tampabay.com

Bracket talk - Albuquerque

By GREG AUMAN
Published March 14, 2005


GOOD THINGS COME BY THREES: Louisville hit 15 3-pointers in its Conference USA final win against Memphis, and no tourney team is more dangerous from outside. In Francisco Garcia, Larry O'Bannon and Taquan Dean, coach Rick Pitino has three stars capable of scoring 25, which makes a possible second-round showdown with Georgia Tech this weekend's best matchup.

IF THEY GET THERE: Washington might have to get past an up-and-down Pittsburgh team that swept Syracuse and won at Boston College and Syracuse. The Panthers, led by forward Chevon Troutman, could still be giant-killers and return to the Sweet 16 under second-year coach Jamie Dixon.

ON THE OTHER SIDE: Gonzaga pulled off first-round upsets as a 10th seed in 1999 and 2000 and a No.12 in 2001. Last year, the Bulldogs were a No.2 and lost in the second round. Now they're a 3. The Cinderella the Zags have to stop is Winthrop, which has won 18 straight.

COMING IN HOT: West Virginia's run to the Big East final is no fluke; the Mountaineers have six wins vs. ranked teams. But it's tough to tell how a three-guard lineup would fare in the second round vs. Wake Forest, which has a wizard in guard Chris Paul and 6-foot-9, 290-pound Eric Williams inside.