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COLLEGE BASKETBALL NCAA TOURNAMENT | WEST REGIONAL

March 16, 1997|JASON REID

TODAY'S GAMES

* No. 7 North Carolina Charlotte (22-8) vs. No. 2 Utah (27-3)--The game's coaches share some history. Utah Coach Rick Majerus and North Carolina Charlotte's Melvin Watkins were on teams that faced each other in the 1977 Final Four--Majerus was an assistant at Marquette and Watkins was a senior co-captain at Charlotte. Marquette won the game, 51-49, and went on to win the national championship. "I scouted him for that game and I remember he was a good player," Majerus said. "I'm very happy for him because he's worked hard and he's been loyal to his school." As for this meeting, the coaches said nostalgia doesn't matter. "I haven't thought too much about 1977," said Watkins, in his first season as Charlotte head coach after 18 as an assistant. "I'm thinking about this tournament and Utah." Watkins admittedly isn't sure how to defend Utah All-American forward Keith Van Horn, who averages 22 points and 9.4 rebounds. Van Horn will likely spend a lot of time battling the 49ers' DeMarco Johnson, his team's leading scorer at 19 points a game. But that's not the only interesting matchup. Centers Michael Doleac of Utah and Alexander Kuehl of Charlotte are very big guys who stay near the basket.

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* No. 6 Stanford (21-7) vs. No. 3 Wake Forest (24-6)--Tim Duncan, Wake Forest's All-American center, and Brevin Knight, Stanford's standout point guard, became good friends last summer as roommates playing for a junior national team. However, Knight said the buddy-buddy stuff is being put aside for now. Knight was sensational in an 80-67 first-round victory over Oklahoma, scoring 18 points with 10 assists. He didn't commit a turnover in 38 minutes. Duncan was even better, scoring 22 points, grabbing 22 rebounds and blocking five shots in a 68-46 victory over St. Mary's. Duncan holds the all-time record for blocked shots in the tournament with 47. Of course, Knight doesn't have to worry about guarding Duncan. Seven-footer Tim Young gets that plum assignment.

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