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NCAA BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT

Regional schedules, previews

March 15, 2007|ROBYN NORWOOD;DIANE PUCIN;BEN BOLCH

EAST REGIONAL

No. 6 VANDERBILT vs. No. 11 GEORGE WASHINGTON

* At Sacramento -- The Commodores work best when Southeastern Conference player of the year Derrick Byars, a 6-7 swingman, is at his best. Byars, a senior, averages 16.8 points and 4.9 rebounds. George Washington holds opponents to 33.6% shooting. Its offense is carried by guards Carl Elliott (13.1 ppg.) and Maureece Rice (16.2).

No. 3 WASHINGTON STATE vs. No. 14 ORAL ROBERTS

* At Sacramento -- Tony Bennett's Washington State team is noted for its bruising defense and guards Derrick Low and Kyle Weaver. Two seniors, forward Caleb Green and guard Ken Tutt, are outside-inside scoring threats for the Golden Eagles.

-- DIANE PUCIN

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No. 1 NORTH CAROLINA vs. No. 16 EASTERN KENTUCKY

* At Winston-Salem, N.C. -- Still looking for that first upset by a No. 16 seed? Keep looking. Eastern Kentucky doesn't have enough thoroughbreds to match the likes of Tyler Hansbrough, Brandan Wright and Reyshawn Terry. Eastern Kentucky standout Mike Rose will need to be in full bloom to help his team keep things close.

No. 8 MARQUETTE vs. No. 9 MICHIGAN STATE

* At Winston-Salem, N.C. -- Marquette's Tom Crean and Michigan State's Tom Izzo are longtime friends. They agreed to never schedule each other, but now they have no choice. The Golden Eagles will have to soldier on without sophomore guard Jerel McNeal, their second-leading scorer who has been ruled out because of a sprained thumb. Michigan State will look to senior guard Drew Neitzel, a first-team All-Big Ten selection who averages 18.1 points and has made 41.7% of his three-point shots.

No. 7 BOSTON COLLEGE vs. No. 10 TEXAS TECH

* At Winston-Salem, N.C. -- Coach Bob Knight has one Sweet 16 appearance to show for his six seasons in Lubbock, and it looks like Red Raiders fans must wait at least one more season for a second. The Red Raiders have a star in senior guard Jarrius Jackson but not a lot of scoring options beyond that. Boston College lost five of its last seven games, but the Eagles feature a pair of gritty seniors in forwards Jared Dudley and Sean Marshall.

No. 2 GEORGETOWN vs. No. 15 BELMONT

* At Winston-Salem, N.C. -- Georgetown: The Next Generation is poised to make noise behind Coach John Thompson III and junior center Patrick Ewing Jr., whose name sounds imposing but whose averages (4.0 points, 1.9 rebounds) don't match those of his famous father. After reeling off seven consecutive victories and winning the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament title, Belmont can expect to have its bell rung.

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--BEN BOLCH

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MIDWEST REGIONAL

No. 5 BUTLER vs. No. 12 OLD DOMINION

* At Buffalo, N.Y. -- In a rare first-round meeting of mid-majors, Butler is ostensibly the favorite, but the Bulldogs have faltered lately. "It should be fun -- a couple of non-BCS schools," Old Dominion Coach Blaine Taylor said. "They are a good team that does not beat themselves. They have a very strong team concept."

No. 4 MARYLAND vs. No. 13 DAVIDSON

* At Buffalo, N.Y. -- Davidson has freshman Stephen Curry, the son of former NBA standout Dell Curry. But Maryland has senior D.J. Strawberry, the former Santa Ana Mater Dei player who is the son of former major leaguer Darryl Strawberry. This is also a Lefty Driesell nostalgia game. He coached at both schools.

--ROBYN NORWOOD

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SOUTH REGIONAL

No. 1 OHIO STATE vs. No. 16 CENTRAL CONNECTICUT STATE

* At Lexington, Ky. -- With 7-foot center Greg Oden holding down the post and a backcourt loaded with three-point snipers, the Buckeyes have tremendous balance. Oden should have a field day against a smaller team. The Blue Devils are good outside shooters, but they'll need to be better than good if they have designs of an upset.

No. 8 BRIGHAM YOUNG vs. No. 9 XAVIER

* At Lexington, Ky. -- BYU inside players Keena Young and Trent Plaisted form a post tandem that's difficult for any team to contain, and point guard Austin Ainge knows how to get them the ball. Xavier is deep and spreads the ball around to its four scorers averaging in double figures. Drew Lavender has been nearly unstoppable from three-point range, making 57% in the second half of the season.

No. 6 LOUISVILLE vs. No. 11 STANFORD

* At Lexington, Ky. -- Louisville is a defense-minded team, holding opponents to 63 points a game. The Cardinal is meticulous on offense, averaging only 12.7 turnovers a game. David Padgett, a 6-11 center, will have his hands full with Stanford's twin 7-footers, Brook and Robin Lopez.

No. 3 TEXAS A&M vs. No. 14 PENNSYLVANIA

* At Lexington, Ky. -- The Aggies are a favorite sleeper pick to make the Final Four because of a defense that holds teams to 37.2% shooting and players such as Acie Law IV, who can score from anywhere, and inside bully Joseph Jones. Penn has three seniors playing in their third NCAA tournament, but the Quakers seem to lack the depth and consistency to make a serious run.

--PETER YOON

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WEST REGIONAL

No. 2 UCLA vs. No. 15 WEBER STATE

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