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COLLEGE BASKETBALL / NCAA TOURNAMENT

Today's Games

March 23, 1997|GEORGE DOHRMANN

No. 1 North Carolina (27-6) vs. No. 6 Louisville (26-8)--Coaches Denny Crum and Dean Smith have more than 1,200 victories between them and Smith is first and Crum third in NCAA Tournament victories with 64 and 42, respectively. "I'm going to enjoy watching two legends go at it," Tar Heel guard Ed Cota said. It doesn't appear to be an even playing field with Crum probably working without point guard and leading scorer DeJuan Wheat because of a sprained ankle, and with little size to match North Carolina up front. Crum is 6-0 in regional finals, and won his last meeting with Smith, 94-79 in 1986, en route to a national title. The Tar Heels are 12-4 in regional finals, and have won three in a row. They are heavy favorites to make it four with 7 foot 3 Serge Zwikker up front and active forward Antawn Jamison, and now a clear edge in the backcourt with Wheat out. B.J. Flynn is Wheat's replacement and should have a difficult time guarding and scoring matched against Cota and Shammond Williams. "Our biggest problem is a lack of ball-handling," Crum said. "DeJuan was the only point guard we had."

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