HOW THEY GOT HERE: At-large, from Big East
RECORD VS. FIELD: 6-6.
NCAA HISTORY: This is 19th appearance, and sixth in a row. The Panthers haven't been to a regional final since 1974.
KEY PLAYERS: G/F Mike Cook (6-4/Jr., 10.5 ppg); G Levance Fields (5-10/Soph., 9.3 ppg, 4.5 apg); C Aaron Gray (7-0/Sr., 14.1 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 1.7 bpg, 56.3 FG%).
THE BUZZ: The Panthers are a physical bunch who will bang you around on defense. Gray is a big-time presence in the paint, but he doesn't always seem to get enough touches offensively. The Panthers prefer a deliberate pace and take good care of the ball. But they're poor from the line (66.6 percent).
BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW: Gray's uncle, Steve Gray, played basketball at Duke from 1975-79 and was part of the Blue Devils' 1978 Final Four team.
4 SOUTHERN ILLINOIS
LOCATION: Carbondale, Ill. ENROLLMENT: 21,003
HOW THEY GOT HERE: At-large, from Missouri Valley
RECORD: 27-6 RPI: 7th.
RECORD VS. FIELD: 4-3.
NCAA HISTORY: This is 10th appearance and sixth in a row; those six in a row have come under three coaches. The Salukis got to the Sweet 16 as a No. 11 seed in 2002.
KEY PLAYERS: F Randal Falker (6-7/Jr., 12.8 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 2.2 bpg, 60.9 FG%); G Jamaal Tatum (6-1/Sr., 14.8 ppg, 41.8 3-pt FG%);
THE BUZZ: SIU has been in the top 20 for most of the season, thanks mostly to a stifling defense. The Salukis aren't going to win any up-and-down affairs, but their defense doesn't allow that to happen anyway. Tatum is the key guy offensively; if he's shut down, SIU will have more problems than usual scoring. One staggering stat: SIU has 75 more turnovers than assists. So how does it win? SIU opponents have 200 more turnovers than assists.
BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW: SIU opened in 1869 as a teachers college.
5. VIRGINIA TECH
LOCATION: Blacksburg. ENROLLMENT: 28,000
HOW THEY GOT HERE: At-large, from ACC