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NCAA MEN'S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT

Today's Game

March 25, 2004|Chris Dufresne

OKLAHOMA STATE (2) vs. PITTSBURGH (3)

* Site: East Rutherford, N.J.

* Time: 4:27 p.m. PST.

* What to watch for: This game is expected to be a tenacious battle between two highly disciplined defensive teams. Pittsburgh (31-4) allows opponents only 56.5 points a game, while Oklahoma State is allowing 62.9. Both teams are led by their guard tandems -- Julius Page and Carl Krauser play for Pittsburgh, while Oklahoma State (29-3) counters with John Lucas III and Tony Allen.

* Key to the game: Pittsburgh has to shoot better and increase its scoring output to have a chance. In their last three games, the Panthers have scored 58, 53, and 59 points, well below the team's season average of 68.4.

* Projected winner: Oklahoma State.

*

SAINT JOSEPH'S (1) vs. WAKE FOREST (4)

* Site: East Rutherford, N.J.

* Time: 7 p.m. PST.

* What to watch for: Besides the subplot of Saint Joseph's Coach Phil Martelli vs. CBS announcer Billy Packer, this game features the anticipated matchup of the nation's premier 6-foot-and-under guards. Saint Joseph's (29-1) is led by senior Jameer Nelson, the likely Wooden Award winner, while Wake Forest (21-9) features Chris Paul, probably the best freshman guard.

* Key to the game: Wake Forest has more inside muscle than Saint Joseph's, but that won't mean much unless Eric Williams (6-9, 275) can stay out of foul trouble. Williams has fouled out of both of the team's NCAA tournament victories and has played an average of only 21 minutes a game.

* Projected winner: Saint Joseph's.

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