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NCAA MEN'S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT

Today's Game

March 27, 2004|Chris Dufresne

No. 1 SAINT JOSEPH'S vs. No. 2 OKLAHOMA STATE

* Site: East Rutherford, N.J.

* Time: 4 p.m. PST.

* What to look for: A pairing of the top two teams in the East Rutherford regional. Saint Joseph's (30-1) advanced by defeating No. 4 Wake Forest, 84-80; Oklahoma State (30-3) beat No. 3 Pittsburgh, 63-51, at Continental Airlines Arena. Both teams are perimeter-oriented and work from the outside in. This is a battle of guards, Jameer Nelson and Delonte West of Saint Joe's against John Lucas III and Tony Allen for Oklahoma State. Nelson and West combined for 48 points in the Wake Forest win. Allen scored a game-high 23 in Oklahoma State's win over Pittsburgh. Lucas, the point guard, had an off night, making only two of seven shots, but his six second-half assists helped the Cowboys pull away from Pittsburgh in the final eight minutes.

* Key to the game: Oklahoma State Coach Eddie Sutton said his team must find a way to limit Saint Joseph's outside shooting. The Hawks made 12 three-point shots against Wake Forest. The reason Saint Joe's gets so many good looks is because of Nelson, who loves to drive the lane, wait for the defense to collapse on him, then pass the ball to open shooters on the outside. Allen, a big, tough, 6-foot-4 guard, will probably draw the defensive assignment on Nelson, with help from Lucas and others.

* Projected winner: Oklahoma State.

-- Chris Dufresne

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