Monday March 23rd, 2009

MORE RESETS: South | West | East

Momentum: No. 12 Arizona. The Wildcats have nothing to lose after wins over Utah and Cleveland State. Their coach is gone after this season. Ditto for the assistant who turned down the interim head coaching job. Chase Budinger, Jordan Hill and the rest of the Wildcats have zero pressure. It's all gravy from here.

Best Matchup: No. 2 Michigan State vs. No. 3 Kansas. The Jayhawks aren't playing like the greenhorns they are. Cole Aldrich had a 13-point, 20-rebound, 10-block triple-double Sunday against Dayton. That's the kind of performance a Final Four MOP might turn in, but Aldrich and his teammates will have to ratchet their game to another level against the Spartans. Tom Izzo teams don't give up easy points, they fight for every rebound and are smart, too. They noticed Sunday that USC barely covered light-scoring guard Travis Walton. So they fed Walton, who torched the Trojans for 18 points in 26 minutes.

Home Cooking: Louisville. Louisville, Ky., is a scant 114 miles from Indianapolis. Cardinals fans don't even need to book a hotel, though the Indy Chamber of Commerce wishes they would.

Burning question: Could Kansas be for real? Coach Bill Self had to replace all five starters from last year's national-championship squad, but these Jayhawks have played like they belong in the Sweet 16. If Kansas can claw through Michigan State and a likely Elite Eight matchup with Louisville, there is no reason to the think the Jayhawks can't repeat. Difference Maker: Louisville's Terrance Williams. No player in this region gives his team as much as Williams, who scores, rebounds, passes and sets the emotional tone for his teammates.

The Pick: Louisville. The Cardinals got a little scare from Siena on Sunday, but they got serious when it mattered. Point forward Terrence Williams (24 points, 15 rebounds Sunday) and swingman Earl Clark present matchup nightmares for opponents, and freshman Samardo Samuels has scored in double figures in three-consecutive games.

MORE RESETS: South | West | East

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