Alex Jesswein, staff writer
Baylor (24-6, 11-5 Big 12)
Winners of 9 of their last 11, the Baylor Bears have everything clicking at the right time, as evidenced by their 15 point drubbing of Texas on Saturday.
The Bears have a balanced attack with LaceDarius Dunn and Tweety Carter manning the perimeter. Both former McDonalds Americans, they each score over 15 points per game and have the ability to knock it down from the perimeter.
On the interior Quincy Acy and Ekpe Udoh have provided a solid presence. Udoh, a Michigan transfer, is fourth in the NCAA in blocks per game. Along with being an intimidating defender, he also can score around the basket (13 ppg) and pulls down just under 10 rebounds per game. Sophomore Quincy Acy shoots over 70 percent from the field, largely due to his ability to dunk everything in sight. Anthony Jones, Josh Lomers and AJ Walton round out the usual rotation.
The combination of athleticism, shooting and defense make Baylor one of the toughest teams this tournament.
UTEP (22-5, 15-1 C-USA)
Winners of 14 in a row, there are fewer teams in the country hotter than UTEP. A major part of their success has been the addition of Louisville transfer Derrick Caracter. Caracter has made an immediate impact, putting up 14 points and 8 rebounds a game since becoming eligible in mid-December. He provided additional balance to an already solid team.
Randy Culpepper leads the Miners in scoring at just over 18 a game. The Memphis native has the ability to 'go off' on anyone, as seen by his 39- and 45-point performances against Central Florida and East Carolina.
The Miners also have a pair of forwards that provide additional scoring and rebounding. Jeremy Williams adds 10 points and 5 rebounds a game while 6-foot-11 Arnett Moultrie, a member of last years C-USA all freshman team, puts up 10 points and 7 rebounds per game. Not many teams have the size to hang with the top teams, but with a front line that runs 6-11, 6-9 and 6-7, UTEP has the size to matchup with some of the countries bigger and better lineups.