By GREG AUMAN, Times Staff Writer
Published March 14, 2005
DON'T BLINK: LSU and UAB are PDQ as backcourts go. The Tigers have two speedy 5-foot-11 guards, Tack Minor and Darrel Mitchell, but the Blazers lead the nation in steals, thanks to Donell Taylor and Squeaky Johnson. UAB coach Mike Anderson is a Nolan Richardson disciple who made the Sweet 16 last year, and "40 minutes of hell" might have its sequel here.
SAME TEAM, NEW COACH: Southern Illinois, under first-year coach Chris Lowery, a '95 Saluki grad, is back with its third coach in four years. What hasn't changed: senior guard Darren Brooks, a two-time Missouri Valley Conference MVP and top defensive player. A second-round showdown with Oklahoma State will be a favorite for upset picks.
HOW FAR CAN THEY FALL?: Boston College was 20-0 five weeks ago but has since gone 4-4. Could Penn finish the ACC-bound Eagles off? It's doubtful, and only if 6-8 sophomore Steve Danley can step up enough to keep BC's Jared Dudley and Craig Smith from dominating. If those two are on, BC could be dangerous and Illinois could be out before the Elite Eight.
MAGIC LUTE: Arizona won a national title as a No.4 seed in 1997 and made the final in 2001 as a No.2 seed. How far can the Wildcats go as a 3 this year? They have all the ingredients: strong senior leaders in guard Salim Stoudamire and center Channing Frye; the nation's best free-throw percentage; and incentive after losing to Washington in the Pac-10 championship game.