Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Conventional wisdom supports top seeds

Here’s a look at the regional semifinals and finals (winners in uppercase):


PITTSBURGH vs. Xavier – The Panthers definitely struggled the most of the four No. 1 seeds, but they did look more like the team that spent the season ranked in the top six in the second half against Oklahoma State. DeJuan Blair has avoided foul trouble, and Pitt will need him in the game to offset the solid team rebounding of the Musketeers. Xavier has hit 14 3s in the first two games, and it must at least match that average to keep the Panthers spread out on defense.

VILLANOVA vs. Duke – This is a mirror game with both teams so similar in style. Neither has a real inside presence, although Villanova’s Dante Cunningham has spent a season inside against the bigs of the Big East, and both are very successful when hitting 3s. Corey Stokes and Scottie Reynolds both have hit 70 3s for the Wildcats, and Jon Scheyer and Kyle Singler are around the same number for the Blue Devils. If Villanova comes out with a defensive effort like it did against UCLA, that would be a big advantage.

Regional final: PITTSBURGH vs. Villanova – When these Big East teams met in the regular season, Blair had foul trouble and Villanova took advantage inside. Blair’s been avoiding the long spells on the bench, and that makes the Panthers a lot more physical.


CONNECTICUT vs. Purdue – The Huskies have looked like the best team in the field in two dominating defensive performances. A.J. Price stepped up and took over the offense for Connecticut, and the Huskies look like the team that started the season 24-1 before losing Jerome Dyson to a knee injury. Purdue is the kind of defensive team that can put an opponent in a shooting slump. But even if Chris Kramer comes up with a great effort to slow down Price, the Huskies are just loaded inside and on the wings.

MISSOURI vs. Memphis – Both teams want a fast-paced, open-court game. Both play good defense and look to score off turnovers. The biggest difference is that Missouri has a better offense. The last Conference USA team to beat Memphis was coached by Missouri’s Mike Anderson. It’s the same system with better athletes.

Regional final: CONNECTICUT vs. Missouri – The Huskies are a momentum team. Missouri just doesn’t have the size inside to stop 7-foot-3 Hasheem Thabeet and slew of forwards who take advantage of his presence.


SYRACUSE vs. Oklahoma – The Orange did a nice job on Arizona State’s James Harden in the second round, but stopping Blake Griffin is a whole other story. He has put up huge numbers – averaging 30.5 points and 15 rebounds in the first two games. But it’s what his teammates can do against Syracuse’s 2-3 zone that will make the difference.

Against Michigan’s 1-3-1, the Sooners were 6-for-19 on 3s; that must improve to help Griffin who will be facing bigger players on the baseline. Syracuse is a confident offensive team right now.

NORTH CAROLINA vs. Gonzaga – The big question will be how Ty Lawson’s toe injury recovers after his great second half against LSU. The Tar Heels are a much better offensive team with Lawson running the show, and he’ll have Jeremy Pargo waiting to try and slow him down. Gonzaga is the type of program that feeds off great wins like the one over Western Kentucky in the second round, but they have to find a way to not let the game get on a 90-point pace.

Regional Final: NORTH CAROLINA vs. Syracuse – The Tar Heels are one of the best offensive teams in the country and won’t be bothered by a zone. Getting to the Final Four is usually enough for a team, but the Tar Heels came back for more than that.


LOUISVILLE vs. Arizona – When a No. 1 seed gets a No. 12 in the third round, it usually isn’t a team as good and experienced as Arizona. No argument now about whether the Wildcats deserved a bid. Arizona’s problem now is handling the Cardinals’ pressure.

That will come down to Nic Wise, who has been averaging 25 points and 5.0 assists, but it’s the 4.0 turnovers that will make a difference. It will be fun watching the frontcourt matchups with Terrence Williams and Earl Clark of Louisville against Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill of the Wildcats.

KANSAS vs. Michigan State – Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich are the only Kansas players defending the national championship, and the two of them have lifted their games in the tournament. Collins is averaging 28.5 points and 7.5 assists, while Aldrich is averaging 18.0 points and 16.5 rebounds and is coming off a triple-double against Dayton. Michigan State must dominate on the boards to keep the Jayhawks from upping the tempo.

Regional final: LOUISVILLE vs. Kansas – The team that won both Big East titles must be part of a conference party in Detroit. As long as the Cardinals can keep scoring to set up the pressure defense, they should be there.

Citizen Online Archive, 2006-2009

This archive contains all the stories that appeared on the Tucson Citizen's website from mid-2006 to June 1, 2009.

In 2010, a power surge fried a server that contained all of videos linked to dozens of stories in this archive. Also, a server that contained all of the databases for dozens of stories was accidentally erased, so all of those links are broken as well. However, all of the text and photos that accompanied some stories have been preserved.

For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

Search site | Terms of service