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

East Region Round of 16 Game Breakdowns


#4 Louisville vs. #8 North Carolina State (Syracuse, New York)

Louisville is coming off one of its best performances of the season as they defeated Northern Iowa 66-53 to once again move on to the Sweet 16. The Cardinals did a better job in all phases of the game in comparison to their first round nail biter against UC Irvine. Sophomore guard Terry Rozier scored 25 points and dished out seven assists as Louisville was very efficient offensively against a very good Panther team. The shooting was solid at just over 45 percent and defensively the Cardinals were very locked in as they shut down Northern Iowa’s best player Seth Tuttle. He scored just 14 points on seven shots.

NC State punched their ticket to the Sweet 16 by controlling Villanova for most of the game in a 71-68 win over the Wildcats. Trevor Lacey led the scoring for the Wolfpack with 17 points, but it was the ability to get double-doubles from Abdul Malik-Abu and Lennard Freeman that was a huge difference maker offensively in the win over Villanova. The defensive performance as a whole was excellent by North Carolina State, limiting the Wildcats to just 19 made field goals and a 31.1 percent field goal percentage. In the earlier meeting against Cardinals back on February 14th at the KFC Yum Center, Anthony “Cat” Barber was a huge difference maker in the 74-65 win as Barber scored 21 points and was 10 of 13 from the foul line.

This game is going to very evenly matched as Louisville is in a great rhythm as a team after Chris Jones was dismissed from the program late in the season. The Wolfpack are not going to be intimidated by the pressure defensively put on by the Cardinals, but the question is will the North Carolina State guards handle it effectively. This matchup has the feel of whoever has the ball last will win on Friday night.


#3 Oklahoma vs. #7 Michigan State (Syracuse, New York)

The Sooners did a nice job of outlasting Dayton in the second round with outstanding defense in the second half sparking Oklahoma to a 72-66 win over the Flyers. Sophomore guard Jordan Woodard was the player of the game for the Sooners, scoring 16 points and knocking down nine free throws when Oklahoma needed him the most. Defensively, Ryan Spangler once again was a force on the boards as he had 12 rebounds. As a team, the ability to get the key turnover was another catalyst for the Sooners as they were down by nine with 13:13 left to play.

Michigan State once again was the kryptonite for Virginia as they eliminated the Cavaliers down in Charlotte 60-54 to once again move on to the Sweet 16. The Spartans did a great job of staying disciplined offensively against the pack-line defense of Virginia. Also, it was the ability of guys like Travis Trice and Denzel Valentine to be able to create their own shots that helped Michigan State generate enough offensively to keep the pressure on the Cavaliers all game long.

This battle with the Spartans and Sooners will feature a great individual matchup between guards Denzel Valentine of Michigan State and Buddy Hield of Oklahoma. These two are going to battle each other all night long and it’s going to be highly entertaining to watch. If either one of these guys can take over the game for their teams, then they should not only be a lock to win, but send their team to the Final Four. Bottom line, this matchup as a whole is very fascinating and has the feel of a game that will have multiple ebbs and flows to it with neither team truly being able to pull away from the other. For Michigan State, they just need to continue to play cohesively at both ends of the court and not back down from the physicality of the Sooners. For Oklahoma, they need to be ready to go to war defensively as the Spartans will beat on you physically for 40 minutes. This game also could go well into the Saturday morning on the east coast as this could very well be an overtime type of game.


Tournament Central