The Baltimore Sun

South Regional semifinals

Site -- Reliant Stadium, Houston

Memphis (35-1) vs. Michigan State (27-8)

Time -- 9:57 (approx.)

How they got here -- No. 1 seed Memphis def. No. 16 Texas-Arlington, 87-63, and No. 8 Mississippi State, 77-74; No. 5 seed Michigan State def. No. 12 Temple, 72-61, and No. 4 Pitts burgh, 65-54.

The buzz -- Expect to see a lot of de fense. Both teams are deep and ath letic. Michigan State has a lot of big bodies to throw at Memphis, so there should be a lot of physical play in the low post. It'll be a nice matchup of freshman point guards in Memphis' Derrick Rose and Michigan State's Kalin Lucas. While Memphis prefers a fast pace, look for the Spartans to try to keep this one in the low 70s. It would help their cause if guard Drew Neitzel and athletic forward Raymar Morgan play well. Neitzel is the Spar tans' only real three-point threat, while Morgan is the most athletic of the Spartans' big men. As for Mem phis, despite what coach John Calipa ri says, free-throw shooting eventual ly is going to be important. Michigan State won't be shy about putting Memphis on the line, especially the Tigers' big guys. Michigan State also needs to make sure to keep Rose out of the lane.

Texas (29-6) vs. Stanford (28-7)

Time -- 7:27

How they got here -- No. 2 seed Texas def. No. 15 Austin Peay, 74-54, and No. 7 Miami, 75-72; No. 3 seed Stanford def. No. 14 Cornell, 77-53, and No. 6 Marquette, 82-81, (OT).

The buzz -- An intriguing matchup of a team that relies on its big guys (Stanford) against a team with a su perb backcourt (Texas). Thing is, Tex as' frontcourt is better than Stan ford's backcourt -- and this essen tially is a home game for the Long horns. Stanford needs big games from the Lopez twins. Brook is a dan gerous scorer in the low post and has greatly improved his offensive arse nal this season. He's also a good re bounder and shot-blocker. Robin is an even better defender, though his rebounding and offense lag behind his brother's. While Stanford pounds foes on the glass and plays good de fense, the Cardinal is mediocre from three-point range, lacks athleticism and can be pressed into mistakes. Guard A.J. Abrams has scored 26 points in each NCAA game for Texas, and he and D.J. Augustin are going to pose all sorts of problems for Stan ford because of their quickness. Cen ter Connor Atchley's perimeter shooting could end up being huge for the Longhorns. Texas will try to push the tempo at every opportunity.

Midwest Regional semifinals

Site -- Ford Field, Detroit

Kansas (32-3) vs. Villanova (22-12)

Time, TV -- 9:40 (approx.), chs. 13, 9

How they got here -- No. 1 seed Kansas def. No. 16 Portland State, 85-61, and No. 8 UNLV, 75-56; No. 12 seed Villanova def. No. 5 Clemson, 75-69, and No. 13 Siena, 84-72.

The buzz -- Villanova could make this interesting if it hits its three-pointers. The Wildcats are 14-1 when they make at least eight three-point ers in a game. Kansas allows 7.2 made three-pointers per game, but foes shoot just 33.7 percent from be yond the arc. Villanova played much better defensively in the second half of the season, but Kansas has so many weapons. There are three guards who can handle the ball in Mario Chalmers, Sherron Collins and Russell Robinson; a talented swing man in Brandon Rush, and two guys in the low post (Darrell Arthur and Darnell Jackson) who are savvy scorers and rugged rebounders. All six are capable of being the leading scorer on a given night. Villanova needs a big game from junior for ward Dante Cunningham, especially on the boards. Kansas' defense is un derrated, and the Jayhawks force 16 turnovers per game. The Wildcats have more turnovers than assists this season.

Wisconsin (31-4) vs. Davidson (27-6)

Time, TV -- 7:10, chs. 13, 9

How they got here -- No. 2 seed Wisconsin def. No. 14 Cal State Fuller ton, 71-56, and No. 11 Kansas State, 72-55; No. 10 seed Davidson def. No. 7 Gonzaga, 82-76, and No. 2 George town, 74-70.

The buzz -- Davidson is one of the best stories of this tournament, but don't think the Wildcats are done pulling upsets. Sophomore guard Ste phen Curry has scored 70 points in the two NCAA games, including 30 against a Georgetown team that led the nation in field-goal percentage defense. It doesn't get much easier for Davidson, as Wisconsin is third in that category. Davidson point guard Jason Richards leads the nation in as sists and also has three-point capabil ity. None of Davidson's big men are stars, but they are tough and more than serviceable on offense and the boards. It's hard to overstate how much space Wisconsin's big men take up in the low post; plus, each can hit a mid-range jumper. David son wants a fast pace, while Wiscon sin would prefer a game in the 60s. Wisconsin allowed more than 66 points only three times this season; the Badgers lost all three games.


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