MARCH 12, 14/SACRAMENTO
Coach Lute Olson
Team scoring 92.2 (FG%: 49.6) (3-pointers: 243-631, 38.5%)
Opponents' scoring 75.7 (FG%: 44.7)
Rebound margin +2.8 Team FT% 72.0
Whom not to foul Jason Terry (82%), Miles Simon (77%)
Whom to foul A.J. Bramlett (59%), Bennett Davison (62%)
Quality wins UCLA 87-75, at Stanford 93-75
Player to Watch
Michael Dickerson, the 6'5" senior known around Tucson as the Mike-rowave, is the Wildcats' top scorer (18.7) and bellwether. "When we get Mike going, everything starts to click," says Terry, the Cats' superb sixth man. Dickerson has a special NCAA tournament incentive: He's so ashamed of his 2-for-l8 shooting in last year's Final Four that he refuses to wear his championship ring.
In Dickerson, Simon and Mike Bibby, Arizona starts the best perimeter trio since UNLV suited up Greg Anthony, Stacey Augmon and Anderson Hunt. With Terry the Wildcats can even field a four-guard set that they call Phoenix Suns. Up front they're a lot less solid: In a December loss to Florida State, for instance, the Wildcats got little productivity out of post players Bramlett, Davison and Eugene Edgerson and were outrebounded 44-27.
If Arizona fails to reach the Final Four, Maryland or Cincinnati will do the spoiling.
16 Nicholls State
Coach Rickey Broussard
Team scoring 77.4 (FG%: 46.3) (3-pointers: 152-460, 33.0%)
Opponents' scoring 74.8 (FG%: 48.7)
Rebound margin-3.3 Team FT% 69.6
Whom not to foul Russell (81%) and Jason (80%) McCutcheon
Whom to foul Lorenzo Wright (30%)
Quality wins None
Players to Watch
Senior forward Kenderick Franklin, a three-time all-Southland Conference pick, sacrificed some of his scoring to make the Colonels a better team. Nicholls State went 5-21 and 10-16 the last two seasons, so Franklin took 123 fewer shots this year and saw his scoring average decline from 22.1 a season ago to 16.9. The reason? He finally got some help, most notably from Russell McCutcheon (16.7), who transferred from South Alabama with his brother, Jason.