Quick Regional Thoughts

18 Mar

EAST

 

Best 2nd round game:

#7 Connecticut vs. #10 Saint Joseph’s.  The Huskies led by All-American guard Shabazz Napier take on one of the hotter teams in the country in Saint Joseph’s.  The Hawks led by Langston Galloway and big man Halil Kanacevic took out VCU in the Atlantic 10 final.

Best potential 3rd round game:

#1 Virginia vs. #8 Memphis.  The top-seeded Cavaliers calling card is defense, they are the #1 defensive team in the country.  A potential 3rd round match up with the athletic  Memphis Tigers could be an interesting dichotomy of styles.

 

Most dangerous double-digit seed:

In the East the most dangerous double-digit seed has to be the 3-time defending Ivy League champs Harvard.  The #12 Crimson have experience having defeated New Mexico in the 2nd round last season and a large majority of that squad returns including point guard Siyani Chambers.

 

Dream Regional Final:

#3 Iowa State vs. #4 Michigan State.  The typical heavy banging Big Ten team in Michigan State against Fred Hoiberg’s high-octane offense for a trip to the Final Four would be fun.  Guard Keith Appling facing off against stat-stuffer DeAndre Kane of the Cyclones is just one intriguing in-game match up.

 

WEST

Best 2nd round game:

#8 Gonzaga vs. #9 Oklahoma State.  The Zags while not as dangerous in past years are a tough match up for the Cowboys because of their ability to dominate in the frontcourt with the likes of Sam Dower.  Oklahoma State, despite falling to Kansas in the Big 12 tournament has found a bit of a groove since star Marcus Smart returned from suspension.

Best potential 3rd round game:

#7 Oregon vs. #2 Wisconsin.  Bo Ryan’s Wisconsin team has a little more offense than in past years, but if they meet up with Oregon how they handle the stretch ability of Mike Moser and Jason Calliste.  Another game with teams that want to play at different tempos.

 

Most dangerous double-digit seed:

I’m going to go with the 12th seeded North Dakota State Bison.  NDSU will be in their game for because of their top-ten field goal percentage and forward Marshall Bjorklund who led the country in that category last season.  The Summit League Player of the Year Taylor Huff can really score and that duo could spell trouble for Oklahoma.

 

Dream Regional Final:

#1 Arizona vs. #3 Creighton.   The Top Cats trying to get to the Final Four going against a team led by the guy who is now 5th all-time in scoring in his collegiate swan song, Doug McDermott.

 

 

MIDWEST

Best 2nd round game:

#3 Duke vs. #14 Mercer.  We all know what the Blue Devils have in terms of talent on the court and on the bench but Mercer comes from the same conference as Florida Gulf Coast and guard Langston Hall can really score and the Bears think they are capable of repeating FGCU’s success.

Best potential 3rd round game:

#1 Wichita State vs. #8 Kentucky.  The undefeated Shockers will potentially get a shot at one of the sports blue bloods.  The Wildcats are young but super talented and the Wichita State detractors want to know what they will do against elite competition, here’s their chance.

 

Most dangerous double-digit seed:

Don’t sleep on #10 Arizona State led by point guard Jahii Carson who has the ability to score with anyone in the country and big man Jordan Bachynski.

 

Dream Regional Final:

#2 Michigan vs. # 4 Louisville.  Different teams but a potential national championship game rematch looms for the Cardinals and the Wolverines.

 

 

 

SOUTH

Best 2nd round game:

#5 VCU vs. #12 Stephen F. Austin.  Shaka Smart’s havoc that has taken the Rams to a Final Four appearance will take on one of the nation’s best defensive teams and hottest teams in the country in the Lumberjacks of Stephen F. Austin out of the Southland Conference.  The Lumberjacks are 31-2 and have won 28 in a row.

Best potential 3rd round game:

#2 Kansas vs. #7 New Mexico.  The Jayhawks are young and talented but without freshman big man Joel Embiid who may not play due to back issues they may have trouble with the New Mexico frontcourt of Alex Kirk and All-Mountain West forward Cameron Bairstow.  Add to that duo guard Kendall Williams who can torch the nets, Kansas is going to have to battle to make it out of the first weekend.

 

Most dangerous double-digit seed:

Like I said above #12 Stephen F. Austin can really defend and having won28 straight the Lumberjacks have a chance to throw a bit of a wrench into the South Region.

 

Dream Regional Final:

#1 Florida vs. #3 Syracuse.  This year’s edition of the Gators rely less on the 3-point shot than they have in the past and a meeting with the best zone defense in the country in Syracuse would be fun to watch.  How would Florida attack the zone?  Attack the seams or shoot their way out of it?

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