Meet Me in St. Louis

13 Mar

Midwest Region (St. Louis, MO):

2nd Round must-see games:

#3 Georgetown (23-8) vs. #14 Belmont (27-7) Friday 3:10PM Columbus, OH   

This is the same Belmont team that gave Wisconsin a scare in the 2ndround of last year’s NCAA tournament.  Rick Byrd’s senior-laden squad also gave Duke all they could handle at Cameron Indoor in November.  They face a tough defensive Georgetown team whose length could cause problems for a Belmont team that likes to play out on the perimeter.  Georgetown could have a big advantage inside with Henry Sims and freshman Otto Porter patrolling the paint.  But if you remember Georgetown was a #3 seed last season and was tripped up by Ohio out of the Mid-American conference in the first round.  A tested, experienced Belmont team has a chance to pick off the Hoyas if they, they most certainly won’t be intimidated playing under the big lights.

Purdue's Robbie Hummel gets one more shot at the NCAAs

#7 St. Mary’s (27-5) vs. #10 Purdue (21-12) Friday 7:27PM Omaha, NE

This game is less about star power and more about the things I find right about college basketball.  After nearly a decade of trying St. Mary’s finally leap frogged Gonzaga to the top of the West Coast Conference, claiming the first outright title by someone other than Gonzaga in 11 years.  The Gaels are led by guard Matthew Dellavedova who is not only the leading scorer but also the heart and soul of Randy Bennett’s team.   Dellavedova has a terrific supporting cast as well with big man 6’8 Rob Jones and back court mates Clint Steindl and Stephen Holt.

The Gaels face a Purdue squad that may have the poster child for college athletics in Robbie Hummel.  Two years ago the Boilermakers were a popular pick for the final four when Hummel suffered a torn ACL, ending his season.  Last year, unbelievably he suffered the same fate, another torn ACL ending his senior season before it ever began.  He petitioned the NCAA for another year of eligibility, which was granted, allowing Hummel to end his college career the way he should, on the court.  Now he has his Boilermakers in the NCAA tournament giving us all one more chance to watch Robbie Hummel play basketball.

One first round in-game match up to watch:

#4 Michigan (24-9) vs. #13 Ohio (27-7) Friday 7:20PM Nashville, TN

Much like the South region, the on court head-to-head battle in the Midwest region takes place in the back court.  Trey Burke of Michigan not only led the Wolverines in scoring with 14.8 points per game, he also led the team in assists at 4.6 dimes a game as a freshman.  He led the Wolverines as their floor general from the first day of practice for John Belein’s team.  It will be his first taste of post-season play for Burke and he will be facing a well-seasoned guard in Ohio’s D. J. Cooper.  This will be Cooper’s 2nd trip to the NCAAs in three seasons.  He scored 23 points in a first round upset of #3 Georgetown in 2010.  Like Burke, Cooper led his team in points (14.6) and assists (5.7).  Watching these 2 guys go head-to-head will be a treat to watch.

One anticipated Round of 32 game:

#1 North Carolina (29-5) vs. #8 Creighton (28-5) Sunday Greensboro, NC

What makes this potential game interesting is a reunion between UNC’s Harrison Barnes and Creighton’s Doug McDermott.  The two stars led Ames High to back-to-back Iowa state championships in 2009-10.  It would be interesting to see how these two play against each other should the meeting come to pass.

College Hoop Haven

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