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Today's Games

March 22, 2003|Chris Dufresne, | Tribune Wire Services

AT SALT LAKE CITY

No. 1 Arizona (26-3) vs. No. 9 Gonzaga (24-8)

Time: 2:40 p.m. PST

The skinny: Arizona advanced to the second round with a 29-point victory over Vermont, and Gonzaga was a winner by five over Cincinnati. Arizona's big concern is the shooting slump of senior guard Jason Gardner, who has made only four of his last 29 shots and is 0 for 17 on three-point attempts in his last two games. Funny how the bracket works out. Gonzaga would have played Arizona in last year's second round but was upset in the first round by Wyoming. The schools have met only once before, in 2000, when Arizona prevailed at Tucson, 101-87. Gonzaga hopes its perennial tag as small-school underdog will make them a crowd favorite today when, in fact, the basketball program has grown to near powerhouse status. This is the school's fifth consecutive NCAA appearance.

No. 3 Duke (25-6) vs. No. 11 Central Michigan (25-6)

Time: 5:10 p.m. PST (to officially start 30 minutes after the previous game).

The skinny: Duke survived a first-round scare before pulling away in the final minute to defeat Colorado State by 10. Central Michigan nearly blew a 26-point second-half lead but held on to upset No 6 Creighton. Fast fact: Duke has as many national titles, three, as Central Michigan has NCAA tournament victories. The Chippewas' win on Thursday was the school's first in tournament play since 1975. To advance, Duke will have to stop 7-foot Central Michigan center Chris Kaman, looking to rebound after scoring only 12 points in the Creighton win, half his season average. For what it's worth, Duke center Casey Sanders fouled out Thursday night against Colorado State center Matt Nelson, also a 7-footer.

-- Chris Dufresne

AT INDIANAPOLIS

No. 4 Illinois (25-6) vs. No. 5 Notre Dame (23-9)

Time: 10:10 a.m. PST

The skinny: There's a lot that could be said about this matchup, but most of it is contingent on one left ankle. If Notre Dame's Matt Carroll can get his to cooperate, and play anywhere close to form, this could be a tightly contested game. Otherwise, the Illini figure to be headed to Anaheim.

AT OKLAHOMA CITY

No. 2 Kansas (26-7) vs. No. 10 Arizona State (20-11)

Time: 5 p.m. PST

The skinny: Another Big 12-Pacific 10 matchup, meaning bump-and-bruise vs. sprint-and-shoot. The Jayhawks had a shaky first-round game, while Arizona State is riding momentum from its upset of Memphis. Kansas All-Americans Nick Collison and Kirk Hinrich will run up against the quiet confidence of the four seniors who surround freshman Sun Devil sensation Ike Diogu.

Tribune Wire Services

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