West Region

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

The Seeds
1. Duke
2. Texas
3. Iowa
4. LSU
5. Syracuse
6. West Virginia
7. California
8. George Washington
9. UNC Wilmington
10. North Carolina State
11. Southern Illinois
12. Texas A&M
13. Iona
14. Northwestern State
15. Pennsylvania
16. Southern

The Washington Post
Monday, March 12, 2007; Page F17


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

1. Kansas

Big 12 champion

Record: 30-4, 14-2. Past 10: 10-0

RPI: 11. Schedule: 58. Key Wins: Florida, Boston College

Coach: Bill Self (13-8 in NCAAs)


Starters
G Russell Robinson, 6-1 Jr. (6.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg 4.6 apg.)
G Mario Chalmers, 6-1, So. (11.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 3.2 apg.)
G Brandon Rush, 6-6, So. (13.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.8 apg.)
F Julian Wright, 6-8, So. (11.8 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 2.2 apg.)
C Sasha Kaun, 6-11, Jr. (6.4 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 0.4 apg.)
Top Reserves
F Darrell Arthur, 6-9, Fr. (10.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 0.4 apg.)
G Sherron Collins, 5-11, Fr. (9.7 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 2.8 apg.)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Brandon Rush slumped over the final month, but six players took turns as scoring leaders over six games from Feb. 10 to 26, all wins. Coach Bill Self said, “You could almost ask me who our go-to guy is between TV timeouts, it changes so frequently.”

Coaching Tree: Self's first coaching job was as graduate assistant at Kansas under Larry Brown (1985-86). He also was an assistant at Oklahoma State under Leonard Hamilton (1986-90) and Eddie Sutton (90-93) before getting his first head coaching job in 1993.



16. Niagara

Metro Atlantic champion

Record: 22-11, 13-5. Past 10: 10-0.

RPI: 136.

Coach: Joe Mihalich (0-1 in NCAAs).


Starters
G Charron Fisher, 6-3, Jr. (21.0 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 1.1 apg)
F Clif Brown, 6-7, Sr. (16.0 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 0.9 apg)
G Lorenzo Miles, 5-11, Sr. (12.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 3.6 apg)
F J.R. Duffey, 6-8, Sr. (10.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.3 apg)
G Rydell Brooks, 6-2, Fr. (5.0 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 1.3 apg)
Top Reserves
G Brandon Wardlow, 6-1, Sr. (3.3 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 8 starts)
G-F Alvin Mott, 6-6, Sr. (7.3 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 74% FT)
F Ralph Hishaw, 6-7, Soph. (6.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 51% FG)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The Purple Eagles, who are making their second tournament appearance in three years, have won 11 consecutive games — their longest streak in 14 years — after beating Siena for the MAAC title. District natives Lorenzo Miles and Stanley Hodge helped Gonzaga win the WCAC and City Title championships in 2002-03. Lewis had a career-high 24 in the league final.

Mihalich played for Paul Westhead at La Salle and went on to be a Morgan Wootten assistant at DeMatha. He later became an assistant alongside Fran Dunphy at La Salle under Speedy Morris.



8. Kentucky

Southeastern at-large

Record: 21-11, 9-7. Past 10: 4-6.

RPI: 13. Schedule: 1. Key Wins: Indiana, Louisville, Tennessee

Coach: Tubby Smith, (28-12 in NCAAs)


Starters
G Joe Crawford, 6-5, Jr. (14.0 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 2.5 apg)
G Ramel Bradley, 6-2, Jr. (14.1 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.8 apg)
G Derrick Jasper, 6-6, Fr. (4.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.2 apg)
F Bobby Perry, 6-8, Sr. (8.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.4 apg)
C Randolph Morris, 6-11, Jr. (15.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1.1 apg)
Top Reserves
G Jodie Meeks, 6-5, Fr. (8.2 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.3 apg)
F Sheray Thomas, 6-8, Sr. (2.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.3 apg)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: After starting 18-5, Kentucky dropped four of eight^ five in February, leading to even more calls for Coach Tubby Smith's dismissal. Kentucky was one of the SEC's best shooting teams and best teams in terms of opponents' field goal percentage.



9. Villanova

Big East at-large

Record: 22-10, 9-7. Past 10: 7-3.

RPI: 19. Schedule: 7. Key Wins: At Georgetown, Texas, Louisville

Coach: Jay Wright (5-4 in NCAAs)

Lineage: Assistant to ROLLIE MASSIMINO at Villanova (1987-92) and UNLV (1992-94). Wright beget Hofstra's Tom Pecora.


Starters
G Scottie Reynolds, 6-2, Fr. (14.1 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 4.1 apg)
G Mike Nardi, 6-2, Sr. (12.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 4.1 apg)
F Curtis Sumpter, 6-7, Sr. (17.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 0.9 apg)
F Dante Cunningham, 6-8, So. (8.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 0.8 apg)
F Will Sheridan, 6-8, Sr. (5.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 0.7 apg)
Top Reserves
F Shane Clark, 6-7, So. (8.0 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.0 apg)
G Reggie Redding, 6-5, Fr. (2.4 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 0.9 apg)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Scottie Reynolds (Herndon) has been the catalyst for the Wildcats, who sent three guards to the NBA after last year's run to the region final. ^ His 40-point performance at Connecticut set a school freshman record and was the highest point total ever for an opponent at Gampel Pavilion. Curtis Sumpter is back in the tournament after blowing out his knee in the 2005 event, forcing him to miss last season.




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

4. Southern Illinois

Missouri Valley at-large

Record: 27-6, 15-3. Past 10: 9-1.

RPI: 7. Schedule: 30. Key Wins: Virginia Tech, Creighton, Butler

Coach: Chris Lowery (1-2 in NCAAs). Spent three years on Bruce Weber's staff at Illinois and Southern Illinois.


Starters
G Jamaal Tatum, 6-2, Sr. (14.8 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 2.5 apg)
G Tony Young, 6-0, Jr. (9.9 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 2.2 apg)
G Bryan Mullins, 6-2, So. (6.1 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 3.8 apg)
F Randal Falker, 6-7, Jr. (12.8 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 1.0 apg)
F Matt Shaw, 6-7, Jr. (11.4 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.2 apg)
Top Reserves
G Wesley Clemmons, 6-3, So. (3.0 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 0.5 apg)
F Tony Boyle, 6-8, So. (2.3 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 0.2 apg)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The Salukis, who are making their sixth straight appearance in the tournament, have several components necessary to make a deep run. Eight of the top nine scorers, including all five starters, are back from last season's team. Their scoring defense ranked third nationally. The biggest question is whether the offense can score enough: The Salukis haven't scored 80 points in a game all season.



13. Holy Cross

Patriot League champion

Record: 25-8, 13-1. Past 10: 8-2.

RPI: 60. Schedule: 162. Key Wins: Sienna, at La Salle, Bucknell

Coach: Ralph Willard (2-5 in NCAAs). Willard was on Boeheim's staff at Syracuse and worked for Pitino with the Knicks.


Starters
G Keith Simmons, 6-5, Sr. (17.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.0 apg)
G Torey Thomas, 5-11, Sr. (13.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 4.9 apg)
C Tim Clifford, 6-10, Jr. (11.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.2 apg)
F Alex Vander Baan, 6-8, So. (6.5 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.7 apg)
G Kyle Cruz, 6-2, Jr. (2.1 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 1.0 apg)
Top Reserves
G Pat Doherty, 5-11, So. (5.3 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 1.2 apg)
F Eric Meister, 6-8, Fr. (3.0 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 0.5 apg)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: After losing to Bucknell in the league final each of the previous two seasons, the Crusaders defeated the Bison to return to the tournament for the first time in four years. They lost in the NCAA first round in 2001-03 under Ralph Willard, who guided Western Kentucky to the round of 16 in 1993. Keith Simmons was the Patriot League's player of the year. Sophomore guard Lawrence Dixon is from Columbia.



5. Virginia Tech

ACC at-large

Record: 21-11, 10-6. Past 10: 5-5.

RPI: 34. Schedule: 22. Key Wins: at North Carolina, at Duke, at Georgia Tech

Coach: Seth Greenberg (0-2 in NCAAs).


Starters
G Jamon Gordon, 6-3, Sr. (11.3 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 4.6 apg)
G Zabian Dowdell, 6-3, Sr. (18.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.2 apg)
F Deron Washington, 6-7, Jr. (11.8 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.6 apg)
F Lewis Witcher, 6-9, Fr. (3.1 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 0.1 apg)
F Coleman Collins, 6-9, Sr. (8.1 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 0.9 apg)
Top Reserves
G A.D. Vassallo, 6-6, So. (11.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 0.8 apg)
G Markus Sailes, 6-5, Sr. (2.1 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 1.2 apg)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: In the tournament for the first time since 1996, the erratic Hokies went 6-2 against the top half of the ACC, including two wins over North Carolina, and 4-4 against the bottom, including two losses to North Carolina State. The Hokies go 11 deep and can shift their personnel to go big (starting Lewis Witcher) or small (starting A.D. Vassallo). Jamon Gordon and Zabian Dowdell made the all-ACC defensive team.



12. Illinois

Big Ten at-large

Record: 23-11, 9-7. Past 10: 7-3.

RPI: 29. Schedule: 24. Key Wins: Indiana, Michigan State, Michigan

Coach: Bruce Weber (10-5 in NCAAs)


Starters
G Chester Frazier, 6-2, So.(7.3 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 4.5 apg)
G Rich McBride, 6-3, Sr. (10.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 2.1 apg)
F Brian Randle, 6-8, Jr. (7.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.2 apg)
F Warren Carter, 6-9, Sr. (13.4 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 2.0 apg)
C Shaun Pruitt, 6-10, Jr. (11.6 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 2.0 apg)
Top Reserves
G Trent Meacham, 6-2, So. (5.0 ppg, 0.9 rpg, 1.8 apg)
G Calvin Brock, 6-5, So. (5.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.7 apg)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The Illini reached 20 wins for the eighth consecutive season. Illinois' defense, ranked second in the Big Ten at 57.3 points per game, helped it rebound from a 1-3 start in conference play. Shaun Pruitt and Warren Carter were among the top rebounders in the league, allowing for many second-chance points. The Illini had difficulty closing as they lost eight games in which they held a second-half lead.



FIRST- AND SECOND-ROUND GAMES
AT HSBC ARENA, BUFFALO
THURSDAY & SATURDAY    |   TICKETS: 248-377-0100

3. Pittsburgh

Big East at-large

Record: 27-7, 12-4. Past 10: 6-4.

RPI: 5. Schedule: 6. Key Wins: Georgetown, at Villanova, at Syracuse

Coach: Jamie Dixon (3-3 in NCAAs)


Starters
G Levance Fields, 5-10, So. (9.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 4.5 apg)
G Antonio Graves, 6-3, Sr. (9.1 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 2.5 apg)
G Mike Cook, 6-4, Jr. (10.4 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.9 apg)
F Levon Kendall, 6-10Sr.5.65.51.7
C Aaron Gray, 7-0, Sr. (14.4 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 1.7 apg)
Top Reserves
F Sam Young, 6-6, So. (6.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 0.8 apg)
GRonald Ramon6-1, Jr. 8.9 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 1.9 apg)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The Panthers have all the pieces: a talented big man, reliable guards, depth and experience. But they've come up small in big games, albeit with Aaron Gray somewhat hobbled; they lost their two showcase non-conference games, and wasted two shots at the Big East title with losses at Georgetown and Marquette. Pittsburgh hasn't advanced to the tournament's second week since 2004.



14. Wright State

Horizon champion

Record: 23-9, 13-3. Past 10: 9-1.

RPI: 72. Schedule: 159. Key Wins: at Miami (Ohio), Butler, at Loyola (Ill.)

Coach: Brad Brownell (0-2 in NCAAs).


Starters
G Dashaun Wood, 5-11, Sr. (19.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 3.9 apg)
G Vaughn Duggins, 6-3, Fr. (8.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.6 apg)
G Todd Brown, 6-5, Fr. (8.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.2 apg)
F Drew Burleson, 6-6, Sr. (8.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 0.8 apg)
F Jordan Pleiman, 6-8, Jr. (7.4 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 0.3 apg)
Top Reserves
G William Graham, 6-2, So. (3.5 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 2.2 apg)
F Scottie Wilson, 6-6, Jr. (5.0 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 0.2 apg)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The Raiders surprised Butler in the Horizon title game, but they're no flash in the pan. They went 13-3 in the conference, the same as the Bulldogs. Under Coach Brad Brownell, who came to Wright State this season because of a contract squabble with UNC Wilmington, the Raiders made their first NCAA tournament since 1993, which came 10 years after they won a Division II national title. Wright State started slow, going 5-6 and getting crushed at Bradley and LSU by more than 25 points each, but eventually warmed to Brownell and finished the year on a tear.



6. Duke

ACC at-large

Record: 22-10, 8-8. Past 10: 4-6.

RPI: 15. Schedule: 3. Key Wins: Indiana, at Boston College, Georgetown

Coach: Mike Krzyzewski (69-18 in NCAAs).


Starters
G Greg Paulus, 6-1, So. (11.2 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 3.8 apg)
G DeMarcus Nelson, 6-4, Jr. (14.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.0 apg)
G Jon Scheyer, 6-5, Fr. (12.3 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.9 apg)
F David McClure, 6-6, So. (4.5 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 0.5 apg)
F Josh McRoberts, 6-10, So. (12.6 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 3.5 apg)
Top Reserves
G Gerald Henderson, 6-4, Fr. (6.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.1 apg)
F Lance Thomas, 6-8, Fr. (4.1 ppg, 2.5 rpg. 0.0 apg)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The Duke haters reveled this season, as the Blue Devils had their worst ACC record since 1995. Josh McRoberts is a terrific passer, but he hasn't taken over games^ like Duke hoped he would. Jon Scheyer has emerged as the go-to scorer, but none of the Blue Devils can get their shot whenever they want. Duke won with defense this season, and DeMarcus Nelson and David McClure were two of the ACC's toughest on-the-ball defenders.



11. Va. Commonwealth

Colonial champion

Record: 27-6, 14-2. Past 10: 8-2.

RPI: 44. Schedule: 126. Key Wins: Charleston, Old Dominion, Drexel

Coach: Anthony Grant (first NCAAs). Grant was a longtime assistant under Billy Donovan.


Starters
FWil Fameni, 6-7, Jr. (9.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.0 apg)
FMichael Anderson, 6-7, Jr. (6.3 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 0.5 apg)
GEric Maynor, 6-2, So. (13.6 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 6.3 apg)
GB.A. Walker, 6-2, Sr. (14.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 2.0 apg)
GJesse Pellot-Rosa, 6-4, Sr. (13.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.4 apg)
Top Reserves
FT.J. Gwynn, 6-4, Fr. (5.0 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 0.8 apg)
GJamal Shuler, 6-3, Jr. (8.4 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 0.9 apg)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The Rams have the back court to compete with anyone, but will need strong support from their big men to win more than one game in the tournament. While B.A. Walker and Jesse Pellot-Rosa are dangerous on the wings, Eric Maynor's penetration and the team's full-court pressure are key. Maynor turned almost certain defeat into victory in the CAA final with nine late points against George Mason.



FIRST- AND SECOND-ROUND GAMES
AT ARCO ARENA, SACRAMENTO
THURSDAY & SATURDAY    |   TICKETS: SOLD OUT

2. UCLA

Pacific-10 at-large

Record: 26-5, 15-3. Past 10: 7-3.

RPI: 3. Schedule: 8. Key Wins: vs. Kentucky, vs. Texas A&M, at Arizona

Coach: Ben Howland (9-5 in NCAAs). Assistant under Jerry Pimm at UC-Santa Barbara in 1980s.


Starters
G Darren Collison, 6-5, Jr. (17.2 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.0 apg)
F Josh Shipp, 6-5, So. (13.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.5 apg)
F L.R. Mbah a Moute, 6-8, So. (8.6 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1.9 apg)
C Lorenzo Mata, 6-9, Jr. (6.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 0.4 apg)
F Michael Roll, 6-5, So. (5.2 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 1.1 apg)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Gritty defense is still the hallmark of Ben Howland's team, but the Bruins are more equipped offensively. The difference has been Darren Collison, who has more than filled the void left by Jordan Farmar. Collison's three-point shooting, defense and quickness make him arguably the nation's most complete point guard. Arron Afflalo was among the Pacific-10 leaders in three-pointers made, with 2.6 per game.



16. Florida A&M

MEAC champion

Record: 21-13, 12-6. Past 10: 8-2.

RPI: 171. SOS: 290.

Coach: Mike Gillespie (1-1 in NCAAs). Gillespie has been an assistant to no one, instead coaching preps and JuCo.


Starters
GLeslie Robinson, 6-0, Jr. (11.3 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 1.3 apg)
GErnest Maul, 6-0, Jr. (4.9 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 2.2 apg)
GBrian Greene, 6-5, Sr. (11.4 ppg, 7.0 rpg. 2.2 apg)
FDarius Glover, 6-5, Sr. (11.0 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.9 apg)
CRome Sanders, 6-8, Sr. (16.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 0.9 apg)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Mike Gillespie, who played at DePaul in the 1970s, apparently has kept his Chicago connections, as six players on the roster are from the area. ^ The Rattlers led the MEAC in rebounding margin, and fifth-year seniors Brian Greene, Darius Glover and Rome Sanders all ranked in the top 10 in rebounds. Florida A&M defeated MEAC regular season champion Delaware State twice, including the final.



7. Indiana

Big Ten at-large

Record: 20-9, 10-6. Past 10: 5-5.

RPI: 28. Schedule: 52. Key Wins: Wisconsin State, Michigan, Illinois

Coach: Kelvin Sampson (11-12 in NCAAs).


Starters
G Armon Bassett, 6-1, Fr. (9.4 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 3.2 apg)
G A.J. Ratliff, 6-3, Jr. (9.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.5 apg)
G Roderick Wilmont, 6-4, Sr. (12.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.0 apg)
F Lance Stemler, 6-8, Jr. (6.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 0.9 apg)
F D.J. White, 6-9, Jr. (13.7 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.2 apg)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Armon Bassett hails from Larry Bird's college town, Terre Haute, and the freshman displayed similar shooting skills in the latter part of the season. He scored 25 of the Hoosiers' 58 points in a game at Michigan State, connecting on 4 of 6 three-point tries. Indiana led the Big Ten by making 39 percent from beyond the arc. The Hoosiers were a good bounce-back team in Kelvin Sampson's first year, going 8-1 after a loss.



10. Gonzaga

West Coast champion

Record: 23-10, 11-3. Past 10: 7-3.

RPI: 61. Schedule: 93. Key Wins: North Carolina, Texas

Coach: Mark Few (9-7 in NCAAs).


Starters
GJeremy Pargo, 6-2, So. (12.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 4.6 apg)
GDerek Raivio, 6-3, Sr. (18.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.6 apg)
GMatt Bouldin, 6-5, Fr. (8.9 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.1 apg)
FSean Mallon, 6-9, Sr. (7.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 0.8 apg)
FAbdullahi Kuso, 6-9m Jr. (4.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 0.3 apg)
Top Reserves
GMicah Downs, 6-8, So. (8.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 0.9 apg)
GDavid Pendergraft, 6-6, Jr. (7.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.0 apg)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: One of the more tumultuous seasons in Gonzaga's history didn't prevent its ninth consecutive NCAA appearance. Leading scorer Josh Heytvelt was arrested on drug charges and subsequently suspended. The Bulldogs struggled with a tough nonconference schedule. Derek Raivio, the co-WCC player of the year, has made all but four foul shots this season (96.1 percent), which leads Division I.



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