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March 16, 1998
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March 16, 1998


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13 Butler

Coach Barry Collier
Record 22-10
Team scoring 677 (FG%: 44.5) (3-pointers: 147-459, 32.0%)
Opponents' scoring 61.7 (FG%: 40.5)
Rebound margin +4.8
Team FT% 66.6
Whom not to foul Matthew Graves (87%), Jeff Rogers (71%)
Whom to foul Rolf van Rijn (58%), Otis Frazier (59%)
Quality wins Oklahoma 73-63, Illinois-Chicago 78-76

Players to Watch
Senior forward Jon Neuhouser, Indiana born and bred, would be the quintessential Hoosier shooter—he converts 40.2% of his shots from outside the arc and 55.3% from inside it—except that he hits only 59.5% from the foul line. His outside shooting opens things up inside for the 7'2" van Rijn, who hails from Best, the Netherlands, and is the best Bulldogs shooter (60.6%). He scores 8.9 points a game.

Scouting Report
With five seniors, Butler would seem to be the last team that would need a season to jell. But not until Collier settled on an eight-man rotation in early February did the Bulldogs take off, winning seven of their last eight games. Now they're the kind of team a lot of higher-seeded powers hate to face in tournament play: They feature a patient half-court offense that works for good shots rather than firing threes, and they can gamble on defense because of the shot blocking of van Rijn.

The Bulldogs are a hot team that could upset New Mexico, a cool one and weakest of the No. 4 seeds, in Round 1.

5 Syracuse

Coach Jim Boeheim
Record 24-8
Team scoring 71.7 (FG%: 43.9) (3-pointers: 180-546, 33.0%)
Opponents' scoring 674 (FG%: 42.2)
Rebound margin +0.7
Team FT% 67.7
Whom not to foul Marius Janulis (85%), Todd Burgan (75%)
Whom to foul Etan Thomas (61%)
Quality wins TCU 82-78, at UNLV 71-64, West Virginia 73-58

Player to Watch
Etan Thomas. Remember that name, though it is subject to change. Thomas, a 6'9" sophomore center, was born as Dedreck, recruited as Derrick before his freshman year and now prefers Etan—as in, he's been Etan up every shot that comes his way. He ranked fourth in the nation in blocks (3-9). "He ought to go pro," West Virginia coach Gale Catlett says. "My 6'11" kid [Gordon Malone] went pro last year, and he wasn't drat good."

Scouting Report
The Orangemen's zone defense gives them a chance in any game, and experience isn't a worry—senior swingman Burgan (17.5 points a game) was on the Final Four all-tournament team two years ago. Their hobgoblin is inconsistency (home losses to Providence, St. John's and Seton Hall), and it can get ugly watching the 'Cuse lose. The Orangemen have shot 46.4% in their wins and only 36.5% in their losses.

Iona's defense, depth and motivation against a Big East foe could make for a seismic first-round upset.

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