by: LISA BLUMENFELD/GETTY IMAGES, Bryce Taylor and the Ducks will look to keep their hot hand.

What: NCAA Tournament, Midwest Regional

When: Notre Dame (24-7) vs. Winthrop (28-4), 11:35 a.m. today, followed 30 minutes later by Oregon (26-7) vs. Miami of Ohio (18-14). The winners play Sunday, time TBD.

Where: Spokane (Wash.) Arena

TV, radio: KOIN (6), Ducks on KXL (750 AM)

The skinny: So who gets up and shakes their booty in the Big Dance? Who tap dances all the way to St. Louis, site of the Midwest regional?

Oregon's hot, but the Ducks flopped in their last NCAA appearance, losing 60-58 to an ordinary Utah team in 2003 in Luke Ridnour's final game.

Shooters, as hot as they got at last week's Pac-10 tourney, can go cold.

Thanks to a prayer shot, Miami got in. It'll be a battle of wills against Oregon, as the RedHawks want to play defensive, walk-up basketball. Wally Szczerbiak (Class of '99) won't be around to bail them out.

Winthrop has won 18 games in a row, but the Eagles have been one-and-done in the past six NCAA tourneys under coach Gregg Marshall. Winthrop has only lost to North Carolina, Maryland, Wisconsin and Texas A and M - NCAA teams all.

Notre Dame has some willing shooters, like the Ducks, and some toughness inside. Maybe the Irish hoopsters can do something the football team cannot these days - win in the postseason.

- Jason Vondersmith

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