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Today’s Sweet 16 capsules

■ WHERE: Newark, N.J.

■ TIME: 4:15 p.m. PDT

■ TV: CBS (8)

■ ANNOUNCERS: Jim Nantz play-by-play, Clark Kellogg analyst

■ RECORDS: North Carolina 28-7; Marquette 22-14

■ HOW THEY GOT HERE: North Carolina d. No. 15 Long Island, 102-87, d. No. 7 Washington, 86-83; Marquette d. No. 6 Xavier, 66-55, d. No. 3 Syracuse, 66-62

■ LINE: North Carolina -4½; total 149½

■ KEY STATS: North Carolina outrebounds opponents by an average of 6.5 per game and ranks 12th nationally in offensive rebounds at 14.1 per game.

■ BUZZ: Marquette has controlled tempo in its two NCAA Tournament wins, and that will be vital here. The Tar Heels want to run and get the point total into at least the high 70s. Marquette doesn’t have the firepower to hang with UNC, though the Heels’ sometimes-lax approach on defense should help the Golden Eagles. Marquette needs production from its ”Big Three” of Jimmy Butler (15.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg), Darius Johnson-Odom (16.0 ppg) and Jae Crowder (11.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg); Butler, in particular, could have success because of his well-rounded offensive game. Marquette outrebounded a bigger Syracuse team in its most recent game, and the Golden Eagles have to stay close in that regard against the Heels. Look for Marquette coach Buzz Williams to use three defenders on UNC point guard Kendall Marshall (6.2 ppg, 6.1 apg) in an effort to wear him down. If Marshall plays unencumbered, UNC will roll.

■ KEY INDIVIDUAL: Butler is Marquette’s best player, and he has to show it against the Tar Heels. He has a nice all-around offensive game and will have to score inside and outside. He leads Marquette in points and is second in rebounds and steals.


■ WHERE: Newark, N.J.

■ TIME: 6:45 p.m. PDT

■ TV: CBS (8)

■ ANNOUNCERS: Jim Nantz play-by-play, Clark Kellogg analyst

■ RECORDS: Ohio State 34-2; Kentucky 27-8

■ HOW THEY GOT HERE: Ohio State d. No. 16 Texas-San Antonio, 75-46, d. No. 8 George Mason, 98-66; Kentucky d. No. 13 Princeton, 59-57, d. No. 5 West Virginia, 71-63

■ LINE: Ohio State -5½; total 140

■ KEY STATS: Ohio State shoots 49.2 percent from the field, second in the nation, and 42.4 percent from 3-point range.

■ BUZZ: Ohio State eviscerated a solid George Mason team to reach the Sweet 16. The Buckeyes have perhaps the nation’s best low-post presence in freshman center Jared Sullinger (17.1 ppg, 10.0 rpg), a deadeye outside shooter in senior guard Jon Diebler (12.6 ppg; he has hit 50 percent of his 220 3-point attempts), two excellent swingmen in William Buford (14.6 ppg) and David Lighty (12.1 ppg) and a big-time shot-blocker in Dallas Lauderdale. Freshman Aaron Craft (7.1 ppg, 4.9 apg) has a better than 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio, too. Ohio State doesn’t have the deepest bench, but it’s deeper than Kentucky’s, which doesn’t want to play more than six guys. Kentucky has to get big games from big men Terrence Jones (16.1 ppg, 8.7 rpg) and Josh Harrellson (7.3 ppg, 8.8 rpg). The Wildcats’ 3-point shooting has been solid all season, and Kentucky needs Brandon Knight (17.4 ppg), Darius Miller (11.2 ppg) and Doron Lamb (12.6 ppg) to get hot from beyond the arc.

■ KEY INDIVIDUAL: Harrellson has been a huge surprise this season and leads the Southeastern Conference in rebounding; he has been incredibly effective on the offensive boards. But he’s not the most athletic guy, and how will he cope against Sullinger? If he’s on the bench for extended minutes, Kentucky is in trouble. Jones is a good rebounder but lacks the bulk to bang with Sullinger and Lauderdale, and the best big man off the bench is Eloy Vargas, whom Sullinger would destroy.



■ WHERE: San Antonio

■ TIME: 4:27 p.m. PDT

■ TV: TBS (7)

■ ANNOUNCERS: Marv Albert play-by-play, Steve Kerr analyst

■ RECORDS: Kansas 34-2; Richmond 29-7

■ HOW THEY GOT HERE: Kansas d. No. 16 Boston University, 72-53, d. No. 9 Illinois, 73-59; Richmond d. No. 5 Vanderbilt, 69-66, d. No. 13 Morehead State, 65-48

■ LINE: Kansas by 10½; total 135½

■ KEY STATS: Kansas outrebounds opponents by 7.9 per game, and Richmond is outrebounded by 1.9 per game.

■ BUZZ: Richmond’s lack of bulk will hurt against a talented and physical Kansas frontcourt. Spiders forward Justin Harper (17.8 ppg, 6.9 rpg) was the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year, but he’s more effective outside the paint on offense. Senior guard Kevin Anderson (16.7 ppg) is a good offensive player for the Spiders, and he needs to be on target from beyond the arc for Richmond to hang with the Jayhawks. He hits 42.3 percent from 3-point range and should be able to get off his shot against Kansas’ guards. Harper, forward Dan Geriot (9.7 ppg) and guard Darien Brothers (7.7 ppg) are also 3-point threats, and each should get open looks in the Spiders’ Princeton-style offense. It’s on the other end of the court, though, where the Spiders will have issues. Twins Marcus Morris (17.3 ppg, 7.4 rpg) and Markieff Morris (13.9 ppg, 8.3 rpg) and Thomas Robinson (7.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg) should own the paint.

■ KEY INDIVIDUAL: Reserve Darrius Garrett will probably see more minutes than usual for Richmond (he averages 12.8 per game). He lacks bulk (6 feet 9 inches, 210 pounds), but he’s a gifted shot-blocker who has the potential to cause problems for Kansas’ big men. Any offense would be a miracle (he barely averages more points — 1.9 — than blocks — 1.6), but he can rebound, run the floor and play defense.


■ WHERE: San Antonio

■ TIME: 6:57 p.m. PDT

■ TV: TBS (7)

■ ANNOUNCERS: Marv Albert play-by-play, Steve Kerr analyst

■ RECORDS: Florida State 23-10; Virginia Commonwealth 26-11

■ HOW THEY GOT HERE: Florida State d. No. 7 Texas A&M, 57-50, d. No. 2 Notre Dame, 71-57; Virginia Commonwealth d. Southern California 59-46 in play-in game, d. No. 6 Georgetown, 74-56, d. No. 3 Purdue, 94-76

■ LINE: Florida State -4; total 131

■ KEY STAT: Florida State leads the nation in field-goal percentage defense, holding opponents to 36.0 percent from the field.

■ BUZZ: Virginia Commonwealth is the first team in history to have won three games to get to the Sweet 16, as the Rams pulled away late to down Southern California in one of the "play-in" games. VCU has shut down a frontcourt-oriented team (USC), a backcourt-oriented team (Georgetown) and a solid all-around offensive team (Purdue) in getting here. But Florida State is more than VCU’s match defensively, and the Seminoles’ size will cause problems for the smallish Rams. Still, VCU’s defensive pressure will bother Florida State, which averages 15.9 turnovers per game. Forcing turnovers and scoring in transition is a must for VCU because the Rams will have trouble with Florida State’s size when running their halfcourt offense. VCU relies heavily on the 3-pointer and has three players who are dangerous from beyond the arc in point guard Joey Rodriguez (10.7 ppg, 5.0 apg), swingman Bradford Burgess (14.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg) and reserve guard Brandon Rozzell (11.6 ppg). Florida State is mediocre from beyond the arc, but the Seminoles should have success in the low post against VCU. Florida State has 108 more turnovers than assists and must take good care of the ball; VCU needs to find a way to force turnovers by Seminoles guards Derwin Kitchen (10.0 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 3.6 apg) and Luke Loucks (3.0 ppg, 2.3 apg).

■ KEY INDIVIDUAL: Virginia Commonwealth senior forward Jamie Skeen (15.2 ppg, 7.3 rpg), who began his career at Wake Forest (this will be his fourth game against Florida State), is the Rams’ only low-post threat on offense. Skeen has 41 points and 16 rebounds in the three tourney games, and he has to be more productive on the boards against Florida State. He has fouled out of just one game this season and must stay out of foul trouble in this one.


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