West Region (Phoenix):
2nd Round must-see games:
#3 Marquette (25-7) vs. #14 Iona (25-7) Thursday 2:45PM Louisville, KY
This game assumes that Iona wins its First Four game with BYU, should they do that, the team that drew the biggest reaction over their inclusion into the tournament would get a Marquette team that likes to score (75.9 ppg) has Jae Crowder, Davante Gardner (who has returned from injury after missing 8 games) and dynamic guard Darius Johnson-Odom. That would suit Iona just fine as the Gaels led the country at 83.3ppg and a highly regarded trio of their own in guards Scott Machado, Lamont “MoMo” jones and forward Michael Glover. This game should have beaucoup baskets.
#5 New Mexico (27-6) vs. #12 Long Beach State (25-8) Thursday 4:10PM Portland, OR
Much like the game between Wichita State and VCU, this is a game between two mid major teams with Sweet 16 potential. The key for New Mexico may be their big man UCLA transfer Drew Gordon who averages a double-double (13.4ppg,10.9rpg). Long Beach State played the #1 non-conference schedule in the country and because of that they were ready for Big West play. Dan Monson’s squad had cast every conference opponent they had aside before falling to Cal-State Fullerton in the regular season finale. They then went on to win the conference tournament beating rival UC-Santa Barbara in the final. Long Beach is also experienced led by 4 seniors, including star guard Casper Ware who had 33 points in the championship game. It is too bad
One first round in-game match up to watch:
#4 Louisville (26-9) vs. #14 Davidson (25-7) Thursday 1:40PM Portland, OR
You will hear it ad nausea over the next three weeks but it is so true, guard play rules in March. That’s where the key match-up is here. A couple of junior point guards are at the forefront of this game as Louisville’s Peyton Siva and Davidson’s Nik Cochran lead their respective teams and assists and are the catalysts to making their offense run. In this game which ever guard is able to facilitate for their teammates better will go a long way in deciding a victor.
One anticipated Round of 32 game:
#1 Michigan State (27-7) vs. #8 Memphis (26-8) Sunday
In what could be a big contrast in styles, this potential game could be a stumbling block for the #1 seed. Tom Izzo’s typical Michigan State, Big Ten style team predicated on defense and rebounding facing the get-out-and run style of Josh Pastner’s super athletic Memphis Tigers. The Spartans, led by do everything Draymond Green, with Adreian Payne and Derrick Nix will have to find a way to contain the Tigers’ Barton brothers (Antonio and Will), Joe Jackson and Tarik Black.