(Today, at Worcester, Mass.) Kentucky (26-6) vs. Old Dominion (15-14) Time: 12:35 p.m. TV: None
Outlook: The Wildcats won the Southeast Conference tournament, and their 9.1 three-pointers per game ranked third in the nation. F Jamal Mashburn (20.9 ppg, 7.3 rpg) plays inside and outside and is the team's top three-point shooter (41.7 percent). Led by F Ricardo Leonard (21 ppg), Old Dominion's bid came via the Colonial tournament title and could have the confidence to give the Wildcats a tough game.
UNC-Charlotte (23-8) vs. Iowa State (20-12) Time: 3 p.m. (approximate) TV: None
Outlook: UNCC last played in the tournament in 1988, losing a first-round game to Brigham Young. Strength is the team's outside shooting, with three players shooting above 40 percent from beyond the three-point arc. Iowa State enters the tournament as a loser of eight of its last 11. G Justus Thigpen (15.9 ppg) is the top scorer. Iowa State is spurred by its defense.
Outlook: First NCAA appearance for Massachusetts since 1962. The team, a final four participant in last year's NIT, won the Atlantic 10 tournament and has won 11 in a row. G Jim McCoy (16.3) leads a balanced attack that had five players in double figures. Fordham, the Patriot League champion, last played in the NCAAs in 1971. F Fred Herzog (19.9 ppg) leads the Rams in scoring.
TV: Channels 11, 9
Outlook: Princeton always seems to make an opponent sweat in the NCAA tournament, and Syracuse always seems to be making an early exit. The Orangemen beat Georgetown for the Big East tournament title. F Dave Johnson leads Syracuse in scoring (20.2 ppg). F Lawrence Moten (18.5 ppg) was the league's top freshman. Princeton won the Ivy League title. In their NCAA appearance last year, the Tigers lost by two to Villanova. G Sean Jackson (11.6 ppg) is the top scorer. The Tigers' main asset is their defense, which limits opponents to 48
Outlook: The Spartans have been up and down, and a tough team to figure. They have two overtime losses in the NCAA the past two years, last year in double OT to Utah and in 1990 to Georgia Tech. The Bears are a balanced group, led by 5-7 point guard Jackie Crawford.
Outlook: Two of the surprising teams in the tournament. The fourth-seeded Bearcats, three years removed from NCAA probation, could be one of the sleepers in this year's field. They go nine deep, led by seniors Herb Jones (18.1 ppg, 7.0 rpg) and Anthony Buford (15.2 ppg, 51 three-point shots made). The Fighting Blue Hens have the longest Division I winning streak of any team in the tournament (20 games).
Kansas (26-4) vs. Howard (17-13) Time: 8:05 p.m. TV: Channel 9
Outlook: The Jayhawks, runners-up to Duke a year ago and No. 1 in the Midwest this season, could be a Final Four team again. They have nearly everybody back, including junior G Adonis Jordan and senior F Alonzo Jamison, and have added G Rex Walters, a transfer from Northwestern. The Bison, under second-year coach and former NBA journeyman Butch Beard, are playing in their first NCAA tournament since 1981. Sort of a poor man's Tulane, with "The Horsemen" -- led by Milan Brown -- coming off the bench.
Evansville (24-5) vs. Texas-El Paso (25-6) Time: 10:30 p.m. (approximate, 30 minutes after conclusion of preceding game)
Outlook: The eighth-seeded Purple Aces have one of the country's best undiscovered players in 6-3 F Parrish Casebier (25.9 ppg, 9.5 rpg), who scored 36 against Arizona the night after dropping in 28 against Maryland. He's an 80 percent free-throw shooter who went to the line 226 times this year. Fifth-year senior G Prince Stewart will draw Casebier. This marks the 14th time in 31 years in the tournament for UTEP coach Don Haskins, who led the Miners to the 1966 national championship. (Today, at Atlanta) St. John's (19-10) vs. Tulane (21-8) Time: 12:15 p.m. TV: Channels 11, 9
Outlook: Tulane, which started the season 15-0, cooled considerably at the end. Coach Perry Clark's backup unit, The Posse, contributes some 35 points a game. Seventh-seeded St. John's lost five of seven at midseason when 6-11 C Robert Werdann went out with a calf injury.
Oklahoma State (26-7) vs. Georgia Southern (25-5) Time: 2:45 p.m. (approximate, 30 minutes after conclusion of preceding game)
Outlook: Oklahoma State coach Eddie Sutton must win twice in Atlanta to reach the Southeast semifinals and make a triumphant return to Lexington, where he was unceremoniously removed as Kentucky coach three years ago. Georgia Southern, averaging 92 points, prefers a fast tempo. The Eagles shot 49.9 percent from the field this year.
Outlook: Michigan's freshmen are the heart of the team. Three play crucial roles for the sixth-seeded Wolverines -- G Jalen Rose, who averages 17.3, F Chris Webber, averaging 15.4, and C Juwan Howard, averaging 10.7. The Wolverines are young and inconsistent. Temple went 0-4 against top 25 competition outside its conference.
Arizona (24-6) vs. East Tennessee State (23-6) Time: 10:05 p.m. (approximate, 30 minutes after conclusion of preceding game)
Outlook: Arizona dominates inside, with 6-10 Sean Rooks, 6-8 Wayne Womack and 6-6 Chris Mills, and has 7-0 Ed Stokes off the bench. Not surprisingly, the third-seeded Wildcats have out-rebounded opponents by more than seven a game. They also shoot 50.8 percent from the field. East Tennessee State, seeded 14th, has won eight in a row and is averaging 86 points. The Buccaneers have balance in C Greg Dennis (16), F Calvin Talford (16.7) and G Rodney English (17.3).