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COLLEGE BASKETBALL / NCAA TOURNAMENT

Southeast Regional

March 14, 1997|GEORGE DOHRMANN

* No. 2 Duke (23-8) vs. No. 15 Murray State (20-9)--The Blue Devils are playing in their home state against the Ohio Valley tournament champions, who have only eight scholarship players. The Racers have had problems against teams with a strong inside player. The closest thing Duke has to that is reserve Greg Newton, but he might be enough if Steve Wojciechowski and Trajan Langdon, the best three-point shooter in the Atlantic Coast Conference at 45%, are shooting well from the outside. DeTeri Mayes (42%) and Darren Dawson will try to do the same for Murray State, coached by former UCLA assistant Mark Gottfried.

* No. 7 Marquette (22-8) vs. No. 10 Providence (21-11)--Golden Eagle forward Anthony Pieper re-injured his shoulder in leading Marquette to an upset of Cincinnati in the Conference USA tournament semifinals. He will probably play, and his 10 points a game will be needed by Marquette, which is shooting only 43%. Providence is up against a defense that held opponents to 35% shooting but has enough scoring threats with forward Austin Croshere and guards God Shammgod and Jamel Thomas. But can a team that was 12th in Big East in field-goal percentage defense and allowed almost 70 points a game keep Marquette down?

* No. 3 Georgia (24-8) vs. No. 14 Tennessee Chattanooga (22-10)--Some were surprised with the Bulldogs' high seeding, but their Kentucky-like pressure causes problems and they love the three-point shot. G.G. Smith, son of Georgia Coach Tubby Smith, runs a balanced offense and keys the defense. Tennessee Chattanooga sophomore point guard Wes Moore may be up to the task of handling the Georgia pressure, having made only 25 turnovers in 31 games.

* No. 6 Illinois (21-9) vs. No. 11 USC (17-10)--The matchup of explosive Fighting Illini guard Kiwane Garris and Trojan defensive specialist Stais Boseman is one of the best in the regional. Led by Boseman, USC forces nearly 20 turnovers a game. Illinois compensates for lack of size with the three-point shooting of Garris, Kevin Turner and Matt Heldman.

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