matchup for the Jayhawks. The biggest wild card is Jayhawks swingman Brandon Rush, who has lacked consistency this season but still has a world of talent.

The pick -- UCLA

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