Where: Cox Arena in San Diego.
Time: 2:30 p.m.
TV: Ch. 7. Radio: KJR (950 AM).
The line: Illinois by 2.
Record: 25-6. Seed: No. 5
RPI: 35. Bid: At large.
Tournament record: 13-13.
Last NCAA appearance: 2005.
Washington's style of play: The Huskies like to run when they have the chance. When they don't, they put the ball in the hands of Brandon Roy and hope he can make something happen. Defensively, UW might not be able to trap as much today against a quick Illini team that typically doesn't turn the ball over much.
What Washington has to do to win: The Huskies have to find ways to score in the halfcourt offense. And they have to keep Illinois from dominating inside.
Record: 26-6. Seed: No. 4.
Conference: Big Ten.
RPI: 14. Bid: At large.
Tournament record: 38-26.
Last NCAA appearance: 2005.
Illinois' style of play: The Illini aren't quite the run-and-gun team they were a year ago when they also had Luther Head and Deron Williams in the backcourt. Illinois is a little more methodical and defense-oriented.
What Illinois has to do to win: Illinois will try to slow the Huskies down and make them play in the halfcourt. Offensively, the Illini have a big size edge inside and will have to take advantage of that. Illinois isn't a great free-throw shooting team, which could be crucial if it's close late.
WHO HAS THE EDGE?
Dee Brown vs. Justin Dentmon
Justin Dentmon had a marvelous NCAA tournament debut and seems far removed from those freshman mistakes that marred the middle of his season — he has just four turnovers in his past three games. But Illinois' Dee Brown is one of the best point guards in the country and has Final Four experience. Brown, however, has been erratic shooting all season. Edge: Illinois
Rich McBride vs. Brandon Roy
Despite how much he has already done this year, Brandon Roy could become the breakout star of the tournament if he can lead the Huskies past the Illini. He appears to be peaking, if it's possible to get any better. Rich McBride is a more one-dimensional player who led the Big Ten with an average of 2.5 three-pointers, hitting 40.3 percent for the season. Edge: UW
Brian Randle vs. Bobby Jones
Bobby Jones appears to be peaking after a somewhat uneven senior season that was due in part to an ankle injury. His defense will be especially critical today. Brian Randle is Illinois' defensive stopper and a rugged rebounder, especially on the offensive end. Randle could draw the assignment on Brandon Roy today. Edge: Illinois
James Augustine vs. Jon Brockman
Jon Brockman didn't get his NCAA tournament off to a rousing start, with no points and four rebounds in 22 minutes. He has to be more aggressive today. James Augustine is one of the most experienced players around, having started 133 games, and one of the best rebounders in college basketball (9.1 per game). Mike Jensen will likely guard him. Edge: Illinois
Shaun Pruitt vs. Mike Jensen
Mike Jensen's return to the starting lineup sparked UW's late-season run — the Huskies are 8-1 with Jensen starting. And he's capable of big games from the three-point line. Shaun Pruitt, a sophomore, is a rising young big man who has hit more than 70 percent of his shots the last nine games, though he's capable of disappearing. Edge: Illinois
First off the bench
Jamar Smith vs. Jamaal Williams
Each team has a Mr. Offense off the bench, though they do it from different angles. Jamaal Williams does his work inside, though he'll have a tough time today against Illinois' stout front line. Illinois freshman Jamar Smith is one of the best young shooters in the country, having hit exactly 50 percent (66 of 132) for the season, including 6 of 9 against Air Force. Edge: UW
Bruce Weber vs. Lorenzo Romar
Giving the edge to Illinois here is taking nothing away from Lorenzo Romar, who continues to lead the Huskies to unprecedented heights. But Bruce Weber is one of the best in the game, having gone 89-15 in three years at Illinois and not missing a beat once the team became filled with mostly his recruits. He's also 10-4 in NCAA tournament games and made it to last year's championship game. Edge: Illinois
Illinois 81, Washington 74