South Region

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

The Seeds
1. Ohio State
2. Memphis
3. Texas A&M
4. Virginia
5. Tennessee
6. Louisville
7. Nevada
8. BYU
9. Xavier
10. Creighton
11. Stanford
12. Long Beach St.
13. Albany
14. Penn
15. N. Texas
16. Central Conn. St.

The Washington Post
Monday, March 12, 2007; Page F19


FIRST- AND SECOND-ROUND GAMES
AT RUPP ARENA, LEXINGTON, KY.
THURSDAY & SATURDAY    |   TICKETS: 800-928-2287

1. Ohio State

Big Ten champion

Record: 30-3, 15-1. Past 10: 10-0

RPI: 1. Schedule: 12. Key Wins: vs. Tennessee, at Michigan State, Wisconsin

Coach: Thad Matta (7-5 in NCAAs)


Starters
G Mike Conley Jr., 6-1 Fr. (10.1 ppg, 3.0 rpg 6.4 apg.)
G Jamar Butler, 6-2, Jr. (8.6 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 3.8 apg.)
G Ron Lewis, 6-4, Sr. (11.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.4 apg.)
F Ivan Harris, 6-7, Sr. (8.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 0.9 apg.)
C Greg Oden, 7-0, Fr. (15.3 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 0.7 apg.)
Top Reserves
G Daequan Cook, 6-5, Fr. (11.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.2 apg.)
F Othello Hunter, 6-9, Jr. (6.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 0.3 apg.)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Following a one-point victory over Wisconsin on the next-to-last weekend of the regular season, the Buckeyes moved atop the AP rankings for the first time since 1962. With three freshmen making significant contributions, nobody has had a bigger impact than Greg Oden. In addition to recording nine double-doubles in his rookie season, he led the Big Ten in rebounding and was ranked sixth in scoring.



16. Cent. Connecticut St.

Northeast Conference champion

Record: 22-11, 16-2. Past 10: 9-1.

RPI: 147. Schedule: 269. Key Wins: vs. St. Francis, Mt. St. Mary's, Sacred Heart

Coach: Howie Dickenman (0-2 in NCAAs).


Starters
G Tristan Blackwood, 6-0, Jr. (17.2 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 4.1 apg)
G Javier Mojica, 6-3, Sr. (16.5 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 3.2 apg)
G Joe Seymore, 6-3, Fr. (7.4 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 1.2 apg)
F Obie Nwadike, 6-4, Sr. (15.0 ppg, 10.9 rpg, 1.5 apg)
F Jemino Sobers, 6-7, Sr. (8.9 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.1 apg)
Top Reserves
G Dannie Powell, 6-0, Jr. (2.4 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 1.4 apg)
C Ingo Beaudet, 6-11, Sr. (1.2 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 0.1 apg)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The Blue Devils, who essentially use just six players, went 4-9 out of conference with losses to Michigan, U-Mass., Davidson and Vermont. Obie Nwadike, who admits he is 11/2 inches shorter than listed, ranks sixth in the nation in rebounding — the only player in the top 20 shorter than 6-6. That tenaciousness also draws fouls — he has made 62 more free throws this season (a school-record 186) than field goals.



8. Brigham Young

Mountain West at-large

Record: 25-8, 13-3. Past 10: 8-2.

RPI: 18. Schedule: 56. Key Wins: Air Force, UNLV, at Air Force

Coach: Dave Rose (first NCAAs)


Starters
G Austin Ainge, 6-2, Sr. (7.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 4.3 apg)
G Jimmy Balderson, 6-6, Sr. (8.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.7 apg)
G Lee Cummard, 6-6, So. (9.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.9 apg)
F Keena Young, 6-6, Sr. (17.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.4 apg)
F Trent Plaisted, 6-11, So. (12.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.2 apg)
Top Reserves
G Jonathan Tavernari, 6-6, Fr. (7.2 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 0.6 apg)
G Sam Burgess, 6-3, Jr. (4.0 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 1.0 apg)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Air Force and UNLV got more attention, but BYU emerged as the class of the Mountain West after losing nonconference games to Boise State and Lamar. In conference games, BYU led the league in scoring, field goal percentage, three-point percentage, three-point shooting and assists. The Cougars, who ranked among the top 10 nationally in three-point shooting, made 15 three-pointers against UNLV.



9. Xavier

Atlantic 10 at-large

Record: 24-8, 13-3. Past 10: 9-1.

RPI: 33. Schedule: 82. Key Wins: Villanova, Illinois, VCU

Coach: Sean Miller (0-1 in NCAAs)


Starters
F Justin Doellman, 6-9, Sr. (13.4 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.7 apg)
F Brandon Cole, 6-8, Sr. (5.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 0.7 apg)
F Justin Cage, 6-6, Sr. (10.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.4 apg)
G Stanley Burrell, 6-3, Jr. (13.1 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 2.4 apg)
G Drew Lavender, 5-7, Jr. (11.2 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 4.7 apg)
Top Reserves
C Josh Duncan, 6-9, Jr. (9.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 0.8 apg)
F Derrick Brown, 6-7, Fr. (6.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 0.8 apg)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Before its second-half surge, Xavier was a model of inconsistency. The Musketeers, generally regarded as the most talented team in the Atlantic 10, took losses to Cincinnati and Duquesne. Point guard Drew Lavender, an Oklahoma transfer, looks more comfortable and has been a big part of the surge. Justin Doellman is a tough guy in the blocks and Stanley Burrell can hurt teams that ignore him.




FIRST- AND SECOND-ROUND GAMES
AT NATIONWIDE ARENA, COLUMBUS, OHIO
FRIDAY & SUNDAY & SUNDAY   |   TICKETS: SOLD OUT

4. Virginia

ACC at-large

Record: 20-10, 11-5. Past 10: 6-4.

RPI: 55. Schedule: 49. Key Wins: Duke, Arizona, at Maryland

Coach: Dave Leitao (1-1 in NCAAs).


Starters
G Sean Singletary, 6-0, Jr. (18.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 4.6 apg)
G J.R. Reynolds, 6-3, Sr. (18.0 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 3.1 apg)
G Mamadi Diane, 6-5, So. (9.9 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1.3 apg)
F Jason Cain, 6-10, Sr. (6.8 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 0.8 apg)
C Tunji Soroye, 6-11, Jr. (2.0 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 0.2 apg)
Top Reserves
F Adrian Joseph, 6-7, Jr. (7.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1.0 apg)
G Will Harris, 6-6, Fr. (4.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 0.4 apg)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Sean Singletary and J.R. Reynolds might be the best offensive back court in the country, but their supporting cast will determine how far the Cavaliers go. Mamadi Diane has been maddening as the third scorer, recently dropping below 10 points per game. Virginia went 16-1 at home but struggled away from John Paul Jones Arena, going 4-9.The Cavaliers led the ACC in three-pointers made and attempted.



13. Albany

America East champion

Record: 23-9, 13-3. Past 10: 8-2.

RPI: 78. Schedule: 184. Key Wins: vs. Bucknell, at Utah, at Vermont

Coach: Will Brown (0-1 in NCAAs).


Starters
G Jamar Wilson, 6-1, Sr. (18.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 4.9 apg)
G Jason Siggers, 6-4, Sr. (13.9 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.2 apg)
F Brian Lillis, 6-5, Jr. (7.1 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 2.3 apg)
F Brent Wilson, 6-8, Jr. (10.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 0.9 apg)
C Jimmie Covington, 6-7, So. (2.0 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 0.3 apg)
Top Reserves
G Jon Iati, 5-9, Jr. (3.1 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 1.0 apg)
F Brian Connelly, 6-8, So. (5.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 0.6 apg)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Jamar Wilson is the two-time conference player of the year. He scored 21 points against Florida last season and 29 against Syracuse in 2004-05. He is enrolled in graduate school after he earned his degree in sociology, with minors in education and business. Great Danes Coach Will Brown, 35, went 90-10 as a junior college coach and 88-13 coaching in Division II. Jon Iati is the top three-point threat.



5. Tennessee

Southeastern at-large

Record: 22-10, 10-6. Past 10: 7-3.

RPI: 12. Schedule: 5. Key Wins: Texas, Oklahoma State, Florida

Coach: Bruce Pearl (3-3 in NCAAs).


Starters
G Dane Bradshaw, 6-4, Sr. (5.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 4.6 apg)
G JaJuan Smith, 6-2, Jr. (15.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.4 apg)
G Chris Lofton, 6-2, Jr. (20.6 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.7 apg)
G Ramar Smith, 6-2, Fr. (10.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 3.0 apg)
F Wayne Chism, 6-9, Fr. (9.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 0.9 apg)
Top Reserves
F Duke Crews, 6-8, Fr. (8.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 0.6 apg)
F Ryan Childress, 6-9, So. (5.2 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 0.8 apg)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The Volunteers were a bizarro version of their counterparts atop the SEC. Instead of a late-season slide (a la Kentucky, Alabama and Florida), Tennessee slumped in the middle of the season, losing six of eight. Chris Lofton, who has started every game of his college career, was among the national leaders in points, three-pointers per game (3.3) and three-point field goal percentage (41.8).



12. Long Beach State

Big West champion

Record: 24-7, 12-2. Past 10: 9-1.

RPI: 79. Schedule: 220. Key Wins: Santa Barbara, Cal Poly, Cal State Fullerton

Coach: Larry Reynolds (first NCAAs).


Starters
F Dominique Ricks, 6-6, Sr.(7.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 0.5 apg)
F Sterling Byrd, 6-6, Sr. (14.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.2 apg)
G Kejuan Johnson, 6-4, Sr. (15.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 3.6 apg)
G Aaron Nixon, 6-4, Sr. (18.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 3.1 apg)
G Kevin Houston, 5-10, Sr. (11.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 4.3 apg)
Top Reserves
C Mark Dawson, 6-9, Sr. (5.5 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 0.2 apg)
G Louis Darby, 6-5, Sr. (5.4 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 1.1 apg)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The 49ers pushed through adversity to make their first appearance in the tournament since 1995. The low point came in early February when associate head coach Reggie Howard, starting guard Kejuan Johnson and reserve Mark Dawson were suspended as the NCAA investigated alleged recruiting violations. Howard has yet to be reinstated; Johnson and Dawson sat for three games.



FIRST- AND SECOND-ROUND GAMES
AT RUPP ARENA, LEXINGTON, KY.
THURSDAY & SATURDAY    |   TICKETS: 800-928-2287

3. Texas A&M

Big 12 at-large

Record: 25-6, 13-3. Past 10: 7-3.

RPI: 17. Schedule: 57. Key Wins: Winthrop, at Kansas, Texas

Coach: Billy Gillispie (1-2 in NCAAs).


Starters
G Acie Law, 6-3, Sr. (18.2 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 5.3 apg)
G Dominique Kirk, 6-3, Jr. (6.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.9 apg)
G Josh Carter, 6-7, So. (12.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.6 apg)
F Joseph Jones, 6-9, Jr.(13.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.2 apg)
F A. Kavaliauskas, 6-10, Sr. (12.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.7 apg)
Top Reserves
G Donald Sloan, 6-2, Fr. (5.4 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 1.9 apg)
F Marlon Pompey, 6-8, Sr. (3.7 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 0.8 apg)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The Aggies, who have used the same starting lineup in every game, can shoot (sixth nationally at 49.9 percent) and defend (second in field goal defense, allowing opponents to shoot 36.9 percent). They’re efficient, too, with 1.43 assists to every turnover, the fourth-best ratio in Division I. Acie Law might be the country’s best clutch player, and Josh Carter is its most accurate three-point shooter (51.9 percent).



14. Pennsylvania

Ivy League champion

Record: 22-8, 13-1. Past 10: 10-0.

RPI: 88. Schedule: 170. Key Wins: Drexel

Coach: Glen Miller (first NCAAs).


Starters
F Mark Zoller, 6-7, Sr. (18.2 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 2.9 apg)
F Steve Danley, 6-8, Sr. (9.0 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.1 apg)
G Ibrahim Jaaber, 6-2, Sr. (15.9 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 5.3 apg)
G Darren Smith, 6-4, Fr. (4.3 ppg, 0.7 rpg, 1.0 apg)
G Brian Grandieri, 6-4, Jr. (12.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.7 apg)
Top Reserves
F Tommy McMahon, 6-7, So. (5.1 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 1.2 apg)
G Michael Kach, 6-4, Jr. (4.0 ppg, 1.1 rpg, 1.0 apg)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Steve Danley’s health may be an issue for the Quakers, who are not a deep team. Danley (DeMatha) played only two minutes in Penn’s final regular season game because of a back injury. Ibrahim Jaaber, Mark Zoller and Danley are playing in their third consecutive NCAA tournament. Perhaps surprisingly for an Ivy League champ, the Quakers make only 66.3 percent of their foul shots.



6. Louisville

Big East at-large

Record: 23-9, 12-4. Past 10: 7-3.

RPI: 37. Schedule: 36. Key Wins: at Pittsburgh, at Marquette, Syracuse

Coach: Rick Pitino (31-10 in NCAAs).


Starters
G Edgar Sosa, 6-1, Fr. (10.8 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 2.8 apg)
G Brandon Jenkins, 6-3, Sr. (5.1 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.9 apg)
F Terrence Williams, 6-6, So. (12.2 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 3.7 apg)
F Perrin Johnson, 6-6, Sr. (1.6 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 0.5 apg)
C David Padgett, 6-11, Jr. (9.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.4 apg)
Top Reserves
G Jerry Smith, 6-1, Fr. (8.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.7 apg)
F Derrick Caracter, 6-8, Fr. (8.6 ppg, 4.4 rpg. 0.4 apg)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: In early February, the Cardinals appeared destined for their second straight trip to the NIT after making the 2005 Final Four. But then came a six-game winning streak, which coincided with the return of Derrick Caracter. Caracter, who ran afoul of Coach Rick Pitino’s rules, averaged 13.1 points in the six-game stretch, and helped make up for the absence of Juan Palacios, who was out because of a back injury.



11. Stanford

Pacific-10 at-large

Record: 18-12, 10-8. Past 10: 4-6.

RPI: 63. Schedule: 32. Key Wins: UCLA, at Virginia, vs. Texas Tech

Coach: Trent Johnson (2-2 in NCAAs).


Starters
G Anthony Goods, 6-4, So. (13.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.3 apg)
F Lawrence Hill, 6-8, So. (16.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.8 apg)
F Fred Washington, 6-5, Sr. (8.1 ppg, 5.2 apg, 3.9 apg)
F Brook Lopez, 7-0, Fr. (12.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 0.8 apg)
C Robin Lopez, 7-0, Fr. (7.8 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 0.9)
Top Reserves
G Mitch Johnson, 6-1, So. (4.5 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 3.4 apg)
F Taj Finger, 6-8, Jr. (3.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 0.6 apr)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Opponents will not get a clear look at the basket against the Cardinal, which got in despite losing five of its final eight regular season games. In a game against Southern Cal, Stanford blocked 19 shots, tied for fifth-highest in NCAA history. Brook and Robin Lopez were two of the conference’s most prolific shot blockers. The Cardinal also outrebounded opponents by nearly seven per game, second-best in the Pacific-10.



FIRST- AND SECOND-ROUND GAMES
AT NEW ORLEANS ARENA, NEW ORLEANS
FRIDAY & SUNDAY    |   TICKETS: 504-525-5678

2. Memphis

Conference USA champion

Record: 30-3, 16-0. Past 10: 10-0.

RPI: 8. Schedule: 75. Key Wins: Kentucky, at Gonzaga

Coach: John Calipari (15-8 in NCAAs).


Starters
G Willie Kemp, 6-2, Fr. (6.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.5 apg)
G Antonio Anderson, 6-6, So. (7.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 3.5 apg)
G C. Douglas-Roberts, 6-6, So. (15.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 1.8 apg)
F Robert Dozier, 6-9, So. (10.1 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.0 apg)
F Joey Dorsey, 6-9, Jr. (8.7 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 0.3 apg)
Top Reserves
G Andre Allen, 5-10, Jr. (5.2 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 3.1 apg)
G Jeremy Hunt, 6-5, Sr. (14.0 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.4 apg)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The Tigers were far and away the best team in an otherwise weak Conference USA, rolling to a 16-0 mark while outscoring their opponents by an average of 17.1 points. Memphis ended its regular season with 19 straight victories, the longest such streak in the nation. Joey Dorsey led the conference in rebounding and field-goal shooting (64 percent), and was second in blocked shots (2.5 per game).



15. North Texas

Sun Belt champion

Record: 23-10, 10-8. Past 10: 7-3.

RPI: 137. Schedule: 280. Key Wins: vs. La.-Monroe, Mid. Tennessee, vs. Arkansas St.

Coach: Johnny Jones (first NCAAs).


Starters
G Ben Bell, 6-3, Jr. (7.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 3.0 apg)
G Calvin Watson, 6-5, Sr. (15.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.3 apg)
G Kendrick Davis, 6-4, Sr. (13.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 1.6 apg)
F Quincy Williams, 6-8, Jr. (10.5 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.6 apg)
C Keith Wooden, 6-9, Jr. (8.9 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.3 spg)
Top Reserves
F Rich Young, 6-5, Sr. (5.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.8 apg)
G Michael Sturns, 6-4, Jr. (12.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.7 apg)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Calvin Watson made 6 of 7 three-point attempts in the Sun Belt final to lead the No. 5 seeded Mean Green to the NCAAs for the first time since 1988. North Texas played only three games against teams in the RPI top 100, losing at Nebraska and beating Western Kentucky twice. Rich Young, 26, spent four years in the Marines, serving in Iraq and Kosovo. Coach Johnny Jones played on LSU’s 1981 Final Four team.



7. Nevada

WAC at-large

Record: 28-4, 14-2. Past 10: 8-2.

RPI: 23. Schedule: 119. Key Wins: Gonzaga, California, Utah State

Coach: Mark Fox (1-2 in NCAAs).


Starters
F Nick Fazekas, 6-11, Sr. (20.9 ppg, 11.3 rpg, 1.8 apg)
F Denis Ikovlev, 6-7, Sr. (6.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.0 apg)
G Marcelus Kemp, 6-5, Jr. (18.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 2.3 apg)
G Kyle Shiloh, 6-3, Sr. (9.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 3.3 apg)
G Ramon Sessions, 6-3, Jr. (12.8 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 4.6 apg)
Top Reserves
C JaVale McGee, 6-11, Fr. (3.3 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 0.1 apg)
G Lyndale Burleson, 6-3, S0. (1.6 ppg, 0.9 rpg, 2.2 apg)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Nick Fazekas is a national player of the year candidate, but he isn't the only player on the Nevada roster capable of delivering a game-changing performance. Ramon Sessions is enjoying his best collegiate season after a hip injury slowed him last season. Marcelus Kemp is a dangerous scorer, as he proved in last year's tournament with a 34-point outing against Montana.



10. Creighton

Missouri Valley champion

Record: 22-10, 13-5. Past 10: 7-3.

RPI: 23. Schedule: 19. Key Wins: Xavier, at Missouri State, vs. So. Illinois

Coach: Dana Altman (2-7 in NCAAs).


Starters
G Nate Funk, 6-3, Sr. (17.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 3.0 apg)
G Isacc Miles, 6-2, Fr. (6.2 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1.7 apg)
G Nick Porter, 6-3, Sr. (10.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 2.4 apg)
F Dane Watts, 6-8, Jr. (10.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 0.9 apg)
C Anthony Tolliver, 6-9, Sr. (13.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 2.0 apg)
Top Reserves
G Nick Bahe, 6-3, Jr. (3.2 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 1.0 apg)
G Josh Dotzler, 6-1, So. (2.2 ppg, 0.9 rpg, 2.2 apg)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The face of this team is Nate Funk, who has returned in stellar fashion after missing most of last season because of a shoulder injury. Funk led the Valley in scoring and led the Bluejays in points, assists and steals. He is the first Creighton player to lead the team in points and assists twice in his career. Anthony Tolliver is an inside presence who took 19 charges this regular season.



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