Men's Basketball 2016 NCAA Tournament Midwest Region Round of 64 Game Breakdowns


Midwest Region Round of 64 Game Breakdowns


#1 Virginia vs. #16 Hampton

No 16 seed has ever beaten a # 1 seed. That looks like that will continue with this matchup. Virginia is consistently one of the best defensive teams in the country. And that’s against high-tier competition. Hampton is likely going to have a difficult time putting the ball in the basket. They are going to have to be able to hit shots from outside to keep Virginia honest. More importantly, they are going to have to defend. This is a great shooting Virginia team and they always seem to make tough shots when they need them (see the Wake Forest game).  All of the 1-16 matchups come down to this: talent. Virginia just has too much.


#8 Texas Tech vs. #9 Butler

The 8-9 matchups always seem to be good ones because the teams are so evenly matched. This game will come down to whether or not Butler can continue to shoot at a high level. They averaged 46 percent in the regular season and have three starters averaging over 14 points per game. That is serious production. Roosevelt Jones is the senior star, but they get contributions from Kellen Dunham and Kelan Martin as well. Can they beat a Texas Tech team that went through the rigors of a Big 12 schedule? The Red Raiders do not blow you away statistically, but they grind out wins on both ends of the floor. They will have to have some hot shooting and not come out lethargic like they did against TCU in the conference tournament. Toddrick Gotcher will lead the way for them. Butler seems to have the offensive advantage, but do not discount the ability of Texas Tech to force the Bulldogs into uncomfortable situations. This should be a good one.


#5 Purdue vs. #12 Arkansas-Little Rock

The biggest issue for Little Rock will be size. Purdue boasts one of the tallest rosters in the country. They are one of few teams that have a seven-foot player coming off the bench to spell another seven-footer. That is some great center depth. Senior A.J. Hammons is one of the most gifted big men in the nation and he is going to have his way with the smaller Little Rock lineup. Additionally, Little Rock’s difficulty rebounding will hurt them against a bigger Purdue squad. The knock on the Boilermakers is their guard play. This is a great opportunity for the guards to get in the flow of the game and let the bigs take over. You cannot coach size, and Purdue has it in droves. They should take this one.


#4 Iowa State vs. #13 Iona

This is an interesting matchup. Iowa State is a supremely talented team with upperclassmen leadership and valuable experience and toughness. Georges Niang is one of the best players in school history and Monte Morris is a do-everything point guard. The issue is that Iona is also an experienced team with a superstar of their own in A.J. English. He averages over 22 points per game and has gotten better every season he has been in uniform. The Gaels can score in bunches, so Iowa State’s defense is going to have really buckle down. The Cyclones will have to use their size to impose their will and beat them up on the inside. Iowa State should win this game, but Iona will make them work for it.


#6 Seton Hall vs. #11 Gonzaga

This is the best matchups of the second round. These are two big-time programs despite the fact that one has not made much noise in the Big East in recent years and one plays in a mid-major conference. Make no mistake, Gonzaga is a high-end basketball program that just happens to play on the west coast – but not in the Pac-12.  They have struggled more than many thought this season, but burned through their conference tournament to earn their automatic bid. With Kyle Wiltjer, Domantas Sabonis and Kyle Dranginis they are an offensive force. They face a Seton Hall team that is as hot as any in the bracket. Their defeat of Villanova held the Wildcats out of the No. 1 seed. They have four scorers that average double-figures and they are a tough, gritty team that will fight until the last second. Gonzaga will have their hands full. This has the potential to be a great game that goes down to the wire.


#3 Utah vs. #14 Fresno State

Fresno State is going to have a difficult time against a solid Utah team. The Utes have the Pac-12 Player of the Year on their roster: Jakob Poetl. Along with Hammons from Purdue, Poetl is one of the most skilled big men in the country. He can do it all for this team and averages nearly a double-double per game. Along with him in the frontcourt are Jordan Loveridge and Kyle Kuzma. Together they form quite a force down on the blocks. They are all productive in their own right and put pressure on a defense. Fresno State is not a statistically elite team, and they had to run the table just to get in the tournament. They are going to have to protect the ball and really execute on offense to keep Utah off-balance to have a chance.


#7 Dayton vs. #10 Syracuse

This is another intriguing matchup featuring great coaches in Archie Miller and Jim Boeheim. Miller has done wonders with Dayton over the last few years. They have won at least one game in the last two NCAA tournaments. Scoochie Smith is an excellent guard who can penetrate the lane and create opportunities. He has really come on late in the season. Syracuse was squarely on the bubble up until Selection Sunday. It was a strange season for the Orange with the Coach Boeheim suspension, but they were able to put enough wins together to warrant a bid. Trevor Cooney will have to nail his outside shots in this game for them to beat Dayton. Michael Gbinije will also have to be effective all over the court. The Orange lack depth, so keeping up with the Flyers with their starters will be key.


#2 Michigan State vs. #15 Middle Tennessee

Michigan State tends to be a bad matchup for everybody. Middle Tennessee is no different. They have had a strong season in Conference USA and Reggie Upshaw is a great player. The problem is that Michigan State is the cream of the crop of the blue blood programs. With national title aspirations, the Spartans are not going to allow the Blue Raiders to damage their hopes. Michigan State is one of the best rebounding teams in the country and Middle Tennessee is very average with their rebounding ability. Too many second chance opportunities and high-end offensive productivity will likely spell a first round exit for Middle Tennessee.



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



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