FIRST- AND SECOND-ROUND GAMES
at Ford Center, Oklahoma City
THURSDAY & SATURDAY | TICKETS: SOLD OUT
Big 12 champion
Record: 24-6 (12-4). Past 10: 8-2.
Coach: Kelvin Sampson (7-9 in NCAAs).
G Quannas White, 6-1, Sr. (8.8 ppg, 4.1 apg, 3.7 rpg)
G Hollis Price, 6-1, Sr. (19.4 ppg, 2.9 apg, 93.1 FT%)
G De'Angelo Alexander, 6-4, Fr. (6.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 0.9 apg)
F Kevin Bookout, 6-8, Fr. (9.6 ppg, 6 rpg, 58 FG%)
C Jabahri Brown, 6-10, Jr. (6.3 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.5 bpg)
G Ebi Ere, 6-5, Sr. (13.2 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.9 apg)
F Johnnie Gilbert, 6-8, Soph. (3.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 40.9 FT%)
G Blake Johnston, 6-1, Soph. (2.4 ppg, 1.6 apg, 0.8 rpg)
Data: Perhaps no player in the nation is more important to his team than Price, and his burden only got heavier last week. Ere, who had already been knocked out of the starting lineup because he made just 30 percent of his shots in league play, broke his wrist in practice Wednesday -- he still scored seven in overtime of Big 12 semifinal win over Texas Tech. Because Bookout is the only member of the thin front court to have scored 15 points in a game, the underrated White might be forced to score more. White has never committed more than four turnovers in a college game, and he led the team in scoring in wins against Kansas and at Texas Tech.
South Carolina State
Record: 20-10 (15-3). Past 10: 7-3.
Coach: Cy Alexander (0-5 in NCAAs).
G Moses Malone Jr., 6-5, Sr. (16.5 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1.2 spg)
G Demeco Heath, 6-2, Soph. (5.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.8 spg)
F Dustin Braddick, 6-5, Sr. (12.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.7 apg)
F Chucky Gilmore, 6-9, Sr. (7 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1 bpg)
C Thurman Zimmerman, 6-5, Soph. (16 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1.9 apg)
G Samuel Ramsey, 6-3, Sr. (4.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1 spg)
G Clary Judge, 6-0, Soph. (4.1 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.7 apg)
F Dakin Braddick, 6-11, Fr. (5.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1 bpg)
Data: South Carolina State tore through the MEAC during the first half of the regular season before losing back-to-back February games against Delaware State and Coppin State. But the Bulldogs, rallying behind Malone and the ever-improving Zimmerman, scraped into the MEAC final before upending Hampton. The veteran Alexander, a former Howard assistant coach, shepherded South Carolina State through the MEAC tournament, with its three victories coming by a total of 13 points. Transfers Malone (Houston) and Gilmore (Clemson) have major-conference experience, but Braddick led the way with 25 points in conference final win over Hampton.
Record: 21-8 (13-5). Past 10: 6-4.
Coach: Ben Braun (6-6 in NCAAs).
G Brian Wethers, 6-5, Sr. (15.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 3.1 apg)
G Richard Midgley, 6-1, Fr. (9.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 3 apg)
F Joe Shipp, 6-5, Sr. (20.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 52 FG%)
F Amit Tamir, 6-11, Soph. (16.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 3.2 apg)
C Gabriel Hughes, 6-11, Jr. (2.6 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 49.2 FG%)
G A.J. Diggs, 5-9, Jr. (3.4 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 1.8 spg)
F Conor Famulener, 6-6, Jr. (3 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 50.8 FG%)
F Erik Bond, 6-7, Fr. (1.9 ppg, 1.1 rpg, 32.3 FG%)
Data: Shipp is the fifth Bear in 10 years to lead the Pacific-10 in scoring, after Lamond Murray, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Ed Gray and Sean Lampley. Wethers is coming on strong, leading the Bears in scoring (19.8) the last five games of the regular season. Cal, which had its first winning road record (7-4) since 1995, is 15-0 when outrebounding opponents but just 6-8 otherwise and averages only one rebound more than opponents. Tamir looks like a post player but plays like a guard, making 42.8 percent of his three-pointers to lead four starters averaging 35 percent or better from that range. He also leads in assists and free throw shooting (82.1 percent).
North Carolina State
Record: 18-12 (9-8). Past 10: 5-5.
Coach: Herb Sendek (2-2 in NCAAs).
G Scooter Sherrill, 6-3, Jr. (10.2 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 57 3-pt.)
G Clifford Crawford, 6-3, Sr. (9.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 4.2 apg)
F Julius Hodge, 6-6, Soph. (17.6 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 44.9 FG%)
F Josh Powell, 6-9, Soph. (11.4 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 56 FG%)
F Marcus Melvin, 6-8, Jr. (12.3 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 80.2 FT%)
F Levi Watkins, 6-7, Soph. (6.3 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 30 3-pt.)
G Cameron Bennerman, 6-4, Fr. (2.3 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 54.8 FG%)
Data: The Wolfpack, which went 10 years without going to the NCAA tournament, is making a second straight appearance, thanks in large part to ACC tournament wins over Georgia Tech and Wake Forest. This year marks the 20th anniversary of North Carolina State's improbable run to a national championship. North Carolina State gives teams fits with its Princeton-syle offense of constant motion and cuts to the basket. The Wolfpack is a young team with only one senior and two juniors on the roster. They rely heavily on their five starters. The reserves average just more than 10 points per game. North Carolina State is one of the best free throw shooting teams in Division I, making 77.4 percent.