Saturday, March 22, 2008

NCAA Second Round Previews - Sunday

East Region
Raleigh, NC 5:20 PM
1. North Carolina vs 9. Arkansas
First Round Review
Mount St Mary's wanted to run with North Carolina and the Tar Heels licked their chops; UNC cruised to a 1st round win. Arkansas kept Indiana at arms length after about 10 minutes of back and forth. Swingman Sonny Weems had 31 points in dispatching the Hoosiers.

For Arkansas to Win:
They have to play their best game of the year. They need a shooting performance like they had against Indiana on Friday (54% FG, 47% 3PT, 79% FT). Defensively, they have to keep Hansbrough off the boards as much as possible.

For North Carolina to Win:
Keep doing what you do. Feed Hansbrough the ball inside. Push the ball on defensive stops. Use your superb depth.

I like North Carolina in this game. It is essentially a home game for them and Ty Lawson is finally back 100% and in the flow of the offense.
We get the first ACC-SEC match up of the Tournament and this one looks to be in the ACC's favor.
Prediction: North Carolina
East Region
Birmingham, AL
2. Tennessee vs 7. Butler 2:30PM
First Round Review
American gave Tennessee a pretty good game for about 35 minutes on Friday before the Vols pulled away. Butler dominated South Alabama for the final 25 minutes in cruising to a 20 point win. The Bulldogs made 15 of 28 three pointers.

For Butler to win:
Butler needs to slow the game and force Tennessee to execute in the half court offensively
consistently. A 3 point effort like on Friday would help too.

For Tennessee to win:
Don't look at the jersey; Butler has a better record than you and has beaten teams from BCS conferences. The Vols need to push the tempo and get easy buckets to let their potent press set up.

This looks to be one of the best games of the second round. Many think Butler is better than a 7 seed. Tennessee comes at you in waves with their press and 3 point shooting. I think Butler hangs tight, but the tide swings to the Volunteers in the final 5 minutes.
Prediction: Tennessee

Midwest Region
Little Rock, AR
2. Texas vs 7. Miami 2:15 PM
First Round Review
After being down for most of the first half, the Hurricanes roared back in the second half behind Jack McClinton's 38 points to defeat upstart St Mary's. Texas led OVC Champion Austin Peay the entire way en route to a 20 point win. PG DJ Augistine dished out 8 assists and AJ Abrams led the Longhorns with 26 points.

For Texas to win:
The Longhorns need to play defense like they did on Friday allowing the Austin Peay Governors just 29% shooting from the field. Texas needs to have someone other than McClinton beat them.

For Miami to win:
Miami needs Jack McClinton to have a repeat performance on Sunday. The Hurricanes need to get to the free throw line as where they are one of best in the Tournament at the charity stripe. Texas gave Austin Peay 21 FT on Friday.

I like Texas a lot in this bracket. Miami will play struggle to hang tight in the first half and Texas' lead will grow to double-digits in the second half.
Prediction: Texas

Midwest Region
Little Rock, AR
1. Memphis vs 8. Mississippi State 4:45 PM

First Round Review
Memphis let UT-Arlington hang around for about 5 minutes before putting them in their place. Miss State fought from a 10 point deficit to tie with 10 min to go. From there the Bulldogs dominated down the stretch led by Charles Rhodes 34 points inside.

For Memphis to win:
The Tigers need to take advantage of the one on one mismatches they will have in the half court. Memphis will have to rely more on their guards as Mississippi State is very strong inside defensively.

For Mississippi State to win:
Use all of their fouls. Miss State can go 10 deep if need be and they will need to put Memphis at the line as much as possible - no easy baskets. Jamont Gordon will have to play better than his 2-14 shooting performance against Oregon.

I have Memphis as the weakest 1 seed in my bracket. Miss State has the inside play to match Memphis, but they cannot match the Tigers athleticism on the perimeter. Memphis will keep the Bulldogs at arms length for most of the second half.
Prediction: Memphis

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