BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW: Nardi was born three months before Villanova's 1985 NCAA Tournament title.
LOCATION: Spokane, Wash. ENROLLMENT: 6,108
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Won West Coast tourney
RECORD: 23-10. RPI: 61st.
RECORD VS. FIELD: 3-6.
NCAA HISTORY: This is 10th appearance, and ninth in a row. The Zags have won at least one NCAA game in eight of those nine appearances, with four Sweet 16 berths (1999, 2000, 2001 and last season).
KEY PLAYERS: G Jeremy Pargo (6-2/Soph., 12.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 4.7 apg, 1.5 spg, 40.7 3-pt FG%); G Derek Raivio (6-3/Sr., 18.0 ppg, 1.4 spg, 41.5 3-pt FG%, 95.5 FT%).
THE BUZZ: The Zags, who can be exploited defensively, didn't dominate the West Coast Conference as usual, but they did win the regular-season and tourney titles. With star big man Josh Heytvelt suspended, the pressure increases on the perimeter players to provide the points. If the Zags are going to make any real noise, 6-9 Nigerian C Abdullahi Kuso, a good athlete, needs to be a potent defensive presence in the paint.
BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW: The Zags are one victory away from their 10th consecutive 24-win season.
11. VA. COMMONWEALTH
LOCATION: Richmond, Va. ENROLLMENT: 29,225
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Won Colonial tourney
RECORD: 27-6. RPI: 44th.
RECORD VS. FIELD: 2-2.
NCAA HISTORY: This is eighth appearance and second in four seasons. The Rams haven't won an NCAA game since 1985.
KEY PLAYERS: G Eric Maynor (6-2/Soph., 13.6 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 6.3 apg, 1.3 spg); F/G Jesse Pellot-Rosa (6-4/Sr., 13.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.1 spg, 43.3 3-pt FG%, 80.2 FT%); G B.A. Walker (6-2/Sr., 14.8 ppg, 1.0 spg, 42.0 3-pt FG%, 87.3 FT%).
THE BUZZ: The Rams are athletic and put that to good use on defense, where they force 16.4 turnovers per game. Three-point shooting is important, not surprising when you consider no one taller than 6 feet 7 plays more than 10.5 minutes per game. VCU has held its own on the boards, but the rams really haven't seen many big-timer big men.
BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW: VCU Coach Anthony Grant and assistant Allen Edwards both starred at Miami High.