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Ohio State, UCLA Are In

Half of the Final Four is set, with Ohio State running Memphis to ground, 92-76, and UCLA knocking off the #1 seed in the West, Kansas, 68-55. Greg Oden still has a long way to go to get to the level of the game's great big men, but he showed again why he might become one of them. He had foul trouble, again, and had to sit down for a bit. But there were times when he utterly changed the flow of the game, when Memphis, used to driving the lane, found the prospect considerably more daunting.

Also considerably daunted: Memphis big man Joey Dorsey. Before the game, he had talked about making a name against Oden. But his stat line was almost nil, other than four fouls: in 19 minutes, he didn't take a shot from the floor, missed both free throws, and only got 3 boards. As the old saying goes, be careful what you wish for.

Since last year, we've no doubt that UCLA has wished for a rematch with Florida. If the Gators beat Oregon, they'll get it. UCLA beat Kansas with the same reliable defense they've shown since Ben Howland came back to California. The Jayhawks spoke of dumb mistakes, but when a team plays defense as well as UCLA does, dumbness often follows.

For Kansas fans, no doubt dreaming of a matchup with Roy Williams and a chance to inflict some emotional distress equivalent to what Ol' Roy left them with when he went home, well that's over. Now they get to worry about who might leave early: Brandon Rush seems likely to, Julian Wright less so. And for Bill Self, the chance to step out of Williams' considerable Lawrence shadow will have to wait.

On Sunday, Florida will have to deal with Tajuan Porter, one of the great stories of the year. Around the ACC, the biggest stories have been Duke's off year, State's stunning run through the ACC Tournament and then three games in the NIT, playing seven games with six players in 12 days, and Kay Yow's dramatic run, which sadly ended at the hands of UConn Saturday, 78-71.

But around the nation, there have been other stories - Ohio State's monster freshman class, Florida's drive to repeat, and, lately, Oregon's 5-6 guard that no one else much wanted.

Twenty years ago, Wake's Muggsy Bogues proved that there is still a place in the game for a little man and that if he's quick enough and bold enough, being small can be a big advantage. Porter adds great shooting to the mix, and he's become a royal pain in the ass. It's going to be interesting to see what he does against Florida after going 11-11 against UNLV.

And of course in the nightcap, if you can have a 5:05 nightcap (CBS still likes to squeeze 60 Minutes in) UNC takes on Georgetown in a rematch of the classic 1982 title.

There is some significant talent in this game, but it's not on the same level as it was in the 1982 game. UNC has used their depth as a blunt instrument, running teams into submission. Georgetown is a strange team in some respects, a hybrid of Princetonian elan and Big East 'tude. They pass well, and they have size. Can they pull it off?

We'll know by the time Morley Safer dusts off his toupee.