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Today's men's tournament games

A look at today's NCAA regional semifinals. All times Pacific:

March 27, 2009|Tim Stephens | Orlando Sentinel

A look at tonight's NCAA regional semifinals. All times Pacific:

Midwest Regional

No. 12 Arizona (21-13) vs. No. 1 Louisville (30-5), 4 p.m. -- Arizona, one of the last teams to make the tournament, has wins over No. 5 Utah, 84-71, and No. 13 Cleveland State, 71-57. There is no pressure on a team stocked with a trio -- center Jordan Hill, forward Chase Budinger and guard Nic Wise -- as talented as any in the tournament. Louisville's strengths of depth and three-point shooting hit Arizona's weaknesses, a thin bench and poor perimeter defense. Louisville, seeded No. 1 overall, relies on pressure defense to wear down opponents and three-pointer to finish them off. Guard Terrence Williams thrives in Rick Pitino's system, and the Cardinals have plenty of other weapons.

No. 3 Kansas (27-7) vs. No. 2 Michigan State (38-6), 6:30 p.m. -- No one seems to be talking about the defending national champion Jayhawks, a young team built around guard Sherron Collins and center Cole Aldrich. Collins has 57 points in the tournament. Aldrich had a triple-double -- 13 points, 20 rebounds, 10 blocks -- against Dayton but will find Michigan State to be much more physical. The Spartans defend and rebound with tenacity, while the offense revolves around guard Kalin Lucas. This is a rematch of a December game won by Michigan State, 75-62.

South Regional

No. 3 Syracuse (28-9) vs. No. 2 Oklahoma (29-5), 4:15 p.m. -- Syracuse point guard Jonny Flynn has emerged as a star and guard Eric Devendorf has been a deadeye shooter in postseason games. Syracuse has not faced a player like Oklahoma's double-double machine, Blake Griffin. The Orange will drape their trademark zone defense around the Sooners' 6-foot-10 national player of the year front-runner, who has 61 points and 30 rebounds in the first two rounds and has 25 double-doubles this season. Oklahoma will need guards Austin Johnson and Willie Warren to hold their own against Syracuse's backcourt.

No. 4 Gonzaga (28-5) vs. No. 1 North Carolina (30-4), 6:45 p.m. -- An 0-2 start in Atlantic Coast Conference play quelled talk of the Tar Heels being one of the great teams in college basketball history, but they are still very much in position to hang a banner now that ACC player of the year Ty Lawson is back from a toe injury. The point guard scored 23 points against Louisiana State in the second round despite not being 100%. North Carolina also has Tyler Hansbrough and Wayne Ellington, who stayed chase the school's 18th Final Four appearance. Gonzaga has reached the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2006. The Zags have won 11 games in a row since being embarrassed by Memphis on Feb. 7. Forward Josh Heytvelt will need to neutralize Hansbrough, and guards such as Matt Bouldin and Jeremy Pargo must be accurate from three-point range.

-- Tim Stephens, Orlando Sentinel

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