Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Eight.......that are Elite....

64 teams started............

Now, it's down to the "Elite Eight"

Here is a preview of tonights games........

NCAA Elite Eight capsules


No. 1 NORTH CAROLINA (35-2) vs. No. 3 LOUISVILLE (27-8), 9:05 p.m., CBS.

COACHES: Roy Williams (141-32 in fifth year at North Carolina) and Rick Pitino (169-66 in 7th year at Louisville).

HOW THEY GOT HERE: North Carolina beat No. 16 Mount St. Mary's, 113-74, in the first round, No. 9 Arkansas, 108-77, in the second round and No. 4 Washington State, 68-47, in the regional semifinals. Louisville beat No. 14 Boise State, 79-61, in the first round, No. 6 Oklahoma, 78-48, in the second round and No. 2 Tennessee, 79-60, in the regional semifinals.

SERIES HISTORY: North Carolina leads, 7-3.

LAST MEETING: Louisville won, 97-80, in 1999.

STAT THAT MATTERS: Tar Heels have outscored three NCAA foes by combined 79 points while Cardinals have battered their three victims by 67 points.

NORTH CAROLINA STARTERS: F Tyler Hansbrough (22.6 ppg, 10.2 rpg), G Wayne Ellington (16.6 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 41.8 pct. on 3-pointers), G Ty Lawson (12.9 ppg, 5.1 apg), F Deon Thompson (8.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg), G-F Marcus Ginyard (7.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg).

LOUISVILLE STARTERS: C-F David Padgett (11.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg), F Terrence Williams (11.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 4.6 apg), F Juan Palacios (6.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg), G Jerry Smith (10.5 ppg, 3.6 rpg), G Andre McGee (6.6 ppg).

OUTLOOK: With combined 13 Final Four trips and five national titles since 1980, we get rare match-up of college basketball royalty. How Lawson handles Cards' trapping pressure and how UL frontline handles high-energy talent Hansbrough will be key. So far, neither has been challenged late so if game is close it will be interesting to see exactly who steps up.


No. 1 UCLA (34-3) vs. No. 3 XAVIER (30-6), 6:40 p.m., CBS.

COACHES: Ben Howland (124-44 in fifth year at UCLA) and Sean Miller (93-28 in fourth year at Xavier).

HOW THEY GOT HERE: UCLA beat Mississippi Valley State, 70-29, in the first round, Texas A&M, 53-49, in second round and Western Kentucky, 88-78, in the regional semifinals. Xavier beat No. 14 Georgia, 73-61, in first round, No. 6 Purdue, 85-78, in second round and No. 7 West Virginia, 79-75 in overtime, in the regional semifinals.


LAST MEETING: UCLA won 96-83 in the second round of the 1997 NCAA Tournament.

STAT THAT MATTERS: Bruins are 15-4 all-time in regional finals while Musketeers are 0-1.

UCLA STARTERS: C Kevin Love (Pac-10 player of the year, 17.6 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 56.3 pct. from field), G Darren Collison (14.7 ppg, 3.7 apg), G-F Josh Shipp (12.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg), G Russell Westbrook (12.4 ppg, 4.4 apg), F Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (8.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg).

XAVIER STARTERS: F Josh Duncan (12.4 ppg, 4.7 rpg), F Derrick Brown (10.8 ppg, 6.6 rpg), G Drew Lavender (10.9 ppg, 4.5 apg), G-F C.J. Anderson (10.8 ppg, 6.0 rpg), G Stanley Burrell (9.8 ppg, 3.8 apg).

OUTLOOK: Bruins still seem out of sync, inexplicably falling into second half funk vs. Western Ky. and nearly blowing 21-point lead. Musketeers had similar experience in harrowing win over WVU after losing early 18-point lead. Duncan hasn't likely seen tenacious, athletic defenders like Bruins while Love should have his way inside vs. smaller XU front line.

(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service,

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