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ALBUQUERQUE REGIONAL

THE BALTIMORE SUN

1. Washington

Location: Seattle.

Record: 27-5.

RPI: 3.

Record vs. tournament field: 9-4.

Road record: 6-5.

Record in past 10: 8-2.

Impressive victories: Nov. 25, Utah, 78-71; Nov. 27, Alabama, 79-76; Feb. 26, Arizona, 93-85.

Disturbing losses: Dec. 1, at Gonzaga, 99-87; Jan. 8, at UCLA, 95-86; Feb. 13, at Oregon State, 90-73.

Top players: Jr. Nate Robinson, G, 16.7 ppg; Sr. Tre Simmons, F, 16.3 ppg; Sr. Will Conroy, G, 9.2 ppg.

Skinny: Since dropping their first five Pac-10 games of the 2003-04 season, the run-and-gun Huskies have lost only five of their next 31 league games.

Graduation rates: 68 percent (athletes), 70 percent (all students).

Little-known fact: Coach Lorenzo Romar is only the second former Husky to return and coach his alma mater, joining Lynn Nance.

2. Wake Forest

Location: Winston-Salem, N.C.

Record: 26-5.

RPI: 6.

Record vs. tournament field: 10-4.

Road record: 8-4.

Record in past 10: 8-2.

Impressive victories: Nov. 26, vs. Arizona, 63-60; Jan. 15, North Carolina, 95-82; Feb. 2, Duke, 92-89.

Disturbing loss: Jan. 18, at Florida State, 91-83.

Top players: So. Chris Paul, G, 14.9 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 6.6 apg; Jr. Eric Williams, C, 16.0 ppg, 7.7 rpg.

Skinny: With Paul running the show, the Demon Deacons can score (85.4 ppg.) They also can give them up -- in each of their four losses they allowed more than 90 points.

Graduation rate: 76 percent, 87 percent.

Little-known fact: The late Brian Piccolo, former Chicago Bear and and inspiration for the movie Brian's Song, was a Wake alum.

3. Gonzaga

Location: Spokane, Wash.

Record: 25-4.

RPI: 8.

Record vs. tournament field: 4-2.

Road record: 6-3.

Record in past 10: 10-0.

Impressive victories: Dec. 1, Washington, 99-87; Dec. 19, Georgia Tech, 85-73; Dec. 28, Oklahoma State, 78-75.

Disturbing losses: Dec. 30, at Missouri, 63-61; Jan. 20, at San Francisco, 73-70.

Top players: So. Adam Morrison, F, 18.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg; Sr. Ronny Turiaf, F, 16.1 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 54 blocks; Jr. J.P. Batista, C, 12.5 ppg, 6.2 rpg.

Skinny: The Bulldogs have not made it past the second round the past two seasons, but they are peaking at the right time. Morrison has emerged as a big-time scorer, and Turiaf and Batista are tough to handle in the post.

Graduation rate: 73 percent, 72 percent.

Little-known fact: Of course John Stockton went there but so did Bing Crosby, the school's most famous alum.

4. Louisville

Location: Louisville, Ky.

Record: 29-4.

RPI: 12.

Record vs. tournament field: 8-2.

Road record: 11-1.

Record in past 10: 9-1.

Impressive victories: Dec. 11, at Florida, 74-40; Jan. 15, at Cincinnati, 69-66; Jan. 26, Marquette, 99-53.

Disturbing losses: Jan. 5, at Houston, 70-67; Feb. 9, Memphis, 85-68.

Top players: Jr. Franciso Garcia, G, 15.4 ppg, 3.9 apg; Jr. Taquan Dean, G, 14.2 ppg; Sr. Ellis Myles, F, 9.3 rpg.

Skinny: Coach Rick Pitino's team won its first Conference USA title in its final season in the league. Next year the Cardinals will be in the Big East.

Graduation rate: 45 percent, 33 percent.

Little-known fact: This was the last Conference USA tournament for the Cardinals.

5. Georgia Tech

Location: Atlanta.

Record: 19-11.

RPI: 31.

Record vs. tournament field: 2-9.

Road record: 4-6.

Record in past 10: 7-3.

Impressive victories: Jan. 27, Wake Forest, 102-101; Feb. 26, at Miami, 76-72.

Disturbing losses: Jan. 22, Virginia Tech, 70-69; Feb. 13, N.C. State, 53-51.

Top players: Jr. Jarrett Jack, G, 15.4 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 4.6 apg; Sr. Luke Schenscher, C, 10.4 ppg, 7.5 rpg.

Skinny: Last year's run to the championship game created high expectations this season and the Yellow Jackets have come up short. An inconsistent Georgia Tech won back-to-back conference games just once.

Graduation rate: 58 percent, 68 percent.

Little-known fact: Buzz is the name of the Yellow Jacket mascot.

6. Texas Tech

Location: Lubbock, Texas.

Record: 20-11.

RPI: 30.

Record vs. tournament field: 6-7.

Road record: 5-5.

Record in past 10: 6-4.

Impressive victories: Feb. 5, at Oklahoma, 88-81; Feb. 14, Kansas, 80-79 (2OT); Feb. 22, Texas, 69-65.

Disturbing losses: Feb. 12, at Iowa State, 81-68; Feb. 26, at Texas A&M;, 85-63.

Top players: Sr. Ronald Ross, G, 16.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg; So. Jarrius Jackson, G, 15.0 ppg, 3.6 apg; Fr. Martin Zeno, G, 13.2 ppg.

Skinny: They depend heavily on Ross, who scored in double figures in all but two games, and their offense, which averaged a league-best 78.7 ppg.

Graduation rate: 56 percent, 51 percent.

Little-known fact: Ross was a walk-on as a freshman and averaged just 3.1 points and 1.1 rebounds that season.

7. West Virginia

Location: Morgantown, W.Va.

Record: 21-10.

RPI: 44.

Record vs. tournament field: 4-6.

Road record: 6-5.

Record in past 10: 7-3.

Impressive victories: Feb. 23, at Pittsburgh, 70-66; March 10, Boston College 78-72; March 11, Villanova, 78-76.

Disturbing losses: Jan. 5, at Villanova, 84-46; Feb. 12, at Georgetown, 67-60; March 5, at Seton Hall, 66-63.

Top players: Sr. Tyrone Salley, F, 12.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg; Jr. Mike Gansey, G, 11.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg; Jr. Kevin Pittsnogle, C, 11.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg.

Skinny: Excellent showing in Big East tournament pushed the Mountaineers into the tournament. Their 1-3-1 defense, spread offense and three-point shooters make them a difficult foe.

Graduation rate: 56 percent, 55 percent.

Little-known fact: Mountaineers' 10-0 start was their best since the Jerry West team of 1959-60.

8. Pacific

Location: Stockton, Calif.

Record: 26-3.

RPI: 20.

Record vs. tournament field: 4-2.

Road record: 13-1.

Record in past 10: 9-1.

Impressive victories: Dec. 11, at Nevada, 72-69; Dec. 21, at Fresno State, 88-77; Feb. 20, Texas El Paso, 73-66.

Disturbing loss: Dec. 18, San Francisco, 67-64.

Top players: Sr. Christian Maraker, F, 13.0 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 51.9 percent FG; Sr. Guillaume Yango, C, 13.1 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 30 blocks; Sr. David Doubley, G, 12.2 ppg, 4.0 apg, 42.7 percent 3-pt FG.

Skinny: The big and deep Tigers had the nation's longest winning streak at a school-record 22 games. Maraker, Yango and forward Tyler Newton are an imposing front line.

Graduation rate: 62 percent, 65 percent.

Little-known fact: Pacific's home arena, the Spanos Center, is named after Alex Spanos, the owner of the San Diego Chargers and a Stockton resident.

9. Pittsburgh

Location: Pittsburgh.

Record: 20-8.

RPI: 48.

Record vs. tournament field: 4-6.

Road record: 6-3.

Record in past 10: 5-5.

Impressive victories: Jan. 22, at UConn, 76-66; Feb. 14, at Syracuse, 68-64; Feb. 28, at Boston College, 72-50.

Disturbing losses: Jan. 2, Bucknell, 69-66; Jan. 18, at St. John's, 65-62; Mar. 10, Villanova, 67-58.

Top players: Jr. Carl Krauser, G, 15.6 ppg, 5.9 apg; Sr. Chevon Troutman, F, 15.1 ppg, 8.0 rpg; So. Chris Taft, F, 13.3 ppg, 7.4 rpg.

Skinny: Physical defense is a major attribute. To advance in the tournament, Panthers must hit threes, after shooting a season-low 17.6 percent (3-for-18) against Villanova, to loosen up defenders' sagging defense.

Graduation rate: 58 percent, 63 percent.

Little-known fact: The Panthers overcame 17-point deficits to defeat UConn and Syracuse.

10. Creighton

Location: Omaha, Neb.

Record: 23-10.

RPI: 45.

Record vs. tournament field: 2-2.

Road record: 7-5.

Record in past 10: 9-1.

Impressive victories: Nov. 23, at Missouri, 78-54; Nov. 24, at Ohio State 65-62; Dec. 11, at Nebraska, 50-48.

Disturbing losses: Dec. 31, at San Diego, 82-70; Jan. 12, at Indiana State, 74-72.

Top players: Jr. Nate Funk, G, 17.6 ppg; Jr. Johnny Mathies, G, 11.6 ppg; Sr. Tyler McKinney, G, 5.4 apg.

Skinny: Coach Dana Altman's teams show improvement as the season goes on and finished strong. The Bluejays, led by Funk, made 265 three-pointers this year on 41.5 shooting.

Graduation rate: 65 percent, 70 percent.

Little-known fact: The Bluejays are the first Missouri Valley team to have won 20 games for seven straight years.

11. UCLA

Location: Los Angeles.

Record: 18-10.

RPI: 41.

Record vs. tournament field: 1-7.

Road record: 6-5.

Record in past 10: 6-4.

Impressive victories: Jan. 8, Washington, 95-86; Feb. 10, Arizona State, 95-76; Feb. 27, at Notre Dame, 75-65.

Disturbing losses: Jan. 20, Stanford, 75-64; Jan. 22, California, 64-51; Feb. 20, at Stanford, 78-65.

Top players: Sr. Dijon Thompson, F, 18.3 ppg., 8.0 rpg.; Fr. Jordan Farmar, G, 13.6 ppg., 5.3 apg.; Fr. Arron Afflalo, G, 11.0 ppg.

Skinny: With three freshman starters including point guard Farmar, the Bruins have been late bloomers.

Graduation rate: 61 percent, 83 percent.

Little-known fact: This is the third time UCLA has started two freshman guards since 1980. In 1979-80, Michael Holton and Rod Foster led the Bruins to the national championship game. In 1997-98, Earl Watson and Baron Davis took the Bruins to the Sweet 16.

12. George Washington

Location: Washington.

Record: 22-7.

RPI: 58.

Record vs. tournament field: 1-2.

Road record: 8-4.

Record in past 10: 8-2.

Impressive victories: Dec. 4, Michigan State, 96-83; Dec. 5, Maryland, 101-92; Feb. 5, at Temple, 74-58.

Disturbing losses: Jan. 25, Xavier, 66-65; Feb. 23, at Xavier, 81-62; March 1, Saint Joseph's, 71-56.

Top players: Sr. T.J. Thompson, G, 13.8 ppg, 2.9 apg; so. J.R. Pinnock, G, 13.5 ppg, jr. Pops Mensah-Bonsu, F, 12.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.6 bpg.

Skinny: The Colonials were the most athletic team in the Atlantic 10, but they were a little lost at times when they weren't able to run and dunk at will.

Graduation rate: 69 percent, 74 percent.

Little-known fact: The Colonials' highest ranking ever was No. 7 in 1954. They finished that season 23-3.

13. Louisiana-Lafayette

Location: Lafayette, La.

Record: 20-10.

RPI: 38.

Record vs. tournament field: 1-4.

Road record: 5-9.

Record in past 10: 7-3.

Impressive victories: Jan. 5, S. Illinois, 63-61; March 8, Denver, 88-69.

Disturbing loss: Jan. 2, at Vanderbilt, 71-44.

Top players: Jr. Tiras Wade, G, 20.4 ppg.; Sr. Brian Hamilton F, 13.5 ppg., 7.5 rpg.; Jr. Dwayne Mitchell, G, 10.6 ppg., 3.5 apg.

Skinny: Louisiana-Lafayette picked up its fifth Sun Belt championship, tying Western Kentucky for the most in league history. Robert Lee became the first rookie coach to lead the Cajuns to the NCAAs.

Graduation rate: 43 percent, 29 percent.

Little-known fact: UL-Lafayette is probably the only university in the world with its own swamp.

14. Winthrop

Location: Rock Hill, S.C.

Record: 27-5.

RPI: 70.

Record vs. tournament field: 0-0.

Road record: 9-4.

Record in past 10: 10-0.

Impressive victory: Nov. 30, at Providence, 60-54.

Disturbing loss: Jan. 5, at Coastal Carolina, 76-68.

Top players: So. Torrell Martin, G, 12.8 ppg, 42.2 percent 3-pt; Jr. James Shuler, G, 12.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg; So. Craig Bradshaw, F/C, 8.0 ppg, 43.7 percent 3-pt.

Skinny: The Eagles, making their fifth NCAA appearance in seven years, won the Big South tourney title after also winning the league's regular-season crown. They come in with an 18-game winning streak.

Graduation rate: 62 percent, 55 percent.

Little-known fact: Consumers Digest rated Winthrop among the nation's top 50 "Best Value" public universities for 2004.

15. Chattanooga

Location: Chattanooga, Tenn.

Record: 20-10.

RPI: 122.

Record vs. tournament field: 0-1.

Road record: 7-7.

Record in past 10: 7-3.

Impressive victory: Dec. 5, at Tennessee, 69-68.

Disturbing losses: Dec. 30, Birmingham Southern, 64-59; Feb. 5, Elon, 62-59.

Top players: Sr. Mindaugas Katelynas, F, 12.0 ppg, 9.1 rpg; Sr. Chris Brown, F, 11.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg; Soph. Casey Long, G, 9.6 ppg.

Skinny: The Mocs were the surprise winner of the Southern Conference. They are athletic and prefer an up-tempo. This also is a solid rebounding team (plus-11.3 per game).

Graduation rate: 54 percent, 43 percent.

Little-known fact: This is a big week for Chattanooga. Not only is the school in the NCAA tourney, but the committee searching for a new chancellor is scheduled to finish its eight interviews this week.

16. Montana

Location: Missoula, Mont.

Record: 18-12.

RPI: 158.

Record vs. tournament field: 0-2.

Road record: 4-10.

Record in past 10: 8-2.

Impressive victory: Nov. 30, Cal State Northridge, 90-80.

Disturbing losses: Dec. 18, at UC Santa Barbara, 55-46; Jan. 15, Montana State, 62-60; Feb. 17, at Sacramento State, 83-80.

Top players: Sr. Kamarr Davis, F, 14.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg; Jr. Kevin Criswell, G, 12.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg; So. Matt Dlouhy, F, 9.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg.

Skinny: The Grizzlies are making their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2002, when they lost to Oregon in the first round.

Graduation rate: 59 percent, 43 percent.

Little-known fact: Montana coach Larry Krystkowiak, the Grizzlies' all-time leading scorer, is the school's only former player whose number was retired.

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