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What To Look For

March 20, 2001|CHRIS DUFRESNE

* How they got here: No. 1 Stanford breezed to an 89-60 opening-round win over North Carolina Greensboro before getting a second-round scare from No. 9 St. Joseph's, which finally lost, 90-83. No. 5 Cincinnati routed Brigham Young, 84-59, then disposed of Kent State in the second round, 66-43. No. 10 Georgetown needed Nat Burton's last-second shot to beat Arkansas in the first round, then blew past No. 15 Hampton, which had shocked No. 2 Iowa State in its opener.

This tournament has been all about Georges for No. 3 Maryland. The Terrapins survived a first-round scare by George Mason, 83-80, then defeated Georgia State. Next up: Georgetown.

* Difference makers: Point guard Michael McDonald is the least acclaimed of Stanford's starters but the Cardinal discovered his worth after he was forced to the bench with his fourth foul against St. Joseph's. With McDonald out, Stanford turned an eight-point lead in the second half into a five-point deficit. McDonald has improved his outside shot and proved it when his three-pointer with 4:54 left turned a one-point deficit into a 76-74 lead.

* Team tidbits: This is only the third meeting for Maryland and Georgetown since 1979-80. Two players happy about the reunion are Maryland guard Juan Dixon and Georgetown guard Kevin Braswell, who were childhood friends. Dixon, in fact, moved in with the Braswell family for a while after his mother's death. Maryland Coach Gary Williams has been mentioned as a candidate for the vacant job at Nevada Las Vegas, but it would be a shock if the Maryland alum made a move.

* How it shakes out: Cincinnati guards Kenny Satterfield and Steve Logan could give Stanford fits. They combined for 23 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in the Bearcats' win over Kent State. Casey Jacobsen, Stanford's 6-foot-6 off-guard, has a decided height advantage against the 6-foot Logan, but the Cardinal must give Jacobsen some help on defense. Stanford's inside advantage should be enough to push the Cardinal to the regional final.

Maryland will dictate tempo (fast) to defeat taller Georgetown, and No. 1 Stanford will play No. 3 Maryland in Saturday's regional final.

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