NCAA HISTORY: 22nd appearance, ninth straight. Four Final Fours. Lost to Indiana last year in Final Four semi.
STARTERS: F Johnnie Gilbert, F Kevin Bookout, G Quannas White, G De'Angelo Alexander, G Hollis Price.
OUTLOOK: Sooners capable of a second consecutive Final Four, despite lacking a low-post scorer to match Aaron McGhee from last season. Price, a fearless clutch shooter and tenacious defender, is a national Player of the Year candidate, and Ebi Ere provides instant offense, whether starting or coming off the bench.
No. 2 WAKE FOREST (24-5)
NCAA HISTORY: 18th appearance, third straight. Final Four in 1962. Lost to Oregon last year in second round.
COACH: Skip Prosser (2-6 in NCAA).
STARTERS: F Josh Howard, F Vytas Danelius, F Jamaal Levy, C Eric Williams, G Taron Downey.
OUTLOOK: The best of a mediocre ACC, the Deacons win the old-fashioned way. They lead the league in free-throw percentage, lead the nation in rebounding margin and play solid defense. Howard, the ACC Player of the Year, shoots threes and slashes to the basket, but otherwise Wake's perimeter offense and ballhandling are suspect.
No. 3 SYRACUSE (24-5)
NCAA HISTORY: 28th appearance, fifth in six years. Three Final Fours, most recent in 1996. Lost to Kansas in 2001 second round.
COACH: Jim Boeheim (32-21 in NCAA).
STARTERS: F Carmelo Anthony, F Hakim Warrick, C Craig Forth, G Gerry McNamara, G Keith Duany.
OUTLOOK: Tempting Final Four choice. Anthony is the game's most talented freshman and combines with Warrick for an athletic forward tandem. McNamara, another freshman, has unlimited shooting range, and freshman PG Billy Edelin is emerging as dependable scorer off the bench. The Big East's best since February.
No. 4 LOUISVILLE (24-6)
NCAA HISTORY: 30th appearance, first since 2000. Seven Final Fours, most recent in 1986, when it won second of two titles.
COACH: Rick Pitino (26-7 in NCAA).
STARTERS: F Luke Whithead, F Francisco Garcia, C Marvin Stone, G Reece Gaines, G Taquan Dean.