Midwest Region

John Feinstein's Analysis of the Midwest Region
Elsewhere:  West  |  East  |  South

The Seeds
1. Florida
2. Wisconsin
3. Oregon
4. Maryland
5. Butler
6. Notre Dame
7. UNLV
8. Arizona
9. Purdue
10. Georgia Tech
11. Winthrop
12. Old Dominion
13. Davidson
14. Miami (OH)
15. TAMU-CC
16. Jackson State

The Washington Post
Monday, March 12, 2007; Page F16


FIRST- AND SECOND-ROUND GAMES
At New Orleans Arena, New Orleans
FRIDAY & SUNDAY    |   TICKETS: 504-525-5678

1. Florida

SEC champion

Record: 29-5, 13-3. Past 10: 7-3.

RPI: 6. Schedule: 38. Key Wins: Ohio State, Tennessee, Kentucky

Coach: Billy Donovan (16-7 in NCAAs).


Starters
G Taurean Green, 6-0 Jr. (13.0 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 3.5 apg)
G Lee Humphrey, 6-2, Sr. (9.9 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 1.5 apg)
F Corey Brewer, 6-9, Jr. (12.5 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.2 apg)
F Al Horford, 6-10, Jr. (13.1 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 2.3 apg)
C Joakim Noah, 6-11, Jr. (12.2 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 2.4 apg)
Top Reserves
G Walter Hodge, 6-0, So. (6.5 ppg, 1.2 rpg, 1.5 apg)
F Chris Richard, 6-9, Sr. (5.7 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 0.5 apg)

What You Need To Know: The Gators looked as if they would have no trouble defending their national title until they lost three of five games in a late-season swoon. Joakim Noah wasn't much of a factor during a 1-3 stretch near the end of the season, averaging only six points and nine rebounds, and some started to wonder whether he was more worried about his slipping NBA draft stock than the Gators' fortunes.



16. Jackson State

SWAC champion

Record: 21-13, 12-6. Past 10: 7-3.

RPI: 168. Schedule: 316. Key Wins: at Rutgers, at Texas-El Paso

Coach: Tevester Anderson (0-2 in NCAAs).


Starters
G Trey Johnson, 6-5 Sr. (27.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 2.1 apg)
G Julius Young, 6-6, Sr. (8.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.4 apg)
G Catraiva Givens, 5-8, Jr. (5.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 4.2 apg)
F Edwin Jarrow, 6-6, Jr. (1.7 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 0.5 apg)
F Grant Maxey, 6-7, Fr. (8.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.7 apg)
Top Reserves
G Martinez Kay, 6-6, Jr. (5.4 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 0.5 apg)
G Darrion Griffin, 6-3, So. (4.6 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 1.3 apg)

What You Need To Know: Trey Johnson finished second in the nation in scoring and scored 36 against Alabama and 33 against Georgia Tech. He began his college career at Alcorn State - as a baseball pitcher. He turned to basketball after a shoulder injury ended his career on the diamond. The Tigers have advanced even though expected starting point guard Charlie White was dismissed from school in September.



8. Arizona

Pac-10 at-large

Record: 20-10, 11-7. Past 10: 6-4.

RPI: 14. Schedule: 2. Key Wins: UNLV, Memphis, at Oregon

Coach: Lute Olson (46-27 in NCAAs).


Starters
G Mustafa Shakur, 6-3, Sr. (12.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 7.0 apg)
F Chase Budinger, 6-7, Fr. (15.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 2.0 apg)
F Ivan Radenovic, 6-10, Sr. (15.6 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 2.0 apg)
F Marcus Williams, 6-7, So. (16.9 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 2.3 apg)
F Jordan Hill, 6-9, Fr. (4.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 0.0 apg)
Top Reserves
G Jawann McClellan, 6-4, Jr. (9.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.8 apg)
F Bret Brielmaier, 6-6, Jr. (1.8 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 0.1 apg)

What You Need To Know: There is no question this team is blessed with enough talent to make a run; it won 12 straight after a season-opening loss at U-Va. But inconsistent play - they lost six of their next eight - suggests the Wildcats could be on their way to an early exit. Mustafa Shakur struggled to protect the ball late in the season. Coach Lute Olson reminded fans that his 1997 team had a mediocre season before winning the national title.



9. Purdue

Big Ten at-large

Record: 21-11, 9-7. Past 10: 7-3.

RPI: 42. Schedule: 44. Key Wins: vs. Virginia, Illinois, Indiana

Coach: Matt Painter (0-1 in NCAAs).


Starters
G Tarrance Crump, 6-1 Jr. (5.6 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 1.9 apg)
G Chris Kramer, 6-3, Fr. (6.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 2.5 apg)
G David Teague, 6-5, Sr. (14.3 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 2.0 apg)
F Gordon Watt, 6-6, So. (7.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.4 apg)
F Carl Landry, 6-7, Sr. (18.9 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.2 apg)
Top Reserves
G Chris Lutz, 6-2, So. (5.9 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 1.2 apg)
G Keaton Grant, 6-4, Fr. (4.5 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1.9 apg)

What You Need To Know: In their second year under Coach Matt Painter, the Boilermakers won 12 more games than in 2005-06, the second biggest turnaround in school history. It was the first time since the 1999-2000 season that Purdue reached 20 victories. Carl Landry was the third-leading scorer in the Big Ten and ranked second in field goal percentage (60 percent). Purdue is good at taking away the ball with nearly eight steals per game.




FIRST- AND SECOND-ROUND GAMES
At HSBC Arena, Buffalo
THURSDAY & SATURDAY    |   TICKETS: SOLD OUT

4. Maryland

ACC at-large

Record: 24-8, 10-6. Past 10: 8-2

RPI: 16. Schedule: 15. Key Wins: North Carolina, at Illinois, at Duke

Coach: Gary Williams (26-13 in NCAAs).


Starters
G D.J. Strawberry, 6-5 Sr. (15.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.5 apg)
G Greivis Vasquez, 6-5, Fr. (10.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 4.6 apg)
G Mike Jones, 6-5, Sr. (13.4 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.5 apg)
F James Gist, 6-8, Jr. (12.7 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.3 apg)
F Ekene Ibekwe, 6-9, Sr. (10.6 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 0.8 apg)
Top Reserves
G Eric Hayes, 6-3, Fr. (5.2 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 4.1 apg)
F Bambale Osby, 6-8, Jr. (5.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 0.5 apg)

What You Need To Know: One of the nation's hottest teams before an ACC tournament loss to Miami, Maryland closed the regular season with seven straight wins, including two over Duke and one over North Carolina. Greivis Vasquez and Eric Hayes, the freshman point guards, are surging and allowing D.J. Strawberry to create more on offense. James Gist and Mike Jones have been playing the best of their careers.



13. Davidson

Southern champion

Record: 29-4, 17-1. Past 10: 10-0.

RPI: 48. Schedule: 198. Key Wins: Charlotte, Ohio, Charleston

Coach: Bob McKillop (0-3 in NCAAs).


Starters
G Stephen Curry, 6-1 Fr. (20.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 2.8 apg)
G Jason Richards, 6-2, Jr. (13.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.2 apg)
G M.P. Gosselin, 6-6, So. (5.0 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.8 apg)
F Thomas Sander, 6-8, Jr. (14.2 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.2 apg)
F Boris Meno, 6-8, Jr. (10.9 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 0.7 apg)
Top Reserves
F W. Archambault, 6-6, Fr. (8.1 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 0.9 apg)
F Andrew Lovedale, 6-8, So. (5.0 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 0.7 apg)

What You Need To Know: The Wildcats, who have lost only once since Dec. 1, feature two players from Quebec (Max Gosselin and William Archambault) and one each from France (Boris Meno), Nigeria (Andrew Lovedale) and Turkey (Can Civi). Stephen Curry, the son of Virginia Tech and NBA star Dell Curry, led Davidson and the conference in scoring as a freshman. The Wildcats ranked in the top 10 nationally in scoring offense.



5. Butler

Horizon at-large

Record: 27-6, 13-3. Past 10: 6-4.

RPI: 27. Schedule: 108. Key Wins: Notre Dame, Indiana, Tennessee

Coach: Todd Lickliter (2-1 in NCAAs).


Starters
G A.J. Graves, 6-1, Jr. (17.0 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 2.5 apg)
G Mike Green, 6-1, Jr. (14.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 4.0 apg)
F Julian Betko, 6-5 Sr. (4.4 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1.3 apg)
F Brandon Crone, 6-6, Sr. (11.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.0 apg)
F Brian Ligon, 6-7, Sr. (3.6 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 0.2 apg)
Top Reserves
F Pete Campbell, 6-7, Jr. (8.9 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 0.4 apg)
F Drew Streicher, 6-7, Jr. (4.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 0.6 apg)

What You Need To Know: The Bulldogs made the round of 16 in 2003, the only other season they reached the tournament under Coach Todd Lickliter. A.J. Graves is the best free-throw shooter in the country, which is typical at Butler. The Bulldogs made 76.6 percent of their free throws, sixth-best in the nation. Butler was in the rankings all season after winning the preseason NIT, but did the Bulldogs peak too early?



12. Old Dominion

Colonial at-large

Record: 24-8, 15-3. Past 10: 6-4.

RPI: 40. Schedule: 96. Key Wins: at Georgetown, VCU, at Toledo

Coach: Blaine Taylor (0-3 in NCAAs).


Starters
G Brandon Johnson, 6-1, Jr. (8.2 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.8 apg)
G Drew Williamson, 6-0, Sr. (11.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 4.8 apg)
G Brian Henderson, 6-4, Jr. (9.6 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.5 apg)
F Arnaud Dahi, 6-7 Sr. (9.4 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.0 apg)
F Valdas Vasylius, 6-7, Sr. (15.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 0.9 apg)
Top Reserves
F Gerald Lee, 6-9, Fr. (4.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 0.6 apg)
G Abdi Lidonde, 6-2, Jr. (4.8 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 0.9 apg)

What You Need To Know: The Monarchs were one of the hottest teams in the nation until they were upset by George Mason in the CAA semifinals, ending their 12-game winning streak. During that run, only three games were decided by less than 10 points. ODU relies on a strong back court, but will need Valdas Vasylius, a Lithuanian who had 31 points against Hofstra last month, to bounce back from a quiet performance against Mason.



FIRST- AND SECOND-ROUND GAMES
At Spokane Memorial Arena, Spokane, Wash.
FRIDAY & SUNDAY    |   TICKETS: SOLD OUT

3. Oregon

Pac-10 champion

Record: 26-7, 11-7. Past 10: 7-3.

RPI: 21. Schedule: 64. Key Wins: at Georgetown, UCLA, at Arizona

Coach: Ernie Kent (3-4 in NCAAs).


Starters
G Aaron Brooks, 6-0 Sr. (18.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 4.4 apg)
G Bryce Taylor, 6-5, Jr. (14.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.8 apg)
G Tajuan Porter, 5-6, Fr. (13.8 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 2.2 apg)
G Malik Hairston, 6-6, Jr. (11.0 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 2.2 apg)
F Maarty Leunen, 6-9, Jr. (11.0 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 2.1 apg)
Top Reserves
G C. Oguchi, 6-5, Jr. (6.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 0.9 apg)
F Adam Zahn, 6-8, Sr. (3.1 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 0.2 apg)

What You Need To Know: Few players, let alone point guards, played better than Aaron Brooks in January. Tajuan Porter has shown he is one of the best freshman scoring guards in a class loaded with them. Both Brooks and Porter have scored at least 30 points in games this season. MaartyÖ Leunen was among the conference's best rebounders. Expect the Ducks to thrive beyond the three-point arc, where all five starters shoot better than 38 percent.



14. Miami (OH)

Mid-American champion

Record: 18-14, 10-6. Past 10: 7-3.

RPI: 92. Schedule: 94. Key Wins: Toledo, Akron, Kent State

Coach: Charlie Coles (2-3 in NCAAs).


Starters
G Michael Bramos, 6-5, So. (11.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.3 apg)
G Alex Moosmann, 6-0, Fr. (4.6 ppg, 1.1 rpg, 2.7 apg)
F Tim Pollitz, 6-6 Jr. (15.8 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.6 apg)
F Nathan Peavy, 6-8, Sr. (14.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 0.9 apg)
C Monty St. Clair, 6-9, Sr. (3.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 0.7 apg)
Top Reserves
G Doug Penno, 6-5, Sr. (4.9 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 2.2 apg)
F Tyler Dierkers, 6-8, So. (2.2 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.1 apg)

What You Need To Know: The RedHawks are back in the tournament for the first time since 1999, when Wally Szczerbiak led them to the round of 16. A Jekyll-and-Hyde season started 5-10 and finished with a banked three-pointer by Doug Penno with 0.6 of a second left in a 53-52 win over Akron in the MAC title game. Tim Pollitz (56.8 percent) and Nathan Peavy (54.1 percent) are efficient shooters. The RedHawks were 13-2 at home and 3-11 away.



6. Notre Dame

Big East at-large

Record: 24-7, 11-5. Past 10: 7-3.

RPI: 31. Schedule: 106. Key Wins: Maryland, Alabama, Marquette

Coach: Mike Brey (4-5 in NCAAs).


Starters
G Tory Jackson, 5-10, Fr. (7.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 4.2 apg)
G Colin Falls, 6-5, Sr. (15.1 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.3 apg)
G Russell Carter, 6-4, Sr. (16.9 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.9 apg)
F Rob Kurz, 6-9, Jr. (12.9 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.8 apg)
F Luke Harangody, 6-8, Fr. (11.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.2 apg)
Top Reserves
F Zach Hillesland, 6-9, So. (5.8 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 2.3 apg)
C Luke Zeller, 6-11, So. (3.9 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 0.6 apg)

What You Need To Know: Coach Mike Brey began the season on the hot seat but brought Notre Dame back to the tournament after a three-year absence. The Irish are one of the highest-scoring teams in the country (81.3 points per game), but they are 2-5 when they score fewer than 70 points. Colin Falls is the Big East's career leader in three-point field goals (189), and is one of six players who shoots better than 40 percent from beyond the arc.



11. Winthrop

Big South champion

Record: 28-4, 14-0. Past 10: 10-0.

RPI: 70. Schedule: 270. Key Wins: at Mississippi St., at Old Dominion, at Missouri St.

Coach: Gregg Marshall (0-6 in NCAAs).


Starters
G Michael Jenkins, 6-3 Jr. (15.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.0 apg)
G Torrell Martin, 6-5, Sr. (14.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.6 apg)
G Chris Gaynor, 5-10, Jr. (7.6 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 4.7 apg)
F Craig Bradshaw, 6-10, Sr. (13.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.3 apg)
F Phillip Williams, 6-8, Sr. (8.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.1 apg)
Top Reserves
F Taj McCullough, 6-7, Jr. (8.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.0 apg)
G Antwon Harris, 6-3, Jr. (5.9 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 0.9 apg)

What You Need To Know: These Eagles are used to the tournament - this is their third straight trip - and are poised to get their first NCAA win, especially after last year's near-miss against second-seeded Tennessee. Winthrop hasn't lost since Jan. 2, when it fell to Texas A&M - and like its other three losses (North Carolina, Maryland, Wisconsin), that one came on the road against a top-25 major conference team.



FIRST- AND SECOND-ROUND GAMES
At United Center, Chicago
FRIDAY & SUNDAY    |   TICKETS: 312-455-4667

2. Wisconsin

Big Ten at-large

Record: 29-5, 13-3. Past 10: 7-3.

RPI: 4. Schedule: 25. Key Wins: Ohio State, at Illinois, Michigan State

Coach: Bo Ryan (7-5 in NCAAs).


Starters
G Michael Flowers, 6-2 Jr. (7.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.0 apg)
G Kammron Taylor, 6-2, Sr. (12.5 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 2.0 apg)
F Marcus Landry, 6-7, So. (5.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 0.7 apg)
F Alando Tucker, 6-6, Sr. (20.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.0 apg)
C Jason Chappell, 6-10, Sr. (3.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.2 apg)
Top Reserves
G Jason Bohannon, 6-2, Fr. (4.4 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 1.0 apg)
F Joe Krabbenhoft, 6-7, So. (4.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.6 apg)

What You Need To Know:The Badgers enter the NCAA tournament without F-C Brian Butch, who suffered an elbow injury late in the season and likely won't return in 2006-07. He was averaging 8.8 points and 5.9 rebounds. Alando Tucker, a two-time conference player of the week, was the second-leading scorer in the Big Ten. Wisconsin led the conference in margin of victory (13.8 points) and was second in turnover ratio (plus 3.3).



15. TAMU-Corpus Christi

Southland champion

Record: 26-6, 14-2. Past 10: 9-1.

RPI: 81. Schedule: 253. Key Wins: vs. Monmouth, vs. South Florida

Coach: Ronnie Arrow (1-2 in NCAAs).


Starters
G Josh Washington, 6-3, Sr. (12.8 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 1.2 apg)
G Josh Ervin, 6-1, Sr. (8.0 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 3.7 apg)
G Taurean Mitchell, 6-1, Sr. (7.6 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 3.9 apg)
F Scooby Johnson, 6-7, Jr. (9.1 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 0.7 apg)
C Chris Daniels, 7-0, Sr. (15.0 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 0.8 apg)
Top Reserves
F Cedric Smith, 6-7, Sr. (10.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.1 apg)
F Kevin Menifee, 6-5, Sr. (6.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 3.8 apg)

What You Need To Know: Coach Ronnie Arrow was coach at South Alabama when it defeated Alabama in the 1989 NCAA tournament. The Islanders won the Southland title in their first season (they previously were an independent). Chris Daniels, a non-qualifier as a freshman, is an NBA-caliber player though he has a year of eligibility left. He scored 19 points in the Southland final victory over Northwestern State.



7. Nevada-Las Vegas

Mountain West champion

Record: 28-6, 12-4. Past 10: 9-1.

RPI: 10. Schedule: 37. Key Wins: at Nevada, Brigham Young, at Texas Tech

Coach: Lon Kruger (11-9 in NCAAs).


Starters
G Wendell White, 6-6 Sr. (14.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.1 apg)
G Wink Adams, 6-6, S0. (14.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.4 apg)
G Kevin Kruger, 6-2, Sr. (13.2 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 5.0 apg)
F Gaston Essengue, 6-8, Sr. (7.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 0.5 apg)
G Michael Umeh, 6-2, Sr. (6.9 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 1.2 apg)
Top Reserves
F Curtis Terry, 6-5, Jr. (4.5 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1.8 apg)
C Joel Anthony, 6-9, Sr. (5.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 0.5 apg)

What You Need To Know: The Runnin' Rebels, who beat Nevada in a nonconference game, went through a 10-game stretch in which they held eight opponents to 29 or fewer first-half points on the road. Joel Anthony, who led the MWC in blocks, had a three-game stretch in February in which he blocked 23 shots combined. What separates UNLV from other contenders is ball security. The Rebels commit just 11 turnovers per game.



10. Georgia Tech

ACC at-large

Record: 20-11, 8-8. Past 10: 7-3.

RPI: 52. Schedule: 41. Key Wins: North Carolina, vs. Memphis, Duke

Coach: Paul Hewitt (6-4 in NCAAs).


Starters
G Mario West, 6-4, Sr. (4.4 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.6 apg)
G Javaris Crittenton, 6-5, Fr. (14.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 5.7 apg)
F Jeremis Smith, 6-6, Jr. (8.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.7 apg)
F Thaddeus Young, 6-8, Fr. (14.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.1 apg)
C RaSean Dickey, 6-10, Jr. (8.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.0 apg)
Top Reserves
G Anthony Morrow, 6-5, Jr. (9.6 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 0.8 apg)
F Zach Peacock, 6-8, Fr. (5.6 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 0.6 apg)

What You Need To Know: They scuttled early, but the Yellow Jackets, reliant on freshmen, surged late before an early ACC exit. Thaddeus Young can be passive, but he emerged as the elite freshman most expected him to be when the season began. Javaris Crittenton has been key, learning to combine his offensive flair with a steady hand running the offense. Anthony Morrow, who averaged 15 points last season, can provide a big lift off the bench.



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