Today's NCAA Tournament Capsules


EAST REGION

NO. 4 KENTUCKY VS. NO. 5 WEST VIRGINIA

■ WHERE: Tampa, Fla.

■ WHEN: 9:15 a.m. PDT

■ TV: CBS (8)

■ ANNOUNCERS: Ian Eagle play-by-play, Jim Spanarkel analyst

■ RECORDS: Kentucky 26-8, West Virginia 21-11

■ HOW THEY GOT HERE: Kentucky d. No. 13 Princeton, 59-57; West Virginia d. No. 12 Clemson, 84-76

■ LINE: Kentucky -3; total 132

■ KEY STATS: Kentucky hits 39.8 percent from 3-point range, and West Virginia shoots just 33.6 from behind the arc.

■ BUZZ: West Virginia upset Kentucky in a regional final last season, but neither team is close to as good as it was last season. West Virginia is physical and aggressive on defense, and expect a deeper Mountaineers squad to try to bump and grind with the depth-shy Wildcats. West Virginia has been excellent on the offensive boards, and Wildcats center Josh Harrellson led the Southeastern Conference in offensive rebounds. Keep an eye on Mountaineers guard Casey Mitchell (13.7 ppg), West Virginia's only consistent 3-point threat.

SOUTHEAST REGION

NO. 2 FLORIDA VS. NO. 7 UCLA

■ WHERE: Tampa, Fla.

■ WHEN: 11:45 a.m. PDT

■ TV: CBS (8)

■ ANNOUNCERS: Ian Eagle play-by-play, Jim Spanarkel analyst

■ RECORDS: Florida 27-7, UCLA 23-10

■ HOW THEY GOT HERE: Florida d. No. 15 UC Santa Barbara, 79-51; UCLA d. No. 10 Michigan State, 78-76

■ LINE: Florida -5; total 132

■ KEY STAT: Florida outrebounds foes by an average of 6.3 per game.

■ BUZZ: Both teams have four players averaging in double-figure scoring, but while Florida doesn't need one guy to produce to be successful, forward Tyler Honeycutt (12.8 ppg, 7.3 rpg) is that guy for the Bruins. UCLA is much more productive on offense when Honeycutt is scoring. Florida's starting backcourt is better than UCLA's, but the Bruins' guard depth could pose problems, especially if they can slow either Kenny Boynton (14.1 ppg) or Erving Walker (14.5 ppg). UCLA can be sloppy with the ball, and the Gators are solid in transition. Florida owns an advantage in 3-point shooting, and UCLA's perimeter defense is suspect at times. Florida forward Chandler Parsons (11.5 ppg, 7.8 rpg) is a solid all-around player, and when he is hitting his 3-pointers, the Gators can be an explosive offensive team.

NO. 1 PITTSBURGH VS. NO. 8 BUTLER

■ WHERE: Washington, D.C.

■ WHEN: 4:10 p.m. PDT

■ TV: TBS (7)

■ ANNOUNCERS: Tim Brando play-by-play, Mike Gminski analyst

■ RECORDS: Pittsburgh 28-5, Butler 24-9

■ HOW THEY GOT HERE: Pittsburgh d. No. 16 North Carolina-Asheville, 74-51; Butler d. No. 9 Old Dominion, 60-58

■ LINE: Pittsburgh -9; total 129

■ KEY STATS: Pitt averages 14.5 offensive rebounds per game, but Butler gives up an average of only 9.1 offensive boards per game.

■ BUZZ: Butler lost in the national final last season, and Pittsburgh has never been to the Final Four under coach Jamie Dixon. Both teams play solid defense, hit the boards and are willing to scratch and claw -- which means this isn't likely to be aesthetically pleasing. Butler will look to limit Pitt guard Ashton Gibbs (17.0 ppg), who is the Panthers' only consistent perimeter threat. On the other side, Pitt needs to try to put the clamps on Butler guard Shelvin Mack (15.2 ppg), who can hit the 3-pointer and get to the rim. Despite the perception that Pitt prefers a slow pace, the Panthers average 74.6 points, and three of their five losses came when they were held to fewer than 60 points.

NO. 3 BRIGHAM YOUNG VS. NO. 11 GONZAGA

■ WHERE: Denver

■ WHEN: 4:45 p.m. PDT

■ TV: CBS (8)

■ ANNOUNCERS: Verne Lundquist play-by-play, Bill Raftery analyst

■ LINE: Pick; total 149½

■ RECORDS: Brigham Young 31-4, Gonzaga 25-9

■ HOW THEY GOT HERE: Brigham Young d. No. 14 Wofford, 74-66; Gonzaga d. No. 6 St. John's, 86-71

■ KEY STATS: BYU averages 81.4 points per game, and Gonzaga averages 77.0.

■ BUZZ: Both want a fast pace, though Gonzaga might not mind playing more in the halfcourt in this one because of Brigham Young's lack of size up front. With forward Brandon Davies suspended, BYU is all about its backcourt. Guards Jimmer Fredette (28.6 ppg) and Jackson Emery (12.5 ppg) are the only Cougars averaging in double-figure scoring. Fredette has to produce if BYU is to win. Because of BYU's lack of size, Gonzaga could get big games from center Robert Sacre (12.4 ppg, 6.3 rpg) and forward Elias Harris (12.2 ppg, 5.9 rpg). BYU hasn't been to the Sweet 16 since 1981; this is the Cougars' 16th NCAA Tournament appearance since that season.

NO. 4 WISCONSIN VS. NO. 5 KANSAS STATE

■ WHERE: Tucson, Ariz.

■ WHEN: 5:40 p.m. PDT

■ TV: TNT (18)

■ ANNOUNCERS: Kevin Harlan play-by-play, Dan Bonner and Reggie Miller analysts

■ RECORDS: Wisconsin 24-8, Kansas State 23-10

■ HOW THEY GOT HERE: Wisconsin d. No. 13 Belmont, 72-58; Kansas State d. No. 12 Utah State, 73-68

■ LINE: Wisconsin -1; total 127

■ KEY STATS: Wisconsin allows an average of just 58.3 points per game, third fewest in the nation. In addition, the Badgers lead the nation in free-throw percentage (82.3), and the Wildcats are 285th (65.4).

■ BUZZ: This features a big-time matchup at point guard with Wisconsin's Jordan Taylor (18.2 ppg, 4.8 apg, 4.1 rpg) going against Kansas State's Jacob Pullen (19.6 ppg, 3.8 apg). If Pullen is slowed, K-State's offense will suffer. Taylor gets a lot of help from forward Jon Leuer (18.7 ppg, 7.3 rpg), who can stick the 3-pointer and is tough in the paint. Neither team is averse to pushing and shoving, so expect an extremely physical game. Free-throw shooting could be huge. K-State averages 21.9 fouls per game, which is ninth most in the nation. Sending Wisconsin to the foul line is dangerous because the Badgers lead the nation in free-throw percentage. K-State, on the other hand, has some bricklayers from the line.

SOUTHWEST REGION

NO. 12 RICHMOND VS. NO. 13 MOREHEAD STATE

■ WHERE: Denver

■ WHEN: 2:15 p.m. PDT

■ TV: CBS (8)

■ ANNOUNCERS: Verne Lundquist play-by-play, Bill Raftery analyst

■ RECORDS: Richmond 28-7, Morehead State 25-9

■ HOW THEY GOT HERE: Richmond d. No. 5 Vanderbilt, 69-66; Morehead State d. No. 4 Louisville, 62-61

■ LINE: Richmond -4; total 126

■ KEY STATS: Morehead State outrebounds opponents by an average of 9.4 per game; Richmond gets outrebounded by an average of 1.9 per game.

■ BUZZ: Both teams pulled first-round upsets, but Morehead State's was more surprising. Richmond coach Chris Mooney has to be worried about how his big guys will handle Morehead State big man Kenneth Faried (17.5 ppg, 14.6 rpg), the nation's leading rebounder. Richmond is not a good rebounding team and lacks bulk up front; Faried should dominate in the paint. Conversely, Morehead has to worry about slowing Richmond guard Kevin Anderson (16.7 ppg), a solid scorer with good range. Richmond shoots 40.4 percent from beyond the arc, and the Spiders' offense is predicated on hitting 3-pointers. One potential bad sign for Morehead: The Eagles have allowed foes to hit 36.7 percent from 3-point range.

WEST REGION

NO. 2 SAN DIEGO STATE VS. NO. 7 TEMPLE

■ WHERE: Tucson, Ariz.

■ WHEN: 3:10 p.m.

■ TV: TNT (18)

■ ANNOUNCERS: Kevin Harlan play-by-play, Dan Bonner and Reggie Miller analysts

■ RECORDS: San Diego State 33-2, Temple 26-7

■ HOW THEY GOT HERE: San Diego State d. No. 15 Northern Colorado, 68-50; Temple d. No. 10 Penn State, 66-64

■ LINE: San Diego State -6; total 124½

■ KEY STATS: San Diego State's opponents have shot just 39.4 percent from the field; Temple's foes hit only 41.3 percent.

■ BUZZ: San Diego State has one of the nation's best frontcourts. The Aztecs are big, physical and athletic. That poses trouble for Temple, which has only one consistent inside force in double-double threat Lavoy Allen (11.6 ppg, 8.5 rpg). Allen must avoid fouls and stay on the floor. Temple must also hit its 3-pointers. Look for Owls coach Fran Dunphy to try to entice the Aztecs to shoot from outside; the Aztecs are much better when they focus on scoring in the paint. San Diego State got its first-ever NCAA Tournament victory Thursday.

NO. 3 CONNECTICUT VS. NO. 6 CINCINNATI

■ WHERE: Washington, D.C.

■ WHEN: 6:40 p.m. PDT

■ TV: TBS (7)

■ ANNOUNCERS: Tim Brando play-by-play, Mike Gminski analyst

■ RECORDS: Connecticut 27-9, Cincinnati 26-8

■ HOW THEY GOT HERE: Connecticut d. No. 14 Bucknell, 81-52; Cincinnati d. No. 11 Missouri, 78-63

■ LINE: Connecticut -3; total 130

■ KEY STATS: Connecticut shoots 75.6 percent from the line, and Cincinnati hits just 66.8 percent.

■ BUZZ: An all-Big East matchup; Connecticut won the lone regular-season meeting by eight points at Cincinnati. UConn had four scores in double figures, with Jeremy Lamb leading the way with 17 points and Kemba Walker adding 16. Cincinnati is known for its defense and holds foes to an average of 59.3 points per game. But UConn has better field-goal percentage defense numbers (39.9 to 41.0). And, interestingly, Cincinnati shoots better from the field (43.8 percent to 43.5) and from 3-point range (33.9 percent to 33.3) than UConn. Still, UConn has Walker (23.4 ppg), who has been on fire of late. The Bearcats don't have a go-to guy.

MIKE HUGUENIN/RIVALS.COM

 

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