Atlanta Regional Breakdown

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

P>1. Duke
Nickname: Blue Devils
Conference: ACC
Record: 27-5 (13-3)
Bid: At-large RPI: 1
First-round: Alabama State, Thursday, Raleigh
Coach: Mike Krzyzewski (690-239, 29 seasons; 617-180 24 seasons at Duke)
Best win: 82-74 at Georgia Tech
Worst loss: 78-68 vs. Purdue
Key players: G Chris Duhon (10.2 ppg, 6.3 apg); G J.J. Redick (15.9 ppg); F Luol Deng (14.7 ppg, 6.5 rpg)
Analysis: The Blue Devils can win it all if Shelden Williams keeps asserting himself in the post and J.J. Redick's shooting returns to midseason form.

2. Mississippi State
Nickname: Bulldogs
Conference: SEC
Record: 25-3 (14-2)
Bid: At-large RPI: 4
First-round: Monmouth, Friday, Orlando
Coach: Rick Stansbury (125-68, 6 seasons)
Best win: 79-68 at Florida
Worst loss: 77-73 vs. Alabama
Key players: F Lawrence Roberts (17.1 ppg, 10.5 rpg); F Branden Vincent (7.2 rpg); G Timmy Bowers (15.4 ppg)
Analysis: Roberts, a transfer from Baylor, has more than compensated for Mario Austin turning pro. Vincent provides defensive energy and Bowers makes clutch three-pointers.

3. Texas
Nickname: Longhorns
Conference: Big 12
Record: 23-7 (12-4)
Bid: At-large RPI: 10
First-round: Princeton, Thursday, Denver
Coach: Rick Barnes (341-191, 17 seasons; 129-57 6 seasons)
Best win: vs. Wake Forest, 94-81
Worst loss: at Iowa State, 78-77
Key players: Brandon Mouton (13.6 ppg); P.J. Tucker (10.9 ppg, 6.9 rpg)
Analysis: This team is deep and wide-open offensively. Eleven Longhorns average at least 13 minutes per game, so they can run opponents into the ground, averaging 81 points.

4. Cincinnati
Nickname: Bearcats
Conference: Conference USA
Record: 24-6 (12-4)
Bid: Automatic RPI: 11
First-round: East Tennessee State, Friday, Columbus, Ohio
Coach: Bob Huggins (541-190, 23 seasons; 373-118, 15 seasons at Cincinnati)
Best win: 66-61 against then-No. 10 Louisville
Worst loss: 93-66 at Louisville
Key players: F Jason Maxiell (13.9 ppg, 7.0 rpg); G Tony Bobbitt (13.1 ppg); G Field Williams (11.7 ppg)
Analysis: Finished with four wins in final four regular-season games, shooting better than they have all season. They are trying to make up for first-round exit in 2003.

5. Illinois
Nickname: Fighting Illini
Conference: Big Ten
Record: 24-6 (13-3)
Bid: At-large RPI: 23
First-round: Murray State, Friday, Columbus, Ohio
Coach: Bruce Weber (149-65 in 6 seasons, 1st year at Illinois)
Best win: 65-57 vs. Wisconsin
Worst loss: 70-60 at Northwestern
Key players: Deron Williams (13.8 ppg, 6.2 apg); Dee Brown (13.0 ppg, 4.6 apg)
Analysis: Won its first outright Big Ten regular season title since 1952. The Illini are hot, having won 10 straight entering the Big Ten tournament. But Wisconsin dictated tempo against them in the Big Ten final and dominated.

6. North Carolina
Nickname: Tar Heels
Conference: ACC
Record: 18-10 (8-8 ACC)
Bid: At-large RPI: 19
First-round: Air Force, Thursday, Denver
Coach: Roy Williams (436-111, 16 seasons; 1st season at UNC)
Best win: Connecticut 86-83.
Worst loss: 81-72 at Clemson.
Key players: F Rashad McCants (19.9 ppg); G Raymond Felton(7.3 apg); C Sean May (15.0 ppg)
Analysis: When the Tar Heels are good, they can be very, very good and when they're bad, they can really struggle. Their success will depend on consistent effort, especially on defense.

7. Xavier
Nickname: Musketeers
Conference: Atlantic 10
Record: 23-10 (10-6)
Bid: Automatic RPI: 35
First-round: Louisville, Friday, Orlando
Coach: Thad Matta (99-30, 4 seasons; 75-22, 3 seasons at Xavier)
Best win: 87-67 vs. Saint Joseph's
Worst loss: 71-58 at Duquesne
Key players: Romain Sato (16.1 ppg, 8.1 rpg); Lionel Chalmers (16.3 ppg)
Analysis: This team gets most of its scoring from the guards, although the big men were good enough to rough up Saint Joseph's by 20. Matta is an excellent game coach, so more upsets are possible.

8. Seton Hall
Nickname: Pirates
Conference: Big East
Record: 20-9 (10-6)
Bid: At-large RPI: 28
First-round: Arizona, Thursday, Raleigh
Coach: Louis Orr (69-51, 4 seasons; 49-40, 3 seasons at Seton Hall)
Best win: 68-67 vs. Pittsburgh
Worst loss: 69-64 at West Virginia
Key players: G Andre Barrett (17.6 ppg); F Kelly Whitney (13.1 ppg, 6.7 rpg); John Allen (12.2 ppg)
Analysis: This team has excellent balance, with five players averaging double figures in scoring. They don't have the firepower to blow out opponents, so nearly every game is decided in the last minute.

9. Arizona
Nickname: Wildcats
Conference: Pac-10
Record: 20-9
Bid: At-large RPI: 41
First-round: Seton Hall, Thursday, Raleigh
Coach: Lute Olsen (711-248, 31 seasons; 519-156, 21 seasons at Arizona)
Best win: 91-83 vs. Texas
Worst loss: 90-84 at Oregon State
Key players: G Salim Stoudamire (16.5 ppg); F Hassan Adams (17.3 ppg, 7.4 rpg); C Channing Frye (16.0 ppg, 7.2 rpg)
Analysis: Strong starting lineup, but underachieving Wildcats were a regular-season disappointment. At least three underclassmen are contemplating the NBA.

10. Louisville
Nickname: Cardinals
Conference: Conference USA
Record: 20-9 (9-7)
Bid: At-large RPI: 24
First-round: Xavier, Friday, Orlando
Coach: Rick Pitino (416-153, 18 seasons; 64-29, 3 seasons at Louisville)
Best win: 65-56 at Kentucky
Worst loss: 71-46 at Texas Christian
Key players: G/F Francisco Garcia (16.5 ppg, 4.6 rpg); F Luke Whitehead (11.9 ppg, 7.8 rpg)
Analysis: The Cardinals started 16-1, then injuries hurt them in a 4-8 finish. They played one poor game and won, one good game and lost in league tournament. A question mark.

11. Air Force
Nickname: Falcons
Conference: Mountain West
Record: 22-6 (12-2)
Bid: At-large RPI: 70
First-round opponent: North Carolina, Thursday, Denver
Coach: Joe Scott (51-62, 4 seasons)
Best win: 74-52 at BYU
Worst loss: 68-49 at Auburn
Key players: C Nick Welch (11.2 ppg); G A.J. Kuhle (8.0 ppg, 3.1 apg)
Analysis: The Falcons had a rare season, going from a last-place preseason prediction to winning the regular-season title. They were blown out of the league tournament in the first round by 8th seed Colorado State.

12. Murray State
Nickname: Racers
Conference: Ohio Valley
Record: 28-5 (14-2)
Bid: Automatic RPI: 58
First-round: Illinois, Friday, Columbus, Ohio
Coach: Mick Cronin (28-5, 1st season)
Best win: 68-64 vs. Southern Illinois
Worst loss: 80-68 at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Key players: F Victor Cuthbert (14.5 ppg); F Kelvin Brown (12.7 ppg); G Chris Shumate (11.7 ppg)
Analysis: Five senior starters make the Racers a candidate to pull off a first-round upset, as they shoot 49.8 percent from the field as a team.

13. E. Tennessee State
Nickname: Buccaneers
Conference: Southern
Record: 27-5 (15-1)
Bid: Automatic RPI: 61
First-round: Cincinnati, Friday, Columbus, Ohio
Coach: Murry Bartow (130-88, 7 seasons; 27-5 at ETSU)
Best win: 82-80 at Chattanooga
Worst loss: 71-66 vs. American
Key players: G Tim Smith (17.4 ppg, 4.5 apg), Zakee Wadood (14.7 ppg, 7.8 rpg)
Analysis: This is the epitome of a dangerous low seed; the Buccaneers gave Wake Forest fits last season. Smith is only 5-9, but his speed on the dribble might be unmatched this season in college basketball.

14. Princeton
Nickname: Tigers
Conference: Ivy
Record: 20-7 (13-1)
Bid: Automatic RPI: 121
First-round: Texas, Thursday, Denver
Coach: John Thompson (68-41, 4 seasons at Princeton)
Best win: 76-70 (OT) at Penn
Worst loss: 67-52 vs. Penn
Key players: C Judson Wallace (15.5 ppg); G Will Venable (10.1 ppg); Ed Persia (9.1 ppg, 3.1 apg)
Analysis: The Tigers gave Duke all it could handle in December in Durham; if they are hitting their threes, they will be a tough out. Coach Thompson is the son of the famous former Georgetown coach.

15. Monmouth
Nickname: Eagles
Conference: Northeast
Record: 21-11 (12-6)
Bid: Automatic RPI: 116
First-round: Mississippi State, Friday, Orlando
Coach: Dave Calloway (95-93, 7 seasons at Monmouth)
Best win: 67-55 vs. Central Connecticut State for NEC title
Worst loss: 85-79 at Long Island
Key players: F Blake Hamilton (16.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg); G Dwayne Byfield (12.3 ppg, 2.1 apg)
Analysis: Calloway has stressed defense in the postseason, and that was a major factor when the Eagles held Central Connecticut State to 32.3 percent shooting in the conference tournament final.

16. Alabama State
Nickname: Hornets
Conference: Southwestern Athletic
Record: 16-14 (11-7)
Bid: Automatic RPI: 230
First-round: Duke, Thursday, Raleigh
Coach: Rob Spivery (Na)
Best win: 63-58 vs. Alabama A&M in conference title game
Worst loss: 61-54 Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Key players: F Rafael Golden (12.4 ppg); G Malcolm Campbell (12.9 ppg)
Analysis: The only team to lose to Arkansas-Pine Bluff (1-26, 326 RPI). Alabama State has gone 13-2, after starting 3-12, though it hasn't beaten a team with an RPI better than 266.


First Round
Duke 95
Alabama St 70

Arizona 88
Seton Hall 81

Illinois 91
Murray State 77

Cincinnati 83
East Tennessee 65

North Carolina 73
Air Force 59

Texas 70
Princeton 55

Louisville 80
Xavier 73

Mississippi State 88
Monmouth 61

Second Round
Duke 90
Arizona 85

Illinois 83
Cincinnati 78

Texas 82
North Carolina 71

Mississippi State 90
Louisville 77

Sweet Sixteen Matchups

Duke vs. Illinois
Mississippi State vs. Texas

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