By BRIAN LANDMAN
© St. Petersburg Times, published March 13, 2000
- GAMES: No. 1 Duke vs. No. 16 Lamar; No. 8 Kansas vs. No. 9 DePaul; No. 5 Florida vs. No. 12 Butler; No. 4 Illinois vs. No. 13 Penn.
- BEST PLAYER: Duke's Chris Carrawell. The 6-6 forward, the Blue Devils' lone senior, averages 17.4 points (tied for the team lead), 6.1 rebounds (a team high) and 3.3 assists (second on the team) and plays 35.7 minutes a game (the most). He's also Duke's top perimeter defender. Carrawell, a role player throughout his career, was All-ACC and a first-team All-America selection by both the National Association of Basketball Coaches and the United States Basketball Writers Association.
- BEST UPSET POSSIBILITIES: DePaul, led by former Florida State coach Pat Kennedy, has the talent with Quentin Richardson, Lance Williams, Bobby Simmons and sophomore point guard Rashon Bruno to upend the tradition-rich, but mercurial Jayhawks. The Blue Demons have not been to the NCAA Tournament since 1992 and have not won an NCAA game since 1989.
- BEST STORY LINE: Really, folks, the NCAA selection committee had no idea of the possibilities for the second round if form holds, but it's a dandy. Former Florida coach Lon Kruger, who took the Gators to the Final Four in 1994 and has rebuilt Illinois into a national power, could meet the Billy Donovan-led Gators.
- WHAT TO EXPECT: Duke lost Trajan Langdon to graduation, saw Elton Brand, William Avery and Corey Maggette bolt early for the NBA, then had key reserve Chris Burgess transfer from last year's consensus No. 1 team that lost to UConn in a thrilling national title game at Tropicana Field. With Carrawell, Shane Battier and Nate James all stepping up to the challenge of expanded roles and the rapid development of freshmen Jason Williams, Carlos Boozer and Mike Dunleavy, the Blue Devils are poised for another Final Four run.
- WHAT THEY'RE SAYING: "Our team's good, it's not great. But it has a chance and it has a chance because we understand we have weaknesses." -- Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.
- ADVANCING: Duke, Illinois.
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