Men's Basketball 2016 NCAA Tournament Midwest Region Round of 32 Game Breakdowns


Midwest Region Round of 32 Game Breakdowns


#1 Virginia vs. #9 Butler

Many thought this would be the second round matchup that we would see in the top half of the bracket. Virginia, as usual, methodically broke down Hampton in the first round and never really let them in the game, especially in the second half. They won by 36. Anthony Gill led the way for the Cavaliers scoring 19 points. Butler finds themselves in the second round after taking care of business against Texas Tech. Tech never really seemed to find their rhythm, and they couldn’t ride the wave of their good performance in the Big 12 tournament. Butler was in the zone. They hit 52% of their three-pointers. Kellen Dunham and Tyler Wideman were on fire for the Bulldogs, missing only seven shots combined.


Virginia should be able to handle the Bulldogs’ offense. Virginia is in a different class defensively than Texas Tech. The odds of Butler scoring at the same rate in round two is unlikely. They are also going to have to contain Virginia’s offense. This is one of Tony Bennett’s better shooting teams. Just as Gill stepped up last game, any of Virginia’s rotational players can contribute at a high volume. Butler’s best chance is to stay red-hot and create some extra scoring opportunities for themselves.


#4 Iowa State vs. # 12 Arkansas-Little Rock

With Purdue’s size, everyone thought they would dominate Little Rock. As it turned out, elite outside shooting won the day for the Trojans. Josh Hagins was an absolute monster, scoring 31 points on 50% shooting. His dominance helped equalize any size advantage the Boilermakers had. Hopefully the Trojans carry the same strategy into Saturday’s game against Iowa State. Many picked the Cyclones to be upset by Iona, but they took care of business in round one after a disappointing early exit last year. Five players scored in double figures against Iona.  Georges Niang led all scorers with 28 points and the senior is on a mission to keep his team alive. Ultimately, Iowa State – who has more talent than Purdue – should end Little Rock’s run. They are too balanced for Little Rock to be able to guard them for 40 minutes. The Cyclones should find themselves in the Sweet 16.


#3 Utah vs. #11 Gonzaga

This is definitely the most intriguing second round matchup of the region. Gonzaga handled Seton Hall better than they could have even guessed. Domantas Sabonis is a stud for the Bulldogs, posting a double-double. He is so skilled and athletic that he is a difficult matchup for just about every team. Seton Hall could never really get going and their stars did not play as well as they needed to. Gonzaga looked in control for most of the game. They will play a Utah team that was looking to shake the rust off from their awful performance in the Pac-12 tournament title game. They handled Fresno State from the tip-off. They shot 54% from the field and downed all but three free-throws. It will be interesting to watch the Pac-12 player of the year, Jakob Poetl, go against Sabonis down low. They will not necessarily matchup against each other all game, but they will be dueling for rebounds and layups throughout. This game could really go either way. Gonzaga is playing well at the right time and guys are hitting their shots. Conversely, Utah has the talent to match up with them. It’s a matter of getting contributions from everyone and being able to clean up the glass against the Zags. Do not be surprised to see this one come down to the final ten seconds.


#10 Syracuse vs. #15 Middle Tennessee

This is definitely the second round game that no one saw coming. In one of the most stunning upsets in tournament history, Middle Tennessee State took down the Final Four favorite Michigan State. The Blue Raiders never trailed en route to a 90-81 victory. It was an all-around dominant performance against one of the elite teams and coaches in the game. MTSU was able to halt any potential Spartan run by putting the ball in the hoop themselves. Denzel Valentine played okay, but not to the elite level we are accustomed to seeing. Reggie Upshaw, the Blue Raiders’ best player, delivered all game long with 21 points. As a team, MTSU shot a blistering 58% from beyond the arc. Any team that shoots like that has the opportunity to beat anybody. The Blue Raiders can play.


They will face a Syracuse team that many did not think should even be in the tournament field.  In fact, Jim Boeheim reminded critics about how their opinions of the Orange after their victory over a good Dayton team in round one. Syracuse took control fairly early and won the game by 19 points. Five players scored in double-figures, and Tyler Roberson was an animal on the glass ripping down 18 rebounds. Neither team shot particularly well, but Dayton shot even worse than the Orange. They only hit six three-pointers all game. Syracuse took advantage of their size and won the game on the glass (45-27 advantage). In the upcoming game, the Orange should not take MTSU lightly. Middle Tennessee has the ability to play another crisp game. Syracuse will have to keep Reggie Upshaw in check. More importantly, the Orange will need to improve their shooting and cut down on their turnovers. It is unlikely they would be able to win two games in a row in such rugged fashion. Syracuse is the better team – only slightly – but MTSU is confident and they are feeling it. This is a dangerous team right now and do not be surprised to see the No. 15 seed win again.



Midwest Regional Overview



East Regional Overview

East Region Round of 32 Game Breakdowns


South Regional Overview

South Region Round of 32 Game Breakdowns


West Regional Overview

West Region Round of 32 Game Breakdowns



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