Phoenix Regional Breakdown

This is a breakdown of the teams in the Phoenix bracket of the NCAA Tournament.

1. Stanford
Nickname: Cardinal
Conference: Pac-10
Record: 29-1 (17-1)
Bid: Automatic RPI: 7
First-round: Texas San-Antonio, Thursday, Seattle
Coach: Mike Montgomery (546-243, 26 seasons; 392-166, 18 at Stanford)
Best win: 87-80 vs. Gonzaga
Worst loss: 75-62 at Washington
Key players: G-F Josh Childress (15.4 ppg, 7.4 rpg); G Matt Lottich (12.2 ppg, 3.6 apg)
Analysis: Once-beaten record tempered somewhat by a down year for Pac-10. Memorable victory came at buzzer against Arizona, with alumnus Tiger Woods in the stands.

2. Connecticut
Nickname: Huskies
Conference: Big East
Record: 27-6 (12-4)
Bid: Automatic RPI: 5
First-round: Vermont, Thursday, Buffalo, N.Y.
Coach: Jim Calhoun (651-292, 31 seasons; 403-155, 17 at UConn)
Best win: 61-58 vs. Pittsburgh in Big East title game
Worst loss: 80-74 at Notre Dame
Key players: C Emeka Okafor (18.7 ppg, 11.5 rpg); G Ben Gordon (17.9 ppg); F Charlie Villaneuva (10.0 ppg)
Analysis: The most star-rich team in the country. But Okafor has been limited by a bad back, and this team hasn't played with the swagger of a champion.

3. N.C. State
Nickname: Wolfpack
Conference: ACC
Record: 20-9 (11-5)
Bid: At-large RPI: 17
First-round: Louisiana-Lafayette, Friday, Orlando, Fla.
Coach: Herb Sendek (210-133, 11 seasons; 147-107, 8 at N.C. State)
Best win: 78-74 vs. Duke
Worst loss: 60-55 at Clemson
Key players: F Julius Hodge (18.6 ppg); C Marcus Melvin (14.2 ppg); G Engin Atsur (8.2 ppg)
Analysis: If Scooter Sherrill (ankle) and Jordan Collins (knee) don't recover from injuries this week, they might not be deep enough to get to the regional semifinals.

4. Maryland
Conference: ACC
Record: 19-11 (7-9)
Bid: Automatic RPI: 18
First-round: UTEP, Thursday, Denver, Colo.
Coach: Gary Williams (521-292, 26 years; 314-164, 15 at Maryland)
Best win: 95-87 vs. Duke in ACC finals
Worst loss: 79-75 at Florida State
Key players: G John Gilchrist (14.6 ppg); C Jamar Smith (12.2 ppg); Nik Caner-Medley (13.0 ppg)
Analysis: The Terps had to win their last two regular-season games to qualify for the tournament, then carried their momentum into the ACC tournament. Don't be surprised if they make some early noise in the NCAA tournament.

5. Syracuse
Nickname: Orangemen
Conference: Big East
Record: 21-7 (11-5)
Bid: At-large RPI: 14
First-round: BYU, Thursday, Denver, Colo.
Coach: Jim Boeheim (674-233, 28 seasons at Syracuse)
Best win: 49-46 at Pittsburgh
Worst loss: 82-74 vs. Notre Dame
Key players: F Hakim Warrick (19.6 ppg, 8.8 rpg); G Gerry McNamara (16.2 ppg)
Analysis: Warrick is the quickest leaper in college basketball, and McNamara has the shooting range to stretch defenses. The Orangemen struggled at mid-season when point guard Billy Edelin left the team.

6. Vanderbilt
Nickname: Commodores
Conference: SEC
Record: 21-9 (8-8)
Bid: At-large RPI: 27
First-round: Western Michigan, Friday, Orlando, Fla.
Coach: Kevin Stallings (185-122, 11 seasons; 62-59, 5 at Vanderbilt)
Best win: 66-60 vs. Kentucky
Worst loss: 70-62 at Arkansas
Key players: Matt Freije (18.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg); Marco Moore (10.4 ppg)
Analysis: The Commodores were skilled enough to beat Kentucky and Mississippi State this season. They're big, but plodding, so they need a draw that avoids quick, pressing teams.

7. DePaul
Nickname: Blue Demons
Conference: Conference USA
Record: 21-9 (12-4)
Bid: At-large RPI: 37
First-round: Dayton, Thursday, Buffalo, N.Y.
Coach: Dave Leitao (59-57, 4 seasons; 37-22, 2 at DePaul)
Best win: 68-65 vs. then-No. 12 Cincinnati
Worst loss: 90-65 at then-No. 10 Cincinnati
Key players: F Delonte Holland (16.58 ppg); F/C Andre Brown (14.4 ppg, 9.7 rpg)
Analysis: The Blue Demons have been hot since mid-January, winning 12 and losing two (one in overtime at Louisville) to close the regular season.

8. Alabama
Nickname: Crimson Tide
Conference: SEC
Record: 17-12 (8-8)
Bid: At-large RPI: 26
First-round: Southern Illinois, Thursday, Seattle
Coach: Mark Gottfried (184-98, 9 seasons; 116-73, 6 at Alabama)
Best win: 77-73 at Miss. State
Worst loss: 71-60 at Mississippi
Key players: Kennedy Winston (17.3 ppg); Earnest Shelton (15.4 ppg)
Analysis: This young, athletic team played an extremely aggressive schedule. It is capable of beating quality teams - as victories against Mississippi State and the Charlotte 49ers illustrated.

9. Southern Illinois
Nickname: Salukis
Conference: Missouri Valley
Record: 25-4
Bid: At-large RPI: 25
First-round: Alabama, Thursday, Seattle
Coach: Matt Painter (25-4, 1st season)
Best win: 73-64 vs. Wichita State
Worst loss: 68-52 at Northern Iowa
Key players: G Darren Brooks (16.2 ppg, 5.9 rpg); F Brad Korn (9.5 ppg)
Analysis: The Salukis won 13 of 14 home games, losing only to Charlotte, and took the top seed in the MVC tournament with a 17-1 record. They lost in two overtimes in the semifinals.

10. Dayton
Nickname: Flyers
Conference: Atlantic 10
Record: 24-8 (12-4)
Bid: At-large RPI: 40
First-round: DePaul, Thursday, Buffalo, N.Y.
Coach: Brian Gregory (1st season)
Best win: 55-50 at Richmond
Worst loss: 61-59 at Wyoming
Key players: Ramod Marshall (14.4 ppg); Keith Waleskowski (13.4 ppg, 9.7 rpg)
Analysis: Marshall, a point guard from Charlotte, shoots 36percent from the field. The Flyers outrebound opponents by eight per game, but commit four more turnovers per game than their opponents.

11. Western Michigan
Nickname: Broncos
Conference: Mid-American
Record: 26-4 (15-3)
Bid: Automatic RPI: 44
First-round: Vanderbilt, Friday, Orlando, Fla.
Coach: Steve Hawkins (163-115, 11 seasons; 1st at Western Michigan)
Best win: 69-62 at Ala.-Birmingham
Worst loss: 82-76 at Marshall
Key players: F Mike Williams (18.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg); G Ben Reed (16.2 ppg); F Anthony Kann (12.6 ppg)
Analysis: Broncos emerged from a tough season in the MAC. Western likes to play an up-tempo game, but also is strong inside. Williams recovered from a sprained ankle.

12. Brigham Young
Nickname: Cougars
Conference: Mountain West
Record: 21-8 (10-4)
Bid: At-large RPI: 31
First-round: Syracuse, Thursday, Denver, Colo.
Coach: Steve Cleveland (286-163, 15 seasons; 129-86, 7 at BYU)
Best win: 67-61 vs. Air Force
Worst loss: 89-62 at N.C. State
Key players: C Rafael Araujo (18.4 ppg, 10.1 rpg); F/G Mark Bigelow (13.6 ppg); G/F Mike Hall (12.8 ppg)
Analysis: Brigham Young was hot down the stretch, finishing the regular season with eight consecutive victories. The momentum got them to the semifinals of the league tournament.

13. Texas-El Paso
Nickname: Miners
Conference: Western Athletic
Record: 24-7 (13-5)
Bid: At-large RPI: 46
First-round: Maryland, Thursday, Denver, Colo.
Coach: Billy Gillespie (30-31, 2 seasons)
Best win: 79-76 vs. Nevada
Worst loss: 66-60 vs. Nevada in WAC championship
Key players: G-F Omar Thomas (15.5 ppg); G-F Jason Williams (11.6 ppg).
Analysis: Miners won 6 games last season in Gillespie's first season as a coach. Impressive regular season enough to get NCAA bid, overcoming league tournament finals loss to Nevada.

14. La.-Lafayette
Nickname: Ragin' Cajuns
Conference: Sun Belt
Record: 20-8 (12-3)
Bid: Automatic RPI: 71
First-round: N.C. State, Friday, Orlando, Fla.
Coach: Jessie Evans (150-88, 7 seasons at La.-Lafayette)
Best win: 95-71 at Valparaiso
Worst loss: 76-73 vs. S. Alabama
Key players: G Antoine Landry (13.2 ppg); G Brad Boyd (12.1 ppg, 3.6 apg)
Analysis: After back-to-back trips to the NIT, the Ragin' Cajuns return to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2000. Lafayette nearly beat Arizona in Tucson, losing 72-69.

15. Vermont
Nickname: Catamounts
Conference: America East
Record: 22-8 (15-3)
Bid: Automatic RPI: 115
First-round: Connecticut, Thursday, Buffalo, N.Y.
Coach: Tom Brennan (269-336, 22 seasons; 217-260, 17 seasons at Vermont)
Best win: 59-57 at Boston Univ.
Worst loss: 78-57 at New Hamp.
Key players: Taylor Coppenrath (23.8 ppg, 51 percent shooting); Scotty Jones (6.6 rpg)
Analysis: Coppenrath, among the NCAA's top 10 scorers all season, came back from a broken wrist to play in the conference tournament. A 6-9 forward, he scored 38 in a one-point loss at UCLA.

16. Texas-San Antonio
Nickname: Roadrunners
Conference: Southland
Record: 19-13 (11-5)
Bid: Automatic RPI: 200
First-round: Stanford, Thursday, Seattle
Coach: Tim Carter (134-121, 9 seasons)
Best win: 74-70 vs. Stephen F. Austin for tournament title
Worst loss: 66-48 at Alaska Fairbanks
Key players: F Leroy Hurd (19.3 ppg); G Raphael Posey (11.6 ppg)
Analysis: Roadrunners came through the league tournament after tying for first place with Southeastern Louisiana and Texas-Arlington. UTSA played in 1988 and 1999 NCAA tournaments.

Predictions

First Round
Stanford 90
UTSA 72

Alabama 73
SIU 71

Syracuse 67
BYU 61

Maryland 72
UTEP 67

Vanderbilt 71
Western Michigan 66

NC State 80
UL-Lafayette 68

Dayton 73
Depaul 69

Connecticut 79
Vermont 66

Second Round
Stanford 77
Alabama 70

Maryland 69
Syracuse 67

Vanderbilt 71
NC State 68

Connecticut 80
Dayton 65

Sweet Sixteen Matchups

Connecticut vs. Vanderbilt
Stanford vs. Maryland.


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