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MARCH MADNESS / NCAA TOURNAMENT | WEST REGIONAL

At San Diego

March 17, 2001|ROBYN NORWOOD

* Stanford vs. St. Joseph's--Casey Jacobsen tries again. He was two for 12 in the second-round loss to North Carolina last season--and one for eight from three-point range. Stanford is trying again too: The Cardinal has lost in the second round two years in a row. Defending St. Joseph's terrific guard tandem of Jameer Nelson and Marvin O'Connor will be a challenge. Stanford Coach Mike Montgomery called Nelson "certainly as good a freshman point guard as there is in the country, and one of the better point guards in the country regardless of class." Nelson is short--clearly a couple of inches under his listed height of 6 feet--but startlingly quick and an excellent passer. O'Connor is a scorer, pure and simple. "He has no conscience," said Jacobsen, who will guard him. "If he wants to score 20, I think he will, but if he does, I'm going to make him shoot 30 shots to get it." St. Joseph's (26-6) wants to push the pace--a familiar tactic against Stanford (29-2). O'Connor even took a shot at the Cardinal front line: "Their big men don't run the floor that well. Our big men are more mobile and can get up and down the court well." Jason Collins barely bristled. "I guess he'll just have to find out how well we can run the floor and block shots," he said. St. Joseph's doesn't have nearly as much size but handled Georgia Tech's 6-11 Alvin Jones, who scored only eight points. The problem against Stanford is there are two Collins brothers, and both are better than Jones.

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* Cincinnati vs. Kent State--Guard Trevor Huffman understands most people associate Kent State with the 1970 National Guard shootings in which four students were killed during an antiwar protest. After upsetting Indiana in the first round, Huffman knows a victory over Cincinnati would put Kent State in people's minds for another reason as well. "We want to be recognized as a basketball school . . . not a school people got shot at," he said. "I had never heard of Gonzaga. Now I hear Gonzaga and know that's a great team and a great program. That's kind of what I want to do for Kent State." Like Stanford, Cincinnati has been repeatedly bounced in the second round. The Bearcats have lost their last four second-round games, including last season when a potential NCAA championship run was seriously hampered even before the tournament when Kenyon Martin suffered a broken leg. "I think the last couple of years, we lost in the second round because we got a little ahead of ourselves and thought we could come out and have Cincinnati run over them," guard Steve Logan said. "This year, we're a lot more focused." Logan and point guard Kenny Satterfield make Cincinnati go, together averaging more than 32 points--43% of the Bearcats' average. Logan, the Conference USA player of the year, has also made 100 of his last 108 free throws.

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