St. John's spotty guard play will make the only NCAA appearance of Felipe Lopez's career a brief one.
Coach Perry Watson
Team scoring 75-3 (FG%: 46.3) (3-pointers: 194-517, 37.5%)
Opponents' scoring 62.5 (FG%: 39.9)
Rebound margin +34
Team FT% 74.2
Whom not to foul Desmond Ferguson (88%), E.J. Haralson (86%)
Whom to foul Bacari Alexander (62%)
Quality wins At Michigan State 68-65, at Butler 54-51
Players to Watch
Derrick Hayes, a transfer from Iowa State, is the leading scorer (13.7) and most talented Titan. But Detroit is the Jackson Five, led as it is by junior point guard Jermaine Jackson. On a team that goes eight deep, only Jackson plays more than 30 minutes a game. He averages 4.8 assists, or 2.6 for every turnover, and penetrates well enough to score 12.3 points a game despite being one of the Titans' worst three-point shooters (32.0%).
Watson, long a successful Detroit high school coach (NBAers Jalen Rose, Howard Eisley and Voshon Lenard played for him at Southwestern High), has an entire team of players born or raised in the Motor City area. The Titans' depth buoys a defense that doesn't tire. The offense loves the three (especially Hayes, who converts 43.6%) but too often ignores center Brian Alexander, who can fill it up (10.1 points on 60% shooting).
The Titans should win their first NCAA game since Dick Vitale was coach and then go down gallantly to Purdue.
MARCH 13, 15/CHICAGO
Coach Mike Montgomery
Team scoring 80.9 (FG%: 45.9) (3-pointers: 229-550, 41.6%)
Opponents' scoring 68.2 (FG%: 42.0)
Rebound margin +9.1
Team FT% 72.9
Whom not to foul Kris Weems (87%), Arthur Lee (86%)
Whom to foul Jarron Collins (59%), Mark Madsen (61%)
Quality wins Rhode Island 70-69, at UCLA 84-81