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Region breakdown: Philadelphia

The Lady Vols are peaking at the right time to advance

Posted: Monday March 14, 2005 5:44PM; Updated: Monday March 14, 2005 6:11PM
Candice Dupree
Temple's Candice Dupree could lead the Owls to the regional round on their home court.

By Richard Kent, Special to SI.com

Underrated: Temple. The Owls deserved a No. 4 seed but ended up with a No. 6. They own the longest winning streak in the country and at 27-3 are winners of 24 consecutive games. Playing a relatively weak Louisiana Tech team in the first round, the Owls could advance to take on Rutgers in the second round. It would be a rematch of the teams meeting on Dec. 13, when the Owls topped the Scarlet Knights, 71-60. After last week's Big East tournament controversy, the Scarlet Knights will be playing in front of a hostile Storrs crowd.

Overrated: Purdue. At 16-12 -- with one win against a D-II school -- the Boilermakers did not deserve a bid to the dance.

Bracket Buster: Middle Tennessee State. The Blue Raiders are an athletic team that has proven they can produce an upset after ousting UNC in the first round last season. Junior forward Tia Stovall can play with anyone. They've picked up big wins against Xavier, Cincinnati and Wisconsin.

Home cooking: Temple. The Owls play within three hours of their fans for the first two rounds and if they are able to advance to regionals, they'd be on their home court in Philadelphia.

Best player you've never heard of: Candice Dupree,Temple. The 6-2 junior forward was player of the year in the Atlantic 10. An extremely athletic player, she can excel at the forward or center position for the Owls.

Best matchup: Maryland-Ohio State at Maryland (second round) Ohio State is the better team and the higher seed at No. 2 but could play the hometown-favorite Terps in front of 17,000 hostile fans in College Park.

The pick: Tennessee. The Lady Vols are peaking now, after beating LSU to win the SEC tournament title last week.