published Monday, March 15th, 2010

A look at the teams in the NCAA Midwest Regional

No. 1 KANSAS JAYHAWKS

Record: 32-2

Coach: Bill Self

Bid: Big 12 champion

Star power: Center Cole Aldrich uses his 6-foot-11, 245-pound frame to score 11.3 points per game, haul in 9.9 rebounds and block 3.5 shots. He’s the guy KU opponents have no answer for.

Last 10: 9-1

Reasonable expectation: Favorite to cut down the nets at the Final Four for the second time in three years.

No. 2 OHIO STATE BUCKEYES

Record: 27-7

Coach: Thad Matta

Bid: Big Ten champion

Star power: Evan Turner averages 19.5 ppg, 9.1 rebounds and 5.9 assists. The junior also does his best work when it matters most, as witnessed in Friday’s 35-foot shot at the buzzer to nip Michigan in the Big 10 tourney.

Last 10: 9-1

Reasonable expectation: Buckeyes may not have quite enough inside game to reach Final Four, but should make an Elite Eight. Once there, anything can happen.

No. 3 GEORGETOWN HOYAS

Record: 23-10

Coach: John Thompson III

Bid: At-large

Star power: Center Greg Monroe can score (16.1 ppg), rebound (9.5), defend (1.5 blocks) and make teammates better (3.7 assists). He is arguably the tournament’s most versatile and dangerous post player.

Last 10: 5-5

Reasonable expectation: One of the tourney’s most perplexing teams, the Hoyas have blown out Duke and been humbled by South Florida. Nevertheless, if the Georgetown team that reached the Big East final shows up for the Big Dance, Hoyas could reach Final Four.

No. 4 MARYLAND TERRAPINS

Record: 23-8

Coach: Gary Williams

Bid: At-large

Star power: Point guard Greivis Vasquez is the first player in Atlantic Coast Conference history to total at least 2,000 points, 700 assists and 600 rebounds. With averages of 19.5 points and 6.3 assists he can single-handedly propel the Terps deep into the tournament.

Last 10: 8-2

Reasonable expectation: Terps could reach Elite Eight if Vasquez is on his game or lose in opening round if he’s not.

No. 5 MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS

Record: 24-8

Coach: Tom Izzo

Bid: At-large

Star power: If you don’t think point guard Kalin Lucas drives Sparty, consider that State lost all three games without him in the lineup a few weeks ago after spraining his ankle.

Last 10: 5-5

Reasonable expectation: Most everyone expected State to return to the Final Four when the season began, and they might still get there with their rugged defense and rebounding, but they look much more like a Sweet 16 team after losing to Minnesota in the Big Ten tourney.

No. 6 TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS

Record: 25-8

Coach: Bruce Pearl

Bid: At-large

Star power: Senior forward Wayne Chism can beat you on offense (12.5 points), defense (1.4 blocks) or on the boards (7.1). One of the least appreciated great players in all of college basketball.

Last 10: 7-3

Reasonable expectation: With wins over No. 1 seeds Kansas and Kentucky, there’s no reason the Vols can’t reach the Sweet 16. After that, they’ll need to face a team that either can’t shoot outside or muscle it inside to reach the program’s first-ever Elite Eight appearance.

No. 7 OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS

Record: 22-10

Coach: Travis Ford

Bid: At-large

Star power: Wing James Anderson averages 22.6 ppg and almost that many highlights. He is one of the most entertaining players in the tournament.

Last 10: 6-4

Reasonable expectation: Oklahoma State could lose the opener to Georgia Tech or find itself in regional final against Kansas, which it has already beaten.

No. 8 UNLV Runnin’ REBELS

Record: 25-8

Coach: Lon Kruger

Bid: At-large

Star power: Tre’Von Willis can score. The former Memphis Tiger who transferred to Vegas two years ago averages more than 17 points per game and an eye-popping 1.52 points per shot, primarily by getting to free-throw line 188 times.

Last 10: 6-4

Reasonable expectation: An athletic group, the Rebels face a tough match-up with Northern Iowa in round one, but like any 8-9 game, the big challenge for the winner is in the second round.

No. 9 NORTHERN IOWA PANTHERS

Record: 28-4

Coach: Ben Jacobson

Bid: Missouri Valley Conference champion

Star power: Forward Adam Koch averages 12 points and five rebounds and scored the final 11 points in a key victory over Southern Illinois. Has also started 98 straight games for NIU.

Last 10: 8-2

Reasonable expectation: With a stingy defense, disciplined offense and senior-dominated lineup, the Panthers can easily make a Sweet 16 run.

no. 10 Georgia Tech

Record: 22-12

Coach: Paul Hewitt

Bid: At-large

Star power: Junior forward Gani Lawal (13.3 ppg, 8.8 rebs) is the kind of steady, solid player that helps teammates through the early rounds.

Last 10: 5-5

Reasonable expectation: Tech has the talent to get to Sweet 16 but the temperament to be gone in the opening weekend.

No. 11 SAN DIEGO STATE AZTECS

Record: 23-8

Coach: Steve Fisher

Bid: Mountain West champs

Star power: The strength of this team is depth. Nine players see right at 15 minutes per game or more and four average double figures in scoring. Fisher said last week that point guard D.J. Gay is the team’s most valuable player. Gay, an experienced junior who has played in every game with 79 starts in three seasons, led the team in assists (3.2 per game) and shot better than 39 percent from 3-point range this year.

Last 10: 9-1

Reasonable expectation: Fisher led Michigan to the NCAA title in 1989, and SDSU is playing as well as anyone right now. But the expectations of these Aztecs should be limited considering SDSU was 14-1 at home during the regular season and just 9-7 everywhere else.

No. 12 NEW MEXICO STATE AGGIES

Record: 22-11

Coach: Marvin Menizes

Bid: WAC champion

Star power: The NMSU starting five averages double-figures across the board, highlighted by guard Jahmar Young’s 20.5 points per game.

Last 10: 7-3

Reasonable expectation: The Aggies can score — a lot — but a physical showdown with Michigan State in round one is not exactly a dream draw. That said, the Spartans have a lot of unknowns right now, and the Aggies could make a run.

No. 13 HOUSTON COUGARS

Record: 19-15

Coach: Tom Penders

Bid: Conference USA champion

Star power: Aubrey Coleman is the type of player that can flat-out carry a team in this tournament. The senior averaged more than 25 points and seven rebounds per night.

Last 10: 6-4

Reasonable expectation: If Coleman gets hot, the Cougars can scare Maryland, but this region is a tough draw for any team that dependent on one player.

No. 14 OHIO BOBCATS

Record: 21-14

Coach: John Groce

Bid: MAC champion

Star power: Five players average double figures for the Bobcats, who made a made dash through the conference tournament after going 7-9 in the MAC during the regular season. Armon Bassett averages 16.9 points per game to lead a three-guard attack.

Last 10: 7-4

Reasonable expectation: Georgetown’s late-season charge appears to be too much for the Bobcats, who have just one player taller than 6-8 and likely have little answer for GU’s Greg Monroe.

No. 15 UC-SANTA BARBARA GAUCHOS

Record: 20-9

Coach: Bob Williams

Bid: Big West champions

Star power: Orlando Johnson, a transfer from Loyola Marymount shot almost 40 percent from 3-point land and averaged 18 points per game. Johnson scored in double figures in every game during the regular season.

Last 10: 9-1

Reasonable expectation: A fast close to the season — the Gauchos were 5-6 in early January before winning 15 of their last 18 — will be ended with an even faster tournament stay.

No. 16 LEHIGH MOUNTAIN HAWKS

Record: 22-10

Coach: Brett Reed

Bid: Patriot League champion

Star power: C.J. McCollum, a unanimous pick as Patriot League player and rookie of the year, averaged more than 23 points per game in conference play this year and 18.8 points per game overall. The 6-3 guard scored 544 points this season — the most by a Patriot League freshman since Adonis Foyle in 1994-95.

Last 10: 8-2

Reasonable expectation: With an RPI of 151, enjoy the trip, and maybe Kansas won’t be too rough on you.

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