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NCAA tournament: East and Southwest regional previews

North Carolina faces Marquette and Ohio State takes on Kentucky in Newark, N.J. In San Antonio, Kansas and Richmond play, followed by Florida State against Virginia Commonwealth.

March 24, 2011|Wire reports
  • Ohio State forward Jared Sullinger is surrounded by three George Mason defenders during a 98-66 victory in the third round of the NCAA tournament on Sunday.
Ohio State forward Jared Sullinger is surrounded by three George Mason… (Neal C. Lauron / McClatchy-Tribune )

East Regional

No. 2 North Carolina (28-7) vs. No. 11 Marquette (22-14), Newark, N.J., 4:15 p.m. PDT, Ch. 2: Marquette has controlled tempo in its two NCAA wins, and that will be vital against North Carolina. The Tar Heels want to run and get the point total into at least the high 70s. Marquette doesn't have the firepower to hang with North Carolina, though the Tar Heels' sometimes-lax approach on defense should help the Golden Eagles. Marquette needs production from its "Big Three" of Jimmy Butler, Darius Johnson-Odom and Jae Crowder. Look for Marquette Coach Buzz Williams to use three defenders on Tar Heels point guard Kendall Marshall in an effort to wear him down.

No. 1 Ohio State (34-2) vs. No. 4 Kentucky (27-8), Newark, N.J., 6:45 p.m. PDT, Ch. 2: The Buckeyes have perhaps the nation's best low-post presence in freshman center Jared Sullinger, a dead-eye outside shooter in senior guard Jon Diebler (he has hit 50% of his 220 three-point attempts), two excellent swingmen in William Buford and David Lighty and a big-time shot-blocker in Dallas Lauderdale. Ohio State doesn't have the deepest bench, but it's deeper than Kentucky's, which really doesn't want to play more than six guys. The Wildcats have to get big games from big men Terrence Jones and, especially, Josh Harrellson.

Southwest Regional

No. 1 Kansas (34-2) vs. No. 12 Richmond (29-7), San Antonio, 4:15 p.m. PDT, TBS: Richmond's lack of bulk is going to hurt against a talented and physical Kansas frontcourt. Spiders forward Justin Harper was the Atlantic 10 Conference's player of the year, but while he averages 6.9 rebounds per game he's more effective outside the paint. Senior guard Kevin Anderson is a good offensive player, and he needs to be on target from beyond the arc if Richmond is going to hang with the Jayhawks.

No. 10 Florida State (23-10) vs. No. 11 Virginia Commonwealth (26-11), San Antonio, 6:45 p.m. PDT, TBS: Virginia Commonwealth has shut down a frontcourt-oriented team (USC), a backcourt-oriented team (Georgetown) and a solid all-around offensive team (Purdue). But Florida State is more than VCU's match defensively, and the Seminoles' size is going to cause problems for the smallish Rams. Still, VCU's defensive pressure is going to bother Florida State, which averages 15.9 turnovers per game. Forcing turnovers and scoring in transition is a must for VCU because the Rams are going to have trouble with the Seminoles' size and physically nature when running their halfcourt offense.


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