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COLLEGE BASKETBALL / NCAA TOURNAMENT | TODAY'S GAMES

At Boise, Idaho

March 12, 1998|GREG SANDOVAL

* Cincinnati (26-5) vs. Northern Arizona (21-7): The Lumberjacks have led the country in three-point shooting over the past two seasons (42.7%). Andrew Mavis, the Big Sky conference's player of the year, shot 48% from three-point range this season. But Cincinnati is too strong inside with its frontcourt trio of Ruben Patterson, Kenyon Martin and Bobby Brannen. The Lumberjacks don't have the size, speed or athleticism to work the ball inside. One thing in the Lumberjacks' favor: Cincinnati has given up big leads all season, including one against South Carolina; the Bearcats led by 23 in the second half before losing.

* Temple (21-8) vs. West Virginia (22-8): With its multiple matchup zone defenses, Temple is one of the hardest teams in the country to score on, but its offensive scheme is often too cautious and uninspired. Temple guards Rasheed Brokenborough and Pepe Sanchez shot 29.3% from the field and 30.6% from behind the arc. The Mountaineers, with five senior starters, average only 13.2 turnovers a game and should be patient enough to attack Temple's zones. Temple Coach John Chaney went 18-15 against West Virginia Coach Gale Catlett and the Mountaineers before West Virginia left the Atlantic 10 for the Big East in 1994.

* Utah (25-3) vs. San Francisco (19-10): Utah is much too big for USF. The Dons, back in the tournament for the first time since 1982, don't have a starter taller than 6-6 forward Damian Cantrell, who led the West Coast Conference in rebounding (9.9) but will get battered inside by 6-11 center Michael Doleac and 6-10 forward Hanno Mottola. USF also doesn't have anyone to stop former Verbum Dei star Andre Miller, the top floor leader in the WAC this season. The junior point guard is Utah's second-leading scorer with 13.7 points and has averaged a team-leading 4.9 assists. Miller played at Verbum Dei with USF reserve point guard Jamal Cobbs.

* Arkansas (23-8) vs. Nebraska (20-11): Organized chaos is the only way to describe Arkansas' style of play. An NCAA investigation has hurt recruiting, so the Razorbacks are not as talented as in the past but expect them to press the Cornhuskers the entire game and wear them down with their tag-team style of rotating players. Arkansas has 11 players averaging more than 10 minutes. Nebraska has junior point guard Tyronn Lue, but not much else. Lue averaged 21.3 points, 4.1 assists and was voted to the All-Big 12 team.

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