Men's Basketball 2015 NCAA Tournament Midwest Round of 64 Game Breakdowns

Midwest Region Round of 64 Game Breakdowns


#1 Kentucky vs. #16 Manhattan / Hampton (Louisville, Kentucky)

Manhattan was in the NCAA Tournament last year, but at that time they were a 13-seed. Many predicted the Jaspers would pull off the upset over Louisville, but it was not to be. This year Manhattan has to get past Hampton in the first round to get a chance to pull off another upset. Hampton is coming off of a great run through the MEAC tournament. The Pirates are going to have trouble containing the potent frontcourt scoring attack of Manhattan though. The winner gets a chance to pull off the biggest upset in sports history against undefeated Kentucky. The Wildcats have way, way too much talent to be tested by either Manhattan or Hampton.


#8 Cincinnati vs. #9 Purdue (Louisville, Kentucky)

Purdue is one of the feel good stories of the year. Picked to finish towards the bottom of the Big Ten, the Boilermakers ended up with 21 wins on the season. They have proven that they can beat NCAA Tournament caliber teams with wins over the likes of BYU, North Carolina State and Iowa. A.J. Hammons and Isaac Haas are both seven-footers who are a lot more than just size. They can score, rebound, block shots and move around extremely well for players of their size. Cincinnati may not have the size to match Hammons and Haas, but they do have a lot of pretty big bodies to rotate in and out to keep the Boilermaker bigs off balance.


#5 West Virginia vs. #12 Buffalo (Columbus, Ohio)

Buffalo and Coach Bobby Hurley will be a popular upset pick against West Virginia. The Bulls boast Justin Moss, a superb big man who averages 17.7 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. He will match up with Mountaineers forward Devin Williams. West Virginia also has point guard Juwan Staten, who averages 14.5 points and 4.6 assists. Those numbers do not tell the entire story though; Staten is an amazing floor leader who can will WVU to victory. Buffalo’s backcourt duo of Shannon Evans and Lamonte Bearden are great passers too, but they are also underclassmen. Those two combine for 9.0 assists per game and the team as a whole commits a mere 11.5 turnovers, but expect that number to go up with Staten spearheading West Virginia’s defensive effort on the perimeter.


#4 Maryland vs. #13 Valparaiso (Columbus, Ohio)

Maryland has had a great year, but now it is time to see how far this team can go with such a young roster. Melo Trimble leads a trio of freshmen guards who have had a huge impact for this team. Trimble leads the squad with 17.3 points per game and also dishes out 3.1 assists per game. The potential trouble for the Terrapins against Valparaiso is that Trimble and Dez Wells score a lot of points by attacking the basket. Valpo has shot blocking specialist Vashil Fernandez standing in the paint. He has blocked three shots per game this year and will alter countless others. The Crusaders do have quite a few scoring options, most notably forward Alec Peters and guards Darien Walker and Tevon Walker, but they will struggle to keep up with Maryland.


#6 Butler vs. #11 Texas (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)

Butler had a nice turnaround season after a very disappointing 2013-2014 campaign. The versatile 6-4 Roosevelt Jones can do it all and Kellen Dunham is an amazing shooter on the wing. This is a Butler team that plays like a team and has the talent to go along with it. But Texas may be more talented. Many thought the Longhorns deserved to be headlining the NIT instead of heading to Pittsburgh for the NCAA Tournament. However, when this Texas team is playing well, they can beat anybody. The question is just whether or not the Longhorns will show up. Coach Rick Barnes does have a great frontcourt though with Cameron Ridley, Jonathan Holmes, Myles Turner, Prince Ibeh and Connor Lammert. That is a lot of depth in the frontcourt and potentially more than Butler can handle.


#3 Notre Dame vs. #14 Northeastern (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)

Notre Dame is a hot team coming off of their ACC Tournament title. Beating both Duke and North Carolina in Greensboro on back-to-back days is an impressive feat. There may not be a better floor general in the country than Jerian Grant. The senior averages 16.8 points and 6.6 assists per game and has four other starters around him who average at least 9.7 points per game. Northeastern won the CAA tournament title and is a very dangerous shooting team. The Huskies rank 19th in the nation in field-goal percentage and knock down quite a few three’s as well. If their shots are falling, they can at least stick around with Notre Dame for a while.


#7 Wichita State vs. #10 Indiana (Omaha, Nebraska)

This is a game that you can look at as Wichita State being under-seeded and Indiana over-seeded. This game could have certainly been a #5 versus a #12. But with that said, the Hoosiers are an extremely dangerous team. Yogi Ferrell runs the offense and leads the team with 16.1 points per game. He is a great leader on both ends of the floor. James Blackmon and Troy Williams are both capable of big scoring outings and freshman Robert Johnson is explosive, albeit inconsistent. Wichita State went 28-4 on the year and are nearly as dangerous as they were a year ago. Fred VanVleet is still an amazing point guard and Tekele Cotton and Ron Baker are great backcourt mates. The frontcourt and the youth on the bench is the big concern. The Shockers need Darius Carter to battle with the Indiana frontcourt on both ends of the floor. More importantly, Wichita State has to stop the Hoosiers from knocking down too many outside shots.


#2 Kansas vs. #15 New Mexico State (Omaha, Nebraska)

Kansas has a very young backcourt and a depleted frontcourt. That will not be enough for New Mexico State to pull off the upset though. The Aggies have had some interesting NCAA Tournament appearances over the last few years though, yet they continually fail to pull off the upset. This is not as strong of a team as the Aggies have had in the past, but they play tough defense and hit the glass very effectively. Remi Barry, Pascal Siakam and Tshilidzi Nephawe are a superb frontcourt trio and they can compete with Kansas’ Perry Ellis and Jamari Traylor. The KU backcourt may be more talented, but New Mexico State has a bit more experience.


Midwest Regional Overview


East Regional Overview

East Region Round of 64 Game Breakdowns


South Regional Overview

South Region Round of 64 Game Breakdowns


West Regional Overview

West Region Round of 64 Game Breakdowns


Tournament Central