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SPORTS EXTRA / SELECTION-DAY REPORT / NCAA TOURNAMENT

Positions

March 13, 2000|SCOTT HOWARD-COOPER

* FORWARDS: Kapono was named the Pacific 10's co-freshman of the year, along with Casey Jacobsen of Stanford, and became the first Bruin freshman to be named to the all-conference team. Ball State's Smith also is a freshman. The Cardinals' other starter, Murray, is a freshman, but without the tournament experience of the UCLA sophomores.

* CENTERS: Gadzuric has come off the bench the last four games, but his nagging tendinitis has healed enough to where he played 30, 19 and 25 minutes in the first three and could have gone more than 14 on Saturday except the outcome was not in doubt. He'll have about 45 pounds on Jones.

* GUARDS: The Bruins don't know much about Ball State, but do know that the Cardinals start two seniors. Clemens is their leading scorer at 18.8 points a game. Clemens and Moodie, a reserve, shoot the most three-pointers for a team that has a 40% success rate.

* INTANGIBLES: The Bruins can--and will--go to their bench often, but Ball State goes only seven deep and is particularly thin up front. No Cardinal reserve at forward or center is averaging more than 7.2 minutes.

* COACHING: UCLA's Steve Lavin is 5-3 in three trips to the tournament and has been to the Elite Eight and Sweet 16, all of which will be worth zero insulation from the critics if the Bruins lose in the first round again. Ray McCallum is 126-75 in seven years at Ball State, his alma mater, and is fourth in MAC history in winning percentage among coaches with at least five years.

* THE PICK: UCLA. The Bruins remain as they always are, minutes away from regressing into a disjointed pickup team or from using their athleticism to dominate, but help comes in the first round because the opponent doesn't figure to dictate a halfcourt tempo.

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