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SEC champion

Record: 29-3 (16-0). Past 10: 10-0.

Coach: Tubby Smith (20-8 in NCAAs).


G Keith Bogans, 6-5, Sr. (15.9 ppg, 2.9 apg, 38.1 3-pt. FG%)

G Gerald Fitch, 6-3, Jr. (12.6 ppg, 46.4 FG%, 41.3 3-pt. FG%)

F Marquis Estill, 6-9, Sr. (11.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 57.7 FG%)

F Erik Daniels, 6-8, Jr. (9.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 56.1 FG%)

F Chuck Hayes, 6-6, Soph. (8.9 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 2.5 apg)

Top reserves

F-C Jules Camara, 6-11, Sr. (6.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 51.6 FG%)

G Cliff Hawkins, 6-1, Jr. (5.9 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 3.7 apg)

G-F Antwain Barbour, 6-5, Jr. (3.7 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 41.7 FG%)

Data: On Dec. 28, the Wildcats lost -- soundly -- for the second time in three games, to none other than Louisville, coached by none other than demigod-turned-traitor Rick Pitino. In an astounding turnaround, Kentucky then proceeded to become only the second team to run the SEC table since 1956, following its 1996 championship team. The recurrent theme of the Wildcats' epic run has been simply that of a very well-coached team, one that plays hard-nosed defense, makes smart passes and gives everyone a chance to contribute. Most remarkably, UK's success has come -- with apologies to Keith Bogans (DeMatha) -- without a transcendent performer.


Mid-Continent champion

Record: 20-13 (10-4). Past 10: 8-2.

Coach: Ron Hunter (first NCAAs).


G Matt Crenshaw, 6-3, Jr. (8.2 ppg, 4.2 apg)

G Odell Bradley, 6-4, Jr. (14.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.6 apg)

F Josh Mullins, 6-5, Sr. (12.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 44.7 3-pt. FG%)

F Chris Sanders, 6-5, Sr. (11. 5 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 84 FT%)

F Josh Murray, 6-7, Sr. (12.5 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 57.7 FG%)

Top reserves

F Antoine Lewis, 6-7, Sr. (6.7 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 0.9 apg)

G Marcus May, 5-11, Sr. (5.4 ppg, 2.2 apg, 1.4 spg)

G Brandon Cole, 6-6, Fr. (4.1 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 29 FG%)

Data: The Jaguars provided one of the highlights of the run-up to the NCAAs when Crenshaw, a 26-year-old Navy veteran, hit a last-second 18-footer for a 66-64 win over top-seeded Valparaiso in the Mid-Continent tournament final, followed by Hunter celebrating as if he had seen the light. Hunter can't be blamed for his ecstasy -- in nine seasons at Indiana-Purdue-Indianapolis, he has guided the program from a poor Division II team (9-18 in 1993-94) to the NCAAs in just its third season of full Division I eligibility. Befitting a team their size, the Jaguars are quick (8.5 steals per game) but not imposing inside (57 blocked shots).


Pacific-10 champion

Record: 23-9 (10-8). Past 10: 7-3.

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


G Luke Ridnour, 6-2, Jr. (20 ppg, 6.5 apg)

G James Davis, 5-10, Jr. (10.3 ppg, 2.4 apg, 89.5 FT%)

G Luke Jackson, 6-7, Jr. (16.1 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 3.7 apg)

F Robert Johnson, 6-8, Sr. (7.2 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 59 FG%)

C Brian Helquist, 6-9, Sr. (3.3 ppg, 3 rpg, 52.1 FG%)

Top reserves

G Andre Joseph, 6-3, Jr. (9.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 35.5 3-pt. FG%)

F Ian Crosswhite, 6-11, Fr. (9.6 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 52.3 FG%)

C Jay Anderson, 6-9, Jr. (2.5 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 37.8 FG%)

Data: In the closing moments of the season's final home game, a 79-48 drubbing of UCLA, Ridnour was reinserted just long enough to be pulled for an ovation he deserves even if he decides not to turn pro. Although five major contributors return from last year's region finalist, the point guard has carried the team, especially since fast-break partner Jackson has been hindered by a midseason hand injury. Ridnour is second in the Pac-10 in scoring and steals (1.8) and first in free throws and assists. Three starters average at least 37 percent on three-point attempts. The Ducks were 5-6 on the road but won the conference tournament in Los Angeles.


Mountain West at-large

Record: 24-7 (11-3). Past 10: 8-2.

Coach: Rick Majerus (17-10 in NCAAs).


G Tim Drisdom, 6-3, Fr. (5.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.2 apg)

G Trace Caton, 6-4, Sr. (4.6 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 76.9 FT%)

F Britton Johnsen, 6-10, Sr. (11.6 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 47.7 FG%)

F Nick Jacobson, 6-4, Jr. (13.1 ppg, 42 3-pt. FG%, 86 FT%)

C Tim Frost, 6-10, Jr. (13.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 51.8 FG%)

Top reserves

G Marc Jackson, 6-1, Soph. (9.1 ppg, 2.9 apg, 50 FG%)

G Richard Chaney, 6-4, Fr. (5.5 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 44.9 FG%)

C Cameron Koford, 7-0, Sr. (3.0 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1.2 bpg)

Data: Frost, a transfer from Portland, has established himself as a strong and much-needed inside-outside threat, hitting 46.2 percent of his three-point attempts, 12th-best nationally. He leads three other Utes -- Jacobson, Jackson and Drisdom -- who shoot 40 percent or better from beyond the arc. Utah, 7-3 on the road, won a conference-record nine straight games en route to the eighth regular season title it has at least shared in nine years. The Utes stumbled near the end, however, losing at New Mexico and at home to Colorado State and just edging Air Force. Their stingy half-court defense is ranked 15th nationally, giving up just 60.6 points per game.