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Saturday's NCAA tournament games

A preview of how the teams match up in the third-round games.

March 18, 2011|Wire reports
  • Kentucky forward Josh Harrellson drives to the basket against Princeton center Brendan Connolly in the second half of a 59-57 victory for the Wildcats on Thursday.
Kentucky forward Josh Harrellson drives to the basket against Princeton… (Kim Klement / US Presswire )

East Regional

No. 4 Kentucky (26-8) vs. No. 5 West Virginia (21-11), 9:15 a.m., Tampa, Fla., Ch. 2: West Virginia upset Kentucky in a regional final last season, but neither team is as good now. West Virginia is physical and aggressive on defense and excellent on the offensive boards. Wildcats center Josh Harrellson leads the SEC in offensive rebounds..

Southeast Regional

No. 1 Pittsburgh (28-5) vs. No. 8 Butler (24-9), 4 p.m., Washington, TBS: Butler, of course, lost in the national final last season, and Pitt, of course, never has been to the Final Four under Jamie Dixon. Both teams play solid defense, hit the boards and are willing to scratch and claw. Despite the perception that Pitt prefers a slow pace, the Panthers average 74.6 points, and three of their five losses came when they were held below 60 points..

No. 3 Brigham Young (31-4) vs. No. 11 Gonzaga (25-9), 4:45 p.m., Denver, Ch. 2: Both want a fast pace. Gonzaga might play more in the halfcourt, going to Robert Sacre and Elias Harris to exploit BYU's lack of size up front. As national scoring leader Jimmer Fredette (28.6 ppg) goes, so goes BYU.

No. 4 Wisconsin (24-8) vs. No. 5 Kansas State (23-10), 5:30 p.m., Tucson, TNT: This features a big-time matchup at point guard with Wisconsin's Jordan Taylor going against Kansas State's Jacob Pullen. Free throws could loom large: Kansas State commits 21.9 fouls per game, ninth most in the nation, and Wisconsin leads the nation in free-throw percentage.

Southwest Regional

No. 12 Richmond (28-7) vs. No. 13 Morehead State (25-9), 2:15 p.m., Denver, Ch. 2: Morehead State's Kenneth Faried, the nation's leading rebounder, should dominate in the paint. Guard Kevin Anderson is a solid scorer with good range for Richmond, which shoots 40.4% from three-point range.

West Regional

No. 2 San Diego State (33-2) vs. No. 7 Temple (26-7), 3 p.m., Tucson, TNT: San Diego State has one of the nation's best frontcourts -- big, physical and athletic. That poses trouble for Temple, which really has only one inside presence in double-double threat Lavoy Allen. Allen must avoid fouls and stay on the floor. Temple also must hit its three-point shots. Look for Owls Coach Fran Dunphy to try to entice San Diego State to shoot from outside; the Aztecs are much better when they focus on scoring in the paint. San Diego State got its first-ever NCAA tournament victory in the second round against Northern Colorado.

No. 3 Connecticut (27-9) vs. No. 6 Cincinnati (26-8), 6:30 p.m., Washington, TBS: This is an all-Big East matchup; UConn won the regular-season meeting by eight at Cincinnati. Cincinnati is known for defense and holds opponents to 59.3 points per game. But UConn has better field-goal percentage defense numbers (39.9 to 41.0). And Cincinnati shoots better from the field (43.8% to 43.5%) and from three-point range (33.9% to 33.3%). Still, UConn has Kemba Walker, who has been on fire of late. The Bearcats have no go-to guy.

--All times PDT, capsules from

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