Men's Basketball 2015 NCAA Tournament West Sweet 16 Game Breakdowns

Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky

 West Regional Sweet 16 Game Breakdowns


#1 Wisconsin vs. #4 North Carolina (Los Angeles, California)

It was an offensive explosion for North Carolina in the round of 32, and it came from an unlikely source. Big men all over fell into foul trouble in the game against Arkansas, forcing the perimeter players to come up big for UNC, and they did. With massive fouls, foul shots, rebounds and turnovers from both the Heels and Arkansas, the difference was guard play. Michael Qualls did his best for the Razorbacks but didn’t find enough help. Instead, it was the balanced rotation of Marcus Paige, Joel Berry and Nate Britt combining for 38 points, including going 16-of-16 from the line. Most would expect in a game where Brice Johnson and Kennedy Meeks are made bystanders that Carolina would fall easily. This was a very promising outcome for the folks from Chapel Hill and now something Wisconsin has to be concerned with. The Badgers advanced by having a gameplan and sticking to it. They played team defense, and let Oregon’s Joseph Young get his. Even though he poured in 30 points, it kind of, sort of worked in the main respect. Wisconsin won the game. Young also needed 25 field-goal attempts to get there. Elsewhere, the Badgers excelled in keeping the Ducks off the free-throw line while closing the game out late themselves from there. But overall, they didn’t play as smoothly or as well as you would have hoped. Against North Carolina, Wisconsin and Frank Kaminsky are going to need to do a bit more on the offensive end. They only shot 7-of-23 from three in the round of 32 game. It will also be harder to defend Carolina as a unit since it doesn’t have one player to focus on. One final note: starting point guard Traevon Jackson, who’s been out since January with a broken foot, may be able to return to action for this game, although he hadn’t yet taken part in a full practice before the third-round game.


#2 Arizona vs. #6 Xavier (Los Angeles, California)

Things got a bit tougher for the Arizona Wildcats in the round of 32, but they still prevailed and advanced into the Sweet 16. The win was thanks to their defense and a large second half. Arizona scored 47 in the second 20 minutes while holding Ohio State to 38.5 percent shooting for the game. D’Angelo Russell shot particularly poorly, going just 3-of-19. He had an impact on the game in other ways, particularly with some tremendous assists, but the Buckeyes needed his offense, and it wasn’t there. Arizona got a horrid shooting night from its own star freshman as Stanley Johnson made just one of his 12 field-goal attempts, but the rest of the Wildcats covered for him. The team made 20-of-24 from the line and outrebounded OSU 43 to 26, covering up the fact that it shot poorly. Xavier’s advance was almost the opposite narrative. The Musketeers won on the back of their offense, shooting a scalding 67.6 percent to pull ahead late for the victory. There were very few rebounds to go around for either side as Georgia State also hit well over 50 percent of its attempts. R.J. Hunter was good, but Ryan Harrow wasn’t healthy enough to help him out in the second half, and Xavier’s balance won the day. There is little chance that Xavier will find such wild shooting success in the Sweet 16 though. Likewise, Arizona is bound to hit a few more buckets than it had. If the offenses balance out, even just a little, the Wildcats have the huge defensive edge in this one, not to mention the size inside to counteract what Xavier has relied on the first two games of this tournament.


Tournament Central