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ALBUQUERQUE REGION PREVIEW
March 14, 2005

Bracket Projection

(1) Washington
Washington
(16) Montana
Washington
(8) Pacific
Pittsburgh
(9) Pittsburgh
Washington
(4) Louisville
Louisville
(13) LA-Lafayette
Louisville
(5) Georgia Tech
Georgia Tech
(12) G. Washington
Wake Forest
(11) UCLA
Texas Tech
(6) Texas Tech
Gonzaga
(14) Winthrop
Gonzaga
(3) Gonzaga
Wake Forest
(10) Creighton
West Virginia
(7) West Virginia
Wake Forest
(15) Chattanooga
Wake Forest
(2) Wake Forest

Overrated

(5) Georgia Tech : The Jackets were 8-8 in the ACC and a bubble team two weeks ago. While their ACC Tournament run was impressive, it didn't garner a five seed, especially considering GT lost three of their last seven games. It seems Coach Paul Hewitt's team has a knack for playing teams close yet not quite coming out on top. Until last week's win over UNC, the only other really impressive ACC win on the Tech resume was a one-point OT victory over Wake Forest.

Underrated

(4) Louisville : The Cardinals seemed prime to grab a possible two seed but fell all the way to four. What more did the committee expect? UL finished the season with nine straight wins, including the Conference USA Tournament title. The team lost just one time after January 5 and knocked off UAB twice, Cincinnati twice, and Charlotte once during that time. And by most accounts, the Cards' RPI was among the nation's top twelve, equaling a three seed at worst.

Best First Round Matchup

(8) Pacific vs (9) Pittsburgh : The Tigers were dominant in the Big West this year, going 18-0 in the regular season, but couldn't finish out with a final win in the conference tourney over Utah State. Pitt has been ranked among the nation's best teams at times this year, but the Panthers have been incredibly inconsistent. If the Pittsburgh team that beat Connecticut once and Syracuse twice shows up, Washington better look out in round two. If not, Pacific could be a Cinderella story in the making.

Best Bet for a First Round Upset

(11) UCLA over (6) Texas Tech : The Bruins came on strong late in the season, winning four of their last five including a road game at Notre Dame. Texas Tech has been a solid team all season but really got hot in the Big XII Tournament. If the Raiders cool down, Bruin All-America candidate Dijon Thompson has the ability to carry the team on his shoulders. The senior guard/forward routinely scores more than 20 points and was named to SCS.com's Mid-Week's Best three times this season.

Best Potential Second Round Matchup

(5) Georgia Tech vs (4) Louisville : If you like up-and-down, fast-paced, athletic basketball, then tune in for this possible showdown. Both teams possess some of the best guard play in the entire nation, and each can score points in bunches. Tech's Jarrett Jack, B.J. Elder, and Will Bynum are all deadly from behind the arc. Louisville gets its downtown production from Francisco Garcia, Larry O'Bannon, and Taquan Dean. It also appears both squads are getting hot at the perfect time.

All-Region First Team

  G: Tiras Wade, LA-Lafayette : 20.4 PPG, 46.7 FG%, 6.0 REB
  G: Tre Simmons, Washington : 16.8 PPG, 45.7 FG%, 43.2 3PT%
  G: Ronald Ross, Texas Teceh : 16.6 PPG, 53.9 FG%, 46.1 3PT%
  F: Dijon Thompson, UCLA : 18.3 PPG, 47.4 FG%, 8.0 REB
  F: Adam Morrison, Gonzaga : 18.5 PPG, 49.4 FG%, 5.4 REB

All-Region Second Team

  G: Chris Paul, Wake Forest : 14.9 PPG, 49.4 3PT%, 6.6 APG
  G: Nate Funk, Creighton : 17.6 PPG, 51.7 FG%, 46.7 3PT%
  G: Jarrett Jack, Georgia Tech : 15.9 PPG, 51.6 FG%, 41.8 3PT%
  F: Chevon Troutman, Pittsburgh : 15.1 PPG, 57.6 FG%, 8.0 REB
  F: Eric Williams, Wake Forest : 16.0 PPG, 62.1 FG%, 7.7 REB

 > Talk about it in The College Corner...

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