Coach: Steve Fisher
Key Player: A consensus All-American and finalist for almost every player of the year honor, sophomore forward/center Chris Webber leads the Wolverines in scoring (18 points per game), field goal percentage, rebounding and blocked shots. But almost equally important, at least in terms of how far Michigan goes in the tournament, is the play of point guard Jalen Rose. Second in scoring at 16.8 points per game, Rose is really a shooting guard who happens to play the point. When the Wolverines have struggled, it has usually been because of Rose's tendency to look for his shot first and his teammates second.
Little-known Fact: The Fab Five? More like the Fab Four, what with Webber, Rose, Jimmy King and Juwan Howard as the sophomores who have started each of Michigan's 29 games. Fellow Fab man Ray Jackson has occasionally been relegated to reserve duty.
Outlook: No team, with the possible exception of North Carolina, has a roster comparable to Michigan's. On athletic ability alone, Michigan should be a favorite to reach the Final Four. But the Wolverines have played, at times, as if they were bored with the regular season, as if they couldn't wait for the NCAA tournament to begin. If they can regain their concentration--a big if when dealing with this team--the Wolverines will be tough to beat.
Coach: Lute Olson
Key Player: Always known as a major talent, senior forward Chris Mills added some consistency to his game. The easy choice for Pacific-10 Conference player of the year, Mills is averaging 20.1 points, eight rebounds and is shooting 48.6% from the three-point line.
Little-known Fact: Junior guard Khalid Reeves, who grew up in New York City, is an agriculture major.
Outlook: Shortly after Olson complained about the lack of respect West basketball (and Arizona, in particular) receives, the Wildcats traveled to California and were beaten by the Golden Bears. Memo to Olson: Get past the first round of the NCAA tournament (remember East Tennessee State?) and then pop off. The Wildcats have enough talent to reach a regional final.
Coach: Eddie Fogler
Key Player: Junior guard Bill McCaffrey has been nothing short of fantastic this season. The transfer from Duke leads the Commodores in scoring (20.4) and assists and is second in minutes played and steals. Even more impressive are his shooting percentages, 55.2% from the field, 52.2% from the three-point line and 86.9% from the free-throw line.
Little-known Fact: Arizona sportswriter Corky Simpson became a cult hero in Alabama last season when he became the only Associated Press poll voter to select the Crimson Tide football team to finish No. 1. Now comes news that Louisville Courier-Journal reporter Mark Coomes was the only media representative to pick Vandy to win the Eastern Division of the Southeastern Conference.
Outlook: There is no denying the excellence of McCaffrey or the wonderful job Fogler has done. But if there is a weak spot, it is in the middle, where center Chris Lawson does most of his work. Lawson averages 11.4 points and 5.1 rebounds, but he is vulnerable against mobile inside players who can also work the perimeter. The Commodores could reach the final eight.
4. GEORGIA TECH
Coach: Bobby Cremins
Key Player: Burdened by comparisons to former Tech star Kenny Anderson, sophomore point guard Travis Best has established himself as an ACC star in his own right. Best is seventh in the nation in three-point shooting percentage (50.3%).
Little-known Fact: Before Cremins became a coach, he played one season of pro basketball in Ecuador. After that, he worked as a bellman at New York's Waldorf Astoria Hotel.
Outlook: The Yellow Jackets have lots of talent, but lots of question marks. For example: How did they lose to College of Charleston? How did they beat Duke? How have the rumors concerning Cremins' possible return to South Carolina affected the team? Given its many inconsistencies, a first-round loss wouldn't be out of the question. Nor would a run at the final 16.
5. NEW MEXICO
Coach: Dave Bliss
Key Player: Ike Williams, a 6-5 senior guard, averages 15.6 points and shoots 44.9% from the three-point line. He is capable of taking over a game, as he did against BYU in the WAC tournament last Friday night. Williams made 12 of 14 shots and finished with 28 points in the upset. Williams was an all-WAC selection.
Little-known Fact: Bliss has averaged more than 20 wins victories season during his five-year stay in Albuquerque.
Outlook: New Mexico beat Utah, then Brigham Young to secure an NCAA bid. The Lobos defeated tough BYU again in the quarterfinals of the WAC tournament. New Mexico has become a legitimate threat to reach the round of 16.
Coach: Lou Henson