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NCAA COLLEGE BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT

Today's Regionals / South

March 19, 2000|ROBYN NORWOOD

At Birmingham, Ala.

* Stanford vs. North Carolina: Tar Heel center Brendan Haywood won't be able to dunk at will against Stanford's frontline the way he did in a 28-point performance against undersized Missouri in the first round. The biggest concern for the Cardinal is North Carolina point guard Ed Cota, who will be a defensive challenge for Michael McDonald. Stanford will look for an edge beyond the three-point line with freshman swingman Casey Jacobsen shooting 45% from long range and capable of driving to the rim, too. The Cardinal is 0-8 against North Carolina and lost, 57-49, in last season's Preseason NIT--but the Cardinal shot only 29% in that game and it seems unlikely that will happen again.

* Tennessee vs. Connecticut: Khalid El-Amin still might play, but Connecticut Coach Jim Calhoun is warning his team that even if he does he won't be at 100% after suffering a high ankle sprain Friday. "We'll tell the kids that if Khalid shows up ready to play, clearly he's operating on a bad ankle and it does not take much, a bump or a twist. . . . I want them to understand if Khalid steps on the floor, you've got to know that isn't the Khalid of 48 hours ago." A decision on whether and how much El-Amin will play will come this morning. If he can't go, he'll be replaced by freshmen Tony Robertson and Marcus Cox--a huge break for quick, athletic Tennessee, which still needs to prove it can hit some outside shots.

At Nashville

* Cincinnati vs. Tulsa: Both teams are athletic and play excellent defense. Pete Mickeal is showing his leadership as Cincinnati adjusts to losing Kenyon Martin because of a broken leg. Tulsa's story is super-sub David Shelton, who grew up in Cincinnati and will be going against his hometown team. The bottom line: Cincinnati has been upset in the second round three years in a row, losing to Temple, West Virginia and Iowa State.

* Ohio State vs. Miami: The Buckeyes' Scoonie Penn appears to have found his shot when it matters most, making five of seven three-point shots in an easy first-round victory over Appalachian State. If Penn and Michael Redd are on their games, it might be tough to keep the Buckeyes from returning to the Final Four. Miami, led by Johnny Hemsley, held off an Arkansas comeback in the first round, but Ohio State is a big step up. Still, a look at a common opponent suggests a close game: Miami split with St. John's, winning, 74-70, and losing, 58-57. Ohio State beat St. John's, 65-64.

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