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Today's Games

March 23, 2003|Tribune Wire Services

AT BOSTON

No. 2 Pittsburgh (27-4) vs. No. 7 Indiana (21-12)

Time: 9:10 a.m. PST

The skinny: The Panthers crushed Wagner, 87-61, in a first-round meeting that was more of a scrimmage than a game. Indiana, a gritty 67-62 winner over Alabama Friday night, overcame an 11-point halftime deficit to advance. Today's game may center around interior play. If Jeffrey Newton and George Leach can stay out of foul trouble and score, the Hoosiers could stay close. Pittsburgh is strong inside with forwards Chevon Troutman and Ontario Lett. The backcourt features great matchups too: Indiana's Tom Coverdale and Bracey Wright face Brandin Knight and Julius Page. Pitt needs to play its grind-out, physical game to negate what Indiana likes to do on offense. Pitt, saying it's a team on a mission to advance deep into the tournament, has shown it has enough scoring, led by Page, to defeat Indiana in what could be a low-scoring contest.

AT NASHVILLE

No. 1 Kentucky (30-3) vs. No. 9 Utah (25-7)

Time: 4 p.m. PST

The skinny: Utah Coach Rick Majerus is 0-4 against Kentucky in the last 10 NCAA tournaments. The most heart-wrenching of the losses was the 78-69 loss to the Wildcats in the 1998 title game. "I think I was such a pathetic figure in '98 that Ashley Judd came over and gave me a hug," Majerus said of the Kentucky graduate. "I think she felt sorry for me. I don't have any nice Kentucky basketball memories." To end the Kentucky streak, Utah will need to fiercely defend the perimeter, especially guard Gerald Fitch, who had five three-point baskets and 25 points in Kentucky's first-round victory over Indiana Purdue Indianapolis. Kentucky may be too much for the Utes' undersized, smoke-and-mirror lineup. Ute forward Britton Johnsen, the team's leading rebounder and third-leading scorer, will not play again because of mononucleosis.

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