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5 Minute Guide

March 21, 2005
March 21, 2005

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March 21, 2005

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5 Minute Guide

A quick look at the trends, teams and names to keep an eye on as the Big Dance begins

HIDDEN GEMS

This is an article from the March 21, 2005 issue Original Layout

VINCENT GRIER, G/F, Minnesota Juco transfer is third in Big Ten in scoring (18.1) and second in steals (1.9); went for 32 points and five rebounds against Wisconsin on Feb. 5 in Gophers' biggest win of season

ALEX LOUGHTON, F/C, Old Dominion After being named CAA player of the year, 6'9" Aussie scored 28 points in tournament final win over Virginia Commonwealth

RAWLE MARSHALL, F, Oakland Was named MVP of Mid-Continent tournament after totaling 60 points and 33 rebounds in three games for 12--18 Grizzlies

ED MCCANTS, G, Wisconsin-Milwaukee Deadeye shooting guard averages 17.4 points and is among nation's leaders in threes per game (3.2)

TIRAS WADE, G, Louisiana-Lafayette Cajuns' top scorer (20.4 ppg) poured in 21 of his 30 points in second half of Sun Belt tournament final win over Denver

WHOM NOT TO FOUL

J.J. REDICK, G, Duke (93.5%) ACC's leading scorer (22.8 ppg) is No. 1 foul shooter in NCAA history (93.7% in career)

SALIM STOUDAMIRE, G, Arizona (90.5%) Soft touch extends to three-point range, where his 52.5% shooting led the nation

DEREK RAIVIO, G, Gonzaga (90.1%) Ranks in the top 10 nationally in both free throw and three-point percentage (47.8%)

DAVID DOUBLEY, G, Pacific (89.5%) Big West player of the year is second on team in free throws made

ALAN ANDERSON, F/G, Michigan State (86.1%) Two misses cost Spartans against Iowa in Big Ten tournament, but still one of five Spartans who shot better than 80% from the line

WHOM TO FOUL

JOSH PACE, G/F, Syracuse (55.6%) One of five players shooting less than 60% for the Orange, which ranks 11th in Big East in foul shooting (66.4%)

RAJON RONDO, G, Kentucky (57.3%) Freshman point has had stellar season, but free throw woes mean Patrick Sparks often runs offense late in games

ERIC HICKS, F, Cincinnati (59.4%) Made 52.8% of his field goals, but was only Bearcat to shoot less than 60% from the line

JAMAAL WILLIAMS, F, Washington (60.9%) 6'5" post player is crafty scorer in the paint but artless at the line

ALANDO TUCKER, F, Wisconsin (65.5%) Kammron Taylor is only Badger who shoots more than 70%

STUMBLING

BOSTON COLLEGE A feel-good story during their 20--0 start, the Eagles have gone 4--4 since then, including a loss to West Virginia in Big East quarterfinals

CHARLOTTE Had won seven straight before losing final two regular-season games, at Louisville and South Florida, and then C-USA tournament opener to Memphis

IOWA STATE Has gone 3--3 in its last six games, with two of the losses coming to non-NCAA tournament teams Texas A&M and Nebraska (the latter in Ames)

KANSAS After starting 20--1, Jayhawks dropped four of last six regular-season games to lose outright Big 12 title, then fell in tournament semis to Oklahoma State

MISSISSIPPI STATE Bulldogs have been sputtering for a while, going 5--5 over their last 10 (with no wins over tournament-bound teams) and 8--8 since Jan. 8

SURGING

FLORIDA Won seven in a row and nine of its last 10--including two victories over Kentucky in an eight-day span, the most recent coming in the SEC title game

LOUISVILLE Needed two missed free throws to escape against Memphis in Conference USA final, but has won nine in a row and 18 of 19

NEW MEXICO With star Danny Granger back after surgery to repair torn knee cartilage, Lobos won nine in a row--two over Utah--and the Mountain West title

WEST VIRGINIA Looked NIT-bound at best after 2--6 start in conference play, but late-season rush included sweep of Pitt and march to Big East championship game

WINTHROP After Pacific's 22-game streak was snapped, the Eagles now have the nation's longest winning streak at 18 games

GLASS EATERS

LAWRENCE ROBERTS, F, Mississippi State (10.9 rebounds per game) 6'9" senior leads SEC in rebounding and is fifth in scoring (16.7)

SEAN MAY, C, North Carolina (10.7) ACC's second-leading rebounder closed regular season with eight straight double doubles; grabbed 19 boards against Kentucky on Dec. 4 and 24 in season finale versus Duke

JUAN MENDEZ, F, Niagara (10.6) MAAC player of the year and Montreal native has 20 double doubles, including one streak of 11 in a row

NICK FAZEKAS, F, Nevada (9.4) Had 21 points and 18 boards in matchup against Louisiana Tech's Paul Millsap, the nation's leading rebounder

ELLIS MYLES, F, Louisville (9.3) Gives Cards toughness and leadership and has matured into a deft passer; had a triple double in Conference USA quarterfinals versus TCU

TREY TROUBLE

BOSTON COLLEGE No player shoots more than 40% from beyond the arc, and Eagles average fewest threes (4.0) in Big East

CHATTANOOGA Ranks last in Southern Conference with 30.3% from long range

MICHIGAN STATE Before hitting 13 of 26 in regular-season finale against Penn State, Spartans were 28 for 104 (26.9%) in previous six games

MISSISSIPPI STATE Is 10th in SEC in three-point shooting (33.2%) and threes made (5.8); point guard Gary Ervin has only 10 on the season

SYRACUSE Ranks 11th in Big East in three-point shooting (31.4%), as point guard Gerry McNamara's percentage dropped to 34.4

MATCHUPS WE WANT

KANSAS VS. NORTH CAROLINA (Syracuse Regional final) UNC coach Roy Williams recently said that playing his former team in the tournament would be "the worst moment of my life"

OLD DOMINION VS. VERMONT (Austin Regional second round) Quality bigs Alex Loughton (ODU) and Taylor Coppenrath would ensure a spirited battle for a Cinderella spot in the Sweet 16

WASHINGTON VS. WAKE FOREST (Albuquerque Regional final) Teams are ranked second and third in the nation, respectively, in scoring

ILLINOIS VS. NEVADA (Chicago Regional second round) Nevada's 6'11" Fazekas is the kind of player who can give Illini's front line trouble

DUKE VS. KENTUCKY (Austin Regional final) Last two meetings in regional finals, in 1992 and '98, were instant classics--with the winner eventually claiming NCAA title

COLOR PHOTOMITCHELL LAYTON (ANDERSON)COLOR PHOTOCHRIS LIVINGSTON/ICON SMI (HICKS)COLOR PHOTOJOHN BIEVER (GRIER)COLOR PHOTOMARK DIORIO/THE DAILY ORANGE (MCNAMARA)COLOR PHOTOBOB ROSATO (ROBERTS)COLOR PHOTOGREG NELSON (KANSAS MASCOT)COLOR PHOTOMANNY MILLAN (NORTH CAROLINA MASCOT)