Given the Spiders' past and backcourt depth, arachnophobia will do in South Carolina and scare Xavier.
Coach Skip Prosser
Team scoring 84.1 (FG%: 48.8) (3-pointers: 168-472, 35.6%)
Opponents' scoring 68.8 (FG%: 44.4)
Rebound margin +5.4
Team FT% 73.5
Whom not to foul James Posey (82%), Gary Lumpkin (78%)
Whom to foul Maurice McAfee (56%)
Quality wins Cincinnati 88-68, at Temple 79-73
Player to Watch
The Musketeers have two unflappable junior guards in Lumpkin and Lenny Brown, but their surprising offensive star is 6'4" junior forward Darnell Williams. There was enough preseason speculation about Williams losing his starting spot to Posey that Williams said he hoped to win the Atlantic 10's sixth-man award. Not gonna happen. Williams started every game but one and led Xavier in scoring (173 points a game).
"Overrated!" was the cry of opposing fans as the Musketeers stumbled to a 4-3 start in league play. Maybe so, but they rallied to win seven of their last eight games—including three straight to win the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament—using a go-go press that made their attack both prolific (the Musketeers led the A-10 in scoring) and democratic (five players averaged more than 12 points). Looking for a weakness? Fouls. Brown and forward T.J. Johnson have combined for nine DQs this season.
With six solid contributors second only to North Carolina's in this bracket, X could mark a spot in the Elite Eight.
Coach Bob Bender
Team scoring 79.1 (FG%: 48.6) (3-pointers: 131-372, 35.2%)
Opponents' scoring 774 (FG%: 46.7)
Rebound margin +1.7
Team FT% 70.0
Whom not to foul Peon Luton (77%), Donald Watts (72%)
Whom to foul Thalo Green (62%), Patrick Femerling (62%)
Quality wins UCLA 95-94
Player to Watch
As a redshirt freshman working as a messenger at the 1995 Final Four in Seattle, 7-foot, 280-pound center Todd MacCulloch was mistaken time and again for another mountainous post player, Oklahoma State's Bryant Reeves. MacCulloch played along, obliging autograph-seekers until his conscience took over. Three years later this Big Country from Another Country (Canada) is the second-best shooter in the nation (65.9%) thanks to his having developed his game north of the border, where dunking is forbidden.