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NCAA TOURNAMENT

THE BALTIMORE SUN

TOP 8 SEEDS

1. Memphis

Location -- Memphis, Tenn.

Record -- 30-3.

RPI -- 4.

Record vs. tournament field -- 8-3.

Road record -- 11-2.

Record in past 10 -- 9-1.

Impressive wins -- Nov. 23, in New York vs. UCLA, 88-80; Dec. 27, home vs. Gonzaga, 83-72; Jan. 18, home vs. Tennessee, 88-79.

Top players -- Sr., Rodney Carney, F, 17.5 ppg., 4.3 rpg.; Fr., Shawne Williams, F, 13.4 ppg., 6.3 rpg; So., Darius Washington, G, 13.5 ppg.

Skinny -- The Tigers during the regular season were third in the nation in scoring (82.3) and second in margin of victory (15.0). They also led their conference in blocked shots (6.8), steals (10.0) and assists (14.9), which means they're aggressive all over the court.

2. UCLA

Location -- Los Angeles.

Record -- 27-6.

RPI -- 10.

Record vs. tournament field -- 7-5.

Road record -- 13-3.

Record in past 10 -- 8-2.

Impressive wins -- Dec. 10, in Anaheim vs. Nevada, 67-56; Jan. 5, at Arizona, 85-79; Mar. 2, at California, 67-58.

Top players -- So., Arron Afflalo, G, 16.6 ppg., 4.3 rpg.; So., Jordan Farmar, G, 13.6 ppg., 5.3 apg.

Skinny -- The backcourt of Afflalo and Farmar is one of the best in the country, and the Bruins' emphasis on defense has kept them from suffering any double-digit losses.

3. Gonzaga

Location -- Spokane, Wash.

Record -- 27-3.

RPI -- 9.

Record vs. tournament field -- 1-3.

Road record -- 12-3.

Record in past 10 -- 10-0.

Impressive wins -- Nov. 21, in Maui vs. Maryland, 88-76; Nov. 22, in Maui vs. Michigan State, 109-106 (3OT).

Top players -- Jr., Adam Morrison, F, 28.4 ppg, 5.5 rpg; Sr., J.P. Batista, F, 19.3 ppg, 9.5 rpg.

Skinny -- Near upsets by Loyola Marymount and San Diego in the West Coast Conference tournament make prospects of a deep run appear shaky despite impressive early-season results, including a two-point loss to Connecticut. Morrison's scoring might not be able to compensate for a Gonzaga defense that doesn't rank in the top 100 in defensive field-goal percentage or steals and isn't in the top 200 in scoring defense or blocked shots.

4. Kansas

Location -- Lawrence, Kan.

Record -- 25-7.

RPI -- 20.

Record vs. tournament field -- 5-4.

Road record -- 11-5.

Record in past 10 -- 9-1.

Impressive wins -- Jan. 7, home vs. Kentucky, 73-46; Feb. 5, home vs. Oklahoma, 59-58; March 12 in Dallas vs. Texas, 80-68.

Top players -- Fr., Brandon Rush, G, 13.5 ppg, 5.9 rpg; Fr., Mario Chalmers, G, 11.4 ppg, 3.8 apg; Fr., Julian Wright, F, 8.3 ppg, 4.6 rpg.

Skinny -- The young Jayhawks finished strong, defeating Texas to win the Big 12 tournament. Rush -- brother of former Laker Kareem Rush and former UCLA player JaRon Rush -- is among three freshmen who made the Jayhawks a major surprise, losing only three games since December after a 3-4 start. Kansas led the nation in defensive field-goal percentage during the regular season, holding teams to 36.6.

5. Pittsburgh

Location -- Pittsburgh.

Record -- 24-7.

RPI -- 11.

Record vs. tournament field -- 6-6.

Road record -- 8-6.

Record in past 10 -- 6-4.

Impressive wins -- Dec. 31, home vs. Wisconsin, 73-64; Jan. 28, home vs. Marquette, 77-71.

Top players -- Sr., Carl Krauser, G, 15.0 ppg., 4.7 apg.; Jr., Aaron Gray, C, 13.8 ppg., 10.6 rpg.

Skinny -- Krauser, 25, is the mature leader so important in late, close games. But the Panthers have struggled on the road and played tired in consecutive losses to end the regular season.

6. Indiana

Location -- Bloomington, Ind.

Record -- 18-11.

RPI -- 34.

Record vs. tournament field -- 5-8.

Road record -- 8-9.

Record in past 10 -- 5-5.

Impressive wins -- Dec. 10, in Indianapolis vs. Kentucky, 79-53; Dec. 19, at North Carolina-Charlotte, 71-54; Jan. 7, home vs. Ohio State, 81-79; Jan. 17, home vs. Illinois, 62-60.

Top players -- Sr., Marco Killingsworth, F, 17.3 ppg., 8.0 rpg; So., Robert Vaden, G/F, 13.1 ppg., 5.6 rpg.

Skinny -- Through a campaign in which coach Mike Davis announced his resignation with two weeks left in the regular season, but also said he would coach the Hoosiers until the bitter end, Indiana has survived mostly with outside shooting. The Hoosiers finished the regular season shooting 40.4 percent from three-point range, fourth in the nation.

7. Marquette

Location -- Milwaukee.

Record -- 20-10.

RPI -- 31.

Record vs. tournament field -- 5-6.

Road record -- 6-8.

Record in past 10 -- 5-5.

Impressive wins -- Jan. 3, home vs. Connecticut, 94-79; Feb. 18, home vs. Pittsburgh, 84-82.

Top players -- Sr., Steve Novak, F, 17.5 ppg., 5.9 rpg.; Fr., Dominic James, G, 15.1 ppg, 5.4 apg.

Skinny -- The Golden Eagles mix up defenses and have three freshmen who have accounted for 62 percent of the team's steals. Marquette was picked to finish 12th in its first season in the Big East, but finished tied for fourth.

8. Arkansas

Location -- Fayetteville, Ark.

Record -- 22-9.

RPI -- 45.

Record vs. tournament field -- 4-6.

Road record -- 7-8.

Record in past 10 -- 7-3.

Impressive wins -- Nov. 22, in Maui vs. Kansas, 65-64; Feb. 25, at Tennessee, 73-69; Feb. 18, home vs. Florida, 85-81 (OT).

Top players -- Jr., Ronnie Brewer, G, 18.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg; Sr., Jonathon Modica, G, 16.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg.

Skinny -- The Razorbacks had a six-game winning streak that included an upset at Tennessee before losing to Florida in an SEC quarterfinal. Brewer was among the league's scoring leaders, along with LSU's Glen Davis and Tennessee's Chris Lofton. Steven Hill, a 7-foot sophomore, blocked 10 shots against Texas State, and his 87 were more than any Razorback since Oliver Miller had 88 in 1992.

BOTTOM 8 SEEDS

9. Bucknell

Location -- Lewisburg, Pa.

Record -- 26-4.

RPI -- 42.

Record vs. tournament field -- 1-3.

Road record -- 12-3.

Record in past 10 -- 9-1.

Impressive wins -- Nov. 22, at Syracuse, 74-69; Dec. 3, at DePaul, 57-52; March 10, home vs. Holy Cross, 74-59.

Top players -- Sr., Charles Lee, G/F, 12.9 ppg., 6.1 rpg.; Jr., Chris McNaughton, C, 12.9 ppg., 4.6 rpg.; Sr., Kevin Bettencourt, G, 12.6 ppg.

Skinny -- After upsetting Kansas in the first round last season, the Bison will not sneak up on anyone.

10. Alabama

Location -- Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Record -- 17-12.

RPI -- 57.

Record vs. tournament field -- 6-6.

Road record -- 3-8.

Record in past 10 -- 6-4.

Impressive wins -- Feb. 4, home vs. Louisiana State, 67-62; Feb. 18, home vs. Tennessee, 92-79; Feb. 26, home vs. Florida, 82-77.

Top players -- Jr., Jermareo Davidson, F, 14.1 ppg, 9.0 rpg; So., Ronald Steele, G, 13.8 ppg, 4.1 apg.

Skinny -- Alabama has lost its last two games, stumbling at Mississippi State in the regular-season finale and losing to Kentucky in an SEC quarterfinal. The Crimson Tide made an impression in February with home victories over the league's top teams -- Tennessee, LSU and Florida -- but won only three road games. Alabama lost forward Chuck Davis, then its leading scorer, for the rest of the season when he tore a knee ligament in January.

11. San Diego State

Location -- San Diego.

Record -- 24-8.

RPI -- 56.

Record vs. tournament field -- 2-2.

Road record -- 11-6.

Record in past 10 -- 8-2.

Impressive wins -- Feb. 8, home vs. Air Force, 61-51; Jan. 11, at Utah, 72-67; conference final vs. Wyoming, 69-64 (OT).

Top players -- Jr., Brandon Heath, G, 18.5 ppg.; Jr., Marcus Slaughter, F, 16.6 ppg., 11.0 rpg; Jr., Mohamed Abukar, F, 13.8 ppg.; Fr., Kyle Spain, F, 9.3 ppg., 5.8 rpg.

Skinny -- Heath, who played at Westchester High, works from the perimeter while Slaughter can be a dominating inside presence for a team that won its conference tournament despite shooting only 29 percent in the final.

12. Kent State

Location -- Kent, Ohio.

Record -- 25-8.

RPI -- 48.

Record vs. tournament field -- 0-2.

Road record -- 9-6.

Record in past 10 -- 8-2.

Impressive wins -- Nov. 29, at Youngstown State, 77-69; Feb. 15, at Buffalo, 11-107; March 11, in Cleveland vs. Toledo, 71-66.

Top players -- Sr., DeAndre Haynes, G, 13.2 ppg, 4.0 apg; Sr., Jay Youngblood, G, 14.7 ppg; So., Michael Scott, F, 6.9 ppg, 4.8 rpg; Sr., Kevin Warzynski, F, 10.3 ppg, 5.1 rpg.

Skinny -- The Golden Flashes will not be afraid to play tough after beating up teams in the MAC all season behind Nate Gerwig and Warzynski. Haynes is a steady point guard and Youngblood a solid scorer. Scott provides highlight plays for Kent, which lost in the MAC title game in 2003 and 2004.

13. Bradley

Location -- Peoria, Ill.

Record -- 20-10.

RPI -- 33.

Record vs. tournament field -- 4-4.

Road record -- 7-10.

Record in past 10 -- 7-3.

Impressive wins -- Nov. 19, at DePaul, 75-60; Feb. 14, home vs. Southern Illinois, 72-60; March 3, at St. Louis vs. Creighton, 54-47.

Top players -- Sr., Marcellus Sommerville, F, 15.4 ppg, 6.8 rpg; So., Patrick O'Bryant, C, 13.2 ppg, 8.0 rpg; So., Daniel Ruffin, G, 7.7 ppg, 5.2 apg.

Skinny -- O'Bryant, the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year, can dominate inside and Sommerville is a capable scorer who works well in the open court. The Braves, known for their defensive pressure, played their best basketball in the conference tournament, but in the championship game their offense disappeared in the second half.

14. Xavier

Location -- Cincinnati.

Record -- 21-10.

RPI -- 80.

Record vs. tournament field -- 1-2.

Road record -- 7-6.

Record in past 10 -- 7-3

Impressive wins -- Jan. 19, home vs. Cincinnati, 73-71 (OT); March 11, at Cincinnati vs. St. Joseph's, 62-61.

Top players -- So., Stanley Burrell, G, 13.8 ppg, 3.1 apg; Jr., Justin Doellman, F, 10.7 ppg, 6.5 rpg.

Skinny -- The Musketeers lost their leading scorer and rebounder, Brian Thornton, to a broken ankle in February, but they have gone 7-3 without him, claiming the Atlantic 10's automatic bid by winning four games in four days, defeating Saint Joseph's in the title game.

15. Belmont

Location -- Nashville, Tenn.

Record -- 20-10.

RPI -- 115.

Record vs. tournament field -- 0-2.

Road record -- 10-8.

Record in past 10 -- 9-1.

Impressive wins -- Nov. 22, at Chattanooga, 93-79; Jan. 31, home vs. Lipscomb, 81-65; March 4, in Johnson City, Tenn., vs. Lipscomb, 74-69 (OT).

Top players -- So., Justin Hare, G, 15.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.9 apg; Jr., Boomer Hernden, C, 14.9 ppg, 7.5 rpg; Sr., Brian Collins, G, 10.9 ppg, 4.4 apg.

Skinny -- Hare scored a career-high 32 points to lead Belmont past Lipscomb in Atlantic Sun championship game. The Bruins are one of the best shooting teams in the tournament, ranking fourth nationally in field-goal percentage (50.0).

16. Oral Roberts

Location -- Tulsa, Okla.

Record -- 21-11.

RPI -- 131.

Record vs. tournament field -- 1-5.

Road record -- 7-8.

Record in past 10 -- 8-2.

Impressive wins -- Nov. 23, home, vs. USC, 68-48; Nov. 26, home, vs. Monmouth, 62-54; Feb. 23, at Centenary, 83-57.

Top players -- Jr., Caleb Green, F, 20.8 ppg, 8.9 rpg; Jr., Ken Tutt, G, 14.3 ppg; Sr., Larry Owens, F, 12.5 ppg, 7.8 rpg.

Skinny -- The Golden Eagles are balanced with Green, Tutt and Owens each capable of leading them in scoring. In Oral Roberts' 85-72 victory over Chicago State in the Mid-Continent championship game, Tutt scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half after Owens scored 16 of his 24 in the first.

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