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2002 NCAA Tournament

Dick Vitale Archive


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ESPN's Dick Vitale and Stuart Scott preview the Final Four matchups.
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Give Terps slight edge over Jayhawks

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Vitale previews Maryland-Kansas
FRONTCOURT: Maryland
It should be a war in the paint, and picking one side over the other is tough. How do you choose with such quality frontcourt players on both sides: Drew Gooden and Nick Collison of Kansas against Lonny Baxter and Chris Wilcox of Maryland. I give the slightest of edges to the Terps because of depth. Maryland coach Gary Williams can bring in Ryan Randle and Tahj Holden off the bench. That depth is the difference, barely. The team that stays out of foul trouble up front will have the edge.

BACKCOURT: Pick 'Em
Maryland All-American Juan Dixon and Steve Blake form a dynamic duo with solid experience; Drew Nicholas can play a role in this contest off the bench. Kansas' Kirk Hinrich and Jeff Boschee are outstanding on the perimeter. Aaron Miles gives the Jayhawks quickness, and Keith Langford has stepped up and been a major factor the past two games, both scoring and rebounding. Because Dixon's ability to come up big in important situations, this is a push.

BENCH: Kansas
Because Langford has been so important lately, plus the physical presence of Wayne Simien up front, I give the Jayhawks the slightest of edges.

OTHER FACTORS: Maryland
The Terps have the slight edge in winning experience. Last year's Final Four appearance is an advantage because the players know what to expect from the media crush and the atmosphere. Maryland also has a slight edge in clutch free-throw shooting in the tournament, having missed no more than four free throws in any tourney game thus far. Baxter and company could be clutch if they draw fouls inside.

THE WINNER WILL BE ...
This will be a Maalox Masher, a potential classic matchup. This is so tough to call, but I have to make a prediction, so I'm going with Williams ... Gary, that is. I give Maryland the slightest of edges.

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