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Today's Games

March 21, 2003|Tribune Wire Services

AT BOSTON

No. 3 Syracuse (24-5, 13-3 Big East) vs.

No. 14 Manhattan (23-6, 14-4 Metro Atlantic Athletic)

Time: 9:15 a.m. PST

Skinny: The Orangemen have the nation's best freshman in forward Carmelo Anthony. But Manhattan has a force, too, in guard Luis Flores, a great jump shooter with range and a cool penetrator and finisher. Syracuse has to handle the Jaspers' full-court pressure and up-tempo offensive style, tilt its 2-3 zone to wherever Flores goes and even double-team him.

No. 6 Oklahoma State (21-9, 10-6 Big 12) vs.

No. 11 Pennsylvania (22-5, 14-0 Ivy)

Time: 11:45 a.m. PST

Skinny: Oklahoma State's aggressive man-to-man defense, a trademark of Coach Eddie Sutton, can cause Penn many problems. The Quakers, who defeated USC and Villanova, rely on three-pointers. Jeff Schiffner made 49.7% of his tries. Oklahoma State wants to prevent such open looks. For Penn to win, it needs to stretch out the defense by making some three-pointers and get some production from forwards Ugonna Onyekwe and Koko Archibong.

AT TAMPA, FLA.

No. 7 St. Joseph's (23-6, 12-4 in Atlantic 10) vs.

No. 10 Auburn (20-11, 8-8 in Southeastern)

Time: 9:25 a.m. PST

Skinny: Some might question if Auburn should be in the field, but swingman Marquis Daniels heads an athletic group that will cause the Hawks some problems. Auburn's frontcourt should have its way. But St. Joseph's backcourt, headed by top-notch point guard Jameer Nelson, should cause problems for Auburn's guards. If Nelson plays well, the Hawks win.

No. 2 Wake Forest (24-5, 13-3 in Atlantic Coast) vs.

No. 15 East Tennessee State (20-10, 11-5 in Southern)

Time: 11:55 a.m. PST

Skinny: Wake Forest was one of the nation's biggest surprises. In senior forward Josh Howard, the Demon Deacons have a true star, and he is surrounded by solid forwards Vytas Danelius and Jamaal Levy. East Tennessee is led by point guard Tim Smith, a 5-foot-9, 21-year-old freshman.

AT BIRMINGHAM, ALA.

No. 4 Louisville (24-6, 11-5 in Conference USA) vs.

No. 13 Austin Peay (23-7, 13-3 in Ohio Valley)

Time: 4:20 p.m. PST

Skinny: Louisville was one of the nation's best teams in January but cooled until the Conference USA tournament, which it won. Point guard Reece Gaines is a star, and if he gets enough help from players such as center Marvin Stone and forward Francisco Garcia, the Cardinals will go a long way. Austin Peay plays solid defense but lacks depth.

No. 5 Mississippi State (21-9, 9-7 in Southeastern) vs.

No. 12 Butler (25-5, 14-2 in Horizon League)

Time: 6:50 p.m. PST

Skinny: Mississippi State is a trendy pick to do some damage in this region, and in center Mario Austin and guard Timmy Bowers, the Bulldogs have a nice inside-outside combination. But other than Bowers, there's no consistent outside shooting. Butler still is smarting over its NCAA snub last season. These Bulldogs don't have a true go-to guy, but they are balanced offensively and play good defense.

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