Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Breaking Down the Bracket - West Region

The Zags were the only 1 seed to be eliminated and that should be music to your ears if you picked Ohio State to represent the West Region in the Final Four.  Wichita State upset Gonzaga and the Shockers will have to beat fellow bracket buster 13 seed La Salle.  The Explorers beat the Rebels of Ole Miss last night on a beautiful drive and finish from Tyrone Garland.

TV Schedule (EST):

Thursday, March 28
(W) 2 Ohio State vs. 6 Arizona TBS 7:47 pm
(W) 9 Wichita State vs. 13 LaSalle  TBS 9:57 pm

*Updates all week, check back daily!

9 Wichita State vs 13 LaSalle
La Salle has knocked down 16 of 41 attempts.  Ramon Galloway is 9 of 17 and Sam Mills is 4 of 8.  That's no joke either, Galloway has made over 40% of his 3s for two straight seasons and Mills shoots 40% for his 3 year career. 

The Shockers took down Pittsburgh in the Round of 64, even though they hit just 2 of 20 3 point attempts.  They did so by taking 41 free throw attempts, even though they missed 8 of them.  In what was probably the ugliest game of the tournament, Wichita State was lucky to advance, but they proved they belonged when the took down the 1 seed Gonzaga Bulldogs.  They made up for their poor shooting by knocking down 14 of their 28 3s.  The Shockers are NOT a great 3point shooting team, just 33% on the season.  If they plan on chucking shots against La Salle, they will be knocked out of the tournament. 

2 Ohio State vs 6 Arizona
Mark Lyons picked a great year to transfer from Xavier to Arizona and is leading this Wildcats team with 50 points in the tournament.  He is 20-32 from the field including 6 for 13 from downtown, which is WAY above his season average.  He will have to beat Aaron Craft and that is extremely difficult to do so Arizona better have a new game plan.  Solomon Hill has been efficient but has taken just 12 shots and will need to be more aggressive to help Lyons offensively.   

Ohio State has played two high scoring offenses in Iona and Iowa State, which has forced them to play an uptempo game.  Ohio State should never be expected to score 78 points in a game, let alone 98, but Iona is known for just letting the other team score.  The Buckeyes are 18-35 from downtown and that is way above their team season average of 36%.  DeShaun Thomas has been everything for Ohio State and there is no reason to think he cant drop 20+ points for a 3rd straight game against Arizona.  If he does that and the Buckeyes play their style of basketball, it should be a Final Four for Ohio State with very little competition left in the West Region.

PRE ROUND OF 64

The West Region is lead by the Gonzaga Bulldogs who finished the season 31-2 and won the WCC championship.  They have not lost a game since January 19th, when Butler beat them by a single point on this wild inbounds play as regulation ended. I like this bracket for the Bulldogs but they have a very tough Elite 8 matchup with the Ohio State Buckeyes ahead of them. 

TV Schedule (EST):

Wednesday, March 20
13 Boise St. vs. (W) 13 La Salle - 9:10 p.m. truTV

Thursday, March 21
8 Pittsburgh vs. (W) 9 Wichita St. - 1:40 p.m. TBS
(W) 1 Gonzaga vs. 16 Southern - 4:10 p.m. TBS
(W) 6 Arizona vs. 11 Belmont - 7:20 p.m. TNT
3 New Mexico vs. (W) 14 Harvard - 9:50 p.m. TNT

Friday, March 22
5 Wisconsin vs. (W) 12 Ole Miss, 12:40 p.m. truTV
4 Kansas St. vs. (W) La Salle, 3:10 p.m. truTV
(W) 2 Ohio St. vs. 15 Iona, 7:15 p.m. CBS
7 Notre Dame vs. (W) 10 Iowa St., 9:45 p.m. CBS

1 Gonzaga vs. 16 Southern
Pick Distribution - Yahoo (98% Gonzaga) ESPN (98% Gonzaga) CBS (99% Gonzaga)
  • Plug the Bulldogs all the way through to the Elite 8.
    • Gonzaga can win it all because they have Elias Harris and Kelly Olynyk.  It goes even deeper with the Zags as Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr.spread the floor and open things up.  If these guys are knocking down the long ball, Gonzaga will be a tough opponent for Ohio State in the Elite 8.
2 Ohio State vs. 15 Iona
Pick Distribution - Yahoo (97% Ohio St.) ESPN (98% Ohio St.) CBS (99% Ohio St.)
  • Plug the Buckeyes all the way through to the Elite 8.
    • The Buckeyes can upset the Bulldogs because DeShaun Thomas is one of the best all around players and Aaron Craft is the best perimeter defender.  They will have to find help for Thomas though because the Zags can light up the scoreboard.  Ohio State will have to beat Gonzaga by playing swarming defense and figuring out how to stop Olynyk in the paint. 
3 New Mexico vs. 14 Harvard
Pick Distribution - Yahoo (93% New Mexico) ESPN (94% New Mexico) CBS (96% New Mexico)
  • Without Jeremy Lin, Harvard is no match for the Lobos.  Neither is Kansas State so ride New Mexico to the Sweet 16.
    • In order for the Lobos to make a serious run, they need help from Iona, Notre Dame or Iowa State.  As unlikely as that is, New Mexico has no real chance of beating Ohio State.  Tony Snell will have to have a career day, while Kendall Williams figures out how to survive Aaron Craft.
4 Kansas State vs. 13 La Salle
Pick Distribution - Yahoo (93% Kansas State) ESPN (94% Kansas State) CBS (96% Kansas State)
  • Not much to worry about here.  K-State lost 3 of their 7 games to Kansas and the other 4 were all to teams in the RPI top 50.  This is an experienced team and they have a tough matchup in the next round, be it against Wisconsin or Ole Miss.
    • I really like Rodney McGruder and Angel Rodriguez but the supporting cast doesn't do it for me.  If Shane Southwell can become a bit more aggressive and look for his shot, I give the Wildcats a shot but otherwise, their lack of talented big men will haunt them as both Wisconsin and Ole Miss have some monsters.
5 Wisconsin vs. 12 Ole Miss
Pick Distribution - Yahoo (84% Wisconsin) ESPN (79% Wisconsin) CBS (83% Wisconsin)
  • This game could go either way and you will have to base it off of your liking of Marshall Henderson.  If you feel he is this tournaments Jimmer Fredette, than you can take Mississippi to the Sweet 16.  If you don't like the kid, Wisconsin might not make it past the Wildcats in the Round of 32.
    • These two teams are polar opposites in that Wisconsin plays a SLOW game, while Ole Miss pushes and looks to score points in bunches.  Reginald Buckner and Murphy Holloway can not allow the Rebels to lose the battle of the boards.  That means being in position and boxing out Ryan Evans and Jarred Bergrren.
6 Arizona vs. 11 Belmont
Pick Distribution - Yahoo (75% Arizona) ESPN (76% Arizona) CBS (76% Arizona)
  • Neither team can beat the Lobos in the Round of 32 so don't stress.
    • Belmont doesn't miss so if the Bruins are hot, than Arizona stands no chance.  But there is a lot of pressure on a team that lives and dies by the 3 ball.  Arizona seniors Solomon Hill and Mark Lyons will lead the Wildcats to a victory.
7 Notre Dame vs. 10 Iowa State
Pick Distribution - Yahoo (61% Notre Dame) ESPN (62% Notre Dame) CBS (59% Notre Dame)
  • I am taking the Cyclones to beat the Fighting Irish, but a matchup with the Buckeyes follows so nothing to worry about here.
    • Iowa State will keep the tempo at their pace, forcing Notre Dame out of their comfort zone.  Once the 3s start falling for the Cyclones, they don't stop.  The Cyclones are great rebounders so missed shots turn into second chance opportunities.
8 Pittsburgh vs. 9 Wichita State
Pick Distribution - Yahoo (66% Pittsburgh) ESPN (67% Pittsburgh) CBS (68% Pittsburgh)
  • Pitt is the nations 6th best defense and should shut down Wichita State who doesn't light up the scoreboard.  Either way the winner faces the Gonzaga Bulldogs so don't spend much time debating this one
    • Senior Tray Woodall needs to get Pitt going on offense, while freshman 7 footer Steven Adams needs to clean up the glass.
Potential Bracket Buster:
12 Ole Miss Rebels - The Rebels could take down Wisconsin in the 1st round and follow that up with a victory over Kansas State en route to a Sweet 16 matchup with the Zags.  If you drank the Marshall Henderson juice, then you will be one of the few lucky ones who trusted him enough to take Mississippi this far.

Potential National Champions:
1 Gonzaga Bulldogs
2 Ohio State Buckeyes


Breaking Down the East Region
Breaking Down the South Region
Breaking Down the Midwest Region
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