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COLLEGE BASKETBALL / NCAA TOURNAMENT

First Look

March 14, 1997|JIM RHODE

UCLA (22-7) vs. XAVIER (23-5)

Midwest Regional, Second Round at Auburn Hills, Mich., Approximately 4 p.m.

* XAVIER AT A GLANCE: It's warp speed ahead, Scotty. The Musketeers are the nation's sixth-highest scoring team and they like to spread it around--five players average between nine and 14 points. Xavier was stifled by Temple and its matchup zone in two Atlantic 10 losses.

* UCLA AT A GLANCE: The Bruins have struggled in half-court sets against zone defenses but won't to worry about that against Xavier, which prefers full-court, hand-to-hand combat. UCLA went over 100 points for the first time this season in its first-round cakewalk against Charleston Southern.

UCLA

PROBABLE STARTERS

F--Charles O'Bannon (6-5)

F--J.R. Henderson (6-9)

C--Jelani McCoy (6-9 1/2)

G--Toby Bailey (6-5)

G--Cameron Dollar (5-11)

UCLA

KEY RESERVES

G/F--Kris Johnson (6-3 1/2)

F--Bob Myers (6-6 1/2)

G-Brandon Loyd (5-10)

XAVIER

PROBABLE STARTERS

F--T.J. Johnson (6-7)

F--Torraye Braggs (6-7)

G--Darnell Williams (6-4)

G--Lenny Brown (6-2)

G--Gary Lumpkin (6-2)

XAVIER

KEY RESERVES

F--James Posey (6-7)

G--Sherwin Anderson (5-11)

F/C--Kevin Carr (6-7)

THE MATCHUPS

* GUARDS: Other than South Carolina, Xavier's three-guard offense of Brown, Lumpkin and Williams--all sophomores--may have no peer. Curiously, the Musketeers' pedal-to-the-metal dashes often are done in the no-passing zone--their threesome averages only eight assists. Xavier is in the class of Kentucky when it comes to creating turnovers (20 a game), and the basketball isn't stamped "Handle With Care" when in the hands of UCLA guards Dollar and Bailey.

* FORWARDS: UCLA should be in transition frequently, giving O'Bannon (and Bailey) an opportunity to be creative. Sorry fellas, no style points will be awarded. Posey is a high-wire act off the bench for Xavier, while at 260 pounds, Johnson fits the definition of a power forward and is surprisingly nimble.

* CENTER: McCoy might think on occasion that he's back in the Slam-n-Jam summer league when being guarded by Xavier's wide assortment of 6-7 players.

* INTANGIBLES: UCLA is tournament-tested, while Xavier basically got its NCAA feet wet in a first-round victory over Vanderbilt.

* COACHING: Steve Lavin is 9-0 since having his interim tag lifted. Skip Prosser is in his third season as Xavier coach and has a 59-25 record. Prosser's teams are more guard-oriented than those of predecessor Pete Gillen, whose teams made seven NCAA appearances in 10 years.

* FINAL ANALYSIS: Xavier is similar in style to the Arkansas team that UCLA defeated for the national championship in 1995. The Bruins can only hope that Dollar, who filled in admirably for an injured Tyus Edney in that game, is up to the task again.

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